Professional Skin Care From the L.A. Experts

What would 2 L.A. based plastic surgeons and a facialist know about skin? A lot actually. Keeping celebs camera-ready in the age of HD and paparazzi (where grocery shopping can turn into an impromptu photo shoot) is the cornerstone of their businesses, so formulating their own lines to get the exact results their clients need is a natural next step for their successful clinics. Here are 3 I’ve tried recently that give celebrity-worthy results to us little people.

Of the few things I sampled from the Kate Somerville line, I was most impressed by her Anti Aging and Acne collection, a totally underrepresented category of skin care. It’s for those who are still experiencing slight to moderate breakouts in their 30’s and beyond where drying the hell out of your face to banish acne isn’t the best option for a youthful skin texture. Her Oil Free Moisturizer balances skin hydration levels carefully so as not to exacerbate oiliness or breakouts and also uses Pepha-Tight, an exclusive skin toner and tightener for a firmer looking face.

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

Also worth checking out is her Anti Bac Clearing Lotion, a 5% prescription strength, time-released Benzoyl Peroxide that’s strong enough to wipe out acne but gentle enough to  protect skin from the typically drying and peeling effects some acne fighters cause.

Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion

Dr. Solieman is a double board certified plastic surgeon who developed Jolie MD Metamorphosis to refine lined, blemish-prone, hyper-pigmented, and oily skin into a clearer, more vibrant version of itself. His two step system uses an arsenal of proven ingredients that helps overall skin clarity like Glycolic, Salicylic, Vitamin A, and Whitonyl to name a few. The two light lotions are layered together nightly for a deep down exfoliation revealing the clearer skin you’ve been hiding all this time.

Dr. Garth Fisher is known for his appearances on ‘Extreme Makeover’ as well as the guy who fixed Bruce Jenner’s earlier too-tight face work. Even Kim Kardashian raves about his line, CellCeuticals and says her whole family has been using it since they’ve met him. Extreme Defense is a best-seller because it’s a good-for-all skin protector that targets daily environmental pollutants known to advance skin aging. He uses Vitamins A, C, E, Green Tea, and Vitamin B5 along with Almond and Avocado oils to soften the skin without a heavy cream. His line is straightforward and so effective that he touts visible results in just 2 weeks.

Review: Personal MicroDerm

I was sent a Personal Microderm kit just a few days before Christmas and was so excited that I used it seconds after I tore it open. I love the results Microdermabrasion can bring and since I’ve been breaking out more than usual lately, a little skin refinement was just what I needed. Instead of reading the instructions which would have encouraged me to use the least abrasive disk for my first use and only make one pass along the skin, I grabbed the coarsest disk (the red ones, luckily not included in the typical starter kit) and went back and forth over and over until my skin was rubbed away. This wasn’t one of my best ideas I’ve had (though probably not among my worst.) I’m surprised my family could eat Christmas dinner sitting across from my wounded, scratched up, ointment-coated face. Oddly, my first reaction was ‘I love this thing.’

So why do I love it? Because it works that well. Incredibly well. Professionally well.

Had I actually read the instructions (or watched the video) I would’ve learned that this thing delivers an unexpectedly professional result that’s to be taken seriously. It does include disks for your first few stages of use to help your skin tolerate the treatments without any irritation so you can build up to more aggressive treatments that break down and sweep away that sluggish top layer of dead skin. After just a few treatments your moisturizer and serums will start penetrate more deeply (so they’ll work better), and your fine lines, brown spots, and acne scaring will fade. You’ll also have a softness and glow to your skin that’s visible.

The kit runs $170 and will pay for itself in just a few uses, typical microderm sessions usually run about $100-$150 a pop. I’m sensing this isn’t one of those things that I’ll be into for a little while then let it collect dust, it’s a treatment I know I’ll use over and over – especially now that I actually understand how to use it while keeping the skin on my face in tact.

Personal MicroDerm

Best Cleansers of 2011 (thus far…)

I had a steady stream of cleansers sent my way lately which were quickly adding up, so over the past few months I’d use a different one for a full 7 days, twice a day to get a real feel for how it worked and how my skin responded. They didn’t all make the cut of course, but I did find several I really liked based on the following:

  • Completely cleans skin and removes makeup
  • Has a unique spin
  • Smells good (one was excluded just because it smelled like old lady)
  • Doesn’t dry or strip the skin
  • No irritation or breakouts caused

So here we go, the first batch of cleansers I’m loving in 2011.

Kosmea Clarifying Facial Wash

It’s not only the intoxicating rose scent that makes me love this Clarifying Facial Wash, it’s the feeling it gives my face after using it that I call squeaky soft because although it removes all impurities, there isn’t a hint of tightness once my skin dries. $32

Caudalie Cleansing Water

Now you have no excuse not to remove your makeup nightly. Caudalie’s Cleansing Water is one of the best I’ve used to really remove the day using a quick, gentle solution of Grape Extract and Plant Glycerin. Soak a cotton pad with the water and with just a few swipes, you’ll have a sparkling clean face that even the most sensitive skin can tolerate. $26

Sensai Silky Purifying Creamy Soap

Sensai’s Soap in a tube is such a hit that Saks wouldn’t let you buy more than 6 a month. I can understand why – the travel size I received will probably outlast most of my standard sized cleansers. It’s so rich and dense that just a dab produces a hearty foam nabbing dirt and makeup, and leaving behind a really soft moisture finish. $50

Bioelements All Things Pure Cleanser

A good clay cleanser is hard to find. I like Bioelements‘ version because of the amount of organic aloe it mixes in with the clay to soothe and calm the skin. It’s the first clay-based cleanser I’ve used that would be suitable to all skin types, and it’s definitely ‘green’ girl approved with mostly natural and organic ingredients. $35

Kate Sommerville Detox Daily Cleanser

Facialist-to-the-stars Kate Somerville formulated her Daily Detox Cleanser for those who struggle with breakouts but also want some anti-aging benefits. In short, it’s not a harsh cleanser that will strip the hell out of troubled skin. Daily Detox gives you the foam you want for slightly oily and inflamed skin while also helping to lighten acne scars using Phytic Acid and also stabilize oil production. $32

Wei Chinese Rose Foaming Cleanser

Yes I know I’m slightly obsessed with all things Rose, but this is a perfect example of a great cleanser that didn’t just use the scent to brand the product – Rose Flower Infusion is its first ingredient. I found it to be surprisingly thorough and one of my favorites of the bunch because of its light and easy ability to cleanse and leave the skin looking bright and glowy. $32

L’Oreal Go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

I tried several drugstore offerings in this batch, some I’ll review for my blog for Walmart.com, but I thought this one was special and had universal appeal. 360 for sensitive skin is a soap-free, gentle cleanser that washes away clean without leaving a trace of irritating residue. $7

Zap Breakouts on Sensitive Skin; Eau Thermale Avéne Cicalfate

Eau Thermale Avéne call themselves the experts in sensitive skin since 1743. Their Hydrotherapy Center in France has been home to over 300 studies based on the efficacy of their thermal spring water that flows around the property, known for its soothing and healing benefits which is the basis for the line. My aesthetician, Tjaden (of The Skin Studio in Wash Park) introduced me to Cicalfate a while back because of how it gently heals compromised skin while maintaining its overall health.

When I start to feel a breakout coming on, my first inclination is to reach for something that will blast the inflammation and bring it down quickly, which often leads to a longer healing time because of the flaking and redness that soon follow. Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream is meant to heal breakouts, burns, scrapes, diaper rash, and even irritation caused by laser skin treatments by speeding up the skin’s ability to heal itself and also reducing subsequent scaring. Its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties make it perfect for gently diminishing breakouts while leaving the skin in a pristine state.

You may not have heard of this popular line, but it’s everywhere. You’ll find it in spas and dermatologist’s offices, but also in select retail stores and of course online at one of my very favorite sites to buy beauty on the web, Drugstore.com.

Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream

At-Home Peels for Better Skin

I got a peel done once from a professional, it was $150 and didn’t do anything. Soon after that I began dabbling in the wonders of at-home DIY peels to slough off the top layer of skin when I’m starting to look dull and sluggish. What better time than fall to revive the skin that the sun damaged while you were basking in it all summer long. Here are a few peels I’ve tried that are sure to get your skin back to a brighter state.

I’m a huge fan of Glycolic acid, I’ve used it daily in various forms for years because of its ability to turnover skin without making you as sun-sensitive as its rivals. I love Glytone, they have a full collection of effective skin care for face and body that works like crazy to improve all sorts of skin problems while maintaining the skin’s ph so the irritation is minimal. You can use a thin layer of Mini Peel Gel up to a few times a week for 10 minutes to see brighter, clearer, tighter skin almost immediately without redness, irritation, or downtime. It’s a perfect compliment to your current regimen.

Your skin will look like it has just taken a deep breath of fresh air when you use The Oxygen Peel. Philosophy uses an oxygen foam to infuse the skin and give it an instant noticeable radiance. It’s the perfect treat pre-event or for when you haven’t been getting enough rest and your skin can tell the tale. 

Cane + Austin have simplified their line into two jars, one meant for skin with acne and the other for wrinkling and pigmentation issues. These glycolic-soaked Treatment Pads work as a daily retexturizer  to help peel back the layers of wrinkled, uneven skin to reveal a brighter look. It’s a gentle, daily way to ease into better skin over time.

You don’t have to completely desecrate your skin to get some positive changes, at-home peels like these are genus because you can get some great results while keeping your skin in tact.

Pore-Clogging Ingredients

My super fantastic and talented aesthetician Tjaden Lotito of the Skin Studio in Wash Park here in Denver found this incredible new line that’s specifically for acne. It’s called Face Reality which I haven’t tried so I can’t vouch for the products themselves, but she did share with me a listing they have of pore-clogging ingredients.

If you tend to breakout or have sensitive skin and can’t seem to figure out what to avoid that could be making it worse, here is their master list of top skin offenders that could make the problem worse.

Click to enlarge

Click HERE to see the list on their site, and HERE to learn about their line for breakout-prone skin.