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With fifteen years under her belt as a licensed aesthetician and a resume that includes: the renowned Kabuki Springs and Spa; working as lead aesthetician at Equinox’s luxury Sports Club LA; training other aestheticians as an instructor at The International Dermal Institute (founders of Dermalogica); and founder of skin care studio Enliven Your Skin; it’s safe to say Seti Mayet knows what she’s talking about when it comes to skin. We sat down with the beauty veteran to get insights on skin care basics, home extractions, how to get rid of blackheads, and advice for flawless skin.

Is my skin actually sensitive? How can I tell?
“Quite frankly, there’s a lot of over exfoliating going on. Combine that with sun exposure, pollutants, and harsh products and yes, you will have sensitivity. However, most people don’t fall into the truly sensitive skin category where skin flushes easily and reacts readily to products or ingredients that are stimulating, like benzyl peroxides, salicylic acids, or products containing caffeine or cinnamon. People with sensitive skin are going to react very quickly to those ingredients. If you are using a retinol and are exfoliating three times a week, and you feel sensitive, it’s not that your skin is sensitive it means you could be over exfoliating.”

How do you determine skin type?
“By pore size. A visible pore is indicative of an oily skin type. Most people fall under the category of combination with an oily t-zone where pores are more visible on the forehead, nose and chin. If you have a small or invisible pore size that’s indicative of a normal to dry skin type.”

How long should you give a product a try to see if it’s working or not?
“If a product is working you should see noticeable changes in two weeks.”

What do you see most people doing wrong when it comes to skin care?
“Panicking. People panic when they get a few breakouts. They go out and buy all these products, copy what their friends are using, watch infomercials and do what their dermatologist recommends times ten. And quite frankly, acne is an inflammatory condition. What people end up doing is irritating their skin and causing more inflammation and making things worse.”

We’re told not to pick or pop pimples at home, but during a facial they do extractions? Is it ever safe to do extractions at home?
“When it comes to extractions there’s an analogy I like to use. We can all cut our own hair. You can  grab a pair of scissors and cut shorter hair and bangs. Are you going to get compliments, probably not. You don’t know how much to cut off, but your trained stylist does. We all need our hair trimmed to stay healthy and you do need extractions. This is our largest organ and it needs to be cleaned, but it’s best to have someone who knows how to work around the inflammation,  sanitize the skin, and avoid pitting or scarring. When you see deep pitting or acne scars in people’s skin it’s always from people who pick. Many people don’t know how much pressure to assert when draining a pimple and that’s why I think it’s never a good idea. And usually, when done at home people aren’t getting everything out, so it just goes through the cycle again and takes longer to heal.”

To maintain healthy skin, how often are facials recommended?
“For someone who has normal healthy skin and may get the occasional breakout, every 4-6 weeks. But if there is a skin condition going on, like acne, 2-4 weeks is recommended until the skin calms down and then you can scale it back.”

Are you supposed to breakout after a facial?
“It can happen, but it shouldn’t be a situation where you say, I’m definitely going to breakout after a facial. More often than not its because there is congestion underneath that’s purging. Typically, this happens with someone who has acne skin and I am intentionally detoxing their skin. Though, nine times out of ten when you hear someone has broken out after a facial treatment it’s because the therapist has been really aggressive and or they haven’t sealed the skin afterwards. For example, I do a detox mask after extractions, high frequency and LED to kill the bacteria and sanitize the skin to prevent breakouts afterwards.”

Tips for getting rid of blackheads?
“A blackhead is formed deep within the pore bed and it’s closed over with no opening. By the time you see the black part protruding from the pore that’s when a Biore strip works, but it’s still not getting what’s down in the pore bed. It only takes out what you can visibly see. Masks and strips only work on the top layer of skin. They don’t work deep within the pore. But by cleansing properly and exfoliating you can decongest the skin and alleviate the accumulation of blackheads. I find that enzymatic peels work really well to combat blackheads by breaking down congestion, lipid bonds and impurities in the pore bed.”

What’s the secret to having beautiful glowing skin?
“We live in a world where we want a magic formula for flawless skin or magic product. But getting to know your own body – that’s the magic. Skin care is an integrative process and people who are engaged and in-tune with their bodies have good skin. It’s not just – this is the skin on my face and there’s a separation between how I’m living and what happens on my face. It’s all tied together and it’s so individualized. If you don’t know your skin and are relying on the latest trends and just trying everything and anything, your skin is going to have issues.”

How do you teach someone to “know their own skin”?
“Just like when someone wants to get in shape and joins a gym, the best thing to do is to sign up with a trainer. Have them assess you, introduce you to the equipment and see where you are physically. I think someone dealing with skin issues it’s worth their while to go see a skin therapist to get their skin assessed, bring in your products and have them help you navigate those waters. When someone first comes to me we do an in-depth consultation where they bring in all their products, we talk about their diet and exercise, what kind of detergent they use, etc. You become a detective. And when you ask them questions you get them thinking about their daily life and how it affects their skin; it teaches them to become aware.”

One last piece of skin care advice?
“Prevention is the best course of action. Start treating your body right now through diet, exercise, and regular facials. Women you see in their forties and you’re like, wow, they look great, that didn’t happen overnight. They have been taking care of their bodies for a long time. Don’t wait for it to catch up to you.”

-as told to BOND EN AVANT
Image source: reverie 

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