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  1. Professional Versus Consumer Skin Care Products

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    According to the FDA’s definition, both consumer products and what we typically refer to as professional products fall under the same category. So what differentiates a consumer product from a professional product? The answer lies in the question.

    Let’s take a look at the word differentiate.

    dif·fer·en·ti·ate verb (used with object)
    1. To form or mark differently from other such things; distinguish
    2. To change; alter
    3. To make a distinction
    4. To perceive the difference in or between
    5. To make different by modification, as a biological species
    6. To become unlike or dissimilar; change in character

    In the esthetics world we tend to define a consumer product as one that is simply available in a retail establishment. Does it matter whether or not it comes from Walgreens, CVS, Target, Nordstrom, Sacks, Sephora, or Ulta? The answer is no. It doesn’t matter if it comes from a mass-market retailer or a prestige retailer. These products are all consumer or over the counter products.

    Professional Products:

    – Are made in small batches with fresh and active ingredients that are made to deliver results.
    – Have higher quantities and percentages of active ingredients to ensure the product does what it says it’s going to do.
    – Formulated by cosmetic chemists and sold by an esthetician with hands-on experience and a true understanding of the skin and its functions.
    – Have a range of products that address different skin types and skin conditions.
    – No added synthetic fragrances, colors, or dyes. This lessens your chance of sensitivity and irritation to these unnecessary chemicals.
    – High quality ingredients with proven results.

    Consumer Products:

    – Made in large batches for the masses so more preservatives are added since the shelf life will need to be longer.
    – May have less or a lower percentage of active ingredients since they will be sold to “for all skin types” and therefore need to be more basic, simpler formulas. Since many consumers “self-diagnose” when choosing a skin care product to try from a drug or department store, these products must be made safely, meaning, big cosmetic companies would have masses of consumers with issues from the improper use of very active ingredients.
    – Formulated by chemists and presented and sold to the public by corporate marketing specialists. The hype and clever marketing trick consumers into making purchases.
    – Most products are made for “one size fits all.” If you’re looking for results, it’s imperative that you use products formulated for the unique needs of YOUR skin.
    – Added synthetic dyes, colors and fragrances to heighten the sensory experience and esthetic look for the sole purpose of encouraging sales.
    – Low quality, inexpensive oils with potential pore clogging properties. Retail stores are loaded with products containing mineral oil and petroleum, which are forbidden ingredients by professional skin care formulators.

    Another point to consider when comparing the differences between professional and consumer skin care products is the ingredient list on products. Two products can have the exact same list of ingredients, and one will be highly effective while the other could be completely useless. The difference is the concentration of those ingredients. One product may use a very small amount while the other uses a clinically active level. Unfortunately for you, the consumer, there is no way to understand the difference. This is because all ingredients are supposed to be listed in order of the concentration used, but for ingredients with a concentration less than 1% they can be listed in any order. There’s a big difference between ingredients used at .01% versus 1%, but you would never know from the label.

    A common misconception that most people have about professional products is their cost. Any skin care regimen is going to be an investment. It is better to invest in the right products with proper ingredients instead of spending your money on fancy packaging, fillers and preservatives. Professional products are highly concentrated and therefore, less is needed. A professional cleanser that ranges from $25-$40 is meant to last four to five months when the correct amount is used. Have you ever had a product that you purchased from a drug store last that long?

    Choose a skin care company that you trust. If you are unsure of what line to use or where to even begin, entrust in a licensed esthetician, physician, or other educated skin care professional to guide you through making such important decisions. We all work hard for our money and there’s nothing worse than wasting it on broken promises.


  2. Trending Black Charcoal Face Masks

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    I’m sure all of you have seen these black face masks that are all over Facebook and Instagram. I’ve even seen some of you using them! Both you and I have gotten a good laugh at the ridiculous videos of people putting themselves through agony ripping them off. Even still, so many people are continuing to use them.

    Beauty is pain, right? Nonsense. Taking care of your skin shouldn’t make you cry. These facial masks are basically a giant Biore strip for your entire face. While yes, they do pull some debris out of your pores; the majority of what they are removing from your skin is natural sebaceous filaments, which don’t do any harm.

    I completely understand the satisfaction of seeing the gunk that you can remove from your pores. That’s part of why I love being an esthetician! With that being said, I am a licensed esthetician and it’s my job to understand how to properly remove all of that “gunk”!

    Of course your skin feels baby soft after you use one of these masks. You’ve just ripped off the top layer of your skin along with all of your vellus hair! So basically, you’ve just removed your skin’s natural defense system and have exposed it to the elements. Your skin’s barrier is important, and these masks completely deprive your skin of its defense.

    So what’s a better option for your skin? See a licensed esthetician regularly for facials. During a facial your skin will be cleansed, exfoliated, rid of all debris, and hydrated to reveal healthy, glowing skin. If you can’t afford to get a professional treatment at least get yourself a professional mask. I suggest PCA skin’s Purifying Mask. It is an at-home, clay based treatment mask that exfoliates, detoxifies, and removes impurities, leaving skin smooth, clear, and bright. It is gentle on the skin and you remove it with a cloth to avoid causing any damage to the skin.

    These masks are ultimately doing more harm than good to your skin, and they just aren’t worth it. Trust the experts, beautiful people.