Exfoliants – What, How, When?


An exfoliant is a product which removes dead cells from the surface of the skin, revealing a clearer, smoother, and more even-toned complexion underneath. Exfoliants are instrumental in unclogging pores and fading post-breakout marks, in lessening dryness and improving the appearance of discoloration.


There are three types of exfoliants: exfoliating acids, enzyme exfoliators and physical exfoliants.

Exfoliating acids dissolve the “glue” which holds skin cells together, which results in the shedding of dead cells. Acids are quite powerful and their effectiveness makes the ideal for treating very oily, acneic skin. AHA (alpha-hydroxy) acids are water soluble and penetrate less than BHA (beta-hydroxy) acids, which are oil soluble and penetrate deeper.

The most common AHAs are lactic, glycolic, malic, mandelic, and tartaric acids.

BHAs commonly found in skincare: salicylic acid and betaine salicylate.

Exfoliating acids suit anyone who has clogged pores, blackheads, breakouts, dryness, flakiness, fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, dullness, discoloration, or rough texture. Anyone can safely use exfoliating acids, provided the ph and concentration are suitable.

Examples of products with exfoliating acids: Acne Clearing Wash, AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel.

Enzyme Exfoliators

Enzymes are fruit-derived. They contain no acids or grains. This means they can offer a gentler, no-sting exfoliation, which is very helpful for sensitive skin types. Pineapple, pumpkin, pomegranate, and papaya are the most common fruit enzymes used in skincare products. They work by dissolving and digesting the protein found in dead skin cells, thereby revealing smoother skin.

Both exfoliating acids and exfoliating enzymes dissolve dry skin cells, but there are a few main differences in how they work. Enzymes work more on the surface, while acids slip deeper into the skin’s surface. Also, enzymes are activated by water and work more slowly to digest cellular buildup. Apply them to damp skin and leave them on for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.

Any kind of exfoliation can improve clogged pores, blackheads, blemishes, dryness, flakiness, fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, dullness, and discoloration. With that being said, anyone who can’t tolerate exfoliating acids will find enzymes a particularly good option.

Examples of enzyme exfoliants: Enzymatic Fruit Exfoliant.

Physical Exfoliants

Physical exfoliants, such as face scrubs, cleansing brushes, and washcloths, have a slightly abrasive texture that when massaged across the skin, manually sloughs off dry, dead skin cells. This type of exfoliant complements exfoliating acids and enzymes. Whereas acids and enzymes dissolve and loosen dead cells, physical exfoliants can actually lift them up and away.

All skin types can use physical exfoliants, even sensitive skin. The key is to use very light pressure. If you’re using a face scrub, let the beads or particles gently glide over the skin. People often make the mistake of pushing too hard, which can result in redness and irritation.

Examples pf physical exfoliants: Almond Grain Exfoliant, Organic Skin Radiance Exfoliant, MicroGel Peeling, Desquacream, GerPeel


No more than five times per week. When it comes to making recommendations for the skin, it’s always hard to generalize for all skin types but for most, four to five times per week is plenty.

Why Wash your Face in the Morning

There are 3 reasons for washing your face in the morning:

  1. Remove all traces of night products to ensure any traces of them are off of your skin so your protective daytime products (like those that contain antioxidants  such as vitamin C and sunscreen) are uninhibited and can work their absolute best.
  2. When you sleep at night, your skin secretes toxins and sebum (oil), which could prevent daytime products from working as effectively as possible. Washing your face in the morning gives your skin a clean slate so protective products work as effectively as possible and last longer on the skin.
  3. Even if you have dry skin there is a chance that traces of oils from the night time products are still on the skin and will prevent absorption and effectiveness of day time products.

Using a gentle, gel face wash will not strip the skin and cause drying by altering the ph.

Make sure you follow with a suitable moisturizer right away and prevent moisture loss.

We suggest several Morning Wash products:

Morning Cleanser by Sothys

Micellar Cleansing Water by Sothys

Water Drench Hydrating Toner by Peter Thomas Roth

There you have it. In order for your skin to be as healthy as possible, you want to have a clean slate in the morning, so your sunscreen can be the star of the show. Remember, sunscreen is the anti-aging product you can have on your skin.

Are Cleansers and Lotions Really Necessary?

“I don’t use make-up, so just a splash with water should be enough”. As any esthetician can tell you, this is a common comment. Yet, it couldn’t be more wrong.

We live in a relatively polluted world, the air is full of dust particles that are happy to land on our exposed face. Mixed with the dead cells the skin sheds daily, this becomes a build up similar to a dry sponge. Water alone cannot dislodge the buildup and any cream applied will be absorbed by the “dry sponge” before it gets anywhere to do some good to the skin.

Gentle cleansers followed by a lotion will remove the daily buildup and leave the skin ready to receive the nourishing night cream.

Saving money on cleansers and lotions is a false savings, because if the skin is not properly cleansed, no expensive night cream is going to do much good, in fact it would be a case of penny wise and pound foolish.

Drugstore vs.Professional Skin Care Products

Cosmetic products are being created on a daily basis. Some are only sold through aestheticians and doctor’s offices, while others are readily available via television shopping channels, infomercials, online retailers, or department stores and drugstores. Consumers often end up feeling confused about who to trust, where to shop, and whether to spend their hard-earned money at the spa or the drugstore.

Drugstore products are designed to target some of the most general needs of the skin. The products must be suitable for all ages and different skin types and concerns. The formulating concept behind a typical drugstore skin care product is “one size fits all.”

On the other hand, the majority of products formulated for skin care professionals are made for a narrower range of consumers. Usually, these skin care products are skin type- and condition-specific, result-driven, and designed to yield quick results. These formulations are designed for consumers who are seeking solutions via treatments and products offered by professionals. When creating products for the professional market, formulators mainly focus on targeted issues the product is designed to help resolve. They will choose very specific actives that are often clinically-tested for activity; the percentage used in clinical studies is often referenced as the percentage used in the product. This approach ensures product activity and visible results in the shortest time possible. Consumers purchasing products from professionals also benefit from extended education they receive on the product benefit and usage as proper usage is very important in order to obtain results.

Sonic Face Brushes – Pros & Cons

The last few years have seen a serious growth in the sales of mechanical face brushes, with Clarisonic leading the pack.

Here we will try to make things clearer, without the hype.

As an aesthetician with more that 25 years of experience, I am quite familiar with the concept of face brushing. In years gone by we used to use and sell lovely little face brushes, some with natural bristles, others less costly had nylon bristles.

Even back then, the purpose of using the brush was to enhance the results of face cleansing. Oily skin with blackheads was greatly improved when the person diligently used the brush to spread and work in the cleansing milk or foam. Dry skin also benefited from the removal of dead cells and acquired a lovely glow. Mature skin definitely benefited because of the increased blood flow to the area, which improved nutrition and cell renewal.

Brushing  was not recommended for very sensitive skin or pustular acne. Sensitive skin may become worse from the brushing action that could irritate. Pustular acne was in danger of spreading the acne causing bacteria by accidentally breaking pustules while brushing. Acneic skin tends to be sensitive and brushing could increase that problem.

The advantages I outlined above are still standing, except that the mechanical brushes will do the work for you, like the sonic toothbrushes will clean your teeth.

If used diligently, the manual brush will give identical results to the sonic brush. The key here is to actually use it daily. Of course, if one spends upward of $100.- on a sonic brush it stands to reason that one will, at least at the start, use it more than one which cost $15.- It’s all down to psychology: if it costs more it must be better.

I would avoid manual brushes with nylon bristles, because they may be scratchy. Natural bristles work very well and need little care. Just rinse well and let dry with bristles facing down, on a towel. Otherwise water will seep into the handle( usually made of wood) and cause it to crack over time. It’s a good idea to disinfect your brush weekly, to avoid creating a bacterial culture in the bristles.

Sonic brushes need disinfection as well and if you opt for one you will be very happy with the results, just as happy as when using a common-or-garden variety. True, there’s nothing fancy about the latter and you cannot carelessly mention to your friends you had just finished brushing with the latest gadget. It just does not have the same “cool, with-it” vibe, a must for many people.

To conclude, sonic brushes are doing just as great a job as manual ones, but if you want one, just go ahead, but at that price you better use it religiously!

Nadia Danay

Moisturizers for Oily Skin

Summer is splendid, but oily skin finds it difficult to handle, what with moisturizers and sunscreen, plus make up. It can be very stressing, trying to tone down the shine.

Over the years I had many clients complain that their oily skin became even oilier once they used a moisturizer. The problem is not the skin, just that the product they use is not designed for their skin type, which is oily.

A little anatomy here will help understanding this topic.

Our skin contains a lot of water, which is needed for keeping the skin molecules plump and the interstitial fluid (the “soupy” liquid which surrounds the molecules) at a liquid consistency. We lose water content through moving and generally functioning as living beings. For the body to function well we need to replace the water content. Since water is vital to normal life, the famous 8 glasses we drink are going to go everywhere in the body and the skin is last on the destination list, which means the skin does not necessarily get enough for its needs. This is the reason for using topical moisturizers.

The second important ingredient in the skin beside water is sebum (oil). Sebum is produced by glands located in the skin and its job is to protect the skin from environmental elements, such as dust, bacteria, pollen, etc.

Sebum creates a very thin film on the skin and gives it its “dewy” look.

The sebaceous glands sometimes produce too much sebum and this results in an “oily skin”.

Having an oily skin does not mean the skin needs no water.

When choosing a moisturizer we need to pay attention to which type of skin the moisturizer is for.

Moisturizing cream for oily skin is water based.The moisturizing cream for oily skin is light in texture and will penetrate easily, leaving no film on the skin.

Choosing the right moisturizing cream for oily skin ensures your skin gets hydrated without any negative side effect.

Allowing oily skin to become dehydrated will only result in premature wrinkles, not a very desirable result.

Here are a few Oily Skin Moisturizers we like:

Tropo by Gernetic, Mixed & Oily by Gernetic, Hydra-Matt Fluid by Sothys, Sulphuric Whip Moisturizer by Ilike Organic Skin Care, Oil-Free Moisturizer by Peter Thomas Roth and Clariphase Day/Night Cream by France Laure.



5 good reasons for a cleanser / toner or face wash routine



1. Regardless of skin type, cleansers remove makeup and pollution from the skin. Some cleansers are removable with water, others need to be removed with a tissue and then with a toner.

2. Toners are needed to remove the last traces of cleanser without stripping the skin too much. The ph of the skin is balanced by the toner which leaves your skin with a ph of 4.5, a little on the acidic side, making sure bacteria do not make their home on your skin. Even if your skin is oily or acneic, you must make sure that your toner does NOT contain alcohol. This ingredient will strip the skin completely, just like soap will. Unprotected skin will then produce more sebum (oil) and the oiliness will come back with a vengeance.

3. Oily skin may prefer the feeling of a foaming face wash, which works very well for this skin type. Many face washes for oily skin do not need a toner to follow.

4. There are face washes for dry and mature skins. Some of them contain tiny granules which effect a gentle exfoliation while cleansing. Others contain ingredients such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, plant and fruit extracts. If you wear a fair amount of makeup it is advisable to use a milk cleanser first and follow with an appropriate face wash.

5. The night cream applied following a good cleansing will have a better chance of producing visible effects. Otherwise, applied on an uncleansed face, it will just add to the debris and be quite useless. Shame to pay all that money for a cream to just have it go to nought!

Do you have a favourite cleanser/toner or face wash?

by Nadia Danay

Why Soap is Not Good for Your Face



This post is the first in a series I call “Back to Basics” to discuss the fundamentals of daily skin care.

Soaps are great for the body are not so great when used on the face.

Soap removes the naturally occurring oil protection and leaves the skin totally bare. The oil is there to create a barrier against outside aggression, such as bacteria, dust, wind, pollution.

This oil is produced by oil glands (or sebaceous glands) located in our own skin. Once on the skin surface, the oil acts as a sheer cover. The ph of the sebum is slightly acidic, therefore destroying bacteria it comes in contact with.

When using soap all this protection is washed off and the skin responds by producing more oil. For oily skin this is not good, as it creates a vicious circle of washing and producing more oil than needed, then washing again…In the long run oily skin becomes sensitized and the sensitivity will last a life time, even after the oil production slows down with age.

Dry skin will just feel taut, because the amount  of sebum it produces is too small to begin with, so after washing it off you feel like your skin has shrunk.  In the long run, this is one of the reasons why some very young people develop wrinkles long before their time.

Cleansing the skin at night is an absolute must if we want to keep looking fresh and wrinkle free for a long time. However, soap is not the answer for the reasons I just mentioned above.

There are solutions that work well without the nasty side effects. Cleansers and toners, or face washes are the alternative and we’ll discuss them in detail in a future post.

Until then, take good care of yourself.

by Nadia Danay

Choosing The Right Skin Care at Every Age

Last week I visited a friend and had to use her bathroom. Not that I am nosy, or anything, but her skin care products were out there on the counter for all to see.

So I took a look and for a minute I thought she intends to open a store, there were that many bottles and jars in little rows. Being an aesthetician and a friend, I felt I can ask her why she had so many skin care items, without her taking offence.

She said she uses them all, not regularly, but as the fancy takes her. She does not have a real “fave”, just buys what she feels the latest “trend” is. I have to admit she does use some of the products I carry, but not exclusively. Her main source of ideas are magazine ads and TV commercials.

She is not alone in doing this and I find it hilarious that she constantly has complaints about her skin. The problem is not the products themselves, as much as the fact that many of them are not for her skin type and age.

We need to tailor our skin care to our individual skin and age. I’ve put together a little chart to outline basic skin care needs according to age. I hope it clears some of the confusion many people have on what is needed and what is just a nice extra.

To really personalize this chart to your individual age and skin, please do not hesitate to contact me at : info@theeuropeantouch.com and I’ll be delighted to assist you in making educated choices.

new workbook


10 Reasons You Need Moisturizers

After cleansing, moisturizing is THE most important weapon we use to keep our skin looking good. And here are 10 reasons why you need moisturizers, regardless of skin type:

1. Moisturizing daily will get rid of the fine lines that look like a spider left its web on your skin. That is dehydration, lack of water. Moisturizing diligently will eliminate those pesky fine lines.

2. Maintain a healthy, dewy glow. It is not makeup, but diligent moisturizing that will give you the glow that shows once the war paint is off.

3. Start moisturizing while you’re in your late teens and you’ll delay the appearance of crows’ feet at the eye corners. Very aging!

4. Foundation and powder look much better when applied on a well moisturized skin.

5. You will use much less foundation, because the well moisturized skin lets foundation stay on top of the skin, so you use much less and look more natural.

6. Well moisturized oily skin will avoid dehydration and the flakiness that goes with it.

7. Well moisturized skin stands up better to environmental aggressors, such as wind, therefore no chafing.

8. Well moisturized skin looks smooth, with normal pores, not too large and unsightly.

9. Well moisturized oily skin will produce less oil. Oily skin produces more oil in self defence against dehydration.

10. Using a moisturizer with SPF is great sun protection.

So here you have it : 10 reasons to use a moisturizer daily.

Which one applies to you?

by Nadia Danay