Can A Pillow Prevent Wrinkles?

wrinkle prevention pillow 01

Did you know that the way you sleep may actually cause wrinkles?

Yep, it’s not enough to wear sunscreen daily, eat a healthy diet, and use products chockfull of antioxidants. We also need to pay attention to how we sleep. Why? “No matter how soft your pillow, it puts pressure on your face each night,” explains Dr Matthew Hoffman. “Over years, this can etch lines into your chin, cheeks or forehead. Your personal pattern of sleep lines depends of how you tend to rest your face on the pillow.”

Dermatologist Neal Schultz agrees: “If you sleep on your side or front, rather than your back, it’s like you’re folding over your skin – except it’s sustained pressure. It’s breaking the collagen, which can give you wrinkles and make your skin look saggy.”

The solution? Sleep on your back. Problem is, that’s no solution at all to me, and, I guess, to many of you. I’ve tried many times to sleep on my back, but I’ve always given up up after a few minutes. It’s just so uncomfortable! I can only sleep on my side, but at least I alternate between my right and left, so, hopefully, I’m getting the same amount of damage everywhere.

But what if you don’t want any damage at all? Isn’t there another solution? Maybe. Some experts recommend you sleep on a tall, silk pillow, such as About Face The Wrinkle Prevention Pillow.

The Wrinkle Prevention Pillow

The Wrinkle Prevention Pillow was invented by Patty Colman, Beauty Sleep Expert and President of About Face Products. Understanding the importance of a good night’s sleep and its benefits, Patty wanted “to help people rest assured knowing that they no longer are causing permanent sleep wrinkles while sleeping.”

Apparently, this pillow help you sleep on your back, prevent wrinkles and eye puffiness, and even make your skincare products and treatments last longer! No wonder it has been copied by several rivals, launching a new category of products in the anti-aging industry. But does it work? Let’s investigate:

wrinkle prevention pillow 02

Can it prevent wrinkles?

Made of memory foam, the Wrinkle Prevention Pillow features a contoured center that makes sleeping on your back more natural and comfortable. So, if, like me, you find it impossible to sleep on your back on a normal pillow, this may help. But what if you sleep on your side or stomach?

According to the website, “if and when you do turn on your side or stomach, position your head so that it is at the edge of the C curve of the pillow [the right and left edges of this pillow are C-shaped]. Position the top ‘leg’ of the pillow so it supports the top of your head, and the bottom “leg” so it supports the bottom of your chin.” That may be easy to do as soon as you get into bed, but if you change position during the night?

Apparently, even then a silk pillowcase would lessen the chance of lines forming by allowing the skin to move on it with less friction. On a cotton pillowcase, your skin doesn’t move as well, so lines tend to form more easily. But, as Paula Begoun points out, this theory has never been tested in any serious study, so no one knows if it really works.

She doesn’t think it hurts to try it, although she warns us about another “danger”. Paula tried a silk pillowcase (not sure it was by About Face, though) but she kept sliding off of it: “really, I wake up in the morning and the pillow is somewhere else. It’s like on the floor.” That kinda defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? It’s a shame, cos I really like the idea of sleeping on a silk pillowcase, even if it shouldn’t help prevent wrinkles.

Can it make skincare products work better?

As the pillow helps you sleep on your back comfortably, your face won’t touch it. This prevents your lotions and potions from getting absorbed by the pillowcase rather than your skin. Silk is also slightly less absorbent than cotton. It also, as we’ve seen above, causes skin to move on it more easily, with less friction. Because of these benefits, even if you sleep on your side, most of your night cream should remain on your skin anyway.

These benefits also help hair form less knots during sleep, and your eyelash extensions and derma fillers (if you regularly have them done and sleep on your side, have you noticed how that side loses its fullness faster?) last longer.

wrinkle prevention pillow 03

Can it prevent eye puffiness?

Eye puffiness can be caused by several factors. One of them is fluid retention. When you keep your head flat during sleep, fluids collect in the tissue around your eyes. Luckily, there’s a very easy fix for this. Sleep with your head slightly raised. The wrinkle prevention pillow helps sleep like that. But, if your eye puffiness is caused by something else, like allergies or a diet high in salt, this pillow won’t help at all.

Where can you get the Wrinkle Prevention Pillow?

The Wrinkle Prevention Pillow by About Face is available in in ivory, purple, and pink, so you can choose the one that best matches your sheets. On their website, the pillow ($65.00) and pillowcase ($28.95) can be purchased separately, whether on Amazon, they are available together for $89.00 (but only the pink and purple versions are available there).

Should you get The Wrinkle Prevention Pillow?

While there is some evidence that sleeping on your back and with your head raised can prevent wrinkles, reduce eye puffiness, make your skincare products work better, and treatments such as derma fillers last longer, no study has confirmed the alleged anti-aging benefits of The Wrinkle Prevention Pillow or silk pillowcases yet.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to try one. If you’re on a budget, you may want to invest in just a silk pillowcase for your regular pillow. At the very least, it’ll add a touch of luxury to your sleep. As long as your pillow doesn’t end up on the floor!

Have you tried the Wrinkle Prevention Pillow, or even just a silk pillowcase?

Why You Should Use A Serum

why you should use a serum

When it comes to skincare, less is more. Toners aren’t necessary. For most people, neither are eye creams. And masks may provide a nice pampering experience and a much needed pick me up when your skin is particularly dull and lacklustre. But they’re not a must to keep your skin in top shape.

For a long time, I thought serums fell into the same category. Skincare gimmicks that suck your money dry but provide little benefits if you’re already using a well-formulated moisturizer. Of course, at the time I had no idea what serums were or what they were supposed to do. It’s only when, in my mid 20s, I started taking anti-aging seriously, that I began wondering whether I should add a serum to my skincare routine.

When I did, I never looked back. If anything, I regretted taking so long to jump on the bandwagon. Yep, a lot of skincare products are unnecessary gimmicks designed to separate you from your money, but serum isn’t one of them. As it turns out, a serum is the workhorse of your skincare routine.

skin actives vitamin c serum

Why you should use a serum

I used to think that, if my moisturizer already contained antioxidants, then buying a serum with antioxidants was just a waste of money. Why pay twice for the same ingredients? Because those ingredients are more concentrated in a serum, and therefore work better.

In fact, serums contain anti-aging or skin-lightening ingredients and barely anything else. Moisturizers, on the other hand, are full of occlusive emollients that help keep skin hydrated by forming a barrier that prevents water loss, and thickeners that give them a richer texture. These ingredients are good for skin, but they take up so much space that antioxidants tend to get lost in the formula. Their concentrations are often small.

Not in serums. With little else to fight for space for, antioxidants and/or skin-lighting agents take a prominent place. In serums, more of them are present, and in higher concentrations too. That’s why they work faster and better. You may get away with not using a serum when you’re still very young, but, if you haven’t added one to your skincare routine by your mid-20s, you’re doing your skin a huge disservice.

paula's choice resist intensive wrinkle repair retinol serum 01

How do you use a serum?

A serum should be part of both your daytime and night-time skincare routines. Pour a pea-sized amount on your hand and apply it on your skin after a AHA or BHA exfoliant but before your moisturizer. The barrier moisturizers create on the skin keep water in but can also keep active ingredients out. If you apply a serum after your moisturizer, it won’t penetrate skin, and therefore work, as well.

If your skin is oily, you may not need to apply a moisturizer at all. The serum may, on its own, provide all the hydration you need. I sometimes skip the moisturizer on my oily t-zone, but on my dry cheeks, it’s a must. If I don’t, skin feels tight and dry.

skin actives antioxidant serum ros terminator

My favourite picks

So, now that you know you should use a serum, which one should you pick? Here are a few of my favourites:

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution ($88.00): infused with antioxidants, retinol, glycolic acid, and a bunch of skin-lightening agents, this serum helps reduce all signs of premature aging, from wrinkles to dark spots.

MD Formulations Vit-A Plus Illumination Serum ($65.00): infused with glycolic acid, retinol, and antioxidants, this serum helps both prevent and reduce wrinkles and lighten dark spots. Ideal for mature skin, it provides a great alternative to hydroquinone serums.

Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum ($26.95): although not very hydrating, this serum contains a plethora of antioxidants that helps keep the signs of premature aging at bay. Vitamin C also helps slowly reduce dark spots.

Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum($31.95): a staple in my night-time skincare routine, this serum is loaded with antioxidants, retinol and anti-irritants that can boost collagen production, help prevent and fight the signs of aging, reduce discolourations and treat acne breakouts.

Peter Thomas Roth De-Spot™ Skin Brightening Corrector ($75.00): another good, but pricey, alternative to hydroquinone serums, it contains niacinamide and a bunch of berry extracts with skin-lightening properties that helps reduce dark spots. It also has antioxidant and hydrating properties, which makes it a great choice for mature, dry skin.

Skin Actives Antioxidant Serum With ROS* Terminator ($25.25): this serum features pretty much every antioxidant you can think of to help prevent premature aging. That’s not all. It also has hydrating and skin-lightening properties to make your skin soft and bright.

Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum ($15.50): a cheaper alternative to Skinceutical CE Ferulic serum, Skin Actives Vitamin C Serum is loaded with antioxidants that can stimulate collage production, reduce sun damage and hyperpigmentation, prevent wrinkles, and exfoliate skin. It’s another staple in my skincare routine.

Do you use a serum? If not, will you start soon?

Do Your Skincare Products Have To Be From The Same Brand?

skincare products same brand

Do all our skincare products have to be from the same brand? That’s certainly what brands want us to believe. Hey, they get all our money if we do. That’s why they are so fond of reminding us that all the products in their lines have been created to work synergistically together and, if we stray, we are just making them ineffective.

But is that really true? Well, while there are certainly cases when sticking to a brand can give good results, most of the time there is absolutely no need to do so. You may even hurt your skin (and your wallet) by being too faithful to just one brand. Yes, really. Here’s why:

Every line has a dud (or two)

Just because one product does great things for your skin, it doesn’t mean that all the others in the same line will too. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find a line that features, for example, a serum formulated with state-of-the-art ingredients, a gentle, effective cleanser, a toner laden with irritants, and a moisturizer packaged in a jar which allows all its goodies to spoil.

And even when they are all well-formulated, one or more products may not be suitable for your skin type. A moisturizer can, for instance, be too rich for your oily skin and cause breakouts. Every line has one or more duds, and if you insist on using them, your skin won’t be happy!

Some ingredients just can’t be used together

Having said that, there is a grain of truth in the “our products are designed to work together, so mixing brands can reduce their effectiveness” theory. Some ingredients just don’t work that well together. For example, AHAs, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, can neutralize retinoids, making them ineffective. And that’s the last thing you want.

While not every product in one line may be well-formulated, they are created with ingredients that work well together. But is sticking to the same brand even in this case worth it? That depends on the line. Are all its products formulated without irritants and work well for your skin type and needs? If so, by all means, don’t stray. But such a line is very hard to find.

So, what to do?

Research and experiment. Knowledge is power. By understanding which ingredients should never be used together, and which address any concern your skin may have, you will be able to create a skincare routine that satisfies your needs and keeps your skin in top condition. Remember, your skin doesn’t care what brand you use, it just wants something that suits its needs!

Do you stick to the same brand or, like me, do you like to mix and match skincare products?

5 Unnecessary Skincare Products

unnecessary skincare products

“Cleanse, tone, and moisturize.” “Don’t forget to buy a cream for your neck as well.” “And have you tried this facial mask as well?”

Every day we are bombarded by magazine articles and ads from skincare companies encouraging us to buy all sorts of products for our skin. But while some of them are very useful, others are just gimmicks that don’t work and only make us waste money. Here are 5 totally unnecessary skincare products you don’t need to invest in:

1. Toner

Toner is one of the most used, and yet most useless, skincare products. Did you know it was invented to remove the residue soap left behind? Well, these days we don’t use soap to wash our faces anymore. Most facial cleansers don’t leave neither a residue nor any dirt behind. If yours does, then it doesn’t work that well, so change it.

If you have oily skin and use astringents to keep it under control, don’t. This type of toner is full of alcohol, which irritates and dries out skin, causing it to produce even more oil. What about toners with antioxidants and moisturizing ingredients? These ingredients definitely benefit skin, but they are already included in well-formulated moisturizers so I personally don’t see the need to buy these toners as well.

2. Neck Cream

Your neck needs some TLC too, or it will show your age sooner than your face. But you don’t need any special products for it. Your neck needs what the rest of your face needs: moisturizing ingredients, antioxidants, retinoids, AHAs, and protection from the sun. So, choose well-formulated moisturizers, sunscreens, and exfoliants for your face and use them on your neck as well.

3. Face mists

I don’t really get face mists. Sure, the refreshing sensation they provide is very pleasant in the summer, but these products are little more than water in a fancy bottle. I’d rather stick to plain old tap water. But if you really feel the need to buy a face mist, choose an inexpensive one.

4. Anti-cellulite products

How I wish these worked! But they don’t. No topical cream can get rid of cellulite. What they can do, if they contain retinol, is smooth out the surface of the skin a bit so that your cellulite looks less obvious. But it is still there. Of course, improvement is minimal. Unless the cream contains too little retinol or is packaged in a jar that makes this ingredient useless. Then, it will not work at all. So eat healthy, exercise, and forget about your cellulite. We all have it. It’s normal, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

5. Facial Masks

I wouldn’t say facial masks are useless, but they aren’t as useful as most people think either. The moisturizing and antioxidant goodies they contain work best when left on the skin for hours, not removed after 20 minutes or so. They can be useful as a pick-me-up before a special occasion (that’s when I use them), but there’s no need to use them regularly.

What skincare products do you think are useless?

Dry Skin? Here’s What Your Moisturizer Should Contain

best ingredients moisturizer dry skin

Whether you experience it year round, or only when the temperatures drop, dry skin is very frustrating. It flakes, itches, feels uncomfortable all day long, and gets easily irritated. What it needs is a well-formulated moisturizer that can soothe it, hydrate it, and keep it in top shape.

There’s no shortage of moisturizers for dry skin on the market, but how do you know which ones are effective? To work their best there are certain ingredients they absolutely must contains. Here they are:

glycerin molecular structure

1. Humectants

Dry skin desperately needs moisture. That’s why humectants are so important. This group of ingredients, which includes glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and glycolic acid can attract water from the environment into the skin, helping to improve hydration. Hyaluronic acid is particularly effective because it can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water and works well both in high and low humidity conditions.

oil cleansing method

2. Occlusive emollients

To attract moisture into the skin is not enough to keep it hydrated. The moisture also needs to stay there, and not evaporate again. That’s when occlusive emollients come in. They create a protective barrier on the skin that prevents water loss.

Some people are worried they can also cause breakouts. This rarely happens to people with dry skin, but if you are one of the unlucky ones that has to deal both with dryness and breakouts, experiment until you find the right combination of occlusive emollients that works best for you.

Also, make sure your skincare products don’t contain any comedogenic ingredients that may cause trouble once trapped underneath the barrier created by occlusive emollients. Occlusive emollients include olive oil, jojoba oil, mineral oil, petrolatum, and shea butter.


3. Skin-identical ingredients

Your skin has its own natural protective barrier. It is made up of skin cells and the “glue” that holds them together. When this barrier is intact, skin looks smooth, soft, and supple.

But its glue is quite fragile, and is easily damaged by UV rays, harsh weather, overcleansing, overexfoliating, indoor heaters, etc. When this happens, skin loses moisture, and becomes dry, flaky, and itchy.

To prevent this from happening, you need to maintain and restore this glue. How? By using a moisturizer with skin-identical ingredients, ie ingredients that make up the glue. These include, to name just a few, ceramides, amino acids, lecithin, phospholipids, and fatty acids.


4. Antioxidants

UV rays can cause all kinds of damage to the skin, including wrinkles, sun spots, and disruption of the skin’s natural barrier. Antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E, green tea, and coenzyme Q10, can prevent and reduce the damage caused by UV rays, helping skin to stay hydrated and healthy.

A lot of antioxidants also double up as anti-inflammatory agents, helping to soothe signs of dryness such as redness, itching, and pain. The more antioxidants your moisturizer contains, the better. But be sure to opt for one packaged in an opaque, air-tight bottle or tube. Antioxidants lose their effectiveness when they come in contact with light and air.

alcohol denat

What to avoid

Knowing what to look for in a moisturizer is not enough to keep your dry skin healthy, soft, and supple. You also need to know what to avoid. Alcohol and witch hazel are both very dry and irritating to the skin. Mint, peppermint, and some kinds of natural oils, particularly citrus oils, can cause irritations as well. When this ingredients are found at the top of the ingredient list, leave the moisturizer on the shelf.

best moisturizer for dry skin

Best moisturizers for dry skin

There are a lot of good moisturizers for dry skin on the market. One of my favourites is Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol ($29.00). In addition to preventing water loss and hydrating skin, it also helps skin fight all signs of premature ageing, including wrinkles and dark spots, and firm skin. Other good options are Dr Dennis Gross Age Erase Moisture With Mega 10 Plus ($48.00), Arbonne Calm Gentle Daily Moisturizer ($36.00), and SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5 ($75.00).

What’s your favourite moisturizer for dry skin?

How To Choose The Right Cleanser For Your Skin Type

right cleanser skin type

I feel a bit sorry for cleansers. They take grime and makeup off our faces, and prepare them for the luxurious serums and lotions we’re gonna apply next, allowing them to better penetrate into the skin. And yet, we barely pay any attention to them.

We spend hours researching what moisturizer to try next, but when it comes to cleansers, we purchase whatever is cheapest. As long as it works, who cares? But if it doesn’t, it can cause some serious havoc on our skin!

Here’s what you need to know to choose the right cleanser for your skin type:

types of cleanser

Types of cleansers

Foaming cleansers

Foaming cleansers contain cleansing agents that produce lather when rubbed in water. They remove dirt, makeup, and excess oil very well, but can also be drying. They shouldn’t be left on the skin for too long or they will strip too much sebum, aka skin’s natural moisturizer, leaving skin feeling too tight and dry. On the plus side, they don’t leave any residue behind.

Best picks: Clean & Clear Essentials Foaming Facial Cleanser, Sensitive Skin ($5.29), Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Oil-Free Foaming One-Step Cleanser ($35.00), and Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser ($6.49)

Cream cleansers

Cream cleansers, also called cleansing milks, are lather-free, thin lotions that contain a fairly high amount of emollients and humectants, ingredients that help keep skin soft and hydrated. When used in high doses, they reduce both the foaming, cleansing, and drying properties of cleansing agents. In other words, they are gentler on the skin, but may not cleanse as well. They may also leave a residue behind.

Best picks: Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser ($17.00) and Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Daily Cream Facial Cleanser

Cleansing oils

Cleansing oils are oil-based cleansers that are liquid at room temperature. They’re very effective at removing dirt and makeup, including waterproof mascara and longlasting foundation, and sunscreen. They are quite gentle on the skin, but can leave a greasy residue behind.

Best picks: Nude Skincare Perfect Cleansing Oil for Face & Eyes ($36.00) and Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48.00)

Cleansing Balms

Cleansing balms are oil-based cleansers that are as gentle as cleansing milks, but remove makeup, even stubborn one, and dirt more effectively. To use them, you must first pick up a small amount and then rub it between your hands until it turns into an oil. They don’t lather, remove makeup and dirt fairly well, but may leave a residue behind.

Best pick: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Cleansing wipes

Cleansing wipes are clothes infused with a cleansing lotion. They contain both a low amount of cleansing agents and emollients, so their abilities to cleanse skin well can be attributed more to the frictional force of rubbing than to the formula. Because of this, they can be a bit drying.

Best picks: Boots Expert Sensitive Cleansing & Toning Wipes ($4.69), Lumene Sensitive Touch Cleansing Wipes ($2.99), and MAC Wipes ($10.00)

best cleanser skin type

What’s the best cleanser for my skin type?

To choose the best cleanser for your needs, you first need to identify your skin type, and any skin problems you may have. Then, follow these guidelines:

Oily and combination skin types

Women with these skin types can use pretty much any cleanser, as long as it isn’t too harsh. It may be tempting to use a strong cleanser to get rid of all the excess oil, but that’s never a good idea. A small amount of sebum is necessary to keep skin naturally moisturized and, if you remove it all, your skin is just gonna produce more. That’s so not what you want If your skin feels too tight, dry, or squeaky clean after cleansing, opt for a gentler option.

Dry skin

Dry skin needs cleansers that are rich in humectants and emollients. Thus cream cleansers, and cleansing balms and oils are all good options to consider. They remove dirt and makeup well without drying it out. If you want to try a foaming cleanser, opt for one with the gentlest surfactants, such as cocamidopropyl betaine or sodium lauroamphoacetate.

Sensitive skin

If your skin is easily irritated, or you are affected with eczema, psoriasis, or any other skin condition, opt for the gentlest option you can find. You may have to use a bit more product to remove your makeup, but at least you won’t irritate your skin further and worsen your condition.

avoid bar soap

What to avoid

You may have noticed that I didn’t mention bar soaps. That’s because these soaps usually have an alkaline base (ie, a ph over 8) that can disrupt skin’s barrier function, leading to dryness, irritations, and infections. Ingredients to avoid in bar soaps are Sodium Cocoate and Sodium Palmate. Also watch out for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is usually used in foaming cleansers for its ability to produce a rich lather. This is the harshest surfactant used in skincare products and, when used in high doses, can be irritating and drying.

What’s your favourite cleanser?