PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Scrubbing your face off isn't necessarily the best way to keep your skin healthy and clean.
Jessica Johnson applies a back-to-basics model to facial and skin care services at her studio in Portland. After 25 years as an esthetician, she said many people overclean their skin, stripping away necessary oils, making the problem worse.
"There's a natural level of pH that balances our skin," Johnson said. "So as much as possible, you want to just leave that alone. Also, there's a certain amount of healthy bacteria. Just like probiotics are so popular and health to take internally, it's the same with our skin."
Johnson suggests mild topical acids for gentle exfoliation, like alpha hydroxy acid or over-the-counter retinols. Support for less caustic treatments is echoed by Megan Lichter, a nurse practitioner in dermatology at InterMed. She said, while exfoliation is necessary for many people to clear away dirt and dead skin, people often overuse abrasive products and tools as well as too much salicylic acid in cleansers.
"We can overdo it with both the product and the method," Lichter said. "If your skin is overexfoliated, it'll tell you. It'll become red and angry."
Rather than scrubbing the skin, Johnson recommends massaging it. "It brings a lot of blood flow and nutrition. If you learn to massage your skin while you're cleansing it, you're going to create a firmer, more vibrant skin."
Both professionals are in agreement about the benefits of moisturizer, especially on the parts of your face where the skin is thinner. And simpler is better.
"No fragrance, no bells and whistles, no acid in it," said Lichter. "Just something that's very gentle and works well."
But if there is one point above all others that Lichter and Johnson hope to drive home for brighter, healthier and younger looking skin, it's to use sunscreen.