Thursday, June 24, 2010

Organic Skin: Minimum 3-Step Routine?

Just had my second facial at Barbarella Beauty Salon in Berkeley. Came away with glowing skin and an honorary PhD in Age-Management from their esthetician, Rachel Nordman. My main focus? Tell me the minimum that I need to do to stave off aging of our largest organ, the skin. I found her recommendations surprising, affordable and easy to integrate into my jam-packed life. As Rachel puts it: "This isn't your grandmother's skin routine."

We're blessed here in the Bay Area to have Rachel as a local. She's an international trainer (one of 3 for an organic skin care line I like, Eminence) rockin' our faces and helping us with prevent/treat wrinkles, enormous pores, acne, rosacea, and any of the other less desirable skin conditions you may be facing.

I often find that my patients are eating organic, washing their hair with organic shampoos but then slather on non-organic skin care products. We need to change that, folks! Your skin absorbs a ton of hormonally-active badness including lauryl sulfates, parabens and other endocrine disruptors - go organic here too.

Isn't her skin gorgeous?

Here's Rachel's recommendations, which may surprise you.
1. Focus on serums. This is where the real change happens. Much more potent and stays on your skin longer than cleanser. More concentrated that moisturizer. For my skin at age 43, she recommends either a Vitamin C serum or what I purchased, Blackberry Pore Refining Serum. For me, it's all about smallering the pores.
2. Change your masquing attitude. Rachel favors 3-10 min while you're in the shower twice/week. No more thick clay hard stuff for 20 min like when I was coming of age. "Apply it like a layer of panty hose." OK, I don't wear panty hose but I get your drift. She suggested that you apply it when you first get in the shower, after cleansing, and do your shower deeds (shampoo, conditioner, shave those legs, exfoliate elsewhere, receive hydrotherapy's grace, whatever) and then rinse off. Toner if you're an over-achiever (I am not when it comes to the skin), then moisturize and add sun protection.
3. Get your eye cream on. I'm a minimalist but it turns out that the skin around the eyes (below and above) is the thinnest, and shows aging the soonest! Who knew?

Her 3-step process:
1. Cleanse.
2. Serum.
3. Moisturizer.
In the shower, add on the 3-10 min masque. No need to be a martyr: 3 min is better than none.

More on serums: they are "are your most concentrated products that penetrate the skin the deepest. So they're corrective," according to Rachel.  Eminence serums are "made with liposome technology, so they're taking tiny molecules and piggybacking beneficial ingredients and delivering them deeper into the skin. So if you want to lighten hyperpigmentation or heal acne or pore refining or deliver hyaluronic acid, serums are the best way to go." For acne, Eminence has an herbal spot serum which has anise, which is antibacterial and burberry extract which helps with acne scaring. More on what the vitamin C serum and hyaluronic acid offers to aging skin in a future post.

I'm trying out lots of new organic skin care lines, so drop a line or comment if you have a favorite. We carry Osmosis at the Gottfried Center, and I'm always interested in trying new ones. Eminence has captured my fancy because I'm curious about the biodynamic ingredients - do they or don't they make a difference? - and I love the company's commitment to green.


Elizabeth Barnet said...

Low cost, make your own face cleanser:
Garbanzo flour and coconut oil - blend it in the palm of your hand. Use as facial or cleanser. Rinse well.

Elizabeth Barnet

Anonymous said...

Love the home-made idea ... anymore out there? I'm on social security now and can't afford the hundreds of dollars I used to spend on a zillion skin care products of the day (mind you, I'm told I look like early 50's, but I'm 66).

Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD said...

Elizabeth, I love your reminder! Thank you! Do you grow chickpeas in your vast and beautiful Inverness garden?

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I'm an organic gynecologist, yoga teacher + writer. I earn a living partnering with women to get them vital and self-realized again. We're born that way, but often fall off the path. Let's take your lousy mood and fatigue, and transform it into something sacred and useful.