Beauty & Health, First Blush



By Kim Putens

Oily skin combined with 100% humidity in Washington DC equals havoc.  It doesn’t have to reach havoc stage if you follow these simple tips.

Tip 1 – Keep oily skin balanced by washing right.  Make sure to use the right type of face wash to break down oils but not dry it out.  When we see a breakout, our first reaction is to reach for the benzyl peroxide and dry it out.  While you may see instant gratification, the problem is your skin will have a complete breakout meltdown shortly thereafter.  The reason is the over drying caused by the harsh response makes the skin produce more oils to compensate for the attempt to dry it out.  Thus, the skin experiences more and worse breakouts.   The best way to combat this is to use a cleanser with at least 2% salicylic acid.  The salicylic acid will clean out the pores of the excess oil, but will not dry it out.

Tip 2 – Lighten up on your night cream.  No matter your skin type, the extreme humidity of summer makes it unnecessary to use heavy moisturizers.   The general rule of thumb – if you use a cream in the winter, switch to a lotion.  If you typically use a lotion, consider a hydrating serum.  And, if your skin is extremely oily, you may not need a lotion at all.

Tip 3 – Exfoliate and slough off dead skin cells and clean out pores.  Using a physical exfoliation once a week will help to relieve the skin of dead cells and unclog pores.  For even better results, follow the exfoliation with a mask.  Clay masks are best – particularly during summer months – because the clay works to suck out impurities in the pores that lead to breakouts.  If you find that your skin is really greasy, you may want to try a glycolic peel.  Glycolic acids exfoliate the skin by breaking down dead cells rather than sloughing them off.  Glycolic peels come in varying degrees of intensity.  Because of the deep exfoliation of a glycolic peel, it’s imperative that you wear sunscreen when exposed to the sun.

Tip 4 – Scale back your makeup.   Summer is time to abandon foundations.  Foundations melt into pores and contribute to break outs.  Furthermore, skin always looks best in the summer.  So, there is no reason to hide it behind foundation.  Instead, try tinted moisturizers or powder foundations.  Many tinted moisturizers offer sunscreen and powder foundations help to soak up oils.

Tip 5 – Choose sunblock in lieu of moisturizers.  Some sunblocks actually absorb oils.  Look for sunblocks with oil absorbing micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  In addition to their abilities to absorb oil, they also offer the best sunscreen protection.

Tip 6 – Blot, blot, blot.  Use oil blotting papers to soak up excess oils.  These miracle papers don’t strip the skin of its natural oils.  Reach for these instead of a powder puff.  Using too much powder can lead to a cakey look.

Kim Putens is co-owner of Bellacara, a beauty boutique located at 1000 King Street in Old Town Alexandria.  Bellacara can be found on the web at  Read our blog on  Become a Bellacara fan on Facebook.

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