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Toss or keep: What skin care do you actually need?


Toss or keep: What skin care do you actually need?

From cleansers to concentrates, there seems to be a new skin care 'must-have' launched every week. So how do you tell which products can truly help your skin, and which ones could harm it? Do you know when to change your skin care routine? Changing skin products can be confusing, but read this quick guide of skin care swaps  to know which products to toss and which to keep.



Toss: Pore strips

Large and congested pores are a common problem because they often worsen with age regardless of your skin type. Many turn to pore strips and blackhead strips to "remove impurities" from their pores, but these little adhesive strips can be severely damaging and don't actually shrink pores. Point blank: pore strips are a visual gimmick that "strips" the skin and doesn't deliver any real benefits.

Pore strips rip off surface skin cells, necessary natural oils, and superficial debris. Even if it may look effective at first, they don't remove what is deep inside your pores – and that can actually lead to future blackheads. Plus, they irritate your pores and leave them vulnerable to appearing even more stretched out. They also damage your skin by harshly stripping it, leaving it flaky, red and inflamed. Pore strips can even cause spider veins and broken capillaries.

Have you seen those trendy blackhead removing masks on social media? Those have the same negative effects – avoid using them if you want clear, healthy skin.

You know when to change your skin care routine when you see this type of damage! Ditch the blackhead masks and pore strips ASAP and switch to a pro formula:
pore strips are bad

Keep: A professional all-in-one serum

Want to truly minimize the appearance of pores? Instead of ripping off the top layer of your skin, coax problem pores into shape with effective professional skin care.

One of the most beloved anti-aging serums, Age Activist Clinical Youth Serum, uses microencapsulated retinol to refine texture and pores. This, along with the other gold-standard ingredients found in this all-in-one youth serum provide long term benefits by healing and strengthening the skin. The fermented pumpkin enzyme is also a superstar ingredient when it comes to diminishing the appearance of large pores long term. This is one of the best skin care swaps you can make.

Still dealing with congested pores? Pair Age Activist Clinical Youth Serum with either of these facial masks 1-3 times per week:

  • Restorative Clay: vacuums oil and dirt, while plant extracts boost hydration and smooth skin.
  • Kerafole: purges deep into pores to reveal fresh, radiant skin with natural exfoliators.



Toss: Sheet Masks

Take one look at any celebrity Instagram account and you'll probably see a sheet mask. They're the latest skin care trend, but are they as effective as the professional grade formulas used by estheticians in the treatment room? We're sorry to say that the current sheet masks on the market just aren't as effective as tried and true pro formulas.

Depending on the brand, sheet masks can have some benefits (like hydration), but even the best sheet mask can't replace professional masks. Most sheet masks are a "one-trick" product that can't give you additional benefits, like clay, cream, and other types of masks can.

Sheet masks are trendy because they are fun and different, but they shouldn't replace professional skin care formulas and methods. They have potential to become better, but for now stick with what's proven to work.

Keep: Professional Masks

Professional masks, on the other hand, contain high quality ingredients that work together to benefit your skin. They also come in different forms (clay, cream, etc) and can tackle more skin concerns than sheet masks do, like problem pores, acne and oily skin, which are often left out of the sheet mask category.

It might not initially seem like it, but professional masks are more cost effective long term. It can feel like a bargain when you buy sheet masks, but they usually end up being pricier in the long run. A cream, clay, or other professional mask can last you many months, as these formulas are so concentrated, and the ingredients are so active that only a small chickpea size of product is needed. When you break down the cost per each mask session, professional masks are almost always more cost effective.

Plus you can multi-task and multi-mask when you opt for pro formulas, unlike sheet masks that cover your entire face and tend to slip off when you move.

At the end of the day, highly trained and licensed estheticians don't use mass market sheet masks because there are professional products that will tackle their clients' concerns more effectively.


Toss: Makeup wipes

If you're a fan of our SkinReading blog, you probably saw this one coming. Makeup removing wipes may seem like an easy skin care shortcut, but they have some nasty side effects for your skin. For starters, they don't remove all the makeup, dirt and debris that accumulate on your skin throughout the day.

"When you drag the wipe over the skin your makeup is driven right back into the pores, especially if it's not being rinsed off." –Teresa Stenzel, Bioelements Director of Education

Your skin may look clean after using wipes, but the leftover makeup, dirt, and debris creates the perfect breeding ground for irritation and breakouts. Furthermore, using makeup wipes can actually cause wrinkles! Repetitive motions, like rubbing and scrubbing a makeup wipe on your skin, can reinforce lines you already have and set the stage for future wrinkles, lines and sagging.


Keep: A professional makeup remover

Use a high quality, professional formula, like Bioelements Makeup Dissolver Perfected, to remove all traces of makeup and grime without any of the negative effects of makeup removing wipes.

 "Cleansing is the first step to great skin, and it shouldn't be cut short. In fact, it takes the same short amount of time – seconds really, to use an effective makeup remover. Don't cheat your skin with a makeup wipe." –Teresa Stenzel

However, a makeup remover shouldn't be the only step in your nightly routine. At the bare minimum, you should always follow with a professional cleanser, toner and moisturizer before hitting the hay.

Don't forget! You can add Makeup Dissolver Perfected to your cart at the bottom of the page.



Toss: Oil blotting sheets

If you suffer from oily skin, it can be tempting to buy any product that claims to control oil. However, while oil blotting sheets may seem like an effective fix, they can actually damage your skin and cause more problems than they are worth.

The truth is, a little oil is actually a necessity when it comes to having healthy skin. Oil blotting papers will strip your skin of all oils – even the ones you need. This sudden lack of oil will actually prompt your skin to increase oil production to compensate for what is missing.

"Your skin secretes sebum (oil), which combines with the water produced by your sweat glands (or provided by moisturizers) to create an emulsion called a hydrolipidic barrier. This thin film stays on your skin to keep it supple, healthy, protected and balanced." –Rhonda Robb, licensed esthetician and Bioelements educator

Not only can they cause your oil production to spike, but oil blotting sheets can also cause acne. While some of the oil is absorbed into the paper, you're pushing the rest of the dirt, grime, makeup and the excess oil it didn't absorb back down into your pores. That creates an oxygen-free environment deep down in your pores that P. acnes bacteria thrive in, creating breakouts, blackheads, bumps and overall skin congestion.

Keep: A skin friendly oil blotting creme

The difference between oil blotting cremes and paper is that a professional blotting creme is formulated to control oil all day without stripping the skin. Oil Control Mattifier is a feather-light formula with Chinese peony, saw palmetto, sesame seed and thyme that works from the inside out for total oil control. It soaks up excess shine on the surface while targeting oily sebum deep in your skin's follicles.

You can apply it in the morning to create a perfect matte complexion, and you can even apply Oil Control Mattifier throughout the day right over makeup to blot any breakthrough shine.

"Ideal for warmer and more humid months to control shine. You can even apply it OVER makeup to stop shine on the spot." –Dawn Gantt, licensed esthetician and Bioelements educator



Toss: Harsh scrubs

If you want happy and healthy skin, make sure you use an exfoliator that won't do more harm than good. Think that "natural" exfoliator you bought can scrub away oil and acne? Wrong.

Even products that claim they have natural exfoliating ingredients, like nut shells, can wreak absolute havoc on your skin. These shells can have jagged, sharp edges that may make your skin feel temporarily softer, but they actually create tiny tears and cuts all over that can lead to irritation, redness and premature aging.

Confused on which scrub to choose? Look on your skin care labels for these gentle, but powerful exfoliating ingredients.

Keep: Professional exfoliators

Exfoliation should be an essential part of your skin care agenda, regardless of your skin type, but the key is to exfoliate correctly. Professional exfoliators use high quality ingredients that do away with dullness and congestion – without harming your skin in the process.

Sensitive or sensitized skin: Measured Micrograins + is specifically designed for all types, including sensitive and unpredictable skin. Instead of harsh exfoliating agents, this advanced formula uses natural, spherical jojoba beads to gently buff away dead and dulling skin cells.

More resistive skin: Pumice Peel provides a manual microdermabrasion that buffs away dullness, fine lines and problem pores with ultra-fine, spherical pumice crystals. This physical scrub is ideal for those who do not have sensitive skin and want stronger physical exfoliation. Can't handle physical scrubs? Opt for Quick Refiner, a leave-on gel that smoothes skin, instead.

Learn more about choosing the correct exfoliator for your skin type.



Toss: Expired products

Did you know that skin care expires, just like food? It's critical to throw out products that have gone bad if you want an effective and safe daily skin care routine. Certain products, like over the counter medicines for acne, or any broad spectrum sunscreens, have expiration dates on the back that you must follow for safety. Other products can go bad due to contamination or poor storage environment. Learn how to tell if your products are expired.


Still confused on which skin care swaps to make? Don't know when to change your skin care routine? Sign up for our email newsletter or comment below!

2 Responses

Teresa Stenzel
Teresa Stenzel

Hi Lindalee, The information you are looking for is not on the box, but on the product container itself. If our product is an OTC like our Acne Line, our Breakout Control or our sunscreens, there will be an expiration date as well as a batch number, found on the bottom of the bottle/jar. If the OTCD is in a tube, the information will be stamped directly onto the “crimp” at the tube’s bottom. If the product is NOT an OTC, it will not have an expiration date, but the batch number is located in the same place as mentioned above. While specific products can vary, in general, unopened products have a shelf life of 1-3 years when stored properly. After opened, we simply recommend that products are used as directed promptly, within one year. If you are not sure how old a product is, you can always call us directly at 1-800-433-6650 with the batch number and we can let you know when the product was made.

Lindalee Pegram
Lindalee Pegram

I use only your products but really cannot see where there is an expiate date on the jar of really rich moisture. Is the ART date the expiate date? If not, please let me know how long I should keep. Especially during the winter months, I stock up on these products and don’t want to keep them if they are bad after a year.

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