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  • The Tricks and Treats of Halloween Skin Care Survival

    Girl with Halloween face art on white background

    BOO! Happy Halloween!

    Oh yes, it’s that time of year already. Candy, costumes and copious amounts of makeup… sign me up!

    While there is no shortage of websites and You Tube videos demonstrating makeup application techniques to transform you into your favorite vampire, pop star, pirate or super hero, where are the sites with information on removing all of that makeup, while still keeping your skin intact? Right here, that’s where!

    Halloween makeup is generally heavier and thicker than normal every day makeup and is designed to adhere to the face to give a masking-type effect, while depositing color onto the skin. They are high in artificial colors, fragrances, waxes, fats, chemicals and oils, and they are designed to withstand sweat (for stage and screen) and form an occlusive coating on the skin, which may result in comedones, congestion and full-on breakouts.

    Let’s Start With the “Tricks”

    Before you even consider applying that green glitter or black face paint, make sure you have a good protective base. One word: silicones.

    A silicone-based moisturizer will not only provide you with a smooth makeup application, it will impart a protective shield between your skin and your chosen disguise. This can help prevent irritation on the skin from artificial colors or fragrances. Silicones are also a great aid in reinforcing the skin’s lipid barrier layer, particularly if combined with Evening Primrose Oil, which is high in Gamma Linoleic Acid to further enforce the barrier lipids.

    Once the party is over, do not – and I repeat – do not, fall into bed with your fright mask intact. Makeup should always be cleansed off of the skin to avoid breakouts. Un-cleansed skin is dirty skin, as it naturally produces oils, sweat and around 40 million dead skin cells a day; mix that with atmospheric pollutants and the waxes and oils from the make-up and you have a soupy, dirty mixture than can cause a multitude of skin problems and can worsen conditions such as oiliness and sensitivity.

    A hydrophilic (water loving) oil-based cleanser is the key to removing that heavy makeup easily and without sensitizing the skin. Oil attracts oil; therefore this type of cleanser will dissolve all the dirt and grime. Oil-based cleansers are also excellent at dissolving waterproof products and substances you may have used to achieve your chosen look, such as eyelash glue or other adhesives (I’ve never tried it on fake blood, but I’m pretty sure it will do the trick!). Double cleansing the skin is imperative, so a second cleanse can be performed with a skin-specific cleanser.

    Another good “trick” is a leave on exfoliant with a Salicylic Acid base. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) have a larger molecular structure then their alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) cousins. BHAs are lipid soluble (meaning they are attracted to oil), versus water soluble or water loving (like glycolic acid); BHAs are also keratolytic, meaning that when used on the surface of the skin, they will effectively penetrate clogged pores and other lipid debris, exfoliating within the pore, making them an ideal formula choice after application of oil and color rich cosmetics.

    Now for the “Treats”

    Okay, if you can look in the mirror and recognize yourself again, it’s time to ensure your skin has plenty of moisture to get over its night of horrors. Start the hydration boost with a concentrated serum. A good bet is Hyaluronic Acid, which is able to hold a thousand times its own weight in water, intensely moisturizing your skin. Then seal and protect with an amino acid rich moisturizer to further hydrate the skin—and voila! You’ve reached your ghoul (sorry goal). It’s like it never happened – what happens on Halloween, stays on Halloween.

    Before you go… One final tip: try to give the Trick or Treaters at least some of the “good” candy; don’t eat it all yourself, you’ll only regret it in the morning!