As Toronto transitions into the blistering winter, your skincare needs to change to account for the cold. Meet Neostrata, a science-backed skincare line with a mission to help people nourish and rejuvenate their skin. Neostrata has been in the industry of topical skincare for nearly half a century and have patented some of the best-known and widely used technologies in skincare. We spoke with Pat Clare, a Neostrata skin guru and National Training Manager to learn more about how to get your best skin.

Does Neostrata treat the skin beyond the surface level?

Yes, they change the way the skin performs because they work on regeneration. They help to get rid of what’s not working for us to get into place what is. Years ago, we only used mechanical scrubs or tear off strips where you really have no control over what you were taking off. Neostrata products basically help our skin behave better.

What are the key ingredients that you should look for in products for anti-aging?

The big ones that are dominating the industry are, AHA, BHA, Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid. We also have some signature ingredients like Glucosamine. Vitamin C is also of interest.

What’s the best way to use the Neostrata products?

I always start with cleansers. With Neostrata, all of our cleansers are acidic based, the same as your skin. It does not unbalance your natural pH and so you don’t require a toner. We have toners that help with clogged pores, or acne, but you don’t require a toner day for day to rebalance your pH because we never unbalance it. And that’s what makes our cleansing step very interesting. Then we move on to the serum. It gets to a deeper level with some pretty potent ingredients. It can take action on some of those main concerns. And then you can use your day cream and night cream to tackle more.

What would you recommend when you’re transitioning your skin from the summer to the winter?

The biggest thing during transition time is when you come out of summer, you’ve had too much unprotected time in the sun and the skin is low in its radiance because of dead cells. I would recommend using the PHA daily moisturizer, which is going to kick off those dead cells so that the moisture can get in.

What helps with clogged pores?

AHA or PHA really helps with clogged pores. Pores get clogged because of debris on the surface that sits around too long. We have things like Mandelic Acid and Salicylic Acid to get right down into the follicle. If you’re oily I’d suggest using the Clarify line to get right down to the root of the pore. If you have combination or dry skin you can do it with a PHA or AHA. When the surface is clean, pores begin to look way smaller.

What Neostrata products would you recommend for conditions like eczema?

I would  suggest our “Resurface” collection. It is not just anti-aging, but it’s for very sensitive skin too. So people who struggle with dermatitis, rosacea, eczema or just really dry and flaky skin, can use PHA. We can also get it to be really subtle and comfortable

Can it be used during an eczema flare? 

Yes, as long as the skin is not open. PHA is particularly good with eczema, and also with rosacea, when it’s in the flaky stages, because now we can selectively kick off those dead cells. They also really help with the water barrier of the skin. It’s a little coating on our skin that most people don’t know they have. You can’t just put moisturizer on, because you can’t moisturize dead skin. We get rid of the dead cells that are just in our way, before we can moisturize.

For someone who doesn’t use Neostrata products, where would you tell them to start?

We have a super simple PHA daily system. We’ve got a PHA facial cleanser, that’s a great place to start. Then I would go to the PHA daily moisturizer and we have a PHA cream. It’s like 1-2-3 or Do-Re-Mi. It’s so simple.