Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
After a tragic accident that left his nervous system unable to clear his skin of toxins, Francesco Clark had almost given up on finding products that worked for him. But Clark found beauty from tragedy when he created Clark's Botanicals, his own skincare line. Racked hit Clark up for tips on how to care for sensitive skin this winter—one of the most challenging seasons for people suffering from dryness, irritation, and other seasonal complexion challenges.
Clark: "Winter Skin" is a term used by many aestheticians and dermatologists when the temperature starts to shift from summer to fall. Many times, it actually starts in mid-fall, as the air loses the humidity from the summer months, daylight diminishes, as temperatures cool off, and people spend more time inactive indoors. You may notice your skin looks a bit dull or grey, and you seem to have lost the rosy color, perkiness, and bounce in your complexion. I am going to pretend no one smokes or goes to tanning salons, because those are given no-no's, as they speed up the aging process from every stand point of your body.
"Winter Skin" can be easily remedied, though!
· Drink plenty of water. Dehydration in general will always make your skin look sullen and grey, no matter how many products you use. Sometimes, I infuse my water with a caffeine-free tea sachet in room temperature water for a couple of minutes to give it a little bit of added taste so it doesn't feel like a chore. It isn't as strong as an iced tea, and it isn't a diuretic so it will hydrate. Drinking water the night before a big day will help your skin glow when you wake up.
· Exfoliate! An easy way to bring out the younger-looking glow you normally have is to exfoliate, gently—you don't need crushed peach pits on your face! Those are so rough and can make you red, and won't give you that desirable healthy glow. Opt, instead, for a more gentle exfoliator that tackles the problem from several different angles. I use our Clark's Botanicals Skin-Clearing Face & Body Wash because it uses Salicylic Acid, Willow Bark Extract, Eucalyptus, as well as algae from Southern France to nourish as it gently exfoliates. I use it twice a day, in the shower, because I have combination/acneic skin, and it is not overly drying. You can also make your own sugar and lemon scrub, but please be attentive to be gentle when rubbing your skin.
· Cleanse, but think soft. You do not want to beat up your skin and be overly aggressive, even if it looks like nothing is making it look its best. Sometimes, it just needs some attention, and if you are too harsh to your dermis, it can lead to break-outs or general rawness.
You should always remove make-up at the end of the day, and your skin doesn't care how long you've been in the office! If you don't gently cleanse, your pores will become clogged and your skin can't breathe. So, if you're in a rush, use a gentle creamy base cleanser that can be gently toweled off, without water, like our Clark's Botanicals Soothing Herbal Face Wash. This wash is perfect for the frequent washer and make-up addict, as well as for anyone with dry skin and rosacea. It uses aloe vera, vitamin E, and lavender to soothe and nourish the skin as you cleanse. It (along with the Skin-Clearing Face & Body Wash) does NOT contain harsh ingredients like sodium laurel sulphate that will further irritate sensitive skin. For sensitive skin, dab the facial cleanser off with a towel and use the residue as a moisturizer.
Alternatively, you may need a moisture surge to treat overly stressed and dry skin. If you want to make something on your own, you can try a do-it-yourself yogurt and honey mask for fifteen minutes. I prefer our Clark's Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask because it uses high concentrations of green tea extract and comfrey root to calm and deeply hydrate your skin. You can use this for fifteen minutes and rinse or wipe off, but some of our customers use this a night cream and it leaves them with a wonderful glow the next day. If you have very dry skin, use this as a leave-on moisturizer. It's perfect to use in flight, too, since the air in airplanes is so drying.
· Moisturize, consistently. Get into a routine and stick to it. Don't skip your moisturizer, although you may need a couple options, as your skin changes according to the season (lightweight for summer, a bit thicker for winter, for example). Traditional products primarily use hyaluronic acid to moisturize your skin, but as soon as you cleanse, or even a couple hours later, your skin feels like it's back at square one. I like to use a moisturizer that boosts your skin's ability to make its own hyaluronic acid, as it does when we're young. I use our Smoothing Marine Cream everyday because it uses sugar derived glycolic acid, glucosamine hcl, atelocollagen to boost your own production of collagen, as well as high concentrations of algae extracts. The glycolic acid will tingle, and for some, it may be too strong, but it will turn winter "blah" skin from grey to rosy in a couple hours, and you'll start to see long lasting effects after three weeks of consistent use! I always say to splurge on a good moisturizer because this is the one product you will use most and can have the ability to make you look your best.
· Eyes and Lips are most sensitive to weather changes. When going from one extreme to the other, eyes will react quickly. When we go from warm to cold, and you turn on the heat on at home and at work, you can start to notice puffiness, almost like an allergic reaction. This inherently can make you look tired, even if you slept well. In formulating the Clark's Botanicals Anti-Puff Eye Cream, my goals were to target fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles, all in an eye cream that was a hybrid of a serum and a cream, so it could be layered and absorbed easily. Using a peptide, vitamin k, and natural caffeine wasn't enough. We coupled these with vitamins a and e along with isoflavin to make your eyes look like winter is your best time of the year!
Chapped lips are so easy to fix and prevent, but they're also the first thing we encounter in a seasonal shift. Traditional lip balms don't do much, if anything. You need a lip treatment to boost hydration and heal cracked lips, and please do NOT use petrolatum or petroleum on your lips if you want them to look good. We infused Clark's Botanicals Ultra Rich Lip Balm and our Ultra Rich Lip Tints with marine collagen microspheres, jasmine absolute, and calendula to keep your lips plump, younger looking, and hydrated.
· Work-out! Yes, work out. Sometimes we get the tired look in our skin because as the weather cools, we become less active. But aerobic activity is great for the skin, too, because it allows us to sweat out toxins and improve blood circulations. And sorry to say, there are no short cuts for this one! Just do it!
If all else fails...use your secret weapon. I use our Clark's Botanicals Cellular Lifting Serum as a finishing serum, over anything I uses. It uses the uttwiller spatlauber apple stem cell, ginseng, gaba, portulaca extract, and algae extract to give you a dramatic lifting, plumping, and rebalancing to stressed out skin. It will tingle when applied and you will see your skin transform in about two weeks, but a lifting effect almost immediately.
· Clark's Botanicals [Official Site]