7 Awesome Ways to Get Rid Of and Prevent BLACKHEADS -5 min read-

Joseph Lee21 comments

Blackheads are one of the worst annoyances when it comes to skincare. They are usually not big enough of a problem to warrant a trip to the doctor, unlike acne, but serious enough to cause you stress every time you look in the mirror. However, understanding what they are can easily help you minimize the presence of them or get rid of them completely! Here’s a little breakdown about them as well as 7 awesome ways to rid of and prevent blackheads from coming back.

Blackheads are simply pores that are clogged with a mixture of sebum (your skin’s natural oil), dead skin cells, and sometimes dirt particles. They are actually considered a mild form of acne in the medical world. When exposed to air and light throughout your day, certain metals and debris in the mixture oxidize and become a darker color, therefore making the clogged pore look “black.” If you don’t know what “oxidize” means, it’s a process that is very common in the world where a chemical reaction occurs in the presence of oxygen. When a metal rusts or an apple turns brown after being cut, it is all because of oxidation. So now that we have a better understanding of what they are, here are 7 ways to treat and prevent them!

ClearLee Mineral Water Cosmetics

1. Clays. When it comes to removing blackheads, there are 3 general ways we can do this: Extract them, Dissolve them, and/or Reduce pore size. Clays are amazing for extracting blackheads. Bentonite clay works exceptionally well in this case because the minerals in the clay hold a natural charge, which add to the extraction power when the clay dries on the skin. Although pore strips are fun to look at after peeling off, a bentonite clay mask will be a lot stronger and more efficient when it comes to extracting deeply buried blackheads. The use of clay masks can leave your skin dry so make sure you follow up with a toner and moisturizer afterwards!

 

2. Salicylic acid. When looking for ways to dissolve the blackheads, salicylic acid is one of the best options. Found as an ingredient in many cleansers and products for acne, salicylic acid helps by slowing down skin shedding in follicles (pores) to prevent clogging as well as breaking down blackheads and whiteheads. It works as a keratolytic, which breaks down and softens a protein called keratin. When targeting blackheads, try to look for a “leave-on” product with salicylic acid instead of a cleanser so that it has time to work. Dissolving a blackhead can take time so while some might take a couple of days to a week dissolve, others might take longer or simply stop dissolving after loosening up a little.

 

3. Enzymatic Exfoliator/Granular Exfoliator. An enzymatic exfoliator is a product that removes dead skin cells off the surface of the skin by digesting and breaking down proteins, oils, and debris. Cleansers and masks with ingredients like papaya, pineapple, and rice enzymes are most popular. On the other hand, granular exfoliators are products that contain small granules to debride dead skin cells. Cleansers and masks with ingredients like bentonite, charcoal, pumice, sugar, or salt make for great exfoliators. Exfoliating not only helps remove and break down blackheads, but it also make your skin glow radiant, lively, and healthy!

ClearLee Mineral Water Mud Mask Cleanser

4. Toners. There are many ways to reduce pore sizes (enough for a future article!), but toners are a great option. Toners that are great for acne will probably serve you best. Look for ones with ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree oil, and witch hazel. Toners targeted for acne will not only keep your skin moist to slow down oil build up and dense clogging, but they will also help fight off microbes while your pores open after a nice cleansing!

 

5. Retinoids. Retinoids are different forms of vitamin A and are another great option for targeting blackheads. They work by increasing the break down rate of cells on the surface to allow new cells to grow and migrate towards the surface. By doing so, you can essentially think of this method as pushing all the old skin out with new skin from below the surface. This is why they are great for wrinkles and for removing blackheads.

 ClearLee Mineral Water Toner

6. Cleansing. It may seem obvious, but cleansing is a great way to prevent blackheads. The good ole’ soap does a great job at washing away oils and dirt. Having blackheads does not mean you are dirty or washing improperly, since washing with soap or a cleanser would only target the surface while blackheads can form much deeper inside, but it can help prevent many surface level blackheads. Who knows, maybe you simply live in a polluted area or work in a dust-filled place, which are ideal for dirt buildup and shallow blackhead formation.

 

7. Doctor.  If you have a much severe case of blackheads, acne medication and/or micro-needling may be the magical treatment you are looking for. The common acne medication, spironolactone, or even some birth control pills can help control sebum production. Micro-needling can also be a quick way to dissolve or melt blackheads by heating specific areas of the deeper skin with lasers without hurting the surface. Make sure you see a doctor and get the full rundown of the drugs and procedures if you choose one of these methods.

     ClearLee Mineral Water Cosmetics

    Blackheads are definitely a nuisance when it comes to skincare but they are not too difficult to treat and prevent! Just stay vigilant and stay on top of your skin regime. We discussed some awesome ways to get rid of blackheads so try one, a multiple, or all of them out and see what works for your skin. If any of these options worked for you, I would love to hear about in the comments below! If you have any questions, feel free to ask as well! Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next time!

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    5 Benefits of Using Mud Masks -2 min read-

    Joseph Lee25 comments

    “Luxury. Comfort. Relaxation.” These are some of the words that come to mind when you think “mud mask.” Whether it’s for a spa night or to wind down after a long day, mud masks are always a go to item when you think of high end relaxation and comfort. Here are 5 benefits of including the use of mud masks in your daily or weekly skin routine.

    1. Cleansing. Mud masks have great absorption properties. As they dry on the face, they absorb and suck up dirt and oil that may have gathered in small cellular crevices throughout the day. When used daily or every other day, they can even draw up impurities that are buried in the deeper layers of the skin and prevent future blemishes from forming. With all this absorption going on, they can and probably will leave your face slightly on the drier side, so make sure to follow up with a toner and moisturizer!

    2. Exfoliation. Mud masks are usually made with some type of clay base whether it be bentonite, kaolin, white, rose, etc. Clays in the mud masks naturally exfoliate dead skin cells when the mask is washed off, although the levels may vary. Exfoliation of dead skin cells leaves the skin glowing, radiant, and smooth for you to show off! So if you are going mud mask, don’t go for those peel off ones but get the full benefits with a natural mud that you can wash off.

    3. Nutrients. If you are going to use a mud mask, you might as use one that is natural. I mean, the name has “mud” in it so why even go for something that is synthetically made? Natural mud masks provides numerous amounts of nutrients and minerals to your skin that your cells can utilize to stay healthy.

    4. Detox. Although levels may vary depending on what type of clay is used and how much clay is in the mud mask, all mud masks with a natural clay base will have a detox property. A mask with bentonite will provide you with the most detox. Who doesn’t like a little detox on the face!

    5. Skin tightening. As a mud mask dries on your skin, it tightens your skin as it removes the unnecessary oils and impurities. When followed up correctly with a toner and moisturizer, it can keep your skin looking tighter in a nice toned looking way. Who doesn’t want their skin looking youthful?

    ClearLee Mineral Water Mud Mask Cleanser

    Of course, the unofficial sixth benefit is how amazing they make you feel! A mud mask is something you want to show off when you use it whether it’s through Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. It’s something that comes up in conversations with friends and family because it makes you feel so good that you simply have to share your experience. So go get yourself a mud mask and feel like royalty today!

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    What is a toner? -5 min read-

    Joseph Lee20 comments

    In today’s densely populated cosmetic world where every drug and beauty store carries hundreds of brands, there are so many types of products out there with new ones rising each day. Of these, one of the more popular types of product is a toner. You probably heard about how awesome a toner is from a friend and you may even own a couple yourself. But do you know what a toner is? Do you know it’s functions, the different subtypes, and which is the right one for you? I think it’s important to go beyond trying different products until the perfect one finds you but instead to understand the product so that you can go find it!

     

    Where do toners come from?

    Toners were created to be used after the cleansing phase of your routine. Before pH balancing and cosmetic regulation, soaps and other cleansers were usually made and left at a high pH that would be unhealthy for the skin. So toners were recommended as a mean to neutralize the rising pH caused by the cleanser. However, with today’s regulations and technology, most soaps are so mild that pH neutralizing is unnecessary. Therefore, the function of the toner is now also different.

     ClearLee What is a Toner Soap cosmetics

    Although soaps and cleansers are not pH damaging anymore, their function to clean is still the same. While this is good for the most part, they do have their downsides where they strip away the good oils, minerals, and other nutrients along with the “dirtiness”. So the role of a toner today is to provide the skin with all the nutrients it needs to restore and repair any damages. These nutrients can range anywhere from antioxidants to minerals and vitamins. With the right toner, your skin can feel and look healthier, more radiant, and younger.

     

    The types

    Toners can generally be categorized into 2 subcategories:

    1. Alcohol-based
    2. Water-based

    Alcohol-based toners usually also have water in them but, we call them alcohol-based simply because they have alcohol. The benefits of an alcohol-based toner is that it does a great job killing infections if you have a lot of open blemishes like acne. They also help increase absorption of nutrients in the skin if you have a tougher skin that does not like to let anything in. Unfortunately, they do this by breaking down a bit of the protective layer of your skin. So your skin might receive and enjoy nutrients in the short term, but in the long term, its defenses will weaken.

    Water-based toners are now the more popular choice of the two. You can think of them as humidifiers for your skin. They not only provide the nutrients your skin needs but also help maintain humidity so that your skin doesn’t dry out. Plus, they don’t break down the protective layer of your skin. Some water-based toners contain glycerin, which helps provide a protective layer on the skin to prevent it from drying out.

    Although it depends on preference, most will use a glycerin-based toner for night time use only, especially if they do not moisturize at night or their moisturizer does not contain glycerin. This is because glycerin can make the toner heavy and also leave a sticky feeling especially when used on top of makeup. So those that like to use a toner as a ‘day mist’ will almost always choose a glycerin-free water-based toner.

     

    Choosing!

    What is the right toner for you? First of all, let’s cross out alcohol-based toners because usually, you can find water-based toners that have ingredients like witch hazel and specific essential oils known for their anti-microbial activity. While I have to agree alcohol is stronger at killing unwanted bacteria, water-based toners are a pretty close second and I don’t think it’s worth damaging the skin the long term. So no matter the skin type, I would suggest a water-based toner.

    Next are you going for a night time use or all-day use? If you want to use it throughout the day as well as night, I would stick with a glycerin-free water-based toner. If you are going for nighttime use, you can go for either.

    Finally, what in the skin are you looking to target? If it’s simply hydration, look for something with humectants like aloe vera, glycerin (for night time), and honey.  If you are trying to prevent wrinkles, look for toners with antioxidant qualities like retinoid and vitamin C or with plant extracts that provide vitamin A and C. If you are targeting acne prone skin, look for toners with witch hazel, tea tree, and aloe vera. If you have sensitive skin, toning with ingredients like aloe vera, green tea, glycerin, and chamomile can help greatly.

     

    Additionally, also look for one that smells good! I am a huge believer in aroma therapy and know how a really nice smelling product can bring you joy and a better complexion from the inside!

    So we now know more about the history, types, and choosing of the correct toners! What toners have you been using and what kind of skin type do you have? How has your experience been with it? I would love to hear your stories and your routines. Also, is there a toner you are looking for to target something else? I love seeing and responding to stories, comments, and questions so please join the conversation below!

     

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    How do I know my skin type?

    Jennifer Lee

    Assessing the type of skin you have can be essential for purchasing the right products and knowing the right remedies to use to improve your skin. The determining factor to your skin type is sebum, an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. The amount of sebum your skin naturally produces will determine how oily your skin will be, how much water it can hold, and hence how quickly your skin can become dry.

    Try washing your face and wait an hour without applying any skincare products. Or, try assessing your skin in the morning after you wake up. By doing so, you can analyze your skin’s normal oil production levels, without interference. Then, see which type most closely resembles your skin:

    NORMAL

    • skin does not appear shiny/oily
    • skin does not feel tight/dry to the touch
    • few visible enlarged pores
    • no signs of flaking skin
    • tend to have very few breakouts/blemishes

     

    OILY

    • skin is shiny with visible oil
    • can see enlarged pores
    • tend to have frequent acne breakouts and blackheads

     

    DRY

    • skin feels tight/dry to the touch
    • skin appears dull
    • visible flaky skin
    • red patches
    • wrinkles/lines on face seem more pronounced

     

    COMBINATION

    • noticeably dry in some areas but oily/shiny in other areas
    • enlarged pores in the oily areas
    • oily areas have frequent breakouts/blackheads
    • dry areas have flaky skin and/or red patches

     

    SENSITIVE

    • skin feels irritated
    • apparent redness
    • burning sensation
    • itching

    Now that you have an idea of what your skin type is, remember to follow up with remedies that apply and are beneficial to your specific skin type. However, no matter which skin type you have, don’t forget to moisturize! For example, if you have oily skin, hydration is just as important to your skin, although it may not seem like it. Just be smart in the products you use and avoid heavier creams and stick to light formulas.

    But also know that your skin type can change over time and the skincare routine that worked wonders for you once, may not always be applicable throughout your life. Some factors like age, lifestyle patterns, medications, hormonal changes, and weather may impact your skin and call for reassessments of judging your skin type. In fact, seasonal changes are a great time to reevaluate the type of skin you have.

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    Can I leave natural or organic products in the shower? -3 min read-

    Joseph Lee

    If you recently moved to natural/organic shower products, whether it be shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, or moisturizer, you might be wondering if it's okay to leave the products in the shower for convenience. Because there are so many products out in the market, I can only give a general answer but with sound reasoning. If you are wondering for a specific product, I would email the support for that specific brand.

    Overall, yes you can leave natural products in the shower. However make sure to close the lid completely and tightly after every use. Also, keep the bathroom ventilated so that it can dry completely between showers/use. A couple of ways to do this would be to keep the shower curtain open, open windows if you have them, and keep the bathroom door open after using it. Any type of dampness is perfect breeding ground for some type of bacteria or microbe. This is especially true if the product does not have preservatives, which is characteristic of most natural products and one of the reasons you probably switched to natural. If you follow these steps the products should be good for about 5-8 weeks.

     

    ClearLee four mud mask/cleanser all natural mineral waterIf you have a product that comes in a large batch, a good idea might be to invest in a smaller container or jar that you can keep in the bathroom. This way you can keep the original in a dry, cool place and have a small portion of it in the shower. This is why ClearLee sends their Mineral Water Mud Mask/Cleanser in 4 packs for their Clear Skin Set so that you can always have one in the shower and not worry about contaminating the rest. I hope this answered a question that was on your mind and that you learned something new. If you have any questions or comments about this article or want to ask a question for me to answer in a future post, please post them down below and I’ll be sure to read and respond to them. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next time!

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    Should I Keep the Sealing Disc on my Cosmetic Products? -2 min read-

    Joseph Lee

    If you’ve ever bought products that come in a jar or circular container, like our Mineral Water Mud Mask/Cleanser, you might have noticed a sealing disc (usually white) on top of the opening of the jar. If you’re like me, then starts the ultimate dilemma of whether you should throw it away or if you should keep it. Many of you might decide, “I’ll keep it,” because it makes the product look nice but the moment you get a smear on it, you end up throwing it out because it looks ugly or dirty. So the question is, “Should I keep the sealing disc on my products?”

    Simply speaking from a scientific point, YES. If we ditch the aesthetics and forget about smears and “ugliness,” we should always keep the inner lid. The plastic provides an extra layer of protection for your products against air and light. Why is this important? Exposure to both air and light can break down many active ingredients in a product. For example, if you ever bought essential oils, you might notice that almost all of them come in a brown or green tinted glass jar. This is because many essential oils have active ingredients like vitamin C and retinol, which break down when it comes into direct contact with light.

    We all know how pricey skincare products can be. So if you want to protect your product so that you preserve its quality and effectiveness, you should definitely save the inner lid because it is usually placed there by companies for more than the “because it looks nice” reasoning. Hope this helps solve a simple cosmetic question you may have. If you have any other questions or comments please post them down below and I’ll be sure to respond. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next time.

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