Strategies for Keeping Your Skin Young – Tips from Merle Norman’s Madelin White

At Merle Norman Spa in Lacey, many clients have the same question: “My skin is getting drier and I’m getting wrinkles. What can I do?”

The solution, says owner Madelin White, usually has to do with dry skin. “I ask a lot of questions,” she says. “We need to find out what they’re using for a cleanser. If they’re using soap and water, I have a heart attack. That’s one problem, because no matter what kind of soap you use, it has alkaline in it. Alkaline will dry out the skin, period. Once I know what they’re using, I can tell them that’s a good thing or let me tell you why it’s not.”

The next question has to do with toner. “Most people say, ‘I don’t use one,’” says White. “But toner is important because it removes the residue from your cleanser and keep your pores from getting larger.”

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Madelin White uses this visual aid to explain the skin layers to her clients. When the corn flakes (top layer) aren’t exfoliated, the new new skin cells (grapes) struggle to get to the surface and become plugged, creating dry and wrinkled skin.

Most important, she says, is exfoliation. “If you don’t slough off the dead skin, the cells aren’t going to renew themselves. If the cells don’t remove themselves, that’s when the skin starts wrinkling up,” she says. “You have 56 layers of cells in the epidermis, which is about as thick as a piece of Kleenex. The cells at the base are nice and plump. When we’re born, those cells come up really fast because the child is growing.”

“As we get older, they’re starting to take 14 days to get to the surface,” she continues. By the time most of us are 40, the process takes approximately 40 days. “What you need to do to force those is exfoliate,” she says. “The dead skin is putting up the barrier. If you don’t get rid of that, it’s plugging it. But if you use energizing concentrate, it will actually penetrate the layers of cells. It keeps them plump as they come to the surface which keeps us from getting wrinkles.”

When we don’t exfoliate, she says, it takes “forever” for cells to reach the surface. They’re starting to wrinkle like a grape and that’s when people start to get dead skin.

Once the basics are taken care of, the Merle Norman spa has plenty of products that can help, even when clients already have wrinkles. “There are certain serums that can be used,” she says. “We have lots of them. Do I think that you need to use every single one of them? Absolutely not. That’s why I ask all these questions.” One big question is how much time someone is willing to spend on their beauty regimen. “We’re all very busy people,” she says. “If they’re not willing to take a lot of time, I try to come up with something that’s concise but that really will help.”

For people who already have lines, White recommends a lift and firm serum. “I personally use fine line minimizer,” she says. Given that at age 70 she has the skin of a 40 year old, it’s probably wise to follow her advice.

Along with skin care, you can also find hair styling, waxing, manicures, pedicures, and massage therapy as well as free make-overs and free mini-facials, and of course wigs, at Merle Norman.

To learn more, visit Merle Norman online or at 3925 – 8th Ave SE in Lacey.

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