Skincare School Lesson Five: Treatments

Kahina Brightening Serum

Your freshman year at skincare school is almost complete. Are you feeling that second semester listlessness? Stay with us! This session we’re detailing treatment products, including those for the eye area. What are they, what kinds are on the market, and who should use them.

What do we mean by treatment?
A treatment product has many forms: it could be a mask, a serum, a cream. Let’s define treatment as a product who has a fairly specific function, key ingredient(s) to realize that function, and is “targeted” toward improving one or more specific areas. It goes beyond the basics and is an add-on product; not one that your most basic skincare regimen has to have.

What kinds of treatment products are on the market?
So, so many. Products to combat redness, products to promote collagen, products for reducing breakouts, products to minimize dark circles… and neck creams. Retinoids are a huge category of tried-and-true treatment products. Retinoids can be prescription (less “green”) or OTC (lots of green options, though have different forms than their prescription counterparts and are generally regarded as gentler and taking more time to have an effect).

How do I choose a treatment product that is right for me?
For eye products, this is fairly straightforward: pick your top concern (wrinkles? dryness? puffiness? dark circles?) and research which products/ingredients will address that concern. Read product reviews and consider what form the eye treatment comes in. Do you prefer a cream over a balm? Or maybe you like a light serum? Or an oil? What about a rollerball or your finger? Lucky for you, the green beauty realm excels in offering eye treatments in all forms and modes of application.

As for all-over facial treatment products, the first rule is to cut through marketing hype. Mass market brands tend to be very specific in naming their products to appeal to one specific skin concern. If you follow their lead, you could have 20+ products in your medicine cabinet, one for each perceived flaw. These numerous treatment products do not a smart skincare regimen make. Start with a simple routine to support skin health; you might notice that those very specific “flaws” get better with consistency, simplicity, and quality ingredients. If, after a month or two, you’re still noticing the same issue, begin researching your options. Best practices alert: we always recommend incorporating one new product at a time, giving it a full month or more to do it’s thing, and then change it up or add more if you’re doing well. If you are considering treatment products for improving medical skin conditions (acne, rosacea), it’d be prudent to consult a dermatologist.

What does Kahina have on offer in terms of treatments products?
Well, we’d consider our Antioxidant Mask a great exfoliator, anti-ager, and anti-acne treatment product, but we’ve gone over it here. We’d also consider our Night Cream and Serum top anti-aging treatment products, but again – we’ve covered them here and here. What haven’t we covered in skincare school yet? Brightening Serum! This is really the definition of a treatment product as it was very specifically formulated to target dark marks caused by UV exposure – also known as sun spots – and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – also known as post-acne marks. We’ve also got our eye treatment products: Eye Cream and Eye Serum. More on those two later.

Who should use Kahina Brightening Serum?
As we said above, those who want to improve the appearance of dark marks caused by sun damage or acne. Sea daffodil (pancratium maritimum) and wakame (undaria pinnatifida), are the two main ingredients that work to down-regulate a hormonal/enzyme process that produces excess melanin. This process takes time – 4-6 weeks. In the meantime, we’d recommend a zinc-oxide based sunscreen for whenever you’ll be exposed to the sun, as the sun will make fading those dark marks even harder.

Kahina Brightening Serum, though, has some additional benefits that may entice someone with little-to-no hyperpigmentation. First of all, it has a light aloe vera & argan oil base. This means it moisturizes and soothes on contact, helping calm redness which can contribute to uneven skin tone. Sodium hyaluronate, rice seed extract, spirulina, and shea butter further moisturize, helping smooth skin’s surface – this will also help with the appearance of more even skin. Wakame, other than decreasing melanin, is also a general skin protectant, along with pinus pinaster, both helping to support skin’s natural defense system against pollution like car exhaust, cigarette smoke, and heavy metals. Bisabolol and blue tansy are two essential oils with calming, anti-irritant properties. We recommend Brightening Serum for those who spend a lot of time in the sun or in big cities with high pollution levels, or for anyone with redness-prone skin.

When do you use Brightening Serum?
You can use it morning and evening (or morning or evening) after cleansing and toning and before your oil/serum/moisturizer. Since it contains no bleaching or photosensitizing ingredients (and in fact can help protect from the sun and pollutants!), feel free to use it before sun exposure. Use daily for best results.

Eye Cream and Eye Serum

Now… for the all-time most asked question in the Kahina FAQ hall of fame:
Should I get the Eye Serum or the Eye Cream?
We’re going to repeat this question in case you didn’t hear/read it the first time.
Should I get the Eye Serum or the Eye Cream?
Are you paying attention? Great. We will answer everyone’s question now.

Let’s start with the good news. Both products have the following key ingredients to combat your most common eye concerns: Peptides for collagen support and gradual reduction of fine lines. Argan Oil and sodium hyaluronate for moisturizing and plumping, good for temporarily minimizing fine lines on contact (plus the argan oil has skin-supporting antioxidants!). Rhodiola rosea and yeast extract to boost microcirculation for improving puffiness and dark circles.

Now, a few questions for you…

Are you open to owning and using more than one eye product?
Do you strongly prefer one texture (cream/lightweight serum) over another?
And finally, what is your primary eye concern? Circle one: Puffiness. Dark Circles. Dryness. Irritation. Fine Lines.

Why’d we ask #1? Because for some people who want some of what we call “eye therapy“, you can layer Eye Serum under Eye Cream, morning and evening as desired. OR you can use one in the morning and one in the evening; generally people prefer Eye Serum as a pick-me-up in the morning and Eye Cream as a soothing pre-bedtime ritual. If you’re into this idea, check out our deal on Eye Therapy (because we all know therapy is expensive). Not into buying two eye products? That’s fine; we’ll narrow down your choices.

Why’d we ask #2? If you strongly prefer a cream over a serum, get the cream. Like we said above, both products contain the key actives for all eye concerns. Go with what you like; don’t make this complicated!

Why’d we ask #3? So let’s say you don’t want to commit to Eye Therapy, and you don’t really care if it’s a cream or a serum, so you need to pick just one. If your primary eye concerns are puffiness or dark circles, go with the Eye Serum. If your primary eye concerns are dryness, irritation or fine lines, go with the Eye Cream.

Here’s why:
Eye Serum contains the puffiness/dark circle fighting rhodiola rosea-yeast combo in a higher concentration and in a more easily penetrable form (liquid). Polygonum fagopyrum in the Eye Serum reduces the amount of fat in adipocytes or fat cells that develop below the skin’s surface (what?! wow!). Eye Cream is more emollient and soothing, providing a cushion of moisture that will hydrate, soothe irritation, and minimize fine lines (because they’ve been plumped by that moisture!).

Here’s another FAQ: Do you really need a separate eye product?
We’re of the opinion that yes, you do. Eye products are specially formulated for the thin, delicate skin around the eyes and their ingredients are chosen to target specific eye concerns, ones you might not have all over your face.

In summary, while we always recommend an eye-specific treatment product no matter who you are, a targeted treatment product might only be necessary if you have specific goals/concerns outside a basic skincare regimen (even a “basic” regimen can contain many effective actives, too!) and the product will meet/address them. Choose a treatment product only after you’ve committed to a steady daily regimen for a month, and then go one product at a time, giving it enough time to work. For our Brightening Serum, that’s 4-6 weeks for dark mark lightening and for many retinoids, it’s as much as four months.

And with that, class is dismissed!

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