In case anyone has forgotten, there’s still a pandemic going on. Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t have as short of an attention span as the President does. In efforts to slow the spread, the CDC has strongly recommended that we all wear face coverings when out in public and when social distancing isn’t an option. So, because the coronavirus hasn’t disappeared like that guy that you went on one FaceTime date with in the beginning of all this, it looks like face masks and coverings are here to stay. While masks can be great for avoiding exes and covering up breakouts, they can also be irritating your skin (and contributing to those breakouts in the first place).
If we can all agree on one thing, it’s that nobody enjoys acne, and if your skin has been particularly angry during the age of COVID-19, just know that you’re not alone. Take note of your breakouts. If your acne falls under where your face mask sits, then you may be a victim of maskne, aka mask acne. Like COVID-19, maskne doesn’t discriminate. It’s a skin issue that can affect everyone: people who are already prone to acne, people who normally have clear skin, and literally anyone who is abiding by the CDC’s face mask recommendation. Luckily, I spoke with a dermatologist to get the breakdown on these breakouts: why they’re happening, and how to prevent and treat them.
What Is Maskne?
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I spoke with dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Dr. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, and it turns out that your maskne is actually Acne Mechanica—a skin issue that is triggered by excess heat, pressure, friction, or rubbing. Dr. Badreshia-Bansal explains, “Acne Mechanica is a special type of acne that occurs in areas of occlusion.”
“Sweat, dirt, and oil under the areas of occlusion then cause clogging of the pores, resulting in inflammation,” she adds. Acne Mechanica has traditionally affected athletes, especially those who wear helmets and shoulder pads, but now that the whole world is wearing masks on their face, literally anyone can get it.
How can you tell your typical breakouts apart from maskne? Dr. Badreshia-Bansal says that, “Acne Mechanica is distributed to the area of occlusion, so maskne will affect the area that the mask is protecting, which normally involves the lower half of the face.” Go look at your face in the mirror, when you connect the dots where your pimples are, do they all coincidentally hang out where your mask lies on your face? If the answer is yes, then you, my friend, have maskne.
How To Prevent Maskne
Like I said before, face masks are here to stay, so prevention is key. Just because your skin has survived against masks so far, doesn’t mean that you are immune to the annoyances of maskne. To use a sports reference, the best offense is a good defense, so start taking preventative measures now, rather than having to correct later. Start by opting for a breathable and soft cotton mask. Using a cotton mask will help ease any harsh rubbing and friction, and since it’s reusable you’ll be able to wash it regularly—ideally, between each use—to keep it fresh and clean. Dr. Badreshia-Bansal also advises wearers, “Wash or wipe any dirt or sweat off of the face as soon as you can, because oil and dirt can get trapped under your mask and cause breakouts.” The warmer it continues to get outside, the more pertinent that advice gets. Don’t sweat it—literally.
Another pre-emptive step, according to Dr. Dr. Badreshia-Bansal, is to “Apply a topical vitamin A serum such as a retinol, adapalene, or tretinoin.” You may also want to consider passing on full glam for now. Dr. Badreshia-Bansal recommends electing for mineral-based makeup as opposed to heavy foundations. I’m not saying that you have to fully embrace the all-natural look, but you should consider skipping full-coverage foundations that can clog your pores. After all, no one is seeing half of your face anyway.
How To Treat It
Suffering from maskne? No need to freak out, because just like any form of acne, there is an arsenal of lotions and potions aimed at treating and clearing up all of your skin sorrows. Dr. Badreshia-Bansal advises that you should treat maskne “the same as other forms of acne.” She recommends, “Use a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid-based cleansers.” With that advice in mind, you should continue your standard skincare routine: wash your face regularly, exfoliate your skin, and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Moisturized skin is happy skin, just make sure you’re using an oil-free moisturizer.
Most importantly, don’t panic if your breakouts are a result of wearing face masks. Just do what you would normally do when you break out—blame your boyfriend and do a purifying clay mask. After you accomplish that, spot treat your problem areas with your go-to pimple nullifier, and whatever you do, resist the urge to pop. Get your pimple popping fix from YouTube like the rest of us and leave your face alone! If you have an especially aggravated spot you can also apply a thin layer of Aquaphor (or Vaseline, salve, etc.) over it before you put your mask on to help eliminate friction and further irritation.
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Maskne is a vicious cycle. You break out, you hide it with a mask, and then break out more, causing you to wear your mask more, and so on and so forth. Face masks are more than a fashion statement, so we’re going to have to adapt and learn to live with them, like it or not. Just remember to regularly wash your face, wash your mask, and to have some chocolate—the chocolate won’t help with your skin, but hey, you deserve it.
Images: Michael Amadeus / Unsplash; aj_hernandez, betches / Instagram
As we approach week 9 (58? 102??) of quarantine, many of us are noticing that our skin is reverting back to its acne-riddled high school days. Seriously, what the hell? We’re not spending much time outside getting attacked by free radicals and pollutants, and we have more time than ever to do our involved skin care routines. So, what gives? Dr. Shari Marchbein, a New York-based dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, spoke with us about why our skin is still not behaving even when we’re in quarantine, and what we can do about it.
Why Quarantine is Causing You to Break Out
According to Dr. Marchbein, hormones are a crucial reason our skin is breaking out rn. There’s no way to pinpoint just one culprit, she says, since our sleep, work, and skin care routines are all out of whack from sheltering in place. The key ingredient in all of these, she says, is stress.
When we think about hormones, our minds typically wander to testosterone, progesterone, and like, things that relate to the pill or middle school health class. However, Dr. Marchbein explains, the hormone causing our current skin woes is cortisol, “which increases in the blood at times of stress or with lack of sleep and can trigger acne breakouts by stimulating sebaceous glands to make more oil.” Increased cortisol, she says, “can worsen other skin conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis, as well as cause an increased breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, which is the good stuff that gives skin its glow and plumpness.” Yeah, no thanks.
How to Prevent Stress-Related Flare-Ups
To avoid flare-ups in the first place, Dr. Marchbein recommends several ways to de-stress. “First and foremost, get plenty of sleep,” she says. When our body is sleep-deprived, it makes more cortisol, causing inflammation and bodily stress. Staying active is also important, according to Dr. Marchbein. Her go-to ways to de-stress are meditating and taking a yoga class. To help reduce your cortisol and stress levels, you can also go for a socially distanced walk, if possible.
And just like your mom’s been telling you for years, “maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water are key.” By following this advice, which tbh you should be doing anyway for your general health, you can be like that meme that’s like, “my skin is clear, my crops are flourishing, my depression is gone” (but like, with actual, non-sarcastically clear skin).
How to Treat Acne Flare-Ups
If you’ve got a particularly aggressive breakout, don’t freak out, because here are a number of treatment methods to try. Under normal circumstances (lol what are those), Dr. Marchbein would advise visiting your dermatologist for a steroid injection. These injections “reduce the pain and inflammation of cystic breakouts,” she says, but at this point, “most medical visits are being done by telemedicine, and in-person visits should be for true emergencies only.” So that’s out.
Then what to do about the acne glaring back at you in your reflection? For starters, Dr. Marchbein recommends certain over-the-counter products to treat existing flare-ups. Retinoids are one useful treatment for acne breakouts—Differin 0.1% gel is the strongest non-prescription one available, she notes. Salicylic acid, a type of acid that can unclog pores, is also helpful.
“I like St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Scrub with salicylic acid and green tea as a gentle scrub, and I use a St. Ives salicylic acid gel cleanser once daily,” Dr. Marchbein says. She also recommends stronger 1-2% salicylic acid gel for spot treatment. Products with benzoyl peroxide, which is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, can help calm irritated skin too. Dr. Marchbein likes 10% Panoxyl wash and 4% CeraVe wash.
Finally, acne patches deliver active ingredients to a pimple. “By occluding the pimple, these active ingredients are able to penetrate the skin more deeply allowing them to potentially work better,” she explains. Watch out if you have sensitive skin, though—acne patches might be too harsh for you and could make the situation worse.
“Most importantly,” Dr Marchbein warns, “do not pop or squeeze a pimple, as this will cause even more inflammation and can make a potentially bad situation even worse.” I know Dr. Pimple Popper videos can be satisfying, but seriously, don’t do this to yourself.
Skin Care Advice in the Time of Public Face Masks
As much as we’ve been staying indoors these days, we occasionally have to venture out into the real world to stock up on supplies or grab our curbside pick-up order of pad thai. For those of us responsibly following the CDC’s recommendation to wear cloth face masks in public, our skin might be suffering. Dr. Rajani Katta, a dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at Baylor University, warns against using masks made of irritating materials like polyester that trap sweat, in a blog post for the Baylor College Of Medicine. She suggests masks made of absorbent materials like cotton, which can help absorb sweat and prevent breakouts.
If you’ve got dry skin, Dr. Katta advises moisturizing before putting on your mask, but if you’re particularly acne-prone, she recommends skipping greasy products like foundation. “These products can get trapped under the mask and possibly cause more skin issues,” she explains. For healthcare workers on the front lines, Dr. Marchbein recommends avoiding retinoids and exfoliants. Wearing abrasive N95 masks daily, she says, “could cause further irritation and shearing of the skin.”
If your quarantine = breakout central, all hope is not lost. There are plenty of products and habits that can help repair your skin and prevent further flare-ups. Plus, it’s not like many people are seeing you these days. If you’ve got a particularly nasty zit, just turn off your video on Zoom.
Images: Andrea Piacquadio / Unsplash; Vera Davidova / Unsplash; Breakingpic / Pexels
As you can probably tell from the title, this skin care diary entry will be less sexy than others we’ve published. Welcome to the world of sensitive skin. I graduated college a little over two years ago, and it’s been an absolute whirlwind watching my skin and metabolism compete over who can deteriorate faster. I’ve never suffered from serious acne (*knocks on every piece of wood in the tri-state area*), but my post-grad skin has offered up plenty of dullness, dryness, and increasingly visible pores. I also developed what I refer to as “my problem cheek,” and my dermatologist refers to as “rosacea.” Basically, one stubborn patch on my face is perpetually red with some bumps—not quite pimples but just not smooth.
Before I finally caved and saw a dermatologist about it, I was convinced I had chronically dry skin and was layering on fancy oil-based serums and thick moisturizers every night. I genuinely believed that the more I spent on a skin care product, the better it was for me. But here’s the honest, tragic truth about my (highly sensitive) skin. Just about anything I do to it beyond doctor-recommended cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer only makes it worse. As my dermatologist explained, the rosacea means that my skin barrier is damaged. So any products I’m applying don’t actually soak in. They just settle in the top layer, creating that fun bumpy texture I was describing.
Long story short, many of the fun, bougie skin care products I’d love to try are off-limits to me. All those “intensely moisturizing” products I used to swear by? They make my oil-prone areas worse, and ultimately clog my pores. Any physical exfoliants just activate my redness-prone rosacea patches. And forget about face makeup. Any time I go for a full face of foundation, or—God forbid—highlighter, which I seem to be allergic to in every brand, I accept that my skin’s overall appearance will take a hit for the next three days. So, I’ve worked very hard to assemble a routine that keeps my sensitive AF skin smooth, even, and pimple-free. If your skin is more dramatic about a change in routine than you are when asked to attend a 9am meeting, read on. Here are the products I’ve found really work.
My sensitive skin every time I try to introduce a new product:
Face Wash: I wash my face morning and night with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. My dermatologist recommended it, and it makes my face feel crazy soft. I’ll double cleanse on days when I bothered to put on make-up, or if I skipped my routine the night before. And while I’m sure that a Clarisonic or the equivalent would make it even more effective, I frankly just do not have the time or patience to use one. Plus, I kind of hate reusable skin care accessories because I’m a germophobe and convinced they’re growing bacteria. This is a problem I imagine could be alleviated by like, cleaning it, but once again I am lazy/perpetually short on time.
Toner: I follow (most) cleanses with Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract toner. In the words of my dermatologist, it’s “not really doing anything,” but she graciously invited me to finish the bottle I’d just purchased. Despite her (rude) commentary, I like the idea of an additional cleansing step while living in the cesspool of dirt known as New York City. Also, it smells refreshing and makes me feel fancy. As I mentioned before, most products that fit that description give me some kind of weird reaction, so I really appreciate the ones that don’t.
Prescription: Once my doc determined that problem cheek = rosacea, I was given a prescription for an azelaic acid called Finacea Foam. It treats the redness and bumps caused by rosacea, and I use it twice a day after cleansing and before moisturizing. While it hasn’t 100% cleared up the problem, I’ve gone from having bumps spread across both cheeks to one small patch (damn you, problem cheek!). The overall texture has also greatly improved, and what was once a weird blotchy redness now shows up as more of a flush after hot showers/working out. Highly recommend.
Spot Treatment: This is not dermatologist-approved behavior, but if I see a pimple coming on I’ll dab some spot treatment with salicylic acid on the area before locking it all in with moisturizer. It’s a little annoying because I have to wait for an additional layer to dry, but fully worth it if you can stop a burgeoning zit in its tracks. If I go a little too nuts and start using it daily I end up getting dry and triggering some redness, but in moderation I find this kind of product to work wonders. My two faves are Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel.
Sunscreen: I use EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 every morning, at my dear dermatologist’s behest. Apparently rosacea can be triggered by sun exposure, so I guess this plays a role in calming it down. Honestly, I struggle to get excited about any product from which I don’t see immediate effects, but I know it’s good for me and I feel lightly smug for using it for that reason. Also, it sinks in quickly enough and replaces my moisturizer in the morning.
Moisturizer: I use CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion every night and some mornings, depending on how dry my skin is feeling. I love it because it’s lightweight, has the same silky feel as their cleanser, and doesn’t sit on top of my skin like all those fancy jar moisturizers I was buying for years did. Does it make me feel rich and chic? No, but it also doesn’t cost me $50 every six weeks, and my skin is way softer. I’ll take it.
Serum: Eminence Facial Recovery Oil. My dermatologist all but begged me to throw this out (in her words, “I don’t think more oil is what you need right now”). But I’ll still dab a little on my forehead every now and then because I can’t help myself. Nose, chin, and cheeks are off-limits for this riskier product, but I’ll mix a little in with my moisturizer and apply to my forehead a few times a week. It smells amazing and my sister swears it’s improved her fine lines.
Morning: Cleanser, toner, Finacea, sunscreen. I have a week-old pimple on my cheek, and last night I put on a bunch of spot treatment and extra Tretinoin on the area, plus Neosporin since I keep picking it open. (Don’t @ me, it works.) The pimple is finally fading from view, but I see two to three more bumps lurking below the surface. Problem Cheek, will you ever set me free??? I’ve tried changing pillowcases, changing what side I sleep on, never holding my phone to that side of my face… nothing works. I take a few pictures in hopes of taking you on a visual journey, but I’m on week 7 of a 10-week shoot and the bags under my eyes/general lifeless demeanor are a little much to take.
Evening: Cleanser, Finacea, moisturizer. No spot cream or toner because I just worked 14 hours. Moisturizer I applied lying down maybe three seconds before passing out. I manage to apply more Neosporin to my cheek spot, though, because at this point I’ve been wrangling it for nearly 10 days and it’s all I can think about. To anyone reading this: do not pick your face until it bleeds, no matter how fun and genuinely helpful it seems in the moment! I fall asleep praying it will heal overnight.
My poor, picked-at skin:
Thursday morning I don’t have to be at work until 9am. This would be better news if it didn’t mean I’ll be there until 11pm. However, the extra time in the morning means I can cleanse, tone, apply Finacea, and put on sunscreen all in the comfort of my home. I’m sad to admit I sometimes apply sunscreen on the subway, which I am aware makes me gross. I have a thing about layering products too quickly. I worry I’m just diluting one product with another if I don’t give them time to dry. If I’m totally wrong on this, PLEASE call me out in the comments. I would love to stop putting on sunscreen with hands that just touched subway poles.
I’m not home until 11:40pm, as expected. As I dutifully cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize, I realize something miraculous. Cheek pimple is, if not totally invisible, highly faded. Neosporin saves the day again. I stare at my nearly clear cheek and think about how I definitely would have skipped washing my face tonight if I weren’t writing this diary. This makes me think I should start journaling my food, too. Then I eat four bite-size candy bars I stole from work and fall asleep.
Today is an exciting skincare day for you all! I’m working from home until 6:30, so I don’t get out of bed until 11. I don’t do anything to my face because I want to work out first, a dream it takes me two hours and 15 minutes of yoga to give up on. I wash my face in the shower, then put on Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. It’s my go-to for all generalist, make-my-skin-look better needs. It’s great for calming down redness and inflammation, improves overall tone, and just makes your skin look clear.
After, my skin is looking the best it has all week. The cheek pimple is totally gone, and those bumps I was complaining about on Wednesday seem to have died down too. I add toner, Finacea, and sunscreen. After sunscreen, I add my new favorite no-makeup makeup product: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. This is the closest thing to foundation I can wear without triggering a breakout, and despite being sheer, I swear to God it visibly blurs away my flaws. Friday night, I cleanse/Finacea/maybe moisturize? I spent my evening getting high and watching Vanderpump Rules, so I honestly don’t remember. I do remember eating a Twix bar at 1am and thinking the single greatest thing I could do for my health is cut down on sugar, so take that as you will.
Me: I should cut down on sugar!
Also me every time I go out:
Saturday morning, I cleanse and tone, and get dressed in a rush waiting for toner to dry. Then I add Finacea and try to find my insurance card for a doctor’s appointment for 10 minutes. Two hours later, I remember to moisturize—hope it still counts for something. No sunscreen today, oops. Saturday night I make a genuine attempt to go out. But I still end up asleep on the couch before midnight. At least I manage to wash my face before crashing. I tell myself I’ll put on Finacea and moisturizer in bed. I don’t.
Sunday morning I’ve slept for an annoyingly long time. I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize—no sunscreen. My skin’s feeling dry since I fell asleep without moisturizing the night before, and I don’t really plan on spending time outside anyway. I go to the movies, where I realize the junk food and half-hearted skin care Saturday has resulted in two new bumps rearing their heads on Problem Cheek. I tell myself I’ll do a mask and spot treatments that night. Instead, I drink two margaritas at 5pm, and barely manage to cleanse/tone/Finacea/moisturize. I suck.
I wake up at 4:30am, regretting Sunday’s margaritas with every bone in my body. I seriously consider quitting my job for five minutes, then get out of bed and cleanse, tone, Finacea, sunscreen. Monday night, I get home “early” (7pm), and treat myself to some salicylic acid spot treatment following my cleanse/Finacea/moisturizer routine. No toner because I’m already tired at the prospect of the spot treatment, but the bumps I saw at the movie theater Sunday don’t seem to be going anywhere on their own.
Tuesday morning I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and liberally apply sunscreen to try and make up for the fact that I don’t have time to apply moisturizer (and wait for it to dry). At work, I read a different skin care diary in which someone who clearly has more money and better skin than me also swears by salicylic acid for clearing breakouts. Even though the salicylic acid product is the only one in her routine I can remotely afford, I allow myself a brief moment of smugness. I also remind myself that fancy $100 skincare items have never done anything but made me break out.
Tuesday night, I cleanse/tone/Finacea, and add more spot gel (Clean & Clear) to those bumps on my cheek. I can’t be sure if they’re actually pimples or just rosacea bumps, but I feel hopeless if I can’t even pretend I’m treating it. I tell myself I’ll moisturize in bed, and as I’m sure you can guess, I do not. At 3am, I wake up, realize my mistake and moisturize. It’s terrible.
All in all, the moral of my not-so-exciting skin care routine is that I’ve (reluctantly) stopped chasing Instagram-perfect skin. And both my wallet and face are a lot happier for it. I don’t use drugstore products because I’m low-maintenance and don’t GAF. I use them because the alternative is spending $78 on a moisturizer that sits on top of my broken skin barrier and makes me break out. So if you have sensitive skin like me, remember that the #1 investment you can make is a dermatologist, and when you’re rich, biannual microneedling and injections. Can’t wait.
Images: Giphy (4)
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I’m not exactly a skin care expert. My dermatologist, who gently told me to throw out most face products I own earlier today, would agree on this. On the bright side, I have now sought professional advice and am here to share my experience/her wisdom. Today’s topic is dermarolling: an at-home skincare treatment boasting celebrity users including Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Aniston, and Gwyneth Paltrow. (Yes, the one who stuffs jade eggs up her vagina. But her skin is glowing, no?) In my ongoing quest for flawless, “I can afford weekly facials” skin, I bought a $24 dermaroller two weeks ago. Here’s what you should know before you buy.
What Is Dermarolling & What Does It Do?
If you’ve heard of microneedling, dermarolling is just the at-home version of that. Both treatments involve creating small punctures all over your face. This (in theory) enhances collagen and elastin production. As your skin heals, the collagen boost helps smooth out wrinkles/fine lines, firm up sagging skin, and improve overall texture/tone. Both treatments can also improve the appearance of acne scars, dark spots, and large pores. As a general rule, microneedling will be more effective than dermarolling for many reasons. It’s kind of like the difference between doing a mask and getting a facial—the version performed by a professional with higher-tech tools is always going to come out better. Plus, microneedling tools can create deeper punctures than at-home dermarollers (for obvious reasons), so they naturally have a stronger effect. (Wondering why anyone would bother dermarolling? Because microneedling, like most things Gwyneth Paltrow supports, is prohibitively expensive, at $500-1,000 per session.)
Face Microneedle Dermal Roller System
How Do You Use It?
A dermaroller basically looks like a razor with a rolly head covered in needles on top. Before using it, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you disinfect it. Dermarolling with a dirty roller is literally injecting your skin with bacteria. (Sidenote: really love lecturing you all knowing full well that I “disinfected” my dermaroller with tequila. Whatever, at least I’m trying.)
To use it, you roll the needle-wheel (not the real name, do not refer to it as such) all over your face. One section at a time, roll five times in each direction (up/down/left/right) until you’ve covered the areas you want to treat. Redness is a known side effect, but I didn’t notice much. Just like, the amount you’d expect for having rubbed needles all over your face. After dermarolling, your skin will be primed for absorbing hydrating products—so load up on your fave serum/moisturizer to finish.
Not quite my experience, but you get the idea:
What Are The Effects Of Dermarolling?
The day after using this, I was the most annoying person on earth. I disappeared to my office bathroom maybe 60 times to take yet another “#nofilter” selfie. Even the most heinous of fluorescents couldn’t dim my #glow, and I felt like there was a noticeable difference in some roughness/bumpiness that had been bothering me on my cheeks. While effects like taming discoloration require long-term, consistent use of dermarolling (and my day-after glow didn’t really last), I definitely noticed a difference. Mostly, it was just a kind of shine/plumpness (I hate that word but I can’t think of a better description), plus the glow I won’t shut up about.
For reference, here was my scary face before dermarolling:
And here is my post-dermarolling glow:
Real results. Not FaceTune.
All that being said, dermarolling is not without its dangers. Common side effects can include infection, inflammation, breakouts, and damaged skin. Most experts say this can be avoided with proper cleaning and technique, but unless you’re going to dermarolling seminars on the regular, chances are you could fuck up. A lot of these issues do stem from improper cleaning practice, so please buy proper cleaning solution and be rigorous about it. Or just like, replace your dermaroller fairly often—I know you spend more than $24 on less important shit.
When I asked my dermatologist about it, she didn’t say dermarolling was bad, but she didn’t say it was good either. Mostly, she thinks of it as a less effective version of microneedling, and cautioned that dermarolling on any existing inflammation or pimples was a surefire way to spread the irritation to the rest of your face. I also found out that those bumps/redness on my cheek are in fact my new, fun mild rosacea (getting older is great), so whatever improvement I noticed after dermarolling was almost certainly in my head. Whatever! At least I was glowy!
Is this a wholehearted recommendation for dermarolling? If you caught me the day after, it would have been. But after hearing my dermatologist’s advice, I’ve sobered up on the idea of making this part of my routine. While I love buying trendy beauty products way more than as much as the next girl, sometimes less really is more—especially if you’re not sure how your skin will react. A dermatologist, on the other hand, is always a good investment.
Images: Dermstore; Giphy (3); Chris Howard / Pexels
Like most people in this world, I really care about my skin. Despite my horrible attempts at clean dieting and exerting energy into anything that doesn’t involve walking to
the closest liquor store Starbucks, I try really hard to treat my skin like silk (@KrisJenner) by using only the best makeup removers, micellar waters, masks—you name it. Only the best for my prized feature. However, one of the hardest products to find that doesn’t make my face have a mid-life crisis is a face wash. It’s something we use everyday, so someone please tell me why it’s so hard to find one that’s just right for my skin type. *Sighs* Since I know firsthand how fucking stressful this can be, here are the best face washes based on your skin type. You can thank me later.
If You Have Oily Skin, Try…
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser
This godsend of a face wash was made just for those who struggle to keep their faces looking shine-free all day long. Not only does it thoroughly clean your face, but it also reduces excess oil without drying your face out. Ugh, bless. It leaves your skin feeling v smooth and makeup-ready without any worries of looking oily af.
Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Control Foam Wash
IMO, this is seriously the best and safest brand for your skin. I have almost everything from Cetaphil and have literally never been disappointed in the results. This facial wash is super gentle on even the most sensitive skin types and removes oil, so it can also control the shine on your face. It also happens to be a fab makeup remover, too.
If You Have Dry Skin, Try…
Estée Lauder Soft Clean Moisture Rich Foaming Cleanser
Created specifically for those with super flaky skin, this moisturizing face wash adds a ton of the hydration you need while also preserving your skin’s natural moisture. Since it’s a foaming cleanser, it goes on with ease and leaves your face feeling amazingly soft afterwards.
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser
This shit is formulated with five conditioners, so that’s when you know it’s luxurious af. The creamy gel cleanser soothes uneven textures, softens super dry patches, and clears up your pores ASAP. It’s like, apparently made with some sort of ingredient that’s also in contact lens solutions, so you can def use on your eyes for that mascara that doesn’t gtfo.
If You Have Combination Skin, Try…
Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser
If you’re kind of on the dry side but somehow a bit on the oily side as well (HOW THO??), this foaming cleanser gently removes a day’s worth of grime, as well as the makeup you’ve been wearing for hours. It’s totes refreshing and makes your face feel like it can breathe again without drying it out or making you feel moist. Ew.
Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser
Designed for all skin types, the best-selling Philosophy cleanser works well on those whose skin may be super dry and extremely sensitive, too. It’s gentle on the eyes for removing your gothic makeup and gives your pores a much-needed deep cleanse. It’s a fab toner and source of hydration, if your skin is suffering a bit come the colder seasons.
If You Have Normal Skin, Try…
Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel
The sulfate-free cleansing gel easily cleanses clogged pores and helps prevent future breakouts. It helps your skin retain natural moisture, as well as controls oil, so you’re looking radiant in all the right ways. Plus, it reduces annoying inflamed areas and gets rid of buzzkill breakouts before you can even freak out about it.
Origins Checks And Balances Frothy Face Wash
This face wash is ideal for those who have an equal balance of dry *and* oily skin types (lucky, betch)—hence the name. Since it’s v gentle on the face, you can easily use just little, and it goes such a long way. It’s only an added bonus that it functions as a makeup remover and leaves a refreshingly cool sensation when you’re finished.
It takes a lot of patience, effort, and internal seething to act as heartless as Kourtney Kardashian. I know this because I try like, really fucking hard to only provide one-word answers to any question and mask any sign of emotion at all times. I give her so much credit for perfecting this act despite having three kids with a mentally unstable and alcoholic ex-boyfriend sleeps with Insta thots on the regular. All hail Kourtney Kardashian.
Regardless of how much I put on this little public façade, the second I’m behind closed doors, I am 1,000% Britney Spears circa 2007. Being in your 20s means becoming a workaholic (possibly also an alcoholic) while remembering to eat solid food before five consecutive tequila shots and turning off your straightener before leaving the house. Anxious is basically my middle name at this point, and if you didn’t know that, all you’d need to do is take one look at my face to figure it out. At least my outside matches my inside, right? Some rich smart CEOs probs know of this struggle all too well, so here are fab skincare products to help hide your stress so you don’t fuck up your ex’s car with an umbrella.
1. Glossier Super Pure Niacinamide Serum
For skin that manages to fuck up when all shit hits the fan, this serum calms down redness and swelling to prevent future breakouts. Glossier understands that junk food and that unpleasant moment right before our time of month are literally sabotage, and this serum is specifically formulated to stop your skin’s biggest triggers. The super lightweight water-to-gel formula gets rid of excess oil and absorbs into your skin to drastically strengthen your cells.
2. Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream
The bags under my eyes will def be the death of me, literally. I look like a corpse if I’m not layering a shit ton of eye cream, especially after all the sleepless Saturday nights I’ve had
in the past seven years lately. This is an instant brightening and hydrating eye cream that has a cooling effect and leaves you feeling wide awake. It de-puffs your eyes so you look refreshed and smoothes your eye area for makeup application. The formula is also free of oil and fragrance, and full of peptides that counteract against stress and lack of sleep.
3. Kiehl’s Since 1851 Skin Rescuer Stress-Minimizing Daily Hydrator
The intense moisturizer is clinically proven to reduce signs of stress, including fatigue, dehydration, and blotchiness. Honestly, anytime something says it’s clinically proven, I’m sold. I won’t ask questions. This product is infused with roses and some other good-smelling stuff that detect signs of stress before they happen and help promote immediate recovery so you don’t break out.
4. Estée Lauder Stress-Relief Eye Mask
For a super quick and relaxing remedy after a long night of drowning your sorrows in wine, apply these pre-soaked moisturizing pads onto your eyes for about 10 minutes. They’re composed of anti-stress and anti-fatigue ingredients to help soothe, hydrate, and massage your under eye area. Turn off your phone and listen to like, Mozart or whatever before taking them off and gently rubbing the excess serum in.
5. Origins Peace Of Mind On-The-Spot Relief
This is like, meditation in a bottle tbh. The product promotes sensory therapy, which is supposed to work wonders after a light application on your pressure points. When you’re two seconds away from throwing your computer against the wall at work, apply two drops of this on the back of your neck, inner wrists, temples, and earlobes. A tingling sensation will occur (so, no, you’re not going crazy) and soon, your bottled-up tension and stress will evaporate. This also works as a sleep aid and helps with migraines, so who the hell needs yoga when you’ve got this?
Images: Katerina Radvanska / Unsplash; Giphy; Glossier.com; Sephora (2); Nordstrom; Estée Lauder;
If you’re anything like me, someone who
is a mature adult treats their body like a trashcan, then you recognize the daily struggle that is doing whatever the fuck you want while also wanting to have a great body and great skin. Life’s hard when you want to get fucked up at Governors Ball but also look 100 years old in your Instagram story. Not that I would know. I did not go to Gov Ball, though I did spend the weekend going through mimosas like water and eating enough food to get me my own TLC reality show. That being said, I want to change. I want to be a new me. A better me. A me who puts actual vitamins and minerals into her system so her skin doesn’t resemble the entire slice of pizza she ate last night. So here’s a list of foods you should avoid like an ex-boyfriend sliding into your DMs and foods you should embrace because they’ll fix your fucking face. Damn, I’ve got bars.
DON’T: Eat Canned Food/Meats
Gross. As if. Like, who even eats canned meats anymore? Other than my ex from college who had this weird obsession with eating vienna sausages (which, in hindsight, should have been a red fucking flag that this kid was a sociopath. That and his Belk credit card that he was always bragging about). Canned and/or highly processed foods have a shit ton of sodium in them and causes your body to hold on to water, which is why your face is always puffy or you have bags under your eyes that can be seen from space, and your acne is at World War III proportions.
DO: Eat Salmon
Aside from giving you a reason to pretend to be a foodie and also be obnoxious on Instagram, eating salmon is a sure way to get better looking skin. Salmon is rich with omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats. These fats reinforce cell membranes and nourish the skin to keep you looking fresh AF.
DON’T: Drink Green Juice
Lol just because you frequently say shit like #FitLife and #CleanEating on your IG does not mean you know wtf is good for you, because SURPRISE all those juices you’re drinking to “cleanse” your body are actually really fucking bad for you. Juices are sugary as hell, especially the green juices which can have up to 50 grams of sugar in them, which is actual sabotage when it comes to having clear skin.
^I imagine every fitstagrammer when the find out they’ve been pumping liquid sugar into their
DO: Drink A Protein Smoothie
Aside from having something to talk about with the hot trainer at your gym, protein smoothies can actually be beneficial for your skin. The more you know. Stay away from the juicer smoothies and opt for one with some protein in it. These types of smoothies are high in healthy fats and won’t leave your skin looking more ratchet than your Snap story last weekend.
DON’T: Eat Ice Cream
Okay, this one I saw coming. Nothing that tastes this good can be anything but sabotage on your body. And since I’m
not on my period rn in control of my body I guess I’m open to suggestions here. Ice cream is chock-full of sugar which can form this fun thing called advanced glycation end products which fucks up the protein in your body. Why is that important you may ask? Because the proteins it fucks with the most are the ones that keep your skin plump and springy looking. So basically eating ice cream is aging you. *steps into oncoming traffic*
DO: Eat Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate aka the DUD of chocolates has a fuck ton of antioxidants in it, which is v good for your skin. So even though it tastes healthy and the whole time you’ll be wishing you were eating real chocolate with real flavor at least your skin will look good AF and be protected against wrinkles and other bad shit.
DON’T: Drink Coffee
HA HA HA HA this has to be some sort of sick joke. You want me to give up my
will to live caffeine? Do you also want me to commit homicide the next time someone replies all to a department email chain? DO YOU? This one is tough for me to wrap my brain around because coffee is literally one of the only reasons I get out of bed in the morning, and consequently, the reason you get to experience this sparkling personality. That being said, coffee is a diuretic (fake news I’m sure!) which causes your body to lose water and your skin to get v dehydrated. Stay away from this shit if you want glowy AF skin.
DO: Drink Hot Lemon Water
This replacement sounds about as good as the Republican’s plan for health care but that’s neither here nor there. Even though the prospect of drinking hot lemon water sounds about as enticing as sleeping with Jonathan The Tickle Monster, it’s actually super good for you. It’s hydrating, full of antioxidants, and gives some much needed support to your liver. Apparently, the liver is the main organ that detoxifies the body and if you’re full of toxins drinking on days that end in Y, you’re more likely to break out. Sighs. And this is why we can’t have nice things.
DON’T: Eat Bagels
Okay, I’m starting to feel personally victimized by this list. Like, is someone looking at my bank statement and seeing that I spend a large amount of my down time in coffee shops and/or bagel shops? Because I’m feeling really attacked rn. Apparently, bagels are “the worst for your skin” and can lead to “a cascade of hormones” aka acne breakouts for days. *prays this is fake news*
DO: Eat Non-Processed Carbs or Oats
Tbh I’d rather starve than eat something that resembles animal feed but I guess that’s the price we pay to look like the “after” girl in an acne commercial. Oats are the “right kind of carbs” probs because it looks miserable to eat and also because it’s high in antioxidants which we’ve established will not only give you clear/glowy skin but also fights against anti-aging.
DON’T: Drink Soda
To absolutely no one’s surprise except my own because I refuse to read labels written by
health professionals people who are out to destroy my happiness, soda is bad for you. And just because you drink diet soda doesn’t mean you’re safe. Because diet soda especially “disrupts the necessary and healthy bacteria found in your gut.” Also drinking any kind of soda can really fuck with your skin. Like, cause rosacea, eczema, and acne fuck with your skin. K. Just fuck me up rn then. Also, wtf am I supposed to order at the bar to go along with my vodka then? I can’t just drink vodka straight. I want to have clearer skin, not die.
DO: Drink Kombucha
Finally something that looks good on my Instagram story and isn’t going to fuck up my skin. About damn time. Basically Kombucha is good for you because it’s fermented, and therefore full of probiotics, which will solve all your life problems. I’m paraphrasing, but still. If you want clear skin by the time this weekend’s brunch rolls around then chug some of this and pretend like it’s
alcohol something you enjoy drinking.
So, in conclusion, anything that brings you joy is probably fucking up your skin and you should cut it from your diet ASAP. I am feeling #blessed rn that alcohol did not make the list, but that’s mostly because I refused to do any actual research that would prove otherwise. Who says you can’t make your own destiny? Listen, if all else fails and you
have no self control don’t want to sacrifice your happiness there’s always Facetune.
There are so many bullshit products on the market that promise to clear up your skin overnight, but let’s be real: what you put in your body has so much more power. If you’ve struggled with skin breakouts in the past aka are human and have tried everything out there, you might want to consider your diet as the culprit. Sorry for sounding like your mom, but it’s true. You could drink three liters of water a day and wash your face incessantly, but still be eating shit that is making you break out. These 7 foods make you break out, so avoid them like
the plague fuckboys.
In case you needed another reason to stop stuffing your face with candy like a 7-year-old, here it is. Sugar isn’t only bad for your heart health and insulin levels, but it could also be causing you to break out. When you eat refined sugar, your insulin levels spike, which causes your body to undergo a burst of inflammation, which doesn’t exactly sound like a cleanse. This inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin in your skin and are likely to cause pimples and wrinkles as time goes on. We could bore you with more science, but you get the point. You thought your mom was just fat-shaming you as a preteen when she told you chocolate was giving you pimples, but she actually wasn’t. (Damn it, mom. Can I live?) Put down the Snickers.
2. Dairy Products
Sorry to break it to you, but like, fucking duh. Most people in the world already know that dairy can cause breakouts, but in case you don’t, here’s your reminder. Dairy is a pro-inflammatory ingredient, which means it will negatively affect your joints, digestion, and yes, your skin. It’s also usually packed with hormones and sugar, which doesn’t help. A little bit of milk or cheese here and there won’t kill you, but if you’re prone to breakouts, I’d stay away from the froyo for now. The 16 Handles workers are starting to know your name, and it’s getting a little sad.
You probably thought you were being super healthy by getting tofu in your Sweetgreen salad and saying no to croutons, but it turns out soy isn’t actually that good for you, and it could be making your face look like a literal minefield. There have been a ton of studies done about soy and skin quality, and it’s hard to say if it really makes you break out, but we know for sure that too much of it fucks with your hormones, which can definitely lead to some sketchy shit. Try limiting your soy intake and see if you can notice a difference in your skin. That means no soy lattes, but also no milk lattes, so I guess that leaves almond milk? K. If you don’t notice any difference after you rule out soy, knock yourself out with that miso sesame tofu shit. Just stop telling everyone about how you’re “trying out being a vegetarian.”
4. White Wine
Someone once made up that a glass of wine has a substantial amount of antioxidants in it, so we were all pumped to keep filling our glasses until someone told us otherwise. As it turns out, our alcoholic bubble has officially been burst, because a new scientific study is showing that white wine is actually sabotaging your skin. There’s this skin disease called rosacea where your skin turns red and causes acne-like breakouts and just overall not-cuteness, and apparently white wine could be the culprit. I mean, we don’t want to believe it, but the study was published in the Journal of American Dermatology, so we kind of have to. *cries into my oversized wine glass*
Even if you’re buying cereals that are low in sugar, cereal is still a very processed food, which is known to make your skin seek revenge by fucking up your life. If you’re looking for the clearest skin possible, avoid processed snacks as much as you can, even if they’re branded as “healthy” (which, tbh, they probs aren’t). Most “healthy” cereals are paying millions for good marketing, so don’t give in to that bullshit. As your middle school health teacher told you countless times, read the label. If you can’t understand the ingredients, it can’t be doing anything good for you. Instead, go for eggs, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains like a normal fucking adult. Whole Wheat Quaker Squares don’t count. Honestly if you’re not a first grader or a poor college student or perpetually high, why are you eating cereal in the first place?
6. Bottled Water
SAY IT ISN’T SO. First they came for our white wine and now this? Scientists might be purposefully trying to annihilate the betch demographic. It’s a conspiracy, I say! Anywho, betches never have a shortage of beverages on hand, but we might need to be reconsidering the three liter Smart Water we down everyday thinking it’s helping our skin. Staying hydrated is obviously good for you, but most plastic water bottles contain BPA, which is a steroid analogue that could fuck with your hormones. Not only is plastic terrible for the environment, but it could actually be causing those zits that cropped up on your face right before your best friend’s wedding. Just another reason to invest in an overpriced S’well water bottle, I guess.
7. Fast Food
This one should be obvious, but then again, the obesity rate in this country is higher than ever and health organizations are in a fucking panic over American food choices, so maybe if the fact that it’s literally going to kill you isn’t enough of a reason to stop eating this crap, telling you it’s making your face look bad will do the trick. Fast food is literally the worst thing you can put in your body, and fucking obviously all that grease from the ten pounds of oil in your order of french fries will make you break out. If you’re blackout at 3am and decide to order the deluxe happy meal, be my guest, but don’t cry when the next day your face looks as ratchet as your life choices and you start trying out every face mask in Sephora to save yourself. Just skip the fried food. Your sober self will thank you.