These lighter alternatives to moisturizer will keep your complexion feeling fresh even when it’s hot and humid.
There are so many things to look forward to when it comes to summer days, but uncomfortable, humid weather is definitely not one of them. When the temperatures soar and the thought of leaving the house makes you want to hide in a dark, air-conditioned room, a 10-step skin care routine probably isn’t your first priority. Thankfully, there are still ways to pamper and protect your skin on those days when you want to look glowy, not sweaty. Read on for five of them.
Try…a primer that boosts moisture.
A hydrated and well-primed complexion ensures makeup goes on fresh and stays fresh until the evening’s oil cleanse. The Hanskin Vstra Toning Water-Radiance Cream, a light moisturizer and primer in one, is the superstar primer to rule them all. Squalane, ceramides, polypeptides and hyaluronic acid work to moisturize and smooth the skin while niacinamide and vitamin C brighten and offer antioxidant protection (especially important in areas with heavy air pollution).
Try…a lightweight balancing serum.
Those with oilier skin types probably want to avoid greasy-feeling skin care on sticky summer days, but the right hydrating product can not only reduce your skin’s oily finish but also calm any redness or irritation that frequently comes with acne-prone skin.
The Enature Squeeze Green Watery Serum feels light and fresh, sinks in instantly, and keeps combination skin balanced thanks to its blend of vitamins and plant extracts (kale, parsley) picked for their anti-aging and skin-strengthening abilities.
Try…an all-in-one formula.
Power-packed serums and heavier creams and lotions are amazing for sealing in moisture during drier winter months, but the summertime calls for fresh textures that sink in immediately and work overtime.
Re:P Nutrinature All-In-One Multitem offers the benefits of toner, essence and a hydrating emulsion all in one lightweight formula, meaning it’s not just perfect for summer, but for those days when you’re pressed for time. Avocado and olive extracts hydrate without feeling heavy and niacinamide works to reinforce the skin’s barrier and even skin tone. This product is ideal for anyone looking for a quick and easy solution to use on summer mornings, plus it won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin types.
Try…a 2-in-1 hydrating SPF combo.
You already know how important it is to wear your SPF daily, but layering it with your essences, serums, and moisturizers can be time-consuming and can make your skin feel suffocated on extreme weather days.
The Tony Moly My Sunny Watery Essence SPF 50/PA+++ offers UV protection in a light formula packed with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera extract to hydrate and protect skin without the sticky texture or white cast that some sunscreens can leave behind.
Try…a serum mist.
The Neogen H2 Dermadeca Serum Spray does more than just give skin a quick burst of refreshment. It’s packed with antioxidant vitamin C and inflammation-calming centella asiatica. Keep it in your bag to hydrate and protect throughout the day, or store in your fridge for a cooling treatment that will help calm and nourish skin after a long day in the sun.
So you religiously cleanse your skin, but it never feels totally clean or clear? Follow the advice below to ensure you’re getting the most out of your cleanser.
Cleansing your skin is one of the most important things you can do for its overall health and clarity. A variety of different kinds of debris build up on your skin over the course of a day or night and if your skin isn’t clean, well, the rest of your routine is just a waste of time.
However, even the best cleanser won’t get the job done if you aren’t using it correctly. Below, we outline some of the common mistakes people make when cleansing that may be keeping you from getting your best skin ever.
Mistake: You’re not using an oil cleanser.
Your skin gets clogged up with two different types of debris: Oil-based impurities (sunscreen, makeup, and sebum) and water-based impurities (dirt and sweat). Oil – not water – best breaks down the latter impurities (Remember science class? Like dissolves like). If sunscreen or makeup isn’t effectively removed from your skin, it’s a recipe for breakouts. This is why it’s crucial that you use a dedicated cleanser to remove it. The Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Original is a perfect starter oil cleanser.
Mistake: You’re applying oil cleanser on wet or damp skin.
Oil cleansers should be applied onto dry, not wet skin. Massage it into skin to remove impurities and then dampen your fingers with water to emulsify the formula (most oil cleanser formulas contain emulsifiers so they won’t leave an oily residue on your face). When it’s emulsified, it will turn into a milky consistency that is easily rinsed off. If you emulsify the formula with water too soon, you won’t thoroughly remove the oil-based impurities.
Mistake: You’re using a raw or natural oil on your face.
The natural beauty world has hyped up the use of things like coconut oil and olive oil as a stand-in for a proper oil cleanser and these ingredients can work for some, however using a product formulated for cooking and not your skin might not yield the best results. First, they can have preservatives or additives that are not great for your skin, plus, they won’t have emulsifiers in them to ensure they rinse off your face, meaning your skin will be left with a thin film of oil that can clog pores and cause breakouts, not to mention make you feel greasy.
Mistake: You’re not washing your hands before cleansing.
It’s so important to wash your hands right before you cleanse to make sure you aren’t transferring new dirt, bacteria, and the like to your face as you’re trying to remove impurities. Plus, it ensures your hands are clean for the rest of your routine. On a related note, if you use a washcloth when cleansing or a towel to dry your face afterwards, you should also make sure these are clean.
Mistake: You’re not cleansing long enough.
We’ve all been there – rushing through our routine when we’re running late in the morning or can’t wait to get to bed. It’s easy to shorten – or skip altogether! – your cleansing step. Especially if you’re oil cleansing, this is bad news; it often takes a bit of massaging to remove all the makeup, SPF, and other oil-based impurities. We recommend cleansing (with each type of cleanser) for at least 20 seconds before moving on to your next step.
You may have been seeing disconcerting headlines lately that question the safety of sunscreen. We talked to an expert to find out if we should really be concerned.
Earlier this month, there came the news of, a rather alarming – or at least upon first glance – medical study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It revealed that the chemicals in sunscreen are absorbed into the bloodstream of a person who applies it to the maximum application recommended.
Huh? What does that mean? Should we toss all our sunscreens in the trash?Before doing anything rash, let’s understand the point of the study and its conclusions.
The study was conducted to find out if the chemicals in sunscreen are in fact being absorbed into the bloodstream. It was completed in a lab that involved 24 test subjects who applied sunscreen all over their bodies four times a day for four days – this is called a “maximal usage trial”.
The results of the study confirm that the sunscreen was absorbed into the bloodstream when used to the “maximum application recommended”. The author also concluded, however, “These results do not indicate that individuals should refrain from the use of sunscreen.”
The findings of the study end there. As of now, we don’t know what the potential health risks are for the absorption of these chemicals, so more research needs to be done. However, it’s important to highlight that in response to the study, the FDA noted, “The fact that an ingredient is absorbed through the skin and into the body does not mean the ingredient is unsafe.”
What we do know are the dangers of skin cancer – the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.
“There is no question that unprotected cumulative exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is a major risk factor for skin cancer,” Dr. Neal Bhatia, MD FAAD and member of the Women’s Dermatologic Society says. The most effective way to prevent it is sunscreen.
Dermatologists like Dr. Bhatia want consumers to know that the chemicals in sunscreen have been safely used for decades without a negative impact on our health. “There is no reason to abandon them because of this small lab based study,” he says.
The FDA recently released their new standards on sunscreen safety and their plans for further research. In the meantime, the FDA says, “While industry and other interested parties develop further data, the public should continue to use sunscreens with other sun protective measures.”
“Dermatologists are constantly playing defense when it comes to sunscreen safety, because patients are misled by headlines, chat room experts, and social media propaganda,” Dr. Bhatia says. “I personally believe this is the same issue we see with the misconceptions about vaccines, where the costs of bad information far outweigh what is being prevented.”
As with any decision concerning your health, it is ultimately your body and your decision. If you’re still concerned about the safety of sunscreen, talk to a dermatologist and check out the AAD’s guidelines for practicing safe sun. Have more questions? Share them below!
If a product is all over Instagram or in all of your friends’ medicine cabinets should you be using it too? Welcome to “Do You Really Need…”, a new series where we discuss how to determine whether or not a trendy or divisive product really belongs in YOUR skin care routine. Today we’re discussing essences.
Essences are one of the most commonly misunderstood steps in the K-Beauty routine. Unlike toners and serums, they are less well known outside of Korea and their purpose is less cut and dried. To make things a little more clear, we’re breaking down what essences do, the ways they can benefit your skin, and finally, how to determine whether or not they deserve a place in your routine.
What is an essence and where does it go in your routine?
If cleanser is like detergent, think of an essence as a fabric softener. After cleansing, you use a toner to balance your skin, and then an essence to inject a first round of moisture into freshly-cleansed skin. Notably, they also help your skin better absorb the products that follow it, rendering products like serum more effective.
After your toner has absorbed, gently apply the essence with the palm of your hand and follow it with your serum.
What’s the difference between an essence and products like toner and serum?
Essences are like the middle ground between toners and serums. They usually aren’t as light and watery as toners, but they aren’t as ultra-concentrated as serums. Since a main goal of an essence is to nourish skin, they are usually formulated with ingredients that are safe for regular, everyday use, unlike some, more targeted toner and serum formulas.
What skin concerns and skin types can benefit most from an essence?
Since an essence provides an extra layer of hydration, those with dry skin can obviously benefit. If aging is a major concern, this added boost of moisture can also help to alleviate fine lines and prevent wrinkles. And for sensitive skin types, it can aid in strengthening the skin barrier.
However even if you’re not in the groups mentioned above, there are many different essence formulations to choose from, so it’s easy to find one that addresses your specific skin concerns. For example, if you struggle with discoloration, it can be great to use an essence like the DewyTree Ultra Vitalizing Snail Essence Water, which has snail mucin to boost skin cell turnover and even out skin tone.
So do you really need an essence?
Essences aren’t a mandatory step, but they certainly do have benefits. The added hydration and nourishment essences provide will only do your skin good – especially if you are concerned about dryness, aging, or sensitivity. Plus, if a treatment product like a serum isn’t working as well as you’d hoped, using an essence could give the product the boost it needs to get the job done. Like with any product, consider your skin concerns and what ingredients best target them when choosing a formula that’s right for you.
Would you change your diet if it meant achieving your skin goals? Here one writer shares how eating cleaner put her on the path to a clear complexion.
When I first found out that what I eat might affect my acne, I was in middle school. I ignored it and prayed otherwise. Since then, I’ve made various, temporary lifestyle changes in the hopes of improving my skin. Like in high school, I started drinking green tea like a maniac because I heard it can be good for acne.
While my acne is better now than it was when I was younger, it’s still not totally where I want it to be, so recently I decided to give clean eating – think reduced added sugars and a higher intake of fruit and veggies – a try.
I chronicled my first week eating clean. Read on below to find out what I ate and how it affected my skin.
In the spirit of transparency, I ate an entire pack of Peeps last night. “It starts tomorrow,” I said. Well, I woke up with a huge, juicy, and deep pimple on my jawline – safe to say food definitely affects your skin, yeah? My new sidekick served as greater motivation to start clean eating and to bid her adieu sooner rather than later.
Today, my diet primarily consisted of scrambled eggs, an apple with peanut butter, a pasta salad, a green juice, and a grain bowl with sweet potatoes, black beans, and corn. At the end of the day I craved something sweet, so I had a few dark chocolate covered almonds.
When I woke up, I noticed my pimple sidekick had begun to diminish in both size and redness, so I took that as a solid win for clean eating. Though I am lactose intolerant and typically avoid dairy, there were cupcakes at work today, and well, what’s a girl to do? I ate the cupcake and one green juice, hoping it would counteract it. Of course, my stomach was extremely irritated that I let dairy enter my system, but I’m hoping my skin won’t be. Luckily, the smoothie shop nearby was having a deal, so I decided to get myself a huge smoothie packed with avocado, banana, spinach, kale, and dates. This held me over for a shockingly long time, so for dinner, I had leftovers of my grain bowl from the night before.
The cupcake was definitely a bad idea, because I woke up with another sidekick right above my lip! This was not as large as the previous one, but even that one was continuing to shrink in size and reduce color. Not only that, but the usual texture around my jawline was starting to diminish, too! This was the boost I needed to keep going on my kick. Much to my delight, I noticed a brand new item at Trader Joe’s – a jumbo size of their classic cold-pressed green juice. I grabbed it to hold onto for the remainder of the week, so I could be sure I was hitting my greens goals each day. Surprisingly, drinking a green juice helped to curb my sugar cravings, which made sticking with clean eating even easier. Since even a little bit of dairy was making me breakout, I decided to cut out all dairy (except for eggs!) for the remainder of the week. Since the smoothie held me over for so long, I kept it simple and had a brown rice salmon avocado roll with a miso soup. A simple roll like this one is packed with good fats, which are supposedly great for skin, so it felt like an easy decision.
Yesterday was the first day I feel I truly had no added sugar or dairy, and my skin saw the payoff. I have oily skin, but it was less slick than usual when I woke up, and I even noticed a reduction in the look of my pores (which is a huge concern for me). I know that sugar and dairy can exacerbate both issues, I just never thought the effect was as strong.
Since I felt I was doing such a good job, I decided to treat myself to a Sweetgreen Shroomami bowl for lunch. I paired my bowl with an apple and peanut butter, so I was able to keep half of my salad for dinner.
Each day I have more whole foods, and the more my skin appreciates me. Today I woke up with minimized oils and pores, and I noticed the texture around my jawline was nearly smoothed out. On top of that, I began seeing a change in the texture on my forehead, as well. Overall, my skin is beginning to look less irritated and red. I sautéed some spinach, boiled some eggs, and went about my day. The eggs held me over for quite some time, so my lunch was a small Trader Joe’s salad accompanied by some green juice and salted cashews. Dinner today consisted of the grain bowl I had previously in the week – it’s super easy to make, nice and healthy, and I’m lazy with recipes, so it always fits the bill.
This was my day off of work, so I decided to treat myself to a huge juice and fruit salad. The juice consisted of beets, carrots, turmeric, ginger, and apple, and the fruit salad was packed with watermelon. Not only did my body feel incredibly hydrated afterward, but my skin looked so, too! I ended my day with yet another grain bowl. I went to bed with a full belly, and hopes of clearer skin.
From eating clean, my skin looks less oily, my pores look smaller, and most of my underlying redness has gone away. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t cut out all sugar, but at least now I know what to expect with my skin if I’m going to indulge in sweets. Suddenly devouring a pack of Peeps doesn’t seem quite as worth it.
Skin care and Korean food are two of our favorite things. Agree? Keep reading for the inside scoop on an exciting collaboration that melds the two worlds.
As the experts on K-beauty trends and products, we frequently get asked what our favorite Korean restaurants are. We’re spoiled by the fact that our HQ is located in the heart of New York City’s Koreatown, meaning we have numerous amazing options at our fingertips. But one restaurant that stands out among the rest is Her Name Is Han.
This top spot – named after owner Kihyun Lee’s mother – opened in 2015 and quickly became a crowd favorite; lines form for hours during peak dinner time.
Unlike more modern Korean BBQ restaurants, you won’t find any individual gas grills here. Instead, Her Name Is Han specializes in homestyle Korean food or “Korean soul food”. Soko Glam co-founder Charlotte Cho is a regular at the space, telling us, “It’s one of my most treasured escapes in the heart of NYC because of the nostalgia and comfort it brings to me through Korean comfort food.”
Some of our favorite dishes include dumplings, slow-cooked pork belly, kimchi pancakes with poached eggs (Insider tip: They even pierce the soft poached egg for you for an always entertaining Instagram moment), and bibimbap. And rest assured, there are plenty of delicious options for friends of all dietary preferences.
If you have any plans to visit New York anytime soon or are local to the tri-state area, we recommend stopping by ASAP because from now until May 31, there’s a limited-edition menu that was created in partnership with one of our favorite skin care brands, Then I Met You.
There’s the Jeju Island Cocktail, inspired by Then I Met You’s periwinkle blue packaging, and Persimmon Passion Sorbet (pictured above), a nod to the Living Cleansing Balm.
And if you go and share photos of your meal on Instagram and tag @thenimetyou and @hernameishan with the hashtag #ThenIMetHan, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free Then I Met You Cleansing Duo ($68) plus $50 off a future visit to Her Name Is Han.
Are two, or even three acids better than one? Below, two dermatologists share the AHA and BHA cocktails that offer major skin benefits.
If you’ve incorporated chemical exfoliants into your routine and are ready to take your acid game to the next level (safely of course!), may we suggest giving a product that harnesses the power of multiple AHAs and BHAs in one formula a try?
While the primary function of both AHAs and BHAs is to remove dead skin cells, not all do so on the same level, and many offer unique additional benefits. Pairing them together can result in a more multi-dimensional exfoliation that targets a variety of skin concerns at once.
We asked two dermatologists to share the acid combinations they recommend and how these cocktails can improve your skin.
Glycolic Acid + Salicylic Acid
This combo is great for oily and acne-prone skin, says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified NYC dermatologist. Glycolic acid (an AHA) smooths skin and removes pore-clogging dead skin cells so salicylic acid (a BHA) can better penetrate pores and clean them of excess sebum and any leftover dead skin cells.
Because glycolic acid is a strong exfoliant, Dr. Hadley King, also a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC, cautions against using a product with this combination if the formula contains more than 10% of the ingredient.
If you have acne-prone skin that’s also sensitive and/or dry, this may be a better choice for you than the combination mentioned above.
“Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that helps the older, dull cells of the skin’s surface to slough away,” says Dr. King. “And it has an extra benefit: it helps improve the skin’s natural moisture factor so it is able to help keep the skin moisturized and feeling less dry.”
The result, she says, is a more clear and balanced complexion, plus improved tone (think acne scars) and texture.
“Lactic acid tends to make a good combination partner because it is one of the gentler alpha hydroxy acids and can improve the natural moisture factor,” says Dr. King. Pair it with glycolic acid, a stronger exfoliant, and she says you can expect “smoother and softer skin that is moisturized and has fewer discolorations.” Dr. King also notes that the cocktail can be beneficial for sun-damaged skin, while Dr. Jaliman likes it for sensitive skin in general.
Malic acid, typically sourced from fruit like apples, doesn’t penetrate skin as deeply as lactic or glycolic acids due to its larger molecular size. But while it may not be the most effective AHA by itself, it’s a great supporting act.
It is used to safely boost the efficacy of other AHAs, plus, it’s known to improve hyperpigmentation, boost moisture retention, and balance the pH of skin.
To prevent over-exfoliation and to reduce the potential of irritation, Dr. King recommends “applying the product initially only once or twice per week and then increasing as tolerated.” And as with the use of any acid, be sure to avoid mixing the ingredients with other strong actives such as retinol and vitamin C, and properly moisturize after use.
The 10-step Korean skin care routine can sound daunting, but for one new mom, it’s what helped her reclaim time for herself. Read on for her full regimen.
When most moms hear the term “self-care” their response is a major eye-roll. Taking care of one’s self is a tall order for most people, whether they are parents or not. But, for mothers in particular, taking time for yourself in the midst of a demanding work and caregiving schedule can feel, frankly, impossible.
The guilt you can feel simply by going back to work, or feeling that your career is at risk, is enough to choke you. Going to get a massage or taking two hours to yourself in your room simply to stare at a wall (or your phone) can feel truly criminal. More disturbing is the fact that in this country, with no paid, government-mandated family leave, most mothers have no choice about how much time they get to spend with their babies.
In the first few months of my son’s life, I was lucky if I had time to take a shower, much less practice any kind of self-care, like eating anything other than chocolate babka (easy to prepare: you just cut a slice off the loaf and stuff it in your mouth while attempting to get your newborn baby to latch to your boob), going to the gym, reading a book, or sleeping. Moisturizing? LOL. THAT’S FUNNY.
Once he was on a sleep schedule, I felt I might survive. Not only were we both sleeping through the night and getting the rest we needed, he was finally napping during the day, giving me a much-needed mental and emotional break from the enormous and constant weight of caregiving.
During my pregnancy I was careful about the kind of stuff I put on my face. Thanks to the hormones, there was a definite, natural glow. It lasted about three months postpartum. One morning I woke up and the glow was gone. The intense sleep deprivation didn’t help, either.
It might seem silly or superficial, but in those weeks of total and utter exhaustion, the incredible emotional highs and lows of new parenthood, being able to settle in on the couch with a sheet mask and a glass of wine and watch The Wire was the definition of luxury. It was vaguely pornographic, definitely NSFNM: Not Safe for New Moms.
A recent discovery of a new moisturizer, Cosrx’s Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream, had set me off on a journey through K-Beauty. Soon I was reading about essences, ampoules, and the entire 10-Step Routine. But that kind of regimen seemed insane. Who has time for a ten step skin care routine? Certainly not me, balked a little voice within.
I’ve come to call this voice the “Mom Guilt” voice. And I hear it a lot. Not just from yours truly but from my female friends (moms or not) and even older, wiser, moms.
As I navigated my new reality, something my therapist had said to me once about parenting rattled around in my head. “You have to put your oxygen mask on first.” It makes sense that your brain is telling you to drop everything and put baby first. It’s instinctual. But if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t do a very good job of taking care of anyone else. It is, I think, one of those undeniable truths.
I’m certainly not promoting a 10-step Korean beauty routine to all new moms, or saying that a skin care routine is the equivalent of an oxygen mask. But I’ve found that my skin care routine at the end of the day allows me some much needed time to check-in with myself and my overall health. Maybe you just need to lock yourself in the bathroom for thirty minutes and look at your phone. Or take a bath. Or lock yourself in the bathroom, take a bath wearing a sheet mask (I like Benton’s Snail Bee High Content Mask) while drinking a martini. You do you.
I know that the Mom Guilt voice will drone on. But at least I’ve identified what it sounds like. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. Sometimes, in order to survive, and to be the best mother you can be, you have to put yourself first. The glow will return. Whether it’s the skin care or the empowering feeling of valuing yourself and your time, who can say for sure?
I haven’t mastered the art of the Korean double cleanse yet, but for my money, this face wash by La Roche Posay is the perfect formula. I’ve been using it for nearly a decade. It never breaks me out or dries out my skin.
For years I resisted using a toner because I thought they were very harsh on skin. Now I know the importance of toning, especially in a ten step routine—you want your skin to be fully clean so that the products can really sink in.
I don’t apply ampoules every night – maybe only once or twice a week when I feel like my skin is feeling dry and in problem areas. Since this one is focused on anti-aging, I put it on my neck and forehead.
Heavy creams usually break me out. But this cream has made me a convert. My skin has never been this soft, and I love the affordability of Cosrx’s products. I only use it at night because I find it a bit too moist for pre-makeup application, but during the day I put it on my neck and décolletage.
I don’t apply eye cream at night because I have very sensitive eyes and the product slips into my eyes while I sleep and is incredibly irritating. But I always apply eye cream during the day time. Not only is this one super hydrating, it also brightens the area.
This thing is extraordinary. I suffer from thin lips, and in the morning after application my lips are more supple. I really slather this on because I feel like its hydrating benefits should extend to the skin all around your lips.
Battling blackheads and enlarged pores to no avail? Here, one writer shares what’s worked for her in the hopes that it might work for you too.
Large pores have long been the bane of my existence. I first noticed small black dots all over my nose in third grade, and I remember thinking to myself, “Why can’t I just scratch these off?”
Now that I’m in my twenties, I am sadly here to report that the small black dots still cover my nose. When your pores are gapingly large due to genetics, there’s only so much that can be done, though I at least have learned what to do to detract from my seemingly permanent blackheads. From my trial and error over the years, I’ve picked up quite a few tips. If your experience with blackheads has been similar to mine, keep reading, and hopefully my go-to pore-minimizing solutions will help you, too.
I try to use as many products as I can with niacinamide. It’s a fantastic ingredient for a variety of skin concerns, but for me it most notably helps to regulate sebum production and minimize the look of pores.
Think of it like this: when your skin is producing less sebum, there is less of a chance for that sebum to get caught in your pores and in turn, oxidize and become blackheads. I was first introduced to it through skin care brand Deciem, and began using their Niacinamide + Zinc serum every day, morning and night. I noticed a difference almost immediately, and then I hit a plateau. To kick it up a notch, I began using a cleanser with niacinamide and again noticed an initial difference. I decided to take it even one step further by incorporating a moisturizer with niacinamide in it, too. That rounded out the trifecta for me. Smaller pores and even less oily skin were suddenly my new normal.
Though I was prescribed Retin-A in my teenage years, I was super wary of introducing a retinol back into my routine now that my acne is more under control – I felt maybe I didn’t need it. But, because it’s such a hyped ingredient, I wanted to give it a go. The main goal of retinol (in almost any form) is to rapidly turn over old skin and bring forth new skin, which is typically most beneficial for acne, hyperpigmentation, and aging concerns. Little did I know how helpful this would also be for the look of pores. After one week of introducing a retinol (I used a gentle, over-the-counter 2% retinoid), I had zero irritation (which I was very concerned about) and instead, smooth, glassy skin with minimized pores. Now, I’ve made this a staple in my routine two times a week, and I’m sure to wear sunscreen because of it!
On my “off” days from retinol, I like to use a very mild AHA to keep the exfoliation going without further irritating my skin. Chemical exfoliants help to remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells from the pores, which in turn reduces the look of their size. I opt for mandelic or azelaic acid, both of which are incredibly gentle as well as anti-bacterial, so not only do they help to minimize my pores, but keep future breakouts at bay. I do this three nights a week.
Had you asked me literally one year ago if I used oils in my skin care routine, my answer would have been, “Never have, never will.” After I tried oil cleansing, though, I decided to give facial oils a whirl. I was so incredibly nervous I’d wake up with fresh breakouts, but I didn’t, and to top it off, I noticed my pores looked smaller.
How might this happen? Applying oil directly to the skin is incredibly hydrating, and in turn, your skin produces less excess oil. When your skin is producing less oil, there is less oil to clog your pores and make them appear larger. In addition, pores can become enlarged when your skin is dehydrated, so using an oil or even incorporating hyaluronic acid in your routine can help your skin stay hydrated and your pores appear smaller. I personally love borage seed oil for its anti-inflammatory properties, but popular oils such as rosehip, marula, and squalane would all be beneficial.
No piece on pores would be complete without mentioning the inevitable – nothing, and I mean nothing, can actually change the size of your pores (discover more pore myths here). Your pore size is, for the most part, genetically determined, but there are ways to make them appear smaller and that’s a success in my book. Try some of my successes and see what works for you!
Whether you’ve never gotten a facial or you’ve never gotten a good one, here’s what to know before you go for glowing results.
In Korea, getting a facial is not looked at as a luxury or a treatment reserved for special occasions only. Instead, facials are considered an essential part of skin maintenance, and it’s not uncommon to get one every week (of course, the prices are much more reasonable than they are stateside). Thankfully in the U.S., spas like Heyday, where you can get a 50-minute treatment for under $100, are making facials more accessible.
Because for many of us the treatment can still feel like a splurge, we asked Cali Strauhs, a skin therapist at HeyDay’s New York City locations, to share what to know before booking a facial appointment to ensure you get the most out of the experience. Read on below for her pro tips and insight.
A facial should be relaxing and educational.
Your esthetician should guide you towards understanding how to take care of your skin at home, because your home regimen is where the real work happens! I love educating and empowering my clients to understand their skin and body.
To get the most out of your facial, come armed with information about your skin, routine, and even overall health.
It’s essential for your esthetician to know the basics. So start with information about if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, have any skin conditions (even if not on your face), use retinol or if you’re on any topical medications from the derm, or have been on Accutane and when. Sometimes these aren’t obvious and can have big effects on your skin. For example, imbalances in the gut or hormonal imbalances can be a reason for inflammatory acne on the skin.
Also share information about your skin care routine so we can help figure out what may or may not be working. It’s really a matter of understanding what could potentially be the missing link in a client’s routine, or figuring out what they may be over-using in their routine. Sometimes we don’t even need to change a routine, but changing how often they should be using what can make a big difference.
You don’t always have to get extractions.
Every skin type and condition have different needs. For example, sometimes someone may just need a gentle enzyme peel to slough away dead skin cells, to help improve the efficacy of their skin care products. While another client may need to focus on nourishing, repairing, and reducing any inflammation. We also have high frequency and LED light therapy that can kill any bacteria lingering on the skin, so we have lots of options beyond extractions if a client would rather not. We also offer a 30 Minute Facial that is more focused around nourishing and hydration, that does not come with extractions.
It’s normal to experience breakouts and redness post-facial.
This isn’t something that happens regularly, but it can — and is normal. Your skin cells regenerate every 28 days and perhaps you had some bacteria brewing beneath the surface of the skin. I’d recommend skipping exfoliants post-treatment since we probably exfoliated during the facial. I’d also want my clients to load up on anti-inflammatory ingredients to reduce redness and irritations. Lastly – and most importantly – wear SPF!
So to be safe, get one four to six days before a major event.
Though this depends on your skin’s current condition and if you’ve been regularly having facials. It’s always best to call first, so we can come up with the best treatment plan for you. However, we wouldn’t want to do any extractions the week of an event, so if you’re looking for that type of support, I’d recommend starting earlier.
A post-facial glow typically lasts for a few weeks.
Your skin cells regenerate about every 28 days, so I would say I see the post-facial glow in my own skin for the next few weeks, but it’s very based on how you keep up at home, if you continue to get professional treatments monthly, and what lifestyle choices you make.