Additional treatments can irritate troubled skin

COSMETICS COUNTER

March 31, 1994|By Paula Begoun | Paula Begoun,Knight-Ridder-Tribune News Service

Q: A year ago I went to an aesthetician because my skin was breaking out.

I took your book with me so I could better explain my skin care regime.

The facialist said my face was not getting clean enough and told me to use an anti-bacterial soap.

My skin worsened.

I went to another facialist and she suggested an M.D. Formulations product.

She said the baking soda scrub was too damaging and suggested her surface peel, which contained water, kaolin (clay), wax, thickener, glycerin, slip agents and preservatives.

It doesn't feel any more gentle than the baking soda.

I've succumbed to several of Clarins' products for sensitive skin, too.

Also, I want to know why I have to wait after I apply an alpha hydroxy acid product before applying my foundation. I can really use some answers.

Q: If you are using an AHA product (particularly ones that have a decent strength like M.D. Formulations), you probably do not need to use the baking soda paste at all.

However, you also would not need to use an additional exfoliating mask.

The clay/wax mask your aesthetician suggested is probably more drying and potentially irritating than the baking soda. At least with the baking soda you can massage ever so lightly and then immediately rinse it off.

The clay mask is left on and then dries, drying the skin right along with it.

Time is always a crucial element when it comes to skin irritation. The longer something is left on, the more problems it can cause. Also, the wax in the mask you described can clog pores.

Please try a more gentle but thorough cleanser such as Pond's Foaming Cleanser and Toner In One or Almay's Oil-Control Cleanser. Follow up with 3-percent hydrogen peroxide over breakouts and then use your AHA product at night. The reason to wait after applying an AHA product before doing your foundation is that you don't know the pH value of the foundation, and if it is slightly alkaline it can undo the effect of the AHA.

Q: I've recently had two cosmetics-counter conversations where the saleswomen tried to convince me that SD alcohol was "special cosmetic alcohol" and not at all drying. Can you believe that? You only have to use a product that contains alcohol and you can tell for yourself.

It might be helpful if you tell your readers that cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol are not "bad guys" on an ingredient list but are just standard emollient cosmetic thickeners.

Before I learned this I used to avoid some good, reasonably priced products.

A: I've told my readers before about cetyl and stearyl alcohols, but it never hurts to remind them one more time.

My skin coloring is ivory with lots of pink and some freckles. My hair was blond as a baby, turned to dishwater blond as a young girl and has now turned to medium brown with silver running through it. When I had my colors done I was told to wear pinks and blue-toned pastels, but I just love the autumn colors of

turquoise, coral, reds, soft greens and cinnamon. What do you think?

After reading your letter and how you describe yourself, I am not surprised to read that you are more comfortable in the colors you listed. Those are the best for you.

Most women with pink skin and blond hair should not be wearing more pinks and blue-toned pastels -- it would be way too much color. This doesn't mean avoiding pastels, it means choosing the warmer color palette as you are naturally doing. I do want to warn you away from peach, yellow, khaki and pale tan. Even though these are warm colors, they are deadly dull and can make most skin tones look drab and blah.

Peach and yellow are difficult colors for most skin tones unless you are a true redhead with very pink/red skin.

Other than that, the brighter warm colors you mentioned should work great for you.

Paula Begoun has tested 10,000 cosmetics products an publishes the Cosmetics Counter Update, a newsletter that comes out every other month. For an introductory copy of the subscription newsletter, send $1 for shipping and handling to: The Beginning Press, 5418 South Brandon, Seattle, Wash. 98118.

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