Category Archives: Facial Exfoliators

Will acne skin care products help prevent acne – even if you don’t have any acne right now?

Question from a client:

Will acne skin care products help prevent acne – even if you don’t have any acne right now?

It’s like take lipitor 20mg cholesterol medication incase you get high cholesterol….or taking pain killers incase you get a headache….or putting your leg in a cast incase you break it….or taking antibiotics incase you have a breakout….

No drugs nor skin care products can be classified as an insurance policy….and it is not a precautionary measure because there is no way to prevent something from happening….well not on this planet anyway….

I dislike most acne products on the market because they are aggressive and usually bad for the skin. Using them as a precautionary measure will just unbalance the skin and create other problems like redness, dryness, flakiness, sensitivity…. For example, use Clear-it ONLY on the pimple and rub it in. Never smear Clear-it all over the face hoping the antibacterial nature of the sulfur will prevent future potential pimples.

I believe that most acne should be treated gently – not aggressively (there are a few exceptions to my general rule)…. Following the following rules will work for most acne conditions….

Always just use a truly gentle cleanser, utilising cool water, and only once per day (unless you are a type 4 teenage acne sufferer).  Cleanse at night, not in the morning. Never cleanse in the shower. Cleanse with cool water before of after showering. Keep your face out of the hot shower water. Hot water is bad for your skin all over your body – and your hair….sorry…but this is true!

Use the appropriate exfoliator for your skin type – at least 3 nights per week, but maybe 5 or 7 x per week if your skin needs it or can accommodate it.

Help your skin repair by retaining hydration levels with Hydrate + Serum or aloCell Gel.

Apply moisturizer only where needed, not where you naturally produce your own moisturizer (aka ‘oil’).

Always use a mineral sunscreen every day (rain or shine) to reduce the potential of dark spots after the acne pimple has gone away…

Eat a HEALTHY diet of 5 fruit and 5 vegetable servings every day. Eliminate Dairy and processed Foof from your diet. NEVER EAT JUNK/FAST FOOD!

The information provided here is not meant to diagnose or cure any medical conditions. Please see your doctor or a trained medical professional should you have any concerns.

Which exfoliator to use for flaky dry skin, age spots, hyperpigmentation

Here are my ‘general’ recommendations, going from the mildest form of exfoliator to the strongest form. 

Everyone is unique and the skin may react differently from person to person using these different exfoliator solutions. See NOTES at end of the article.


For dry/flaky skin use an enzyme exfoliator like No Dry Skin + Enzyme Gel at a 4.0pH. Enzymes catalyse the break down the dry dead cells on the surface of the skin. Use it a minimum of 3 nights per week after cleansing – and you can go up to 7 nights per week as long as you don’t have sensitive skin. The result will be smoother, softer, non-flaky skin.

For skin that has a little dryness, a little oiliness, a little pigmentation, a little rough texture, use Gentle + Exfoliate Gel. It is a very light alpha and beta hydroxy acid formula at a 4.0pH. It will not irritate the vast majority of skin types. It may tingle/sting slightly. Apply it on dry (non moist) skin. Use it 3 nights per week after cleansing. Non sensitive skin can use it 7 nights per week. Most mild adult acne problems can be controlled by using this exfoliator.

For skin that is combination or oily, experiences regular adult acne outbreaks, has more pronounced hyperpigmentation caused by the acne pimples, and has stronger keratin growth (like little skin bumps that form over old pimples and take a while to go away), use either the 3.9pH Clear Skin Ultra Gel, or the stronger 3.5pH Age Limit. By increasing cell turnover rates you will see less congestion of pores, hyperpigmentation and rough texture. Apply it on dry (non moist) skin. Use it 3 nights per week after cleansing. Non sensitive skin can use it 7 nights per week. These are not ideal products for very sensitive skin.

For oily or combination skin that experiences strong keratin growth (often represented by many sebaceous cysts along the jaw and chin, but can also be seen on cheeks and forehead) and other ‘annoying’ bumpiness on the skin use Power Peel (it is not a peel – just an exfoliator). This aggressive 3.2pH alpha hydroxy acid will definitely tingle and sting on most skin types. Some people feel it makes their skin ‘itch’. These are natural reactions to an AHA of this intensity. Use it 3 nights per week, and you can build up to 5 nights then 7 nights a week (over a 1 month period) if your skin can accommodate it (i.e. your skin should not get and stay red, irritated or flaky). Severe adult acne sufferers usually benefit from this exfoliator. Use at night on dry (non moist) skin, after cleansing. This exfoliator usually works well at lifting and lightening most forms of pigmentation caused by acne and sun damage. Often this is the best exfoliator for ‘oily’ teenage skin.

Sometimes I recommend a stronger exfoliator like the 32% GlySalLac at 3.0pH – but only after consulting with the client, or, preferably performing a facial on them, and in so doing I get to know more about the strength and condition of their skin. I never believe in being aggressive on the skin just for the sake of it….

A peel, performed by an experienced esthetician, will deliver great results in terms of reducing hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, and rough texture. It is not for everyone. I will never do a peel on anyone unless I have worked on their skin before, and thus know whether they can accommodate an intense exfoliation peel. I only do peels from late Fall through to early Spring. I never do peels in Summer. Read this article for information on home care and peel expectations. It’s the only skin you will ever have, so if you screw it up by being too aggressive, you have to live with it….

NOTE: Stronger and more aggressive does NOT mean better results. Use the correct exfoliator suited to the level of sensitivity of your skin. Have patience…use a milder exfoliator and get better results of a longer period of time…expect improvements within weeks rather than within days.

NOTE: Once you have achieved your primary exfoliating skin care goals, you should try using a milder form of exfoliator as your ongoing home care maintenance product.


For more information on exfoliation, see the SkinCareTV video.

NOTE: The general rule of thumb with skin care exfoliators….expect some kind of sensation on the skin….expect a little redness – but it goes away within 5 minutes after removing the exfoliator. STOP using a product that results in prolonged or intense redness or any ongoing irritation or increase in skin sensitivity where the exfoliator was applied. Never use a strong exfoliator on inflamed or irritated or abraided skin or wounds. Never get an exfoliator in the eyes. ALWAYS use cool water to remove exfoliators – NEVER warm or hot water. Use cool water to calm any skin irritation.


The information provided here is not meant to diagnose or cure any medical conditions. Please see your doctor or a trained medical professional should you have any concerns.

Which exfoliator to use on your acne skin?

Question from a client: 

What is the difference between the Age Limit Advanced Refinishing Serum and the Clear Skin Ultra Gel? You have recommended the Age limit serum for me, however, my acne is still really bad.  So I’m curious if the Clear Skin Ultra would be a better exfoliator for me.

My Answer:

From your skin care chart, the last time you were in at Blue Turtle Spa, I made note of 3 potential issues…

  1. ingrown hairs caused by tweezing in chin area
  2. clogged pores in hairline due to shampoo and conditioner ingredients.
  3. the other note I made was about potential folliculitis (a medical condition). 

Because you are a dry skin type (Accutane has dramatically reduced your sebaceous fluid (aka oil) production), this means that the typical cause of pimples (too much oil and therefore a stimulant for bacterial growth) is not really relevant…. You do not have a typical acne skin condition.

My main concern is the level of dryness on the skin – hence the recommendation of age limit. However, it may work better to use a milder exfoliator 7 x per week rather than a stronger one less frequently. I would like to suggest you use the Gentle + Exfoliate Gel every night after cleansing. Believe it or not…but the milder exfoliator may control your acne pimples more than the stronger one.

For more information on exfoliation watch this SkinCareTV video.

Remember to always use the Clear-it on blemishes day and night before moisturizer.

For #1. When tweezing hairs, always tweeze in the direction of the hair – never in the opposite direction. If the hair breaks off without being properly tweezed out, it can cause an ingrown hair, and a subsequent pimple. Using the Gentle + Exfoliate Gel will reduce the potential for dry skin to help worsen the potential for ingrowns, and the Clear-it will help clear it up quickly.

For #2. In terms of the clogged pores and pimples in the hairline, you may want to try a totally different shampoo experience…try the Shea Touch Baby Shampoo… it does not foam nor have any tricks associated with most adult shampoos – it is just a really good lipid rich wash that will leave the hair soft and clean (not squeaky clean like most shampoos do). It may take a little getting used to, but it is amazing how it can help clear up clogged hairline pores that result from regular shampoo ingredients. Most modern shampoo ingredients are designed to coat the hair – they ‘stick’ to it and don’t rinse out so giving you the hair results you are expecting – HOWEVER, those same ingredients ‘stick’ to the skin around the hairline and neck, and don’t rinse out, so helping to clog pores in those areas and increase the potential for hairline breakouts and pimples.

For #3. For folliculitis, see your doctor – they will probably prescribe antibiotics…. If you want to try an alternative approach, use Gentle + Exfoliate Gel at night after gentle cleansing, apply Clear-it on pimples, and use aloCell Gel AM and PM to help strengthen and repair the skin. aloCell Gel is used before moisturizer and sunscreen. Always use a mineral sunscreen to protect against post inflammatory hyperpigmentation which often can result in the areas where you have folliculitis.

The information provided here is not meant to diagnose or cure any medical conditions. Please see your doctor or a trained medical professional should you have any concerns.

Winter skin care and best exfoliating tips

Dry, cold, winter weather increases the surface level dryness of the skin. The temptation to increase exfoliation becomes greater….you just want to get rid of all that dryness!!!!

For most people, this is a time to reduce the intensity of your exfoliating regimen….not increase it. Many have tried increasing exfoliation intensity only to find out that their skin becomes way more sensitive, red and irritated….

Why does this happen?
Dry, cold Winter air will weaken the barrier function of your skin.
The outer-most layer becomes exceptionally dry and scaly. Your lipid
production (aka oil) is not sufficient to cover this extra dry outer
layer (unless you are a very oily skin type). Heated homes and offices will increase water loss from your skin into the dry atmosphere around you. Your skin dehydrates. Your skin flakes. Your skin looks dull. Your skin becomes easily irritated and feels uncomfortable and sensitive.

What should you do?
1. Never succumb to the temptation to use a scrub – uuuuuugh – the worst thing for everyones’ skin – even when it is strong…
2. Reduce the intensity of the exfoliant you are using….by reducing the pH and/or the quantity of Alpha (glycolic) and/or Beta (salicylic) Hydroxy Acid content in the exfoliating serum.

So, start using the 3.5pH Age Limit in place of the 3.2pH Power Peel, and if you are using Age Limit now, replace it with the 3.9pH Clear Skin Ultra Gel. You can also reduce the % of AHA in the product as well as raising the pH level by using the Gentle + Exfoliate Gel. Keep the frequency of use the same with the milder exfoliation gel. People using very strong (high % (>10%) and low pH (<3.5pH)) exfoliators should reduce frequency by 1 or 2 days per week.

For some people the best winter solution is to use a gentle enzyme exfoliator – and I have an amazing enzyme exfoliation gel in the works…it will eat up that dry skin and not leave your skin sensitive nor irritated…. Stay tuned, it will be available within the next few months.

The right level of exfoliation is critical at all times, but especially in Winter. It is never OK to merely add thick greasy moisturizers to your skin to compensate for Winter dry skin. Do the right thing, use the right products, and you will say goodbye to uncomfortable, unpleasant, irritated Winter skin!

The information provided here is not meant to diagnose or cure any medical conditions. Please see your doctor or a trained medical professional should you have any concerns.

Pre-teen acne increasing…solutions need to be gentle

In this great article, a dermatology professor in Australia is very clear in his opinion that adult solutions like antibiotics, acutane and other drugs and harsh products should not be used on pre-teens. Their skin and body can be adversely affected by severe medical treatments. As he says, using a gentle cleanser and no scrubs is just as critical….and yet so many cosmetic companies (medical and non-medical) will tell parents to buy a detergent/Salicylic acid cleanser with a scrub as an exfoliator…. BAD, BAD, BAD….

The best approach is to teach the child to use a truly gentle cleanser using COOL water, NOT HOT, a very mild exfoliator like Clear Skin Ultra Gel or Gentle + Exfoliate Gel, and spot treat with a colloidal sulfur solution (sulfur is anti-bacterial as well as having repairing qualities for the skin)… To find out more about acne, watch this video.

The information provided here is not meant to diagnose or cure any medical conditions. Please see your doctor or a trained medical professional should you have any concerns.