The A to Z Guide: Creams, Serums, and Beauty Practices You Need to Incorporate into Your Beauty Regimen
It really pays to know your ABC’s when it comes to beauty, so we decided to spell it out for you. From the most expensive beauty products to cult favourite beauty products you can only find at drugstores, it can be daunting to understand what treatments are ideal for your skin type, and how to use them. Here at Slice we think it’s a good idea to be educated on what’s going onto your face. Here’s the A to Z on all the creams, serums, beauty procedures and skin care items you need to incorporate into your beauty routine right now!
A: Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an active ingredient to put on your most prized possession: your face. As a dermatologist-favoured serum, this skincare ingredient is also known as ‘retinol’. It acts as a cell-communicator where the vitamin attaches itself to the skin cell and tells it to behave like a younger and healthier version of itself. Vitamin A or retinol helps speed up cell turnover on your skin, which then leads to a younger, brighter and more glowing complexion.
Best use of Vitamin A
If you’re starting to worry about ageing and wanting to get rid of those fine lines that are starting to appear on your face, pick up a serum with retinol. Also good to use if you have dark pigmentation from scarring or acne.
B: BHA & AHA
Beta Hydroxy Acids and Alpha Hydroxy Acids are both chemical exfoliants that work deep into your skin to shed all those dead skin cells that are sitting on the surface. This type of exfoliation cream helps to promote skin cell regeneration and promote collagen production, making your skin rejuvenate faster. One difference to note between the two is that AHA’s don’t penetrate the skin as deep as BHA’s. So whether you’re looking for a milder exfoliant or a deep-dive skin rejuvenation, these two have you covered.
Best use of BHA and AHA
BHA’s are best suited for oily and acne-prone skin types, and for treating blackheads, whiteheads, and rosacea. AHA’s are best for sun-damaged and dry skin types, and for locking in the moisture content into your skin.
C: Vitamin C
The most important thing to know about adding a vitamin C cream or serum to your skin care routine, is that you should have done it yesterday! The range of benefits of vit-C, also known as ascorbic acid, is that it’s a proven antioxidant for your skin. This miracle vitamin will shield your delicate top layer from environmental pollutants, while working into your skin to improve skin hydration, and also evening out your skin tone. Talk about multitasking!
Best use of Vitamin C
If you feel your skin has been looking dull or discoloured, use Vitamin C daily. You will see a noticeable difference in uneven skin tone, dark spots getting brighter, and skin becoming firmer. Learn more about these vitamin C creams and why you need them in your life
D: Detox Mask
We know of body detoxes and mind detoxes, but what about a skin detox? We approve of these types of masks, as they help to keep your skin looking vibrant and healthy, and proactively work to keeping your skin clear of any breakouts. No matter how effective or expensive your other creams and serums are, they won’t work as effectively if your skin isn’t prepped. Detoxifying masks draws out all those skin impurities (goodbye clogged pores), and helps to stimulate blood circulation in your skin (hello youthful appearance).
Best use of Detox Masks
Doing a detox mask to your skin once or twice a week ensures your skin’s pores are being unclogged of all the grime and dirt that works its way onto your skin during the day. Get more inspiration on removing toxins from your skin and your hair!
E: Vitamin E
Just like its friend vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent for your skin. The benefits of using vitamin E range from preventing puffiness and redness in your skin’s appearance, while also working to prevent signs of aging. We are crazy about this PCA C&E Strength Max formula!
Best use of Vitamin E
If you are looking for a serum or cream to brighten and hydrate your skin, vitamin E is your answer. For acne-prone skin types, this vitamin’s anti-inflammatory properties is an essential must-have to incorporate into your skin care routine.
Fractional Laser Treatment
Fractional lasers are a great option for skin rejuvenation results, and when you are looking for permanent skin solutions. “The science behind the skin rejuvenation results that we see with repeated fractional laser treatments is called a “wound-healing effect” says Susan Khalili, Certified Skin Therapist and Owner of The Derma Lounge in Aurora, Ontario. “Whenever you get a cut on your skin, your body naturally creates a protein called collagen, creating new skin to the surface and healing the wound. With the fractional laser, scientists have come up with a way to deliver a wound-healing process, but in a controlled manner.”
Best use of Fractional Laser
Fractional laser treatments are best suited for those wishing to improve the appearance of deep acne scarring and general skin rejuvenation.
G: Glycolic Treatments
Glycolic acid has been a long-standing go-to for dermatologist and aestheticians for many years. “I’m a big advocate for glycolic treatments because it’s a natural acid that’s extracted from sugar-cane,” says Susan Khalili, Owner of The Derma Lounge. “As we age, our skin is not able to re-generate itself. Using a glycolic acid treatment allows new skin cells to rise to the top layer of the skin on your face.” Glycolic treatments not only help to deeply exfoliate your skin, it also helps when using your other skin care products. “With a clear surface, your skin is able to absorb serums and creams much better,” she says.
Best use of Glycolic Acid
Getting a glycolic acid peel is best done when you are feeling like your face is in need of real TLC and want to slosh away all that winter dryness. Meghan Markle swears by glyolic acid, and we do too!
Our skin is the largest organ on our body, and we should take hydration of this organ very seriously. Not only is it the largest organ, but it’s a sophisticated one too! It holds in an ingredient called hyaluronic acid. The job of hyaluronic acid is to hold water in your skin. When our skin is well-hydrated, and there’s enough water in our body from inside and out, our complexion will look more healthy and youthful, and your skin will be more firm and plumper.
Best use of Water
There are infinite reasons why getting water into your system is essential. After all, water is life. So how much H2O should be going into your system? Aim for 8 glasses, which works out to two litres a day. Start drinking!
Taking care of your inner health, your mental health will also show on the outside! In a controlled study, participants were asked to hold a pencil in-between their teeth for seven minutes. The outcome? Their mood improved, because their mouths were forced to form a smile. The brain computed a smile, and the natural beauty of their face affected their psychology. Lesson: smile more!
Best use of Smiling
Smiling not only affects you but everyone around you. Smile and the world smiles with you.
J: Jade Roller
Jade rollers have become trendy recently, so we want to break-down the benefits of using one. Dating back to 7th century Eastern culture, green jade or pink quartz have skin boosting effects. This includes further blood circulation when you roll the smooth stones over your face. Also, using a jade roller will help your products penetrate deeper into your skin. It’s a win in our opinion.
Best use of Jade Roller
Keep your jade roller in your fridge in between uses, as the cold natural stone rolled across your face creates a refreshing experience. Use your roller after you have washed your face and applied your night creams and serums. Take a look at these most expensive beauty products in the world.
K: Keratin Protein
All humans produce a cell in our bodies called keratinocytes, and is the key structural component of our skin, hair and nails. Most skin conditions are believed to be due to a disruption of keratin production in our body! Getting a boost of keratin into your system, either through foods or by using a kertain-enriched skincare product, will help your dermis, hair and nails to become stronger and radiant.
Best use of Keratin
Think about including more keratin-rich foods or supplements into your diet, which include whey protein, red meats, blueberries, almond and oysters. We love this Kerastase shampoo line, found in Sephora, that will get your locks nourished just in time for summer fun.
L: Laser Hair Removal
Want a permanent solution to your ingrown hair problems? Try laser hair removal and say goodbye to strawberry legs forever (yes, please)! Susan Khalili, Owner of The Derma Lounge, explains that when you are selecting a laser hair removal clinic “the most important aspect is making sure they are experts in their field, and they also have the right equipment, specifically laser machine, to suit your skin tone and needs.” Susan tell us that “laser is always attracted to dark pigment, and the best candidate are people with darker hair and lighter skin tones. That said, there are different lasers on the market that are specifically designed for different pigmentation and colours of skin.” She tells us that when it comes to laser hair removal “be sure to ask questions, such as ‘will this machine be okay for my type of skin?’” Whether you are a person of colour, or you have a sensitive skin type, you want to make sure you are going to a laser clinic that is best suited to you.
Best use of Laser Hair Removal
If you are looking for a long-term and permanent solution to unwanted hair growth, laser hair removal is your answer! Know that laser hair removal is a serious financial investment, so be weary of those online-offers of multiple treatments at prices marked too low.
M: Mineral Masks
Whether it’s clay, mud, moisturizing or gold, mineral masks have become all the rage. We are now seeing many getting their masks-on from plane-rides to the hottest celebs revealing their beauty secrets. Using a mineral mask is a convenient and quick way to give you skin a much-needed skin weekly skin boost! One word of advice is to rethink whether those gimmicky masks actually work. Susan Khalili, Owner of The Derma Lounge let us know that when you’re feeling for a face-mask-fix, to make sure “there is actually an active ingredient in the mask, that targets your specific skin type, so you really get your money’s worth!”
Best use of Mineral Masks
Give your skin weekly TLC by trying these under one-minute beauty treatments, and your skin will thank you!
With all the emphasis on your face, it’s easy to forget to give your neck the same amount of love. Our necks lose elasticity over time, just like the rest of our skin on our bodies. So to maintain a plump and youthful appearance for your neck, be sure to use a firming lotion or serum, either during the day or incorporate it into your nighttime routine.
Best use of Neck Creams
We are loving this Elizabeth Grant Collagen Re-Inforce Anti-Sag Neck Cream, so you don’t neglect your neck again!
You may have been thinking of incorporating more Omega-3 rich foods into your diet, or start taking supplements, and we agree! Omega-3, when ingested, helps protect your skin from the sun, fight wrinkles and keep you hydrated due its anti-inflammatory properties. Fighting against inflammation gives your skin a helping hand when using your other skincare products, and that’s never a bad thing.
Best use of Omega-3
Incorporate taking a spoonful of omega-3 fish oil with your breakfast, or at nighttime. You can also incorporate foods with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids such as fish and leafy greens.
If you’re looking for a way to combat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, you may want to look into phototherapy and all the awesome benefits a trip under fluorescent lights could give you. Phototherapy treatment uses UV lights, which is also present in sunlight, to reduce unwanted skin cell growth and inflammation. Phototherapy is known to also combat depression, as light naturally uplifts our moods, which is a welcome psychological benefit.
Best use of Phototherapy
Find a phototherapy clinic that best suits your skincare needs. And if you are looking to beat the winter blues, consider purchasing a lightbox such as this Happy Light Liberty Natural Spectrum Lamp” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Happy Light Liberty Natural Spectrum Lamp.
If you already know what quercetin is, we applaud you! This bioflavonoid super-power is a potent anti-aging agent. The reason why quercetin works so well is due to the compounds ability to extend the viability and survival of our human skin cells! With its ability to rejuvenate your cells both inside and out, we’re just going to say that quercetin is a magical anti-aging elixir.
Best use of Quercetin
If you want to include more quercetin into your diet, start eating red peppers, apples and grapes. It’s also found in wine… you had us at wine.
You can purchase all the skin care products in the world, but if you don’t use them or keep a consistent skincare regimen, you won’t reap the long term benefits. Keeping a morning and nighttime skin care routine is the number one factor in helping you skin look its best every day. While every now and then you might skip a dose of your nighttime cream, know that consistently not giving your skin the love it deserves is a big fail!
Best use of Skin Care Regimen
Susan Khalili, Owner of The Derma Lounge, says “if there’s one thing I repeatedly tell my clients it’s that with any skin care regimen, you need to commit to it, and give your skin time to get accustomed to it.”
There’s a reason people say “get your beauty sleep.” Giving your body a sufficient amount of rest is the ultimate way to help repair your skin cells. During this time of rest, your damaged skin cells get a chance to be replenished with healthy and fresh ones. Skip the night cap, and do yourself a favour: get to bed early if you want to start waking up looking fresh.
Best use of Sleep for Your Skin
Incorporate a set-sleep time into your skin-care routine. Once you prioritize sleep as part of your essential beauty plan, you will be less likely to give it up. Having trouble sleeping? Read these 9 reasons why you can never get enough sleep.
We can’t say this enough: do your homework when it comes to applying a new cream or serum onto your skin! You wouldn’t want a hair dye to turn your hair bright orange (or, maybe you would). So we’re also betting that you wouldn’t want to get a nasty and unwanted skin reaction to a new beauty treatment you were looking forward to.
Best practices of Trusted Sources
Whether it’s a dermatologist, skin care clinic, or skin care product, take the time to read reviews, get first person feedback from consultants at beauty stores, and call up an expert to get more information, so you can make the best informed decision for your skin.
U: Under-Eye Care
Whether you call them “bags” or “crows feet”, the under and around-the-eye wrinkles is a tell-tale sign of aging. To thwart off these tiny crinkles that appear around the sensitive skin of our eyes, we suggest using a product that’s specifically formulated for eye skin care. Due to the sensitive nature of our eyes, we also caution to not use too much of your eye-care product daily, as over-doing it can cause much irritation to the skin and therefore cause more wrinkling. Yikes!
Best use of Under Eye Care
When applying a cream or serum under your eyes or around your eyes, be sure to not tug or pull at the skin. Use a gentle tapping motion on the under-eye area, on the corners or your eyes, and please don’t forget your eyelids! We are loving this Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream.
V: Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9, also known as folate, is a natural vitamin found in certain nuts, veggies and fruits. We don’t want to confuse you with folic acid, which is the human-made form of folate and can also be beneficial for your beauty regimen. But with folate or vit-B9, this vitamin generates more red blood cells, which then carries more oxygen to your body and skin’s surface. More oxygen on your skin, allows for more healing, which leaves your skin looking brighter. A win in our books.
Best use of Vitamin B9
Whether you’re consuming leafy greens, fruits or nuts, or taking a folic acid supplement, this boost of vitamin B9 are for those who are seeking stronger hair and nails, and for getting that elusive natural-skin glow.
W: Wrinkle Cream
Choosing an anti-wrinkle cream is purely based on your own preference: are you accepting of the signs of aging, or do you want to make sure everyone celebrates your 25th birthday for the next 10 years? Using anti-aging creams are a highly preventative measure you can take to ensure you thwart those first signs of wrinkles (or crinkles, as we like to say). Read more on why people are ditching the term ‘anti-aging’.
Best use of Anti-Wrinkle Creams
Whichever age you decide to start researching anti-aging or anti-wrinkle creams, it’s best to find one that promotes skin elasticity and targets skin firmness.
Okay fine… we missed the e. But we believe that exfoliating your skin is so essential, we had to reiterate this point again! The benefits of regularly exfoliating your skin include unclogging the guck from your pores, preventing future acne breakouts on your skin, helping your skincare care products deeply penetrate into your skin, and evening out your skin tone. Need we say more?
Best use of Exfoliation
We feel that weekly exfoliation of your skin’s surface is a must, but it’s up to you to understand how your skin reacts to exfoliation and how much you should do it. Want the exfoliating product that keeps on giving? Take a look at the Clarisonic beauty device, and you can thank us later.
Y: Face Yoga
This unconventional beauty practice not only will help you age gracefully, it also helps you release tension and stress in your face which ultimately lead to more wrinkles. By consistently incorporating a set of face-exercises to your daily routine, facial improvements like fullness of your cheeks can be experienced. Also, by strengthening your facial muscles, some have reported that face yoga exercises is like experiencing a natural face-lift!
Best use of Face Yoga
While you might find it a tad silly to do face yoga poses, try it out for 12 weeks straight, and you’ll notice a natural lift in your face and mood.
Z: Zinc Oxide
Zinc oxide is made from the natural mineral zinc, and when applied to your skin, provides a powerful protective barrier from environmental elements. When using a mineral-based sunscreen, zinc-oxide is the top ingredient that helps to block out the sun’s harmful UV rays and cause further and irreparable skin damage. Also, zinc oxide is more than just a potent ingredient found in sunscreen, this mineral also acts as an anti-septic and anti-inflammatory agent.
Best use of Zinc Oxide
Looking for the ultimate zinc oxide sunscreen? Learn more about that everything you need to know about sunblock.
Heather Marczynski is a Digital Producer for Digital Lifestyle at Corus Entertainment. When she’s not writing articles for Slice.ca, Heather’s producing content for History Canada, geeking-out on music history, and planning matching outfits for her two kids and husband. Follow her on Twitter @Shmeatheroo