Interview with Jackie McGrath the Editor of Waterways

1. Clearly getting facials is much more than just a relaxing, pampering experience. What would you say the top three to five things a really good facial does for your skin?

You are so right about a good facial being much more than just a relaxing experience. While relaxation is one of the restorative benefits of coming in for a facial treatment, the goal of the facial is to nourish and improve the overall health and appearance of the skin. A few of my favorite lasting benefits a good facial can provide are improved circulation & healthy blood flow, exfoliating and smoothing the surface of the skin, brightening of the skin’s tone, detoxifying the skin and improved hydration of the skin.

2. How often should you receive a facial? Does age play a factor in the frequency?

When you are in your 20’s I recommend receiving a facial every 6 to 8 weeks. Once you hit your 30’s try to receive a facial every 4 to 6 weeks, and once you hit your 40’s, 50’s and beyond – the ideal is to receive a professional treatment every 4 weeks. Our natural cell turnover slows as we age. By building in time during the year to receive facial treatments with professional exfoliation you will see a big difference in the quality and overall health of your skin.

3. What do you recommend to your clients to do as “homework” between facials?

I teach my clients how to exfoliate weekly depending on their individual skin type as upkeep between their facials. I also teach them how to perform facial massage at home and in a perfect world I have them using these massage techniques on themselves at least three times per week. For some of my more advanced clients I have them using at-home LED masks to boost collagen production plus home facial microcurrent tools to keep their skin firm and lifted between facials.

4.  What should you look for in a good facial and what are some things you should steer clear of?

Reputation is very important when searching for an Aesthetician. Always read the business’s google and yelp reviews before booking to be sure you are choosing a reputable business who cares about the safety and wellness of their clients. Look for Aestheticians who customize their facials for your skin’s individual needs. Steer clear of treatments that are one size fits all. There is no one size fits all when it comes to skincare. Your skin is like your fingerprint. It is as unique as you are and you want to work with an Aesthetician who can handle a variety of skin conditions.

6. The dentist says to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day. What do you say the daily regimen should be for your face and why?

I am big on a nice deep evening cleanse as a part of any skincare routine. If you wear sunscreen (I hope you do!) and/or makeup during the day you want to be sure you are removing these particles from the skin so that they don’t become trapped and clog your pores. I advise using the double cleanse method every evening starting with an emulsifying Pre-Cleanse Oil followed by a facial cleanser chosen for your specific skin type. For some that will be a light foaming gel and for many others that will be a creamy cleanser. I always teach my clients to count to 30 while massaging the facial cleanser over their skin to be sure they are keeping the cleanser on the skin long enough to properly cleanse their pores. And don’t forget to include the neck in the double cleanse. So many times we forget to treat the neck as part of the face. My next must would be a hydrating or medicated toner to assist with the penetration of your facial serum, oil or cream. I, personally, love using Vitamin A, C, Peptides and Antioxidants in my evening night cream. Using your more active result-oriented products at night will work best since they will not be oxidizing on the skin with light exposure. Night-time is an ideal time to “treat” the skin. During the day it’s all about hydration and protection. I usually suggest skipping cleanser in the morning and simply splashing the skin with warm water so as to avoid over-drying the skin. Over-cleansing can lead to a stripped surface barrier which is a huge problem here in the USA. We are obsessed with over-cleansing. Next I suggest a hydrating toner, followed by a product containing a blend of antioxidants to protect from environmental damage topped with an SPF of at least 25 no higher than 50 to avoid unnecessary chemicals.

7. Summer is here and the pace is double time. Readers need to do everything and fast. What’s the one or two most important steps you should never skip and why? 

Even when you are short on time, never skip that evening double cleanse. Sweat, sunscreen and makeup can easily build up in the pores leading to breakouts, rough surface texture and reduced circulation. Keeping your skin clean will reduce the stress placed on your skin. I will add two more important steps and those are to use a product containing a blend of antioxidants to protect your skin from daily environmental stressors plus a morning application of high quality facial sunscreen. Your future skin will thank you!

8. Should I be using Retinol?

Retinol gets the most press out of any of the Vitamin A formulas and no, retinol is not right for everyone. Vitamin A is also known as the skin-normalizer and has so many benefits when applied topically ranging from balancing oil production to reversing old cellular damage caused by past sun exposure. Now there are several different forms of Vitamin A you can look for depending on your skin’s needs. Retinol is the alcohol form and is great for an oily, acne prone skin. Retinol can be drying if your skin is not oily enough to handle it. Retinol can only be used at night since it will make the skin sensitive the sun so wearing daily SPF is essential if you choose a retinol formula. Retinoic Acid also known by the brand name Retin-A is the acid form of Vitamin A. This is the most aggressive, fastest penetrating form of Vitamin A and is not always tolerated well by sensitive skin types. Retinoic Acid would also be a night-only product as it significantly sensitizes skin from the sun so daily SPF, hats and avoidance of sun exposure on the face are essential when using this form of Vitamin A. Retinoic Acid is most commonly only available by prescription in the USA. Lastly we come to my favorites – Retinyl Palmitate, Retinyl Acetate,   which are the Ester or fat forms of Vitamin A. I love these forms of Vitamin A because not only are they safe to use during the day & night, they protect the skin from damage caused by the sun while being worn beneath sunscreen. Since the molecules enter the skin as a fat they are very easily tolerated by most skin-types including sensitive skin.

9. What skincare should I avoid if I am pregnant?

Just because you are pregnant or nursing does not mean you need to let your skin go down the tubes. The ingredients I recommend avoiding are Salicylic Acid, Retinol, Retinoic Acid, Glycolic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. There are a variety of beautiful exfoliating masques on the market containing enzymes or lactic acid which are safe to use while pregnant and nursing so you can still give yourself beautiful weekly exfoliating treatments to boost your skin’s glow. You will want to avoid using your NuFace or any home microcurrent devices while pregnant, but you can resume them after you deliver the baby. The same goes for your home LED masks and tools.

10. I feel like I look old – should I get Botox?

Now, I have nothing against using Botox on certain areas of the face in moderation, but it is not an anti aging cure-all and it won’t necessarily make you look “younger”. When a client comes to me complaining of deep horizontal forehead lines or deep vertical lines between their eyebrows – using a little botox in these muscles makes since as it will relax those deep lines which are caused over time by scrunching our faces in our sleep or on those of us who are very physically expressive with our faces. While Botox has its place, it is not a replacement for learning how to care for your skin through a daily skincare regimen which is what actually leads to healthy, glowy, radiant looking skin.

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