LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts in category "anti-aging skincare"

Carrot Mask Nourishes Wintertime Skin

Treat wintertime skin to the extra pampering it needs with a moisture-rich, nutrition-packed carrot mask. Cold winds, icy temperatures, and dry indoor air can leave the skin dry and dull—especially on our face. An organic mask that contains carrots is a completely natural and highly effective way of restoring your complexion’s radiance and resilience.

Carrots are packed with nutrients that revitalize winter-stressed skin. Image courtesy of creativedoxfoto:

The key to the rejuvenating effects of a carrot mask lies in its nutrient content:

  • Beta carotene – Scientific studies suggest that this powerful antioxidant helps to counteract the damaging effects of sun exposure and environmental pollutants. In addition to slowing the development of fine lines and wrinkles, the healing properties of beta carotene reduce the irritation and itchiness of dehydrated skin. It also returns suppleness by promoting faster cell turnover. Beta carotene is the perfect pick-me-up for pale wintertime complexions. The red and yellow pigments it contains contribute to a warm, even skin tone.
  • Vitamins C & E – Like beta carotene, these antioxidant vitamins play an important role in repairing the cell damage caused by aging, UVA radiation, and environmental toxins.
  • B-complex of vitamins – Folic acid, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and other B vitamins are vital to healthy cell metabolism.
  • Vitamin K – Research on this vitamin indicates that it protects the skin’s elasticity and improves the appearance of dark under-eye circles.
  • Minerals – Carrots are also loaded with minerals, such as potassium, manganese, and phosphorus that play an important role in the formation of new collagen cells.

This revitalizing combination of nutrients is beneficial to every skin type—both as a facial treatment and as part of a healthful wintertime diet.


Summer Skincare Tips

Regardless of your complexion type, protection should be your chief skincare concern in the summertime. Sun exposure not only increases your risk of skin cancer, but is also responsible for as much as 90% of premature aging.

Sun protection is the key to a healthy summer skincare regime <>.

Practice Sun Sense

To help minimize environmental skin damage, it’s a good idea to limit sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and loose, tightly woven cover-ups. Try to stay in the shade. While our bodies need sunlight to synthesize vitamin D, 5 to 30 minutes of exposure without sunscreen, twice a week is usually sufficient (read more about sun safety).

Choose the Right Sun Block

Products that contain micronized particles of zinc oxide and titanium oxide are the safest and most effective option. Apply 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours. There’s no such thing as waterproof sun block, so apply a fresh layer of protection immediately after swimming or perspiring heavily

A hydrating organic day cream that contains a mineral sun block protects skin from summertime stresses.

Adapt Your Daily Skincare Routine

Summer weather affects existing skin conditions. Hot temperatures can trigger excess oil production and sweating, which can clog pores and lead to acne flares. Increased dryness from sun exposure can also be a problem. To help your complexion cope with these seasonal stresses, I recommend the following daily skincare practices:

  • Cleanse and tone gently To clear excess oil and impurities from pores without stripping skin of necessary moisture, use organic products with plant-derived cleansers and moisture-binding ingredients. Look for ingredients like soapbark, aloe vera, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid. Powerful natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories including white tea and sea buckthorn help counteract the aging effects of the sun.
  • Modify your exfoliation program Freshly exfoliated skin is particularly vulnerable to sun damage. The best time for an intensive exfoliation program is in the late fall and winter months. During the summer, you can speed up cell turnover by lightly exfoliating your face with a soft sponge and an all-natural cleanser that contains white willow bark.
  • Balance moisture levels An organic day cream that contains a natural mineral sun block not only shields you from sun damage, but also helps regulate oil production. To keep skin hydrated without clogging pores, choose moisturizers made with pure botanical oils. Ingredients such as shea butter and jojoba and avocado oils deliver moisture and age-fighting nutrients below the skin surface, where new cells are forming. Be sure to protect the thin, delicate skin around your eyes with a cream specially formulated for this area. If your skin is very dry, continue using a super-rich organic skin cream at night.


Remember: For beautifully balanced skin all year long, always choose skincare products that are 100% free of parabens, petroleum derivatives, synthetic fragrances and preservatives, and other artificial or impure ingredients.


How Massage Stimulates Your Body’s Anti-aging Power

The benefits of massage go far deeper than relief of pain and stress.

Regular massages can boost the power of your anti-aging regime. How? By unleashing two forces that enable your body to counteract the effects of biological aging and environmental stress.

Acupressure and light stroking help revitalize facial tissues.

Reduced Inflammation

When it comes to our health, inflammation is a double-edged sword. The inflammatory process triggered by illness or infection enables our body to heal. But when inflammation becomes chronic or prolonged, it can cause a host of diseases and disorders. Many scientists consider inflammation the prime culprit in the symptoms of aging, including skin damage, weight gain, and muscle loss. Recent research indicates that massage not only helps control inflammation, but also speeds up recovery of injured or weakened tissues by improving cellular functioning.

Increased Circulation

The kneading and stroking techniques used by a skilled massage therapist not only increase the quantity of blood circulating around your body, but also improves its quality by multiplying its store of oxygen-rich red blood cells. By keeping all of our body’s cells properly nourished, healthy blood flow helps fuel the growth and repair of aging skin, muscles, and bones.

Rejuvenating Rewards for Every Taste

Virtually every culture has its own massage tradition. The one that’s best for you depends on your goals as well as your temperament and tastes.

  • Deep tissue massage uses intense pressure to relieve tension and maximize circulation in the layers of soft tissue that lie beneath the surface muscles.
  • Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese. Shiatsu massage therapists use their hands and fingers to apply light to medium pressure. For more intense pressure, they may employ their elbows, knees, and feet. This tradition is also widely practiced in Europe.
  • Acupressure exerts gentle pressure on various points of the body to release tension and stimulate circulation.
  • European facial massage applies a combination of techniques including light stroking, Shiatsu, and acupressure to increase blood flow to the skin and underlying tissues. It also softens expression lines by releasing facial tension.



How Protein Helps Keep Faces Young and Fit

You may think of it as the favorite fuel of bodybuilders, but protein is also one of the secrets of a firm, youthful-looking face. In much the same way that this vital nutrient builds strong physiques, protein helps keep our complexions and the underlying muscles and bones in optimal shape.

The Collagen Connection: Facial Fitness

The most abundant protein in our bodies is collagen. This type of protein makes up the bands of connective tissue that enable skin to stretch without wrinkling and sagging. Collagen is also a major component of muscles, bones, and blood vessels. These tissues tend to shrink and weaken over time as collagen production declines. We can help slow and minimize this tissue erosion by getting enough protein.

Dietary Proteins: Restoring Firmness from the Inside Out

How much is enough? According to the Institute of Medicine, we should get at least 10% and no more than 35% of our calories from protein. The composition of protein we eat is as important as the amount. To form complete proteins, our food intake must supply our bodies with nine essential amino acids. (They’re called essential because our bodies can’t make them on their own.) As the building blocks of proteins, amino acids enable our bodies to perform a variety of critical functions including

  • Cell formation
  • Fluid balance
  • Distribution of nutrients
  • Tissue growth and repair

Complete proteins are readily available from meat, fish, and other animal products. The tradeoff of these foods is their relatively high content of saturated fat. Plant-based proteins avoid this pitfall but many are deficient in one or more of the 9 essential amino acids. For this reason, vegetarians should ensure their diet includes a variety of foods with different amino acids profiles. Getting enough lysine, an amino acid vital to tissue repair, is particularly important. High-lysine foods like tofu, nuts, seeds, and legumes are all excellent choices for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. If you want to include animal proteins in your diet be sure to stick to lean cuts of meat and keep portions small. The key in either case is to maintain a healthy balance of protein sources.

Plant proteins help keep skin firm and moist.

Topical Rejuvenators: The Anti-Aging Benefits of Plant Proteins

Plant proteins also play an important role in topical skin care. One of the best of sources of botanical proteins is quinoa. Although it’s used like a grain in various cuisines, quinoa is actually the seed of a leafy green plant. As a source of all 9 of the essential amino acids, quinoa is the ideal protein for nourishing, repairing, and protecting the skin from environmental damage. In addition to its firming action, quinoa helps bind moisture to skin cells, resulting in a smoother, more supple complexion.

Quinoa is also packed with antioxidant vitamins and minerals. To increase your defenses against aging, I recommend adding this superfood to a total skincare regime that includes a healthy diet, plant-derived organic skincare products, and facial exercises.


Beauty Challenges: Rejuvenating the Eye Area

Whether you call them crows feet or laugh lines, wrinkles around the eye are something most of us want to prevent or minimize. The right eye cream is an important part of the solution, but the complex challenges of treating this delicate area require a combination of proven anti-aging strategies. Here’s why.

The Problem: Aging Is More Than Skin Deep

As we age, the underlying collagen network, muscles, and bones that support our skin gradually weaken and atrophy. The thin, fragile tissues of the eye area are particularly vulnerable to this process. Its visible effects can include deep wrinkling and creases, sagging, under-eye bags, and the appearance of sunken eyes and prominent dark circles. Invasive procedures can temporarily improve these symptoms, but they don’t address their root causes.

The Solution: A Health-Driven Anti-aging System

An anti-aging program based on traditional European skincare practices offers a vital benefit: It can help slow and even reverse the ongoing tissue changes that make you look older.

To help gradually and safely rejuvenate the eye area, I recommend two wellness-based strategies for nurturing naturally youthful-looking skin:

Strategy # 1: Preventative Maintenance

  • Seek serious sun protection – Zinc oxide serves a powerful but gentle shield from UVA rays. Wear a hat and sunglasses to minimize squinting.
  • Ban chemical irritants – The under-eye area in extremely sensitive to synthetic chemicals, including many popular anti-aging ingredients like Retin-A. Petroleum-derived moisturizers, soaps, and alcohol-based astringents and makeup removers are also common sources of puffiness, inflammation and irritation, and painful allergic reactions.  (Read more about the top three troublemakers for sensitive skin…)
  • Handle with care – Don’t rub your eyes or stretch the surrounding skin.

To restore strength and elasticity, nourish under-eye skin with a balanced diet of pure, gentle botanicals.

Strategy # 2: In-Depth Repair
Use top-quality organic skincare to stimulate collagen renewal and heal inflammation and free radical damage.

  • Professional microdermabrasion and/or fruit acid peels – Make sure the provider you choose has the advanced training required to safely treat the exceptionally sensitive skin around the eyes.
  • An all-natural eye cream – Choose a cream specially formulated for this area. Look for gentle yet potent anti-aging ingredients like white tea, horsetail, rosemary, and natural vitamins A and E. Because the eye region has relatively few oil glands, keep it drenched in botanical oils and humectants. Moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, squalane, shea butter, and jojoba oil penetrate below the skin surface without clogging pores.
  • Practice Facial Fitness – Properly performed resistance techniques increase muscle mass, restoring youthful contours around the eye. By rebuilding the underlying tissues, facial exercises make the skin look tighter and more toned.

Watch this From My Neck Up™ video to learn how facial exercises can firm the eye area.

Adopt healthy lifestyle habits.

  • Eat a diet with plenty of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and heart-healthy oils.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water to help flush excess fluids.
  • Don’t smoke!

Is there a skincare issue you’d like to know more about? My mission as a skincare provider and educator is help people address challenging beauty issues with wellness-based skincare methods. Let me know what’s on your mind by sending your questions and concerns to the Comments  section of the blog.


5 Steps to a Tighter, Toned Face and Neck

Real Women Get Real Results from Their Facial Fitness Routines. Click to watch video.

An Internet search for terms like “nonsurgical anti-aging alternatives” or “European facelift” can turn up some pretty surprising results. You’ll find muscle stimulating and oral prosthetic devices, injections, laser treatments, and “minimally invasive” surgical procedures, as well as a multitude of face and neck exercise programs.  Obviously, many of these alternatives are neither natural nor entirely “risk-free.” Even an exercise program that appears safe and effective can prove to be a waste of time and money if the provider lacks the proper training and experience. The best investment protection is simple common sense. Here are a few basic rules for choosing a noninvasive anti-aging option:

1. Look before you leap – The first step to adopting a program that delivers real results is careful research. Check out these two fundamental differentiators:

  • The provider’s credentials – The most important qualification to look for is demonstrated expertise in facial care and muscle-training techniques.
  • The program’s theoretical foundation – The isometric and resistance techniques based on the work of facial anatomy expert Frederick Rossiter, M.D. and German physiologist Dr. A.H. Steinhaus are still considered the gold standard.
performing neck exercise against resistance

Using resistance techniques shortens and tightens sagging jaw lines.

2. Exercise Care:

  • Contract muscles against an external resistance
  • Release each contraction in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Exercise all the major areas of face and neck to create a balanced, lifted look.

3. Practice consistently:

  • For best results, spend approximately 10 to 15 minutes per day on your routine.
  • Don’t give up – The time it takes for muscles to respond varies among individuals. You’ll probably notice some subtle changes within a month. Over time, the positive effects will become increasingly dramatic.

4. Optimize your results:

  • Be sure to moisturize with all-natural humectants and emollients.
  • Breathe deeply between each set of repetitions.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and overall fitness routine.
  • Practice meditation or other relaxation techniques, including facial massage, to minimize expression lines.

5. Balance your expectations:

  • Remember that it takes ongoing practice to achieve meaningful change.
  • Understand that even plastic surgery can’t erase decades of damage or stop the aging process.
  • Smile! Your small investment of time and effort will deliver big rewards.
performing facial exercise

Smile Up: The rewards of your facial exercise program include renewed confidence.

I’ll be sharing some of the techniques used in the From My Neck™ exercise program in future blog spots. To read more about the anti-aging benefits of a  health-drive skincare regime and see the results my clients have achieved, visit the Lavie Organique™ website. 1

How Face and Neck Exercises Can Help You Grow Younger

Part 3 of a 3-Part Series: Non-surgicial Neck Rejuvenation

The reason I’m a passionate believer in the value of face and neck exercises is simple. I’ve seen for myself what a well-rounded facial fitness regime can do. The potential impact of advanced muscle toning techniques on the visible signs of aging isn’t hard to grasp. The evidence is all around us. It’s there in the firm abdomens and taut, sculpted and limbs of Pilates and yoga devotees. And we’ve all seen the revitalizing effects of a brisk walk on our own faces. There’s no mistaking the vibrant youthful glow that exercise brings to your complexion. All this rejuvenating power can be directly applied to sagging jaw lines and deep facial wrinkles to restore defined contours and smoother, younger-looking skin.

The Value of Facial Fitness: The Facts vs. the Myths

When the Boston media covered the launch of our salon’s From My Neck Up™ exercise program, the participants expressed confidence in the intuitive wisdom of this noninvasive anti-aging option. Although my own clients and other satisfied practitioners can point to remarkable changes achieved by their regular face and neck workouts, many professionals in the mainstream beauty industry remain unconvinced. Naysayers typically come down on one of two sides. One side insists that facial fitness techniques have no anti-aging effects; the other warns that exercising makes lines and wrinkles worse. Both sides contend that radical cosmetic procedures are the only effective solution. Before you decide if that’s the case, let’s confront the two questions at the heart of the debate about face and neck exercises.

Many women see face and neck exercises as a logical extension of their physical fitness routines. – Click on the video below.

1. Do face and neck exercises work? Generations of women have voted yes. One of the earliest documented success stories is the case of legendary 17th century beauty Ninon de’ L’Enclos (“the Woman Who Never Grew Old”). Her ageless beauty and the amazingly youthful faces of countless practitioners since her time have kept this anti-aging tradition going strong for more than 400 years. While critics argue that longstanding popular support is no substitute for statistical evidence, at least one plastic surgeon interviewed about for a newspaper story about From My Neck Up admitted that the reports of positive results are worth looking into. And few physicians, regardless of their specialty, would deny the proven power of muscle strengthening exercises to reverse the underlying causes of aging:

  • Thinning skin – Increased blood flow to the skin’s dermal layer encourages stronger, more resilient skin.
  • Bone and soft tissue atrophy – Restoring muscle mass and rebuilding thinning bones helps restore firm, youthful contours.
body firming techniques can be applied from the neck up

The same techniques that sculpt our bodies can redefine facial contours.

2. Do facial fitness routines deepen expression lines or distort your facial anatomy? As long as you use proper technique, any risk of deepening expression lines is completely avoidable. Fears of developing big, bulging face and neck muscles are equally unwarranted. Unless you’re taking steroids, muscle growth happens slowly and gradually. And unlike the outcome of plastic surgery, the results of a facial fitness routine are completely reversible and within your control.

How can I help? I’ll be sharing more tips about face and neck exercises in upcoming posts. If you have a specific problem area you’d like me to address or any questions or concerns about maintaining the total health and beauty of your skin, please add them to our comments section. I look forward to hearing from you!

How to Live Happily Ever After with Your Neck

Part 2 of a 3-Part Series: Natural Anti-aging Care for the Neck

Paradoxically, the part of the body that needs the most care and attention to remain youthful-looking generally gets the least. Even people who pamper their face with expensive creams and salon treatments routinely ignore their necks.

natural skincare products for the neck

The delicate skin of our neck demands plenty of TLC.

Start Loving Your Neck: Commit to a  7-Point Rejuvenation Plan

Regardless of your age, it’s never to begin a healthy relationship with your neck – or to start looking younger by cultivating a disciplined in-depth neck-care regimen.

1. Minimize UVA damage.

(a) Stay out of direct sunlight.

(b) Wear a mineral-based sun block.

2. Handle with care

(a) Avoid soap, alcohol-based astringents, and other harsh skincare products.

(b) Never scrub your neck!

(c) Minimize lines and wrinkles by sleeping on your back.

3. Keep skin super-hydrated with plant-derived humectants and emollients.

4. Control inflammation.

(a) Avoid overuse of retinoids.

(b) Apply soothing natural anti-inflammatories such as green tea, chamomile, and aloe vera.

5. Kick harmful lifestyle habits.

(a) Don’t smoke.

(b) Lower your sugar intake.

(c) Shun yo-yo dieting.

facial massage

Accupressure and massage helps keep skin cells nourished by boosting blood flow

6. Promote optimal cell function and stimulate cell renewal.

(a) Eat a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and proteins.

(b) Use green skincare treatments that comprise the same vital nutrients.

(c) Maintain a balanced exfoliation routine Find the healthy midpoint between too much and not enough.

(i.) Gently slough off old skin with a soft washcloth or sponge.

(ii.) Use safe, non-irritating but highly effective natural exfoliants such as finely ground tree nuts.

7. Slow age-related tissue atrophy, sagging, and wrinkling

(a) Stimulate circulation throughout your body with a vigorous fitness routine.

(b) Use massage and acupressure techniques to improve blood flow and relax wrinkles.

(c) Restore muscle and bone mass with facial and neck exercises.

Although generations of  women have relied on face and neck exercises to delay and help repair the visible signs of aging, this traditional practice remains controversial among mainstream beauty experts.  In my next post, I’ll discuss the facts behind the opinions of this widely misunderstood anti-aging method.

Saving Your Skin: A 12 Step Approach to Overcoming Pore Paranoia

Do you wish your pores would shrink? Or better still, disappear? If so, then you’re not alone. Judging from media reports, the booming market in “pore-minimizing” products, and my own experience as a skincare professional, the new obsession that dermatologists have dubbed “porexia” increasingly afflicts people of every age, gender, and complexion type.

Is There a Cure?

Some of the most popular pore treatments may help minimize the visibility of your problem temporarily. But no single topical treatment or invasive procedure has consistently proven safer, more effective, or more lasting than a lifetime program of disciplined natural skincare.

Even the cleanest faces can suffer from clogged pores.

Committed Pore Maintenance: A Lifelong Beauty Recovery Program

The following 12 classic skincare principles offer a comprehensive, commonsense approach to managing anxiety about your pores, while gradually optimizing your complexion’s texture, clarity, and youthfulness.

1. Know the difference between fact and fiction. Pores are nothing more than tiny openings in the skin surface. Their size is a fixed quantity related to the size of the underlying oil glands. These glands are the source of the mixture of sebum (oil) and skin cells that gets trapped inside pores and forms blackheads. The dark side of blackheads has nothing to do with dirt or poor hygiene. It’s the result of oxidation: a chemical reaction between the melanin in the dead skin cells on the blackhead’s exposed surface and the oxygen in the atmosphere.

2. Accept what you can’t change. The size of your pores is largely determined by genetics and your age. At puberty, pores go through their first growth spurt. From that point on, the combined forces of aging, hormonal changes, and environmental stresses on the skin take an increasingly heavy toll. This cumulative damage eventually results in larger, looser pores as the  supportive network of collagen fibers in the surrounding skin weakens and sags.

3. Be careful what you wish for. You’d be in big trouble if your dreams of a pore-less complexion came true. As the skin’s distribution channels, pores allow the healthy flow of two vital bodily fluids: (1) sebum, the natural lubricant that keeps skin moist and supple and (2) sweat, the liquid coolant that regulates body temperature and protects us from potentially fatal heat stroke when the mercury soars.

4.  Kick the quick-fix habit for good. Stop wasting money on miracle “pore-reducers.” No topical skincare product can permanently constrict pores. The “pore-tightening” effect of alcohol-based astringents and anti-blackhead creams is actually a fleeting optical illusion. Equally deceptive is the bracing “clean” sensation you get from these products. In fact, both the brisk sting you feel and the shiny taut look you see in the mirror and are symptoms of potentially damaging irritation. By stripping off your complexion’s protective acid mantle, these harsh chemical solutions cause a variety of painful reactions, including minor swelling around your pores. This effect, which merely hides what you’re trying to erase, quickly fades. But the price you pay in inflammation, dryness, and increased vulnerability to acne-causing bacteria amounts to beating up your complexion to spite your pores.

5. Slough off the old; bring out the new. By gently sloughing of dead surface cells, a disciplined exfoliation routine accelerates the emergence of fresh skin cells and stimulates collagen production. Daily exfoliation with a washcloth or sponge and weekly or monthly applications of scrubs or masks that contain finely ground walnuts, organic fruit acids, or other natural exfoliators will gradually minimize the visibility of your pores by reducing the buildup of oily clogs and improving the strength and resilience of the surrounding skin. The autumn months are the ideal time to jump-start your pore recovery program. (Read more about the benefits of a seasonal exfoliation program…)

Regular exfoliation is the foundation of a healthy pore maintenance plan.

6. Keep it clean. Never go to bed without washing off your makeup—no exceptions. Although their manufacturers claim mineral-based make-ups are safe and gentle enough to wear overnight, the majority of these so-called “all-natural” products include ingredients like bismuth oxychloride, a synthetic derivative of natural minerals that tends to collect in oily pores. These impacted particles can aggravate acne symptoms and irritate sensitive or allergic skin. Other ingredients, including certain types of natural minerals, pose additional risks. For instance, those glittering particles of mica in highlighters may light up your cheekbones, but they can also cause tiny abrasions in thin, fragile skin.

7. Easy does it. Too much of a good thing can make a bad situation worse. Avoid over-washing, over-exfoliating, and overzealous use of retinoids, acne medications, and other pore-minimizing solutions. In addition to causing serious inflammation and increasing susceptibility to infection, treatments that over-strip the skin surface can upset the delicate moisture balance of healthy skin. To compensate for their drying effects, oil glands often go into overdrive, adding the insult of acne symptoms to the characteristic redness and flaking of a seriously injured complexion. The temptation to over-treat the target of a painful fixation is understandable.  But the temporary relief of your anxiety about a minor flaw isn’t worth the price you’ll pay in serious and highly visible skin problems. Try to remember, your skin is not the enemy. Like every bodily organ, your skin needs intelligent care and handling to perform its vital role in your health and appearance.

7. Don’t try this at home. The urge to take the problem of clogged pores into your own hands is particularly dangerous. Do-it-yourself blackhead removal can lead to infections, scarring, and permanently enlarged pores.

8. Get professional help. Aestheticians are specially trained to remove blackheads without causing infections or scarring. To prepare your skin for pore extraction, aestheticians typically lightly exfoliate and steam your face. Contrary to popular belief, the practice of steaming has nothing to do with opening the pores. Because the tissue surrounding the pores consists of skin rather than muscle cells, it’s impossible for pores to expand or contract in response to temperature changes. The actual purpose of steaming is to loosen the contents of clogged pores. To extract the clog, the aesthetician then presses gently on the surrounding skin with tissue-wrapped fingers. A good skincare salon can also advance your pore-minimizing goals with a customized program of exfoliating masks or microdermabrasion.

Shea butter and other organic moisturizers hydrate skin without clogging pores. Image: africa / FreeDigitalPhotos

9. Go natural. Like synthetic alcohols and harsh detergents, petroleum-based moisturizers not only irritate sensitive skin, but also magnify pore problems. The greasy film these products form on the skin’s outer surface can block pores and actually repel moisture. Our skin tends to absorb plant-derived oils and humectants more readily because their chemistry and molecular structure closely resemble those of human sebum. This natural kinship is the reason that organic skincare products are the best option for maintaining healthy pores. Plant-derived moisturizers such as aloe vera, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid are not only deeply hydrating, but  also non-comedogenic (i.e., they don’t clog pores or increase acne and blemishes).

10. Use protection. Free radical damage from sun exposure is one of the prime suspects in premature pore enlargement.

11. Perform a searching a lifestyle inventory. Your diet, exercise routine, sleep habits, and stress level all play a crucial role in maintaining the clarity and refined texture that characterizes healthy, youthful skin.

12. Maintain a balanced perspective. According to professional makeup artists and well-known dermatologists, porexia is particularly common among models and movie stars. This seemingly counterintuitive phenomenon makes sense in a crazy kind of way. The fewer serious skin problems you have, the more likely you are to fret about the ones nobody else can see. If your pores look like massive craters—especially if you’re staring at your nose in a magnifying mirror—the problem may lie not in your skin but in your distorted self-image. Instead of comparing yourself to the illusion of perfection we see in the media, try to remember that you don’t need makeup tricks, special camera lenses, or digital wizardry to minimize any flaw, regardless of its size. The natural radiance of a vibrant spirit and confident smile puts every face in its best light.

Get Your Face in Shape the European Way

Spring into a Facial Fitness Program to Start Growing Younger

A system of face and neck exercises based on techniques developed by European physiologists and physicians offers a gentle, noninvasive way to restore the atrophied facial tissues that contribute to slack, sagging skin, and deep wrinkles. It’s a natural, intuitively logical alternative to Botox.

2011 Boston Globe, “About Face: To Fight Wrinkles, These Women Opt for Exercises Over Cosmetic Fixes”