Ask An Expert Series | Beauty Hacks & Skin Safety
There are a lot of beauty hacks & home remedies for skin care circulating on social media. Some are fun, quick & easy to do, but how do you know which ones are safe? There can be a fine line of distinction when it comes to beauty. The scope of this topic is vast as there are many reasons why a lot of these remedies can be unsafe.
Today, we are focusing on what has been trending and becoming mainstream in people’s homes, along with why you might want to reconsider some of them the next time one of them appear in your newsfeed or Internet searches. A lot of them can hurt your skin, costing you money in the long run by having to seek out a professional to help you re-balance your skin.
I decided to reach out to Naomi Mundy, who is an Esthetician & Makeup Artist in Toronto to see what her experience and views are on this topic. Her goal is to help you achieve your best complexion ever. The advice Naomi has given in this interview is solid.
Q: What made you decide to become an Esthetician? Was there a moment in your life where you know this is what you wanted to do?
A: I have always had an interest in skincare and beauty since the age of 12, but there are a few things that made me want to become an esthetician:
The first thing was that in my mid-20s, I had really bad skin. I have cystic acne and everything that I put on it; including water, made my face burn. I met my husband with a face-full of acne.
The second one being I had met a fabulous makeup artist/ medical esthetician back in 2007 when I got married. She made me feel so beautiful on my special day and helped me to get my skin on point so that the makeup application would be better.
The third thing was when I started working as a bridal makeup artist, I encountered a client with severe acne, and I was at a loss as to what to do. I knew from that moment that I needed to learn more about the skin so that I would be able to help future clients.
Q: We see a lot of DIY remedies on the web for skincare products that feature ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, cinnamon (powder or essential oil) & clove, to name a few. As an Esthetician can you explain what you see when your client comes to you for a service if they’ve been using these remedies? How does their skin generally appear?
A: A lot of clients that come in after trying DIY remedies at home have an impaired barrier, meaning that they have stripped the protective layer of their skin. Everything that they put on their face burns, stings or hurts. Their skin tends to be inflamed and red or tender. Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemons are very astringent and acidic when using neat or unbuffered, and will cause a lot of sensitivity to the skin when exposed to harsh elements as well as UV light. Lemons, in particular, will create an issue with pigmentation as well.
Q. Have you had a client who needed medical help before you could book them in for a facial?
A. Thankfully, so far, I haven’t had anyone that needed medical attention for using DIY remedies. With clients that have an impaired barrier, the treatment for the next month or so is a lot of calming, soothing, hydrating and protection to rebuild their barrier function.
Q. Aside from the ingredients mentioned above, what other remedies have you come across that has sent a red flag for not being safe?
A. Toothpaste for blemishes still seems to be a popular DIY spot treatment as well as glue to remove blackheads.
Q. Toothpaste & glue remedies are always circulating. Can you elaborate on why they shouldn’t be used on your face?
A. Neither glue nor toothpaste is going to help your skin. The glue is used as a mask to "help" remove blackheads from the skin, but in the process, it will also irritate the skin from trying to pull it from the skin; we all saw what happened with those charcoal peel off masks right?
Toothpaste while able to reduce the blemish, can cause excessive drying and irritation to the skin and cause more harm than good due to the pH of the toothpaste. Toothpaste used to be formulated with Triclosan, which was also used in some acne preparations which may be the reason why it was used for breakouts in the first place.
The best way to remove blackheads is by using the right products (ones that are formulated for the face) at home for your skin type, a serum with ahas (alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic, mandelic and lactic acid), bhas (salicylic acid) and retinoids to dislodge the impaction and regular facials with an esthetician who can properly extract the comedones from the skin. It's also very important that your skin is properly hydrated, so drinking and eating your water is helpful as is using a hyaluronic serum topically.
Q. Is there a quick tip you can give someone who would like to do something at home, that you think would be safe?
A. My professional opinion is to not DIY; it’s better in the long run to use real skincare made to work and checked for quality control. The risks for reactions, allergies, infection and the spread of bacteria is too high to recommend a DIY.
Q. We see a lot of Dermal Rollers for micro-needling skin on the market along with Light Therapy Face Masks. It’s a controversial topic, but it’s worth talking about as they are readily available for purchase. What is your opinion on these skincare tools? Would you recommend them to a client?
A. Dermal rollers are definitely not for home use because they are inconsistent and have the potential to create micro-tears in the skin which can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring. Also, because you are dealing with blood-borne pathogens and at-home dermal rollers can be unsanitary.
I'm undecided about Light Therapy Masks for home use as my concern would be that the light wouldn't be strong enough to get decent enough results, and that clients aren’t getting their money’s worth in terms of results. I use light therapy in my treatments and have seen good results with them, but they are for professional use.
Q: What treatments should someone seek out from a professional such as yourself, instead of trying them at home?
A. Any procedure that is invasive- like micro-needling should be administered by a professional. This particular treatment is not suitable for everyone, and the skin needs to be properly assessed and prepared before treatments can begin to avoid complications.
Q. What tools are safe for someone to use at home?
A. I would recommend a sonic cleansing device without bristles for deep cleansing 1-2 times per week and a jade roller for serum penetration and facial massage.
A big thank you to Naomi for sharing her advice & time with us discussing beauty hacks & skin safety!
Naomi Mundy is a certified Esthetician & Makeup Artist in Toronto. She specializes in customized corrective skin care treatments for acne, pigmentation issues and aging. When she’s not in the treatment room or with her nose buried in a skin care book, Naomi enjoys spending time with family and friends and binge-watching Chef’s Table. You can visit her website at www.naomimundybeauty.ca and follow her on Instagram @naomimundybeauty.