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Natural Living

Good To Glow

The short list of natural toners, masks, and peels that reveal bright, youthful skin

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Did You Know?
When using masks and peels, it’s best to avoid the delicate eye area, unless a product states that it is safe for undereye use.

Adding one or two steps to your skin care routine can make your skin glow. Sure, you cleanse, moisturize, and finish with a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, but your skin may need a little boost. Toners, masks, and peels can provide that boost.

“Whether or not you need to use a toner is based on skin type and condition.,” says Mitchel P. Goldman, MD, dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and founder and medical director of La Jolla Spa MD, in La Jolla, Calif. “Masks can be used to tighten or moisturize. Peels, in general, are a great addition to any good skin care program.”

For the best results, look for natural and gentle ingredients in toners, masks, and peels that work synergistically for your desired outcome. And beware of harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances, because they may damage healthy skin.

“I encourage my patients to avoid chemicals and fragrances as much as possible,” says Goldman. “Unfortunately, most of the products in the over-the-counter category include fragrances, colors, and other items that are simply meant to make them feel and smell good and have no benefit for the skin. What’s worse, these additional feel-good ingredients can cause allergies that may be difficult to treat.”

Keep in mind that although these auxiliary skin care products reveal radiant skin, too much of a good thing can be irritating. Toners may be used daily if they are part of a skin care routine for oily skin, for example.

“Masks can be used one to three times weekly, depending on the active ingredient and the state of the patient’s skin,” says Goldman. Peels may be used weekly or biweekly, depending on how aggressive you want to get.” When using products that exfoliate the top layer of skin, it is important to use sunscreen to protect the fresh skin. While we’re all familiar with the burning effects of the sun’s UVB rays, it’s the UVA rays that age your skin.

“Most over-the-counter sunscreens have very poor UVA protection at present, due to no standards for labeling,” says Joel Schlessinger, MD, board-certified dermatologist and general cosmetic surgeon in Omaha, Neb. “This is changing, and we will soon have excellent labeling that will inform consumers effectively.”

Until then, it’s up to you to identify the products with the best ingredients. For UVA protection, Schlessinger recommends the physical sun block ingredients micronized zinc and titanium dioxide to protect your healthy, glowing fresh skin.

Product Examples

Restore your skin’s natural balance with Alba Botanica Rainforest Refreshing Mist Toner, which is infused with extract of tiger nut to boost elasticity, andiroba oil to renew, and antioxidant-rich açaí oil to neutralize free radicals. Use after cleansing or spray anytime for a refreshing pick-me-up.

Smooth and refine your skin with Zia Fresh Papaya Enzyme Mask. Organic papaya gently dissolves dead skin, while vitamins C and E aid skin repair, honey hydrates, and carrot juice helps even skin tone.

Reveal your natural glow with Papaya Glycolic Gentle Skin Peel from Earth Science. Papaya enzymes loosen dead skin cells, while bentonite clay, potato starch, and kelp extract pull impurities from the pores, and almond meal delicately polishes your skin. Gentle enough for all skin types.

Perk up your skin with Annemarie Borlind Anti Stress Mask, an easy-to-apply invigorating gel with firming seaweed and natural moisturizing calendula and ginkgo biloba extracts. A bonus-it removes undereye puffiness.