Skin Health 101
Unsure of your skin type? Wondering what is an exfoliant and why do you need one? Curious about an ingredient? Does skincare confuse you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this page is the one for you!
Hello Everyone! Welcome back to Nia Imani. I know it has been quite some time since I have been active here; I missed being active and interacting with you all. I hope everyone is doing well, especially due to the current state of the World.
Today I want to jump back into skin health aka my favorite posts to make. If you can’t tell by the title, this post is about kojic acid. Per the usual, I will be sharing information on the formulation, origin, benefits, side effects, and usages of kojic acid in skincare. As well as some of my favorite products that feature kojic acid.
If you have additional questions, comments, requests, etc. please feel free to reach out to me via the comment section below, email, or my various social media platforms. I love answering questions and interacting with you all. Lastly (before we jump into the post), please follow me on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date on blog posts as well as my live broadcasts and subscribe to the blog to get insider information on Nia Imani.
Now without further ado, let's jump into!
Kojic Acid is produced by different types of fungi through the fermentation process of foods such as malting rice or mushrooms. The Japanese commonly call kojic acid koji. In their culture, they create kojic acid by making several things including sake (a Japanese rice wine) and soy sauce. In other parts of the food industry kojic acid is used as a natural preservative.
*FUN FACT*: Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most dense sources of Kojic Acid.
In skincare kojic acid functions as a mild melanin inhibitor. Melanin is a naturally occurring pigment in the human body. Kojic acid works as a melanin inhibitor by blocking an amino acid called tyrosine from forming. This action prevents melanin from being produced because without tyrosine the process of creating melanin is not possible. This makes kojic acid perfect for anyone who experiences sun damage, scars, acne spots, age spots, or any other form of hyperpigmentation.
Kojic acid is commonly found in lotions, serums, and cleansers geared towards brightening or evening the skin tone. The chemical is safe for head to toe usage and is typically safe for all skin types including sensitive skin. However, depending on the pH of the product as well as the concentration of the kojic acid it can be irritating to the skin.
The known side effects of kojic acid are sunburn and contact dermatitis. Sunburn is possible due to lowered levels of melanin in the skin; melanin protects the skin from sun damage due to UV rays. When using kojic acid use SPF 30 or higher and apply a quarter-size amount of the sunscreen to the face, neck, and décolletage; remember to reapply your sunscreen every 80 to 90 minutes. Also, to further prevent sun damage or sunburn from using kojic acid, apply the ingredient only at night when using leave-on products such as lotions or serums. Regarding the contact dermatitis, do a patch test to make sure the skin is not sensitive or allergic to kojic acid. If you are still concerned consult a dermatologist or doctor about the product. Kojic Acid when formulated properly and when the skin isn’t sensitive/allergic to can be fantastic.
The benefits of using a product with kojic acid are vast. The most noteworthy benefit of kojic acid is it reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation from acne and aging as well as melasma. Another great benefit of kojic acid is its antibacterial properties; it helps to reduce active acne on the skin. In addition to being antibacterial, it is also antifungal, which is great for fungal acne, athlete’s foot, etc.
I am sure all my sensitive skin friends are concerned due to the possible side effects, but you should know that kojic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties. And if you are concerned about aging well kojic acid has you covered with antioxidant properties. Kojic acid acts as an antioxidant by counteracting the effects of free radicals from UV rays and pollution which slows the aging process tremendously due to free radical damage being the number 1 cause of aging.
Now I know a lot of you who read my blog are estheticians, skincare enthusiasts, or people in the beauty industry so just something I want to share with people who often use a lot of actives within their skincare regimes is a quick tip. And to be clear this tip is from personal experience as well as recommendation from various medical institutions and people within the skincare and medical skin care industries. The tip is kojic acid works great in conjunction with hydroquinone and glycolic acid. I often use my kojic acid powder with my Sunday Riley Good Gene Glycolic acid treatment. I do not use hydroquinone in my skincare regimen; I do not like skin bleaching ingredients on my skin but to each their own. If you are using other acids like salicylic acid, lactic acid, etc. I would recommend you either use a kojic acid soap therefore the ingredients do not negatively interact with one another or alternate days or times of day in which you use those ingredients. This way you get the best results from each ingredient and product.
Now that you know all the kojic acid facts, I bet you are wondering what product you should use. Well, Kojic Acid is in a lot of products and I can understand why that would be overwhelming but, never fear I have a few favorites I will list here for you. I will also have links attached to this post. I hope you enjoyed this Skin Health 101 and I appreciate your support. Please remember to share this blog post with your loved ones, friends, and fellow skincare enthusiasts.
P.S. As promised the list of products with a summary/review and links!
1. PCA Skin Pigment Bar ($46): This is a cleansing bar with kojic acid has its star ingredient. This cleanser brightens the skin and helps to reduce inflammation by parting it with niacinamide. You can use it day and night, every day and it can be removed immediately after cleansing or left on for 5-10 minutes as a mask.
2. La Roche- Posay Mela-D Pigment Control Serum ($40): This is a serum that great for sensitive skin because it does not have hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is often paired with kojic acid is lotion and serum formulations. This serum can be used twice daily, but if you are sensitive or pairing this serum with an active heavy skincare regime then use only at night or at night every other night.
3. Kojic Acid Powder: Amazon has dozens the brand I have discontinued it so I won’t mention it, but you can check Amazon or ingredient wholesalers for the format of kojic acid.
4. Kojie San Skin Lightening Kojic Acid Soap Bar in the original ($9): I get this on amazon, but tons of beauty supply stores have this brand. This is an old fashioned, inexpensive bar soap, but unlike most, it is pH balanced and it doesn’t irritate my skin. I often switch between this bar soap and the PCA bar soap. They can both be used on the face or the body.
Welcome to Nia Imani. As many of you know, I am a licensed and practicing esthetician. My goal as an esthetician is to provide my clients with the tools they need to support the treatment. I believe the most valuable tool they need is skin knowledge– skin health knowledge that is.
I want my clients to understand what effects of ingredients, skincare tools, and more. My goal is to arm them with the knowledge to protect their skin’s health. I feel that arming them with skin health knowledge will empower them to make good skin care choices even when I am not around or available to provide guidance.
I want to use that same philosophy here on Nia Imani. I believe all people, not just my clients should have access to information pertaining to skin health. I wanted to share my passion for skin health and skincare competency. I believe skin should be taken care of and maintained like all other organs. I also believe that as a licensed professional and skin care enthusiast I have a fantastic opportunity to share the knowledge, tips, and tricks that I have acquired with everyone (not just my clients). So, with that welcome to skin health 101.
Skin Health 101 is a series of skin care related posts; this series is about all the various kinds of skin care tidbits that only licensed professionals and skin care enthusiast know. This series is for people who just are in a skin care runt, or need a little help navigating skin care, or even just someone looking to know a little more about skin care. I will be breaking down everything from ingredients to hot tips and more! Awesome, right?
Ok, today’s 101 is going to cover tea tree oil. So, without further ado let’s jump into it!
Everyone knows about tea tree oil. It is definitely an OG skin care ingredient. However, there are so many properties that I feel like I could definitely shed some light about it. I mean, if you ask me nothing matters more than to know if this “trendy” ingredient will actually benefits you or more. So, let’s explore tea tree, how it works, and who exactly it works on, shall we?
Tea Tree is a small, flowering tree that originates in Australia. It also is known as melaleuca oil or ti tree oil. Tea Tree is often found in tea or oil form. The oil is the most common format of tea tree; the oil form is called essential oil. Essential Oils are compounds of extracted plants. These oils are highly concentrated and usually aromatherapy technicians and experts urge users to mix essential oils with carrier oils. (Carrier Oils are usually fruit, vegetable or nut-based oils like olive, argan, almond, sunflower, etc.)
Tea tree oil have tons of benefits. It works best for oily, acne prone skin types being that the star benefits are anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-septic, and anti-fungal. (Making it amazing for anyone suffering from more severe forms of acne like fungal acne.) However, other benefits such as anti-inflammation and desensitization make tea tree great for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis as well.
Like I stated above, essential oils such as Tea Tree are usually mixed with carrying oils for safe usage. Sometimes, you can find minute amounts mixed in with liquids like toners or beauty waters. In such small amounts it is safe. When applying it to the skin without being mixed with a carrier oil or liquid base tea tree can cause sensitivity or even more seriously burns. Now, other usages for tea tree are dandruff, nail fungus, wound care, and healthy hair growth. One can use tea tree essential oils or products that are infused with tea tree. If you are considering using tea tree oil in your skin care please be advised that “over” usage can cause dryness, dehydration, and sensitivity. I would recommend slowly adding it into your routine one day at a time, one product at a time. If you are allergic to other plants I would suggest consulting with a physician before introducing this ingredient to your routine.
That’s all folks!
Thank you for stopping by Nia Imani. If you have any questions, comments, etc. please leave them below. All my social media and other forms of contact are in the “contact” tab above. Make sure you check out other Skin Health 101 posts! Thank you again for stopping by I hope you enjoyed today’s posts remember to like and share—until next time!
Welcome back to Nia Imani!
Skin care routines are truly the sum of the person doing them. How much time one has, the effort one is willing to put forth... so on and so forth. For some, simpler is more or if you are anything like me, then more is definitely more. The infamous Korean skincare method is definitely more. With 10 steps this routine can definitely be considered a daunting task. I have taken on this task and it truly is an interesting process; it is hydrating, deeply nourishing and the ultimate experience. Today I want to share an overview of the steps, share my favorite products to use during the steps, let you know how often each step should be done, and any tips or tricks related to the steps. So, let's jump into it!
Step One: Oil Cleanser
Oil Cleanser is the first step of not only the Korean skin care routine, but also the first step in the double cleansing routine. Double Cleansing is a cleansing method that's origin can be traced back to Korea. Korean women used this method to achieve clearer skin. Double Cleansing involves washing your face in two steps, first by using an oil-based cleanser, then followed by a water-based cleanser. Oil Cleansers remove the top layer of dirt, makeup, bacteria, and pore clogging substances such as sunscreen. Oil Cleansers can be used daily; they must be massaged into the skin with dry hands on dry skin and then removed with lukewarm water.
Favorite Oil Cleansers:
Circada Vitamin Veil Cleanser
The Body Shop Chamomile Oil Cleanser
Estee Lauder Micro Cleansing Balm
Farmacy Green Clean Meltaway Cleansing Balm.
Step Two: Water-Based Cleanser
Water-based cleansers are always the second step. This step removes any excess residue left behind by makeup, dirt, or even the oil cleanser. Water-based cleansers should be used daily and can be applied to damp skin, massaged in and then promptly removed with lukewarm water.
Favorite Water-based Cleansers:
Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel
Farmacy Clean Bee Foaming Cleanser
Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Triple-Action Foaming Cleanser
Step Three: Exfoliator
Exfoliating is a critical part of a skin care routine. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, smooths texture, and helps products/ingredients penetrate the pores. Korean exfoliators are typically physical. (Physical exfoliators are made of grains, sugar, salt, etc.) Exfoliating should be done 2-3 times a week maximum; massage the product into the skin and then remove it with lukewarm water.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub
Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Scrub
Trader Joe's Blueberry Acai Facial Scrub
Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Instant Refinishing Facial
Step Four: Toner
Toner is an essential product when it comes to the premise of the Korean 10 step method. Toner helps to prep the skin for all the hydrating and moisturizing products. It also balances the skin type. Toner should be used on cotton pads; wipe the pads over the skin. Toner can be used twice daily.
Thayer’s Rose Witch Hazel Toner
Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel
Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Toner
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Softening Lotion
Murad Clarifying Toner
Step Five: Essence
An essence is a deeply nourishing, hydrating, and revitalizing water-based product. This product goes on after toner to help promote healthy cell turnover and cellular repair. Use this product by putting a few drops of the essence into your fingertips, then pressing the warmed product into the skin and then massage the essence into the skin using upward motions. Essences can be used twice daily.
Estee Lauder Micro Essence
Missha First Treatment Essence
Exuviance Probiotic Lysate Anti-Pollution Essence
The Body Shop Vitamin E Aqua Boost Essence Lotion
Step Six: Treatments
Treatments are the heroes of this routine. Treatments are boosters, serums, ampoules, etc. These treatments are full of highly concentrated ingredients. Treatments help to target and treat specific skin health needs. Treatments can be layered; I would recommend no more than three at a time. Treatments can be used day and night. Depending on the ingredients, the time of usage may vary. For example, retinol and acid-based treatments are usually only recommended for nighttime usage.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
Arcona Vitamin C Serum
The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Serum
Step Seven: Sheet Mask
Sheet masks are the eighth wonder of the world! These hydrating beauties are chalked filled of concentrated serums. Like most masks, the ingredients are targeted towards specific concerns like brightening, acne, aging, and dehydration. Apply the sheet mask to clean, dry skin for the allotted amount of time; once removing the sheet from the skin, massage the leftover serums into the skin. Sheet Masks can be used several times a week.
Favorite Sheet Masks:
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Foil Mask
Patchology Hydrating Sheet Mask
Skin Laundry Hydrating Sheet Mask
Step Eight: Eye Cream
Eye cream is a lightweight, small molecule creams used to target specific concerns such as dark circles, puffiness, firming, and crow’s feet. Lightly tap the cream around the undereye area with the ring finger or an underdeveloped finger.
Favorite Eye Creams:
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex Synchronized Recovery
Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Firming Eye Cream
Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Power Firm
Derma E Hydrating Eye Cream
Step Nine: Moisturizer
Moisturizer seals in moisture and smooths away fine lines. Apply a dime to nickel size amount of moisturizer to the face. Smooth the products into the skin using upward motions.
Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Regenerating Crème
Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme Light Moisturizer
Dermalogica Active Moist Moisturizer
Estee Lauder Day Wear Matte Moisturizer
Derma E Vitamin C Renewing Moisturizer
Step Ten: Sun Protection
Sun Protection aka SPF products the skin from environmental and UV (ultra violet) factors. UV exposure can cause premature aging factors and skin cancer. The FDA recommends a SPF of 30 or higher. This only needs to be used in the morning times. Reapply every 90 minutes of sun and/or UV exposure.
Favorite Sun Protection:
Estee Lauder Day Wear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant & UV Defense SPF 50
So, I know that after reading all those steps you guys may now be wondering how in their right mind is going all these steps every single day?! The answer is simple, they aren’t. Exfoliating and masking only happens 1-3 times a week, double cleansing is only need once per day, and sun protection only happens in the morning when needed. That means on a daily bases you are likely only doing seven-eight steps regularly. It also isn’t as time consuming as one may think. Both cleansing steps take about three minutes in total, exfoliating on three to four minutes, masking is the longest; however, you can do other things while masking. I often clean, do homework, watch TV, get ready for the next day while the mask is on. The other steps take a few seconds. All in all, there should be no real down time during this routine.
I’m not saying this routine is necessary for everyone to do to achieve great skin, but it is relatively realistic. I have been doing it myself for several months now and I find it to be easy and quick. It also is pampering which we all need. I would urge you to at least to try it out. Maybe get some samples from Sephora and try the steps. I’m certain at least a few of you will enjoy the process.
That’s all folks!
Thanks for stopping by Nia Imani. I am so grateful for all your continued support. If you have any questions, comments, etc. please leave them below. All my social media and other forms of contact are in the “contact” tab above. Make sure you check out other Skin Health 101 posts! Thank you again for stopping by I hope you enjoyed today’s posts remember to like and share—until next time!