Physical vs. Chemical Exfoliation – which one is right for your skin?

Exfoliating is an essential step in our skincare routines that helps to keep skin healthy. Not only does it have an instant benefit of cleaning pores, smoothing, and brightening your skin. It also allows serums, sheet masks, and moisturizers to absorb better and work more effectively. But with so many exfoliating products now available on the market, which one to choose? 

There’re two main types – acids (think AHA, BHA, PHA), a.k.a. chemical exfoliants in a liquid form (they look like toners) and scrubs – cream- or gel-like products with microbeads or other grainy substances. 

Chemical exfoliants sink deep into the skin, where acids work hard to unstick the cellular glue and remove dead cells. Physical exfoliants do mostly the same process – breaking the bonds between healthy and dead cells. But instead of “melting” the dead cells, scrubs work to buff them away mechanically. 

These days beauty world tends to favor chemical exfoliants and demonize physical scrubs, but we believe there are a time and place for both in our routines. The argument here is that traditional scrubs can cause micro-tears in the skin, which can lead to infection and breakouts. However, beauty science has come a long way, and there’re plenty of physical exfoliants like peeling gels or gommage peels that are very gentle on the skin. Which one to choose, however, will heavily depend on your skin type/ concerns, what type of exfoliation you’re looking for, season, and many other factors. You might prefer one over the other or successfully combine both. 

So, how to choose the right one? 

Chemical exfoliators.

This category includes different acids (AHA, BHA, etc.) as well as enzyme extracts (papaya, pineapple). This an excellent choice for warmer months when your skin gets oilier and needs to be exfoliated regularly. Most have very gentle formulas that can be used daily (or every other day) to maintain a healthy, clear complexion. 

BHA is better suited for people with oily skin, congested pores and blackheads while AHA and PHA help with redness and breakouts. Enzyme extracts are gentler than acids can be a great alternative to people with extra sensitive skin.  

The drawbacks. Chemical exfoliants are not great at helping with skin texture issues. Nor will they be of much use if you have dry, parched skin that needs to be buffed away manually. That said, for people with scrub-sensitive skin, chemical exfoliating products are an excellent choice. 

Physical exfoliators.

As briefly mentioned above, this is a broad category that includes everything from professionally done microdermabrasion to traditional scrubs to peel gels.  Scrubs usually contain small-sized particles (most popular are coffee, salt, sugar, etc.) that help to remove the dead cells from your skin manually. These are not the best to use on your face where the skin is delicate. But that’s not to say they can’t be. If your skin loves the post-scrub feeling and doesn’t feel sensitized or irritated – by all means, use it. Just make sure not to rub too hard. Apply little pressure, and that would be more than enough to reveal that silky-smooth new skin that was buried underneath. 

Peel gels (or gommage peels) are considered the mildest and the least abrasive in the family of physical exfoliators. They either don’t contain any grainy substances at all or formulated with very finely milled non-abrasive particles (i.e., cellulose) that give a gentle scrubbing effect. Peeling gels are usually used on dry skin and start balling up as you rub them against your skin. These types of exfoliators are great for people who can’t handle full-on scrub but need some manual exfoliation from time to time to help with skin texture issues. It is also an excellent choice for people who need to get rid of dry patches while hydrating the skin.

The drawbacks. The potential to sensitize the skin is an obvious one. If you have extremely sensitive skin, suffer from rosacea or eczema – this won’t be for you as you need to apply as little external pressure to the skin as possible. Also, since they’re only working on the most upper layer of the skin, the effect might seem fleeting, especially for someone who’s used to acid exfoliators. The solution might be to look for a gommage peel that has acids or enzymes in the formula that help to improve cleansing results.  

MOTHER MADE Exfoliating Aqua Peel Gel

The bottom line. Physical and chemical exfoliators have their pros and cons. With the right approach, the correct dosage, and frequency of use –  both can serve you well in your skincare routine.  

Anti-aging skincare: when and how to start?

It seems like in the current beauty world, everyone (even teenagers) is constantly encouraged to inspect their skin for the first signs of fine lines and wrinkles and take the necessary steps, a.k.a. start an anti-aging skincare routine. But what exactly is the anti-aging routine? And how early is too early to start incorporating anti-aging skincare in your routine?

First, what is anti-aging skincare? In the most general sense, anti-aging skincare is moisturizing and daily sun protection. This is the best way to prevent aging-related skin troubles like severe dryness and UV damage that results in hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and loss of skin elasticity. This means that regardless of age, “anti-aging” skincare must be in everyone’s daily routines.

On a more specific level, anti-aging skincare is supplement products that help the skin work more efficiently and combat the damage that has already been inflicted. Such skincare consists of products full of antioxidants to fight free radical damage, intensive lipid-rich creams and oils to restore skin barrier function, and acid exfoliators that help to boost cell turnover that slows down as we age.

So, when should you start incorporating these heavy-duty supplement products in your regimen? It really depends on your skin type and condition. Generally speaking, you can begin using skincare that is high in antioxidant content as soon as you reach 20. These are low to non-irritating products with various Vitamins or natural ingredients like a snail, green tea, and other extracts to provide extra support for healthy skin barrier function. If you have extremely dry skin, you might benefit from adding richer creams and oils to your routine early on. But if your skin is an oily, combination, and/or acne-prone, you don’t need this. Such heavy products will only result in breakouts, clogged pores, and an increase in blackheads and sebaceous filaments.

MOTHER MADE Anti-aging Rich Snail Deep Moisturizing Sheet Mask

In your early 20s, steer clear of exfoliants with high acid concertation. “Heavy-duty” exfoliators are meant for more mature skin when normal cell turnover rate slows down, and skin can’t regenerate itself. Your 20-something skin simply doesn’t need this. Also, make sure that only one product in your daily routine contains acid. Often, people go overboard and include acid in toner, serum, and cream. This results in redness, skin flaking, and damaged the skin barrier.

Once you get in your 30’s and beyond, start to consider incorporating more active ingredients in your routine. It’s an excellent time to introduce higher concertation of Vitamin C and A (a.k.a. Retinol) in your routine together with peptide serums and heavier night creams. That doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about more natural and less harsh alternatives. While they might not miraculously erase your wrinkles overnight (no product will), they will help to support healthy skin functioning. Alternate between harsher products and their natural alternatives to ensure you’re not ruining your barrier and sensitizing the skin.

The bottom line. Your skin is the best guide when it comes to choosing what product to start and when — experiment with adding different products to your routine and note your skin’s reaction. You shouldn’t feel pressured to use a particular expensive serum just because you’ve reached a certain age, and that’s what people do. And most importantly, remember that signs of aging are completely normal. Aging is a beautiful process, and skincare is just a tool that you use along the way to minimize any “side-effects” that come along. 

How to be a more conscious (skincare) consumer in 2020.

Skincare is a lot of fun. Buying new products, testing them, learning about new ingredients and their combinations, getting to know your skin better and better each day – what’s there not to like? But as with all good things in life, love for skincare comes with a price.  

From the impact on the planet to personal finance issues, this fun little hobby can quickly spiral out of control if not approached responsibly. Sure, it’s fun to giggle at a “my bank account vs. me” skincare memes until you’ve spent half of your paycheck on skincare and have to eat instant noodles until the end of the month just to make it through. Yes, this comes from personal experience, and no, it wasn’t as fun.

So today, we’ve compiled a list of actions that you can start taking right now that will hopefully help you to develop a healthier and more responsible relationship with skincare in the upcoming year. Read along!

Setting a budget (and sticking to it)

Whether you’re an aspiring skincare blogger or just an enthusiast who lives and breathes for new releases, it’s essential to know your boundaries. There are so many great products out there, but it’s impossible to buy and try all. After all, you’ve got only once face. Plus, with all the buzz happening on YouTube or IG, it’s easy to lose track of what it is YOU really want/need to try vs. what social media makes you believe you want. Budgeting is an excellent way to cut out the noise and hone on to your inner (skin) cravings. Since you can’t go over a certain amount per month, your brain will start prioritizing and hopefully save you from many an impulse purchase.

Track skincare spending

Even with a budget, it’s a good idea to record every skincare purchase you make. By doing this, you’ll be able to go back and review your buying patterns and might get some interesting (and eye-opening) insights like routinely buying lipsticks when all you wear is a tinted lip balm. If you want to take it one step further, when you do a monthly review, write a quick note next to each purchase. Did you enjoy it? Did you use it as much as you thought you would? Did you have something similar already, and how did this new item compare? These quick notes will help to understand why you make certain choices and to avoid buying mistakes in the future.

Make a wish list

This is an oldie, but goodie and works like magic every time. When a product is not a necessity, don’t rush into buying. Put it on a wish list first and leave it for a couple of weeks. If, after all this time, you’re still thinking about this product – get it. But most likely, you’ll have already forgotten all about it and moved on.

Use it up

This is self-explanatory, but you’ve got to use the stuff up. If a product wasn’t the greatest fit for your skin, see if there any friends or family who might enjoy it. If not, repurpose! Face cleansers can be used as body washes or for cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges. You’ll be surprised to learn that old creams can be used to remove makeup. Just google it, and you’ll find plenty of articles and videos showing you exactly how to do that.  

Try shopping fast

There’s a growing number of people going on various shopping fasts from no-buy months to no-buy years or replacement-only purchases. It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of needing (or thinking that you need) more and more, which often leads to anxieties and stress. These kinds of exercises help to stop chasing elusive trends and just enjoy what you have since you’re not constantly thinking of what to buy next.

Bottom line. Ultimately, conscious consumption isn’t about numbers or excessive restrictions. If ten different serums make you happy and serve a purpose in your skincare routine – so be it. If you’re happy spending more money on skincare/makeup because it’s how you care for yourself – by all means, do it. The purpose of conscious consumption is not to not buy or consume, but to buy with meaning and purpose.

Holiday skincare tips for healthy skin

Ah, the holiday season, a.k.a. the time of the year that takes the biggest toll on our skin. Festive foods that are high in sugar and carbs, alcohol, lack of sleep, and added stress – all that makes your skin start freaking out. If holiday breakouts are an annual thing together with the first snow, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, we’ve put together a little guide to help you take this tradition off your calendar this year.

First thing first, if you haven’t already, switch to a low pH, ultra-gentle cleanser. Dry air, heating, and winter winds weaken your skin barrier, and you don’t want to finish it off with a harsh face wash that strips last bits of oils off your skin. In the morning, consider washing your face with water only to minimize the damage even further.

On a similar note – stop with scolding hot showers. Yes, when outside temperatures take a dip to the sub-zero area, a hot steamy shower or bath feels very nice. But it can severely dry out your skin and also bring unwanted rosacea or eczema flare.

Do detox wash off masks regularly. If you’ve been saving a jar (or a pack) of the mask that promises to fight off dull, lackluster skin, now it’s the time to bring it back to your routine. Creamy non-drying clay masks are the best because they help to clear your skin without sensitizing or irritating.

MOTHER MADE 2 step Honey Citrus Facials

Double on a moisturizer. ‘Tis the season to finally bring out your heavy-duty moisturizers and oils. Don’t neglect your body, too. Even if you’re not big on body lotions, try to incorporate them into your body care routine at least several times a week. Pay attention to elbows and knees as the skin on that areas tend to dry out the most.

Eat as healthy as possible. That doesn’t mean saying no to all of the festive foods. Instead, but be strategic and smart. For example, if you know you’ll be having a big dinner at night where you’ll definitely overindulge, have a light salad or green smoothie for lunch. It’s all about balance!  The same goes for alcohol. It’s okay to have a couple of drinks, but drinking every night is probably not a good idea. If your social calendar is packed with parties that you have to attend, consider sipping a club soda instead of a cocktail whenever you can.

Take your makeup off. Yes, even when you’ve had one too many and feel like passing out. For the days like this, stock up on makeup removing wipes or consider getting yourself a cleanser that can remove makeup and clean the skin in one go.

Finally, stay as consistent as possible. One of the biggest reasons why our skin starts to misbehave during holidays is because our familiar routines come crumbling down. At the very least, stay consistent with your skincare and exercise regimen. Feel free to do some minor tweaks to be able to maintain it throughout a busy month of December. For example, if you typically enjoy a 10 -step skincare routine, consider pairing it down to the basics for a while. That way, even when you’re dead tired, you will have no excuses not to do it. The same logic applies to exercise. If you can’t fit a gym session in your schedule, try simple 10-15 min workouts at home instead. It will keep you moving and help not to fall off the habit of daily physical activity, so it’s easier to go back on track once the New Year celebrations are officially over.

And that’s it! Hope you found at least some of these tips helpful.

Have a wonderful, stress-free December,

With love,

MOTHER MADE team xxx

5 tips on how to get your partner into skincare

The age-old perception that skincare is something feminine and that only women do has finally started to fade, and we have male skincare bloggers to thank for it. But the skincare landscape is still very gender-biased, and a significant percentage of the male population doesn’t take adequate care of their skin. 

If your husband, boyfriend, or even brother is refusing to give his skin real TLC, it deserves, you came to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll go over some tips that will help you to help your man to start taking care of his complexion and never stop. 

Tip 1. Start slow. 

Sure, you might be doing all ten steps religiously and want him to try it all immediately and fall in love with skincare just like you did. But, hold your horses and try putting yourself in his shoes.  For someone whose skincare hitherto has been consisting of splashing water on his (severely dehydrated) face and calling it a skincare routine, this might be a little too overwhelming. Remember how you started? It took you a while to learn, understand, and appreciate each product. He should be allowed to do the same. So, chill out and start from the beginning. 

Tip 2. Go basic. 

A basic skincare routine that is absolutely non-negotiable for anyone is a cleanser, moisturizer, and a sunscreen — nothing more, nothing less. Choose a gentle (low or neutral pH is the best) quality cleanser, lightweight, non-greasy moisturizer that can be used day and night, and a 50+ broad-spectrum SPF. 

There’re tons of great moisturizers on the market for every budget, some even come with SPF, but we don’t recommend them. Why? Because a) he’ll need another night time moisturizer, which will complicate things unnecessarily, b) to get adequate sun protection, he’ll need to put on A LOT of said moisturizer and things can get very greasy very quickly. So, it’s best to start with 3 separate products – two to use at night and all three for the morning. 

Tip 3. Solve the problem. 

Most men are rational, plus they love challenge, so start with highlighting a problem.  Do you notice that he wakes up with a papery flaky skin? Does he have super-enlarged pores? Acne? A deep wrinkle on his forehead? Tell him that, explain why this is a problem and show how to fix it (remember, it should be super easy!).  After you bring attention to something he might not have noticed before, he will be more willing to listen to you talk about skincare since now it’s the topic he’s interested in. And while you have his attention, feel free to explain the science behind a product(s) you’re recommending. Point out one or two main ingredients in the products and tell why they’re an excellent solution for his skin concerns.

Framing “the skincare talk” in the “problem-solution” discourse will also help him to become more aware of his skin issues and will be more motivated to continue once he notices an improvement. 

Tip 4. Throw on a sheet mask.

Ok, let’s say you’ve succeeded, and he now washes his face regularly and doesn’t need a reminder to apply sunscreen. Great news! Now it’s time to take things beyond basics and to the next level. But proceed with caution.  Introduce too many new things at once, and it can backfire. One extra step you can easily add to spice up his regimen is sheet masks. They’re beneficial to the skin, and received social approval as a genderless skincare item thanks to Instagram that is pollinated with selfies of couples boasting their sheet masking experiences. 

When you’re about to curl on a couch to watch some Netflix in the evening, tell him you’re going to put on a sheet mask and casually ask if he’d like to try one too. Choose a mask that isn’t messy and will stay put on his face. Explain how to use it or better so, apply it for him. He’ll feel loved, and his skin will glow – it’s a win-win in our books! And who knows, maybe it will become your new weekly ritual that he’ll look forward to. 

Tip 5. Share products .

Sometimes, it’s easier to start building the skincare habit by getting one of those “for men” lines. They usually come in handy sets and feature very slick, minimal design. Another plus – he will most likely have no qualms about using a cleanser, toner, and lotion since it’s a set. However, we all know by now that there’s no such thing as “skincare for men.” For the most part, this is a simple marketing trick to sell guys mediocre, highly fragranced, and overpriced products. 

As time goes and he starts being more and more comfortable with having skincare as a part of his everyday life, try bringing up the idea of using the same products. If your proposal is met with resistance, appeal to the money factor – buying separate skin care can add up quickly, not even mentioning the extra clutter in the bathroom. No guy will say no to the prospect of saving up. But it’s not just about the money. Heavy fragrance in men’s skincare can easily irritate the skin, not even mentioning the fact that the ingredient list isn’t always the cleanest. 

Going for “gender-neutral” well-formulated products is the best for both, your man’s skin and your wallets. If you have similar skin types, you can comfortably share the majority of your routine, introducing only some small tricks where necessary. But even if not, you can still share some of the products, like a cleanser, toner, or exfoliator, since they’re less skin-type specific. 

And there you have it! Five tips to help your man get healthy, hydrated skin. 

Do you have anything to add? Or personal experiences to share building a skincare regimen for your better half? 

Drop us a comment or DM us on IF (@mothermade_global). We’d love to hear from you!  

Essential books every skincare addict should read

Over the last years, the Internet has become a proverbial well of skincare wisdom that never runs dry. And fair enough. The knowledge you can get from reading skincare/beauty columns, blogs, and even Instagram captions (feels surreal to say this) is invaluable. 

It’s plenty.

It’s easily accessible. 

It’s relevant and up-to-date. 

But as with everything instant and immediate, information fished out of the Internet has its limits. It often provides quick-fix solutions for your concerns rather than equipping you with an in-depth understanding of how your skin works so you can make an informed decision. Plus, all that hottest and trendiest knowledge right at your fingertips often leads to spontaneous purchases that neither your budget nor, frankly, your skin needs. 

That isn’t to demonize beauty blogosphere or say that all online content is inherently flawed. But if you feel uninspired, overwhelmed or lost, we recommend to turn off your computer and pick up a book instead. 

But what book? 

To get you started, we’ve put together a list of five books that anyone interested in beauty and skincare should read. Whether you’re a skincare newbie or a savvy enthusiast, looking for an entertaining read or a serious dive-in into how our skin works, there is a book for everyone! 

1. Clearing Up Skin Care: A No-nonsense Guide to Finding a Routine that Works

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

New to skincare and feeling overwhelmed? Skincare addict who got sidetracked by all the marketing noise? Then this book is for you. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer Janiga offers sensible advice on how to approach your skincare regimen – from building to sustaining it long-term. She will guide you through a bizarre world of skincare ingredients, sharing useful insights about skin, health, and busting a few beauty myths along the way. After reading this book, you’ll feel empowered not to be bothered by distractions, set clear skincare goals, and choose products that work for you. 

2. The Beauty Geek’s Guide to Skin Care: 1,000 Essential Definitions of Common Product Ingredients

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

If you’ve always been wanting to “clean up” your act vanity and possibly even venture into the world of DIY beauty, this book is for you. It offers a realistic perspective on what clean, nontoxic beauty is without being preachy or patronizing. The author, Deborah Burns, won’t tell you that natural is better, nor that synthetic is toxic. Instead, she’ll arm you with essential knowledge on how our skin works, common ingredients, and their functions, so you can choose what’s right for you. And in case, you decide au naturale is the way to go; she’s got ten easy DIY recipes to get you started. 

3. Skincare Bible. Your No-nonsense Guide to Great Skin

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

While the books introduced above focus more on the ingredients and how to spot those that work for your skin, this book dives deeper into various skin conditions. Dr. Anjali Mahto has long recognized that beauty blogosphere is saturated with conflicting (and sometimes straight-on harmful) advice. With this book, she aims to offer unambiguous, scientifically-backed advice for common skincare conditions, such as acne, rosacea, age spots, and moles. Despite being chock full of scientific facts about our skin and body, the book is written in simple language that’s easy to follow and understand. 

4. Great Hair Days and How to Have Them

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

Technically, this isn’t a skin care book, but it deals with a topic surrounded by as much mystery and pain as skin care. And this topic is hair. Specifically, how to care for and style it. This book is for everyone who have you ever left hair salon feeling cheated. Or stood in front of the mirror for hours trying to tame unruly locks without much luck. Written by an acclaimed British hairstylist, this book is full of easy-to-follow, no b.s. advice on how to take matters into your own hands and become an expert in your hair. A great hair day every day? Yes, please. 

5. Pretty Iconic. A Personal Look at the Beauty Products that Changed the World

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

An entertaining, spritely written page-turner that any self-respecting #beautyjunkie must-read. Sali Hughes, an eloquent British beauty journalist, presents her take on what’s become iconic in the beauty industry. Each iconic product is a personal story that is masterfully interwoven with nontrivial historical facts that altogether make for a very entertaining read. Sali acknowledges that her answer to “what makes an icon” is heavily biased – by being a woman in her forties and British to the core. But it is this bias that makes the book well worth the time because it makes us, readers, wonder: “If I were to write this book, what stories would I tell?”

How stress affects your skin and what can you do about it.

Spoiler alert: it takes more than learning a couple of breathing techniques.

If you’re a living and breathing human, you’ve most likely had those weeks, months even when life turns upside down. Your job responsibilities are spiraling out of control, personal life becomes a complete mess, and on top of that, upstairs neighbors flooded your bedroom. You’re always on your toes, stressed out, tired, can’t sleep, can’t eat. And your skin starts to ACT UP. Flares of eczema, severe dryness and, of course, new pimples popping up daily.

You might think it’s all in your head – as long as you do your best to manage stress, all your skin troubles will disappear without a trace. But in reality, it takes more than learning a few deep-breathing techniques to clear your bout of stress acne or eczema flare. So, what does it take? Read along to find out.

First, you need to understand what exactly happens to your skin when you feel stressed.

  1. Stress triggers an inflammatory response. One of the main reasons why your skin flares up are because of an inappropriate release of inflammatory chemicals. Under normal circumstances, these chemicals are good for you. It’s a natural way to protect your body’s health and fight unwanted viruses that enter the system. But since stress isn’t the flu and there’re no actual viruses to go to a battle with, the inflammation causes your skin to misbehave. If you are susceptible to a particular skin condition, say rosacea or eczema, stress will be a trigger that leads to dry, itchy, irritated patches of skin across your body. Inflammation can also mess with your immune system, making you more prone to infections. On top of that, in some cases, you’re also running the risk of developing an autoimmune disease. Your body starts to attack and damage its own healthy tissue resulting in such conditions as alopecia (hair loss), psoriasis or vitiligo.
  2. Stress sends sebaceous glands into overdrive and contributes to premature skin aging. Stress triggers the production of a hormone called cortisol, which causes your skin to produce more oil. Excess oil leads to pore clogging, creating the perfect environment for acne bacteria to grow. Hello, unwanted acne! But not only that, cortisol increases blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and fat storage while lowing growth hormone. It ain’t called the “aging hormone” for nothing. Stress triggers an inflammatory response.
  3. Stress dries out your skin. Stress damages your protective barrier by destroying hyaluronic acid in your body and makes you more susceptible to dryness. You might have also noticed that whenever you feel stressed, you’ll sweat more than usual, which also contributes to skin dehydration.

If you are susceptible to a particular skin condition, say rosacea or eczema, stress will be a trigger that leads to dry, itchy, irritated patches of skin across your body.

So, then, what can you do?

Don’t get us wrong; learning how to deal with the stress when you’re feeling all the feels is something we definitely recommend doing. It won’t clear up your acne, or calm down inflamed skin right away. But it will help to feel less stressed, which in turn might have a positive effect on your skin.

At the same time, don’t rely on meditation alone. Yes, skincare is probably not what you want to engage with right now actively. But developing a clear, thought-out regimen is crucial to help your skin to become healthy again. Take a step back, look at your medicine cabinet/vanity, and re-think your skincare routine. You need a break, and your skin needs a break, so going on a skincare diet and sticking to the basics is the best thing you can do.

You need a break, and your skin needs a break, so going on a skincare diet and sticking to the basics is the best thing you can do.

Here are a couple of ground rules to follow when building your “stressed-skin-approved” skincare routine.

  • Choose the most gentle and non-irritating cleanser you own. One thing you don’t want to do is to dry out or sensitize your skin even further. But don’t eliminate a face wash from your routine completely, especially if your skin oils are going out of control. You need to keep those pores clean to prevent them from clogging again and again.
  • Don’t use exfoliators, chemical, or physical. Remember, we need to add to our skin, not subtract. And while there are plenty of great gentle peels on the market, your skin is not in the position to handle them just yet.
  • A good moisturizer is your friend. Use a toner if you must, but skip serums and ampules. We’re trying to put as little on our skin as possible to minimize the risk another eczema flare. A nice moisturizer – preferably low pH with ceramides and hyaluronic acid – is all you need to restore your compromised skin barrier.

Don’t use exfoliators, chemical, or physical. Remember, we need to add to our skin, not subtract.

Finally, if you’ve run into a wall and feel like nothing is working, it’s always best to consult a professional. Book an appointment with your dermatologist and see if you might benefit from several therapy sessions to get you through the rough patch. There are plenty of online mental health services that you can use from the comfort of your own home.

#Skinconfessions. MOTHER MADE team members share their summer skincare routine feat. Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash. Ep.3.

For this episode of #skinconfessions installment, we’ re talking to our assistant manager, Eva Babicheva. She manages the brand social media accounts and PR inquiries.      

Eva, assistant manager

I: How would you describe your skin?

Eva: I have combination oily skin that can get dehydrated easily even in summer. I’ve done a lot of damage in my teen years – the concept of sunscreen was non-existent for me, and I loved tanning. And let’s not even mention years of neglecting hydration and over-using sebum-controlling toners. Now. I’m paying the price.  

I: Do you have any particular skincare concerns?

E: Sun damage is definitely a big one for me. I’ve started to notice that my skin got sort of dull, not as firm as it used to be with fine lines and mimic wrinkles popping up here and there. Oh, and let’s not forget enlarged pores and blackheads! So, yeah, lots of concerns.

I: How would you describe your lifestyle?

E: I’d say balanced. I spend most of my time behind the desk in the office. But I try to compensate by going swimming every morning and commuting to work definitely helps to keep me moving. I also try to stay active on weekends – meeting friends, going to cafes and art galleries. It might sound like too much, but weekends on a couch is not my cup of tea.

I: Walk us through your typical summer morning and evening skincare routine.

E: I start my day in a swimming pool, so whether I want it or not, morning face wash with a cleanser is a must. It probably adds to the dehydration issue, but there’re a lot of people in the pool, so I feel like it’s a necessity. After that, I focus on one and only thing – hydration. First is a hydrating toner, then some kind of serum, followed by a hydrating yet lightweight lotion and a thick layer of sunscreen. Once I get home, I put on cc or bb cream, and I’m off to work.

My evening routine isn’t that different from the morning one. As soon as I get home, I double cleanse and follow up with the trusted  toner-serum-moisturizer formula. Sometimes, I’ll squeeze a sheet mask in between. Right now, it’s too hot in Seoul, so I use the same moisturizer as in the morning. I make sure to layer it up, so I won’t wake up with tight skin.

I: How does an Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash fit in your skincare routine?

E: I use every night as my second cleanser. It’d be great to use it twice a day, but I keep my skincare in the pool locker, and the storage conditions aren’t ideal for powder cleansers. Too hot and humid. In the evening, I don’t use foaming nets, but sometimes I’ll use a silicone pore brush if my skin feels extra congested. But most of the time, I just foam it with hands and massage into skin. I really enjoy this part –adding water and watching the bubbles form – it’s my form of meditation.

I: What do you like about Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash the most?

There are so many things about this cleanser that I appreciate. As someone with dehydrated oily (and blackhead prone) skin, I love that it gives that squeaky-clean feeling without drying my skin out. It’s also changed my pore care game completely. I’m barely reaching for clay masks these days, and that’s a big one coming from someone who used them at least three times a week.    

Heat causes skin aging. Here’s what to do to prevent it.

We know that exposure to UV rays wreaks havoc on our skin. It depletes the moisture, triggers excess sebum production, destroys collagen, and causes hyper-pigmentation. Luckily, preventive measures from this type of skin aging are relatively straightforward – regular (and generous) sunscreen re-application and UV protective clothing.

As it turns out, however, there is another skin aging culprit to watch out for – heat. Recent research suggests that constant skin overheating can be as damaging to skin as UV. Prolonged heat exposure makes protective antioxidant levels in our skin to drop, leaving it more susceptible to free radical damage. It also triggers cells to create a pigment that will show up on the skin as age spots. Unfortunately, this type of aging can’t be prevented just by stocking up on sunscreen.

So, what can you do? Read along to find out.  

First thing first – know your ingredients.

There are plenty of natural ingredients to look for in your gels, creams, and masks that will help to reduce skin heat.

  • Titanium dioxide & zinc oxide. These minerals physically block infrared heat keeping your skin cooler. Bonus points –they also double as sunscreen agents typically found in physical (mineral) sunscreen formulas.
  • Peppermint & Menthol. While these ingredients don’t reduce skin temperature, they trick your brain into thinking it needs to re-adjust body heat. As a result, the blood flow to the skin’s surface decreases, and you get that cooling, tingling sensation.  
  • Cucumber. A classic, tried-and-tested ingredient that will deliver cooling, calming, and de-puffing effect. It will also help to hydrate and slightly brighten the skin. That’s why people put fresh cucumber slices on their eyes to get rid of any night swelling and dark circles.
  • Aloe. Another classic.  You won’t feel an instant cooling sensation with this hydrating and cooling gem like you would with menthol or peppermint. Instead, it will naturally reduce the skin temperature by several degrees, making for a more long-term, sustainable cooling effect.
  • Allantoin. Not precisely a cooling ingredient, but it is an ingredient worth looking for nonetheless. As overheated skin often equals red and irritated skin, it will help to calm down and hydrate the skin when it feels on fire.
  • Flower extracts. Look for extracts from white flowers such as Lily, Lotus, Plum or Cherry Blossoms. These will help physically cool down and soothe overheated skin.
  • Colloidal oats. It’s a natural soothing anti-irritant found in moisturizers and masks. It helps your skin to keep its cool.
  • Chamomile. Chamomile extract is known to work wonders on irritated, inflamed skin. Be it due to a bug bite or spending too much time under the sun, this natural anti-inflammatory ingredient will reduce redness and have a skin calming effect.

If you need to step your heat-aging preventing game further, here are the things you can do.

Ice towel or cold compress. Place it on your…neck. Yes, neck. The neck is like the cordon that heat must pass before fully reaching our face. So, concentrating on cooling down the neck area first is crucial to reduce the skin temperature effectively.

Ice roller + cooling sheet mask. Once you’ve placed something icy cold on your neck, now it’s the time to start working on cooling the skin on your face. Apply a sheet mask (preferably, containing some of the cooling ingredients from the list above) and start rolling across your forehead, around the eyes, cheeks, and mouth. It will physically cool down your skin and also help to reduce puffiness, enlarged pores, and improve redness.

Cold footbath. Keeping your feet warm in winter helps you not to feel cold. Vice versa, keeping your feet cold will reduce the body heat, preventing your skin from overheating. Soak your feet in ice-cold water for 20-30 minutes. Follow up with a menthol or peppermint cream.  

Bamboo & linen bedding. Both are natural, breathable fabrics with exceptional temperature-regulating properties that are far superior to cotton. Cotton readily absorbs moisture quickly becoming heavy and clingy (think what happens with your cotton t-shirt when it gets wet). Bamboo and linen wick moisture away from the body and help to maintain comfortable body temperature.

And there you have it. Do you have any other tips on how to prevent the skin from overheating? Share them in the comments below!