Skin care is incredibly tricky to figure out. It seems as if every minute there’s a new product out there promising to give you skin that’s softer than a baby’s ass, because that’s the goal, right? The “eternal beauty” overload has gotten so out of hand that our bathrooms have basically turned into our own personal Ultas, fully stocked with every serum, moisturizer, and anti-aging goop out there. But if anyone has discovered the true fountain of youth, hands down, it’s Martha Stewart. You know exactly what I’m talking about: it was the poolside selfie seen around the world. Her smooth skin and smouldering smize sent shockwaves through the nation and had everyone frantically googling her skincare routine. Stewart’s flawless thirst trap is proof that age is just a number, and that with the right skin care routine, you too can confidently take filter-free selfies by the pool. While there’s no need to go off and start slathering your face with 10 different serums at once, there are certain skin care steps that can help us achieve Martha Stewart’s smooth skin. To find out exactly what anti-aging tips we should all be following, I went straight to the source—Martha Stewart’s Dermatologist.
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My pool in East Hampton is the place to be on a 89 degree day! When I built the pool thirty years ago it was designed to be as chlorine free as possible, with a natural concrete finish-no paint- and it fit in a long narrow space between the house and the property line. I made it extra deep for diving and with no protruding steps so we could really race the length without worrying about obstacles. After all these years, It is a fun place to swim!!!
Engaging With Anti-Aging
Let’s kick this off with what everyone wants to know. How does Martha Stewart do it? According to Stewart’s go-to skin guy, private practice Dermatologist Dr. Dhaval G. Bhanusali, MD FAAD at Hudson Dermatology and Laser Surgery, “She is the best!” No argument there. Besides great genetics, Dr. Bhanusali says, “She starts almost every morning with a CBD-based anti-inflammatory sheet mask that we custom made for her.” Dr. Bhanusali continues, “For daily serum, we made something that combined hydrating ingredients with those that can stimulate and maintain collagen, as well as antioxidants to fight against the sun’s UV rays.” And to finish it off, “We created a richer, CBD-infused night cream that calms the skin and helps restore it.” So apparently skin care can be as easy as
ABC CBD. Additionally, Dr. Bhanusali says, “Throughout the day, we made her a hydrating calming mist to keep the skin looking dewy.” Stewart is an absolute stunner, so it’s great to hear that her skin care regimen is totally achievable with the right guidance.
But at what age should you start getting serious about anti-aging? Dr. Bhanusali likes to think of it more as “skin optimization”. He recommends that, “Once you’re in your mid-twenties, I like to introduce a retinoid to help create the foundation of good collagen production. Into the 30s, I add in more antioxidants and maintenance lasering if needed.” Not to give you a panic attack or anything, but you’re older today than you were yesterday, that’s just a fact, so it’s not totally unbelievable to start thinking about preserving your skin. So where do you start? Dr. Bhanusali says, “I am super biased, but I can’t stress how important it is to see a board-certified Dermatologist. It’s no secret that there are lots of potions and devices out there that don’t do much.” You can actually end up saving yourself some money by seeing a specialist. Take facial rollers, for example: odds are the majority of you caved with the trend and invested in a jade roller or similar device. According to Dr. Bhanusali, they don’t really do enough to justify the price. Instead he says, “My favorite derm hack is to put a spoon in the fridge at night. Each morning, remove it and lightly press it under each eye and gently massage upwards on the cheeks for 2-3 minutes.” Costs nothing and depuffs just as well! Big spoon, little spoon, whatever your preference is, it’s a lot cheaper than spending your money on a fancy facial roller.
A Wrinkle In Time
Age before beauty? How about we follow Martha Stewart’s lead and blend the two. Beauty is timeless, and when you put as much love and care into your skin as you do when ordering a pizza at 3am, beautiful things can happen—like a large pizza and cheesy bread, or skin that’s better than any Instagram filter. Aging is a natural progression of life, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take measures to slow that process down. For instance, stop sleeping in your makeup. And if you don’t think that statement applies to you, then please stop lying about sleeping in your makeup. We all do it. It may not be every night, but we’ve all gone to brunch with makeup that was leftover from the night before, it happens. So on a scale of 1-10, how bad is it to sleep in your makeup? Dr. Bhanusali rules that, “As a one-off, maybe 2-3 out of 10. If it’s a habit, 10 out 10. It can lead to breakouts, oil buildup, and even collagen breakdown over time.” Do yourself a favor and leave your makeup wipes somewhere easily accessible after a long day or night out so you can let your skin rest when you do.
Moreso, if you take anything away from this, it should be that your mom was right about sunscreen. All those annoying times she made you cover up really were important. You should be constantly applying sunscreen, every day. As Dr. Bhanusali says, “Sunscreen should be the staple of the early years and beyond.” To get the most out of your sunscreen, you should be using a minimum of SPF 30. Dr. Bhanusali emphasizes, “More than literally anything in the world, it’s the simplest and most powerful intervention to not just protect against skin cancer, but also the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” Just. F*cking. Use it.
The Skin Care Setlist
So, what is the secret to the fountain of youth? While routines will ultimately vary between skin types and individual needs, there is a solution for everyone. Dr. Bhanusali recommends using a “Moisturizer with SPF 30, two types of cleansers , an antioxidant , and retinoids or bakuchiol .” It’s cool, we can pause here while you check your cabinets and update your shopping cart. All set? Let’s continue.
Now that you know what you need, it’s time to figure out what the hell to do with it all, besides the obvious: put it on your face. Dr. Bhanusali breaks it down. “In the morning: first cleanse, then antioxidant, and finish with moisturizer with SPF. At night: first cleanse, then retinoid/bakuchiol, and finish with calming cream if needed.” Dr. Bhanusali also adds that, “Throughout the day, I like hydrating mists or products with a touch of hyaluronic acid to keep skin feeling and looking fresh.”
Within our cleansing routine we should be alternating between gentle daily cleansers and exfoliators. You can’t really mess up with gentle cleansers, but exfoliating can require a bit more strategy. Dr. Bhanusali tells us that, “Most people over do it and it’s one of the more common causes of adult acne.” Yikes. He continues, “I like exfoliation 1-2x a week for drier skin, 2-4x a week for combo skin, and 4-6x a week for oily skin.” Choose your fighter and exfoliate with caution and care.
Now that we have our routines nailed down, it is important to note that occasionally we can all be guilty of doing too much. Skin care is not the time to be extra. Dr. Bhanusali notes that we should, “1,000%” be letting our skin breathe sometimes. In figuring out what works best for your skin, you should first determine what it does and doesn’t need. So yes, go for the once a week self-care day and do the clay mask, but like in any relationship, don’t forget to also give your skin some space and time to breathe. When in doubt just ask yourself, “What would Martha Stewart do?” In fact, apply that thinking to every aspect of your life and you’ll be set.
Images: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com; marthastewart48 / Instagram
I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this summer definitely hasn’t gone according to plan. With travel plans, romantic entanglements, and social lives mostly on pause for the foreseeable future, it can be hard to feel like you have control of anything. But amid this miserable roller coaster of a year, one small thing we can stay on top of is our skin care. Instead of focusing on how lame this summer is compared to years past, put that time and energy into getting your summer skin care routine on lock.
If you don’t normally put much thought into your skin care regimen, switching up your products every season might seem extra, but it makes a lot of sense. While you might spend the winter fighting dry skin with heavy creams and moisturizers, summer is a whole different ballgame. Of course, each person’s skin care needs differ based on location, climate, and skin type, but generally speaking, summer skin care is all about keeping it light and breezy. Here are some must-have products that will keep you glowing (not from sweat) all summer long.
Laneige Cream Skin Mist
If you know about Laneige’s Cream Skin line, you KNOW how exciting this launch is. I admittedly was never a huge mist person until my friends coerced me into keeping a spray in my bag at all times, and now I’m actually unsure how I survived without one. The Cream Skin Mist is great because it gives your skin a natural glow, with or without makeup. A product like this is particularly important in summer, especially during quarantine, when the chances of me wearing makeup are about the same as the odds of me shaving my legs in the winter. This final step makes any routine feel complete, and the mist itself is super hydrating, long lasting, and perfect to bring on the go. The formula is lightweight, and enriched with amino acids from White Leaf Tea water.
Caudalíe Pink Limited Edition Beauty Elixir
If you’re looking for a clean, natural mist, look no further. When I heard the Limited Edition of the cult-favorite Beauty Elixir is back in stock, I had ~a moment~. There is something about this pretty pink bottle that makes this already great product even better. If you can’t relate to my passion for packaging, that’s fine. This product is filled with natural plant extracts that help visibly smooth the skin and tighten the pores. As someone with pores the size of planet Earth itself, this is quite important to me. This product preps and sets makeup, which is extra important in the summer months, because as you can imagine, sweat + makeup = a dangerous combo.
Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream
I once won a giveaway for a year’s supply of Kiehl’s, and have since considered myself an expert on each and every one of their products. In winter months, my skin literally feels like sandpaper, so a heavy moisturizer is a MUST. But come summer, the Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream is my number one. I’ll be honest, this little guy is on the pricier side. That being said, if you know me (or if you’ve read any of my articles) you know I am cheap AF and that me splurging on a product means it is the real deal. The water cream claims to boost radiance (I see this claim from all brands, IDK what it actually means, but I do know that my skin is dewier using this product), reduces redness (can confirm this is true) and helps improve dry skin by softening and hydrating (also can confirm this is true). This is the kind of product that makes me want to skip foundation because my skin is actually glowing, and despite being ultra-hydrating, it’s lightweight and breathable. As I reread this *passionate* rant, I hope Kiehl’s sponsors me. My DMs are open.
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench® Cloud Cream Hydrating Moisturizer
I’ve got to say, this name is very overwhelming to type, but this Hyaluronic Cloud Cream is my other go-to in summer. Even if you’re into skin care at all, you still know hyaluronic acid is ~all~ the buzz right now, and for good reason. It’s hydrating, it’s not heavy, and it’s most definitely summer-approved. I love using this moisturizer after a beach day, because it’s cooling to the skin and helps calm any burning or peeling I may have obtained. It’s lightweight, super moisturizing, and wears well under makeup. This, like the previous cream, is worth the splurge.
Supergoop! Glowscreen (SPF 40)
If you don’t already know this, SPF is the most important thing in your skin care routine. As someone with textured skin (again, pores the size of planet Earth), I am very picky about my sunscreen. If sunscreen has any sort of white cast, it’s an instant horror show. If the sunscreen doesn’t agree with my skin type, my texture is exaggerated and it’s not a good look. And with that, I find myself reaching for my Supergoop! Glowscreen on the regular. It’s dewy and pearly (great for my dry skin pals) and allows for the true no-makeup makeup look (because you literally don’t need makeup). It’s hydrating, too, which is not always true for sunscreen.
TULA Protect + Glow (Daily Sunscreen Gel Broad Spectrum SPF 30)
Something that is not spoken about enough is the fact that SPF should be worn inside. Yes. Groundbreaking, I know. bUt ThE sUn DoEsN’t ShInE iNsIdE! Correct. However, now more than ever, our skin is exposed to harmful blue light. From scrolling for hours, to being glued to our computer screens on work days, and of course binging Netflix, I am excited and impressed to see that TULA has launched Protect + Glow to protect you from damaging pollution and blue light. If you’ve purchased blue light glasses, add this to your list of must-haves. Even if you haven’t, still add this to your list of must-haves.
Peachy Prescription Retinoids
Retinoids are the industry’s best kept secret if you ask me. Summer is fun, but sun exposure leads to skin damage and wrinkles, and I for one want neither of those. I never knew (or cared) what Retinoids were until I was introduced to a local NYC business, Peachy (support local!). Retinoids are the prescription version of Retinol—and clinical studies show that they both increase collagen production and prevent collagen degradation. Increasing collagen results in plumper, stronger skin and the minimization of fine lines and wrinkles. So, in less science-y words, Retinoids are the botox of skin care (without the needles). It’s important that you get the right prescription from a trusted dermatologist and still take care of your skin in the sun (USE SPF), but this product is my secret weapon.
Kosas Tinted Face Oil
“Foundation, but make it skincare” are the first words that can be read under Kosas’ Tinted Face Oil description, and it sums this product up flawlessly. During summer months, a cakey foundation is awful, to put it simply, and this has been my personal solution. The product does a great job of giving your skin the “blur effect” but doesn’t overdo it. Think “is she wearing makeup or does she just have amazing skin???” type vibes. Overall as a brand, Kosas has multiple products that dabble in both the skin care + makeup category, but this stands out above the rest for me.
Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm
Summer Fridays is one of those brands that is actually worth the hype. Their products are great, their branding is great, their social media is great, their packaging is great, even their p-page images are great (few will understand, but those who do will appreciate this callout). Anyway, during summer months I often love replacing my lipstick with a clear balm and letting my lips go natural-ish. This Lip Butter Balm is actually considered a mask, and it’s created to soothe parched lips while sealing in moisture. I’m a big fan of this product because it’s not like other lip balms that feel amazing for the first 10 minutes and then leave your lips needing more soon after. This lasts what feels like hours, and it makes my lips look glowy like a gloss, but without the sticky feeling.
YSL Beauty Rouge Volupte Shine Oil-in-Stick
If you prefer a little color in your summer lip look, an oil lip color is a great way to go. YSL Beauty launched their new Milk Tea collection (I’m fittingly sipping on milk tea as I write this) and the colors are reaaalllyyy pretty. I feel like we’re all on the permanent hunt for the “perfect nude” and this just might be it. The hydrating formula drenches lips in moisture while leaving a high-shine finish. Think lipstick-meets-balm. All day color and comfort? Yes please.
SheaMoisture African Black Soap
Summer brings an excess of oil and enlarged pores (sorry, I know you’re sick of hearing about my pores). SheaMoisture African Black Soap is THAT product that will help you maintain your natural glow while conquering oil and sweat (we all have it, so don’t pretend you’re better than me). More importantly, the soap won’t dehydrate your skin, which for obvious reasons is important here. This face and body bar is super affordable ($4.99) and is specially formulated with organic Shea Butter, Oats and Aloe to cleanse, moisturize and comfort irritated skin.
Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Body Scrub
LAST BUT NOT LEAST. I used to think body scrubs were a myth, but then I tried one and realized it wasn’t. Thrilling, I know. I’m a big fan of Sol de Janeiro’s OG Bum Bum Cream because it smells like vacation—even after being trapped inside for 100 days. The Bum Bum Body Scrub texture is soft yet gritty, and literally leaves my skin glowing. I think it’s important to be careful with body scrubs, because while you do want to exfoliate the skin, you don’t want the product to be abrasive. I think that BBBS (I’ve made up this abbreviation because Bum Bum Body Scrub is a mouthful) is the perfect happy medium, and the scent alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. WOULD recommend for *summer smooth* skin.
And there you have it, summer skin care, head to toe. Check back in winter for my 100-step routine.
Images: Margot Pandone / Unsplash; Provided by Laneige; Caudalie; Kiehls; Peter Thomas Roth; Supergoop; TULA; Provided by Peachy; Provided by Kosas; Summer Fridays; Provided by YSL Beauty; Provided by SheaMoisture; Provided by Sol de Janeiro
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
In a world where beauty bloggers act like they have a medical degree and influencers promote facial cleansing brushes on their Insta stories, basically anyone can call themselves a skin care expert. While it’s great that we can learn everything we need to know about toners and exfoliators from just a quick Google search, it also means that a lot of us have based our skin care routine on information that might not be accurate. Don’t panic and throw out all of your favorite beauty products just yet, though! Take a look at these busted skin care myths to get all of the facts on how to achieve the glowing skin you’ve always dreamed of.
Myth #1: Anti-Aging Products Are Only For People With Wrinkles
You might think that anti-aging products are for “older” people who have wrinkled skin. What many of those people will tell you is that they’ve had no luck getting their skin to look baby-smooth again like it once did. The truth is, once your skin has wrinkles, there’s no magic cream that can take them away permanently. The most effective way to be wrinkle-free is to start taking preventative measures when you’re young (in your 20s and 30s). That means using moisturizer and sunscreen or another SPF face lotion every day to prevent the development of dark spots and/or other signs of premature aging.
Myth #2: You Only Need Sunscreen If You’re Going To Be In Direct Sunlight
This brings us to our next point: it seems that the only time most of us remember to put on sunscreen is when we are going to the beach, or doing some kind of outdoor activity in the sunny summer months. While it is incredibly important that you use sun protection regularly when you plan to go out in direct sunlight, it’s equally as important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis, regardless of how sunny or cloudy it may seem. Especially when it comes to preserving and protecting your complexion, a daily broad-spectrum SPF is essential. Whether you realize it or not, even the smallest amount of sun exposure—whether that be through a window, sitting outside, or even through cloud cover—puts your skin at risk for negative effects from sun exposure. We know that getting a sunburn is very bad for your skin, but the sun can also penetrate the layers of your skin and cause damage deeper down, potentially leading to skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States.
Myth #3: A Set Skin Care Routine Will Work For Everyone
You may be thinking, “everyone with perfect skin is following the same skin care routine, and I need to use exactly what they use if I want to have great skin too.” Yeah, that just isn’t the case. Each person has unique skin needs based on their skin type. A person with oily skin will need to use different products to cater to their needs as opposed to someone with dry skin. The same goes for people with mature skin, or sensitive skin, and so on. Just because one product worked amazingly for one person, doesn’t mean it will have the same effects for you. Take the time to research your skin type, or visit a dermatologist to find out what your skin type is, and the best way to care for it. The good news is there are so many products available that you’re bound to find the right ones for you.
Myth #4: Once Your Skin Reaches Maturity You’ll No Longer Break Out
You’d think that once you make it past your teens, you’ll never have to deal with acne again. Sorry, but we have some bad news. As it turns out, acne doesn’t seem to magically remove itself from your existence once you turn 20. Actually, your skin doesn’t fully mature until you’re about 30 to 35 years old, and even once you’ve reached that age range, you may still find yourself dealing with those pesky zits. But why? The most probable cause of your adult acne is your hormones. Your hormones change a lot over the course of your life, but factors like birth control, menopause, and even just your menstrual cycle can cause your hormones to fluctuate and create acne on your skin. Ughhh, we can’t have any nice things.
Myth #5: A Skin Care Routine Is Only For Your Face
Finally, you’ve perfected your skin care routine and your complexion looks the best it ever has. While achieving that sought-after facial glow does qualify for a well-deserved pat on the back, you may be forgetting about the big picture: the rest of the skin on your body!
You can’t forget to invest just as much time and energy into the skin on your body as you do for your face. Though your routine won’t be the same—our body skin is much thicker, which is why you wouldn’t use the same products on your face that you would on your body (and vice versa). TG, because facial products are expensive.
When it comes to skin care on your body, keep it simple. Wash your skin well with a soap or shower gel to remove the daily dirt, sweat, and other sh*t that collect on your skin. Next, exfoliate your clean skin. Whether you use a dry brush or a scrub to exfoliate while in the shower, it’s important to remove dead skin cells from your body to reveal the healthy skin underneath. Finally, moisturize. Once you’ve finished cleansing and exfoliating your skin, finishing off with a moisturizer is arguably one of the most important steps, as moisturizing serves to replenish your skin barrier, helping to improve its overall tone and texture.
Myth #6: A Skin Care Routine Is Only Effective If You Use A Multitude Of Targeted Products
With the thousands of skin care products available on the market, you may think that your routine will need to consist of 10 products minimum. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that complicated (or expensive). If you want to create a perfectly effective skin care regimen, keep it limited to these three steps: cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize. Cleaning your skin of makeup and dirt, exfoliating off the dead skin cells built up on your face, and moisturizing the new and healthy skin underneath is the simplest way to care for your skin on a daily basis and maintain a clean, clear, and healthy complexion.
However, if you have any unique skin concerns—like acne, for example—you may want to consider incorporating a specialized treatment product into your skin care regimen, as this will work to effectively target and address these areas. An acne cream containing tretinoin, for instance, is great for increasing skin cell renewal, which helps to prevent acne from the inside-out. On the other hand, if you’re concerned about dryness or wrinkles, applying a serum for overnight recovery can help penetrate the skin at a deeper level for better results.
At the most basic level, keep your skin care routine short and simple, and only incorporate more targeted treatments if and when necessary. Make sure to apply these treatments only to the particular areas of your skin that need some additional TLC.
Myth #7: “A Little Dab Will Do Ya”
Most skin care products will say to only apply a pea-sized amount of the product to your face, and this is true when using a product like an eye cream, where a little can go a long way. In reality, however, the suggested amount of product for proper use with most skin care products isn’t enough to give complete results for your skin. If you’re going to cleanse, exfoliate, or moisturize, don’t be afraid to apply a little bit extra. The lighter products like a cleanser or moisturizer can’t really hurt your skin, so if you want to get your complexion extra clean and smooth, you can add a little more than the bottle suggests.
If you do choose to use more of a product than suggested, keep your skin type in mind. For instance, those with dry skin shouldn’t over-cleanse, as their skin will dry out easily, and for those with oily skin, there’s no need to go overboard on the moisturizer or facial oils.
For products like a serum, a chemical exfoliator, or a targeted treatment, you’ll want to stick to the directions on the label, as these products are stronger and can cause damage to your skin if not used improperly or too frequently.
Images: Retha Ferguson / Pexels
You’ve heard it from your mother, your dermatologist, your first-grade teacher, and even Baz Luhrmann: Wear sunscreen. With the wealth of knowledge we now have on sunscreen’s ability to reduce our risk of skin cancer and to protect against sun damage like wrinkles, dark spots, and sagginess, it seems wild to think that some still skip this crucial step in their daily skin care routines. But in reality, the increasingly oversaturated sunscreen market and the onslaught of information, studies, and data surrounding it can often have a detrimental effect on consumers, leaving them unsure of what to believe and whom to trust. Over the years, certain myths about sunscreen have permeated our culture, and even the wisest of skin experts have fallen victim to them. With a scorching summer already upon us, it’s more important than ever to not only debunk these misconceptions but also to understand why they’re inaccurate.
Myth #1: Sunscreen Is Not Necessary Indoors, On Cloudy Days, Or Inside A Car
“False, false, false!” says Dr. Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “Yes, clouds do reduce some of the harmful UV rays, but they don’t block them all, particularly in areas where the ozone layer is dramatically reduced.” It’s also important to realize that UV light is not alone in its ability to cause harm. Outdoors, UV light, in the forms of UVA and UVB, can impact skin aging and increase the risk of skin cancer. Some of that light can travel indoors through windows, but we’re also exposed to other types of light indoors, including visible light and blue light, which can also impact the skin. For that reason, it’s crucial that sunscreen be worn daily, and it should not be skipped just because you’re inside.
Myth #2: One Application Of Sunscreen Will Last All Day
“If you have discovered the sunscreen that lasts up to 24 hours, please let us all in on that secret!” Dr. Idriss jokes. In fact, not only will one application of sunscreen not last all day, but it will last just a couple of hours. “Most sunscreens are tested for a specific amount of time, and that’s on average two hours,” explains Dr. Caroline Robinson, a Chicago-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of TONE Dermatology. “After two hours, the SPF protection goes down significantly, so you do need to reapply to maintain that initial level of protection.” If you are in the sun, reapplication every two hours is imperative, but if you’re mostly indoors, you can be slightly more lenient in reapplying so long as you apply before stepping outside again. “I tell people to bring a sunscreen brush, like ISDIN’s, with them wherever they go and quickly apply that to their arms and face and any exposed skin before going back outside,” Dr. Robinson notes.
Myth #3: The Higher The SPF, The Better The Protection
While this is not totally true, there is some logic behind the belief. “The SPF number does not reflect the duration of efficacy of the sunscreen; it indicates how long it would take for your skin to redden when using the product,” Dr. Idriss says. “So, for example, if you are using an SPF of 30, it would take 30 times longer for you to burn while using the sunscreen versus if you didn’t use it all.” There is also proof that the higher the SPF, the more protected you will be—but only to a certain point. “SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB, whereas SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%,” the New York dermatologist explains. “This may seem like a negligible gain in protection, but if you are prone to sunburns or skin cancers, that little gain can make a world of a difference.”
Once you go above SPF 50, though, the difference in protection is quite small. Dr. Robinson says a nickel-sized amount of sunscreen is required to cover the whole face and about a shot-glass full is necessary to cover the whole body. “But if you know that you’re not going to follow those recommended amounts—and most don’t—then you can actually benefit from a higher SPF,” she advises. “In doing so, you can get a similar protection to an SPF 30, which is what those measurements are based on, but you can get it with less than the nickel- and shot-glass-sized amounts.” Essentially, it will be more thinly spread than the recommended amounts would, but because it’s a higher SPF, it will be roughly as powerful.
Myth #4: People With Darker Skin Tones Don’t Need To Wear Sunscreen
“This is a misconception I’ve been fighting for a very long time,” says Dr. Robinson. “While people with darker skin tones are indeed less likely to burn, they aren’t immune from sun damage, and oftentimes, it will develop in the form of hyperpigmentation—potentially even more dramatically than sun damage would manifest on lighter skin tones.” Additionally, certain conditions, including post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots that result from acne or irritation to the skin) and melasma, can be worsened by sun exposure, especially in people of color. So, even if your sun damage doesn’t come in the form of the traditional sunburn or freckles, it’s still important to wear sunscreen in order to protect your skin from other damage.
Myth #5: If You’re Not Prone To Burning, You Don’t Need To Wear Sunscreen
Much like the belief that those with darker skin tones don’t need sunscreen, there’s a misconception that if you don’t burn, you similarly don’t need SPF. “There’s this idea that just because you tan, you’re fine, but tanning can actually be a system of sun damage,” Dr. Robinson explains. “You can have enough exposure to the point where you no longer burn; your skin just goes straight to tan, and that’s not a good thing.” Immediate tanning can be an indication that your skin has skipped the warning response of burning entirely, and that’s actually a sign that your skin is damaged.
Myth #6: If You Wear Sunscreen, You Won’t Get A Tan
Many refrain from wearing sunscreen because they claim it will keep them from achieving that oh-so-coveted sun-kissed glow. But, as Dr. Idriss says, this is once again false. “Sunscreen makes your skin slower to react to UV rays,” she notes, “but it doesn’t prevent it from reacting altogether.” You can definitely still get a tan while safely protecting your skin with sunscreen.
Myth #7: Wearing Makeup That Has SPF In It Is Enough
Absolutely not! “Most makeups that include an SPF are not tested to the extent that sunscreens are, especially compared to the sunscreens that carry extra credentials, like an endorsement from the Skin Cancer Foundation, or anything like that,” Dr. Robinson explains. In order to reap the full benefits of the SPF listed on your makeup, you would need to use a hefty amount, up to the size of a nickel, and unless you’re a Kardashian, you’re probably not equipped to wear that much makeup. You also likely won’t be putting makeup on your ears, neck, chest, or any of the many regions of the body that are not the face but are equally susceptible to sun damage, and you won’t be reapplying makeup every two hours as you would sunscreen.
Myth #8: Spray Or Powder Sunscreen Is Just As Effective As Lotion
As new agents of delivery have come to the sunscreen market over the years, they’ve often appeared to be solutions to the stickiness and getting-it-in-your-eye tendency of traditional lotion, and while that can be true, spray and powder sunscreens can also have their shortcomings. “They can definitely be as effective, but a lot more needs to be applied in order to reach the same level of effectiveness,” says Dr. Idriss. Unlike lotion sunscreens, applying a spray or powder means that some of its contents will not land on the actual skin, so you’ll need to as much as double the amount you’re using.
Myth #9: Sunscreen Can Lead To Cancer Or Other Health Problems
While an alarmingly common belief, the idea that sunscreen can cause cancer or any other health issue is founded in no truth. “I wish this myth would go away because it’s been disproven time and again,” Dr. Robinson says. “Sunscreen does not cause cancer, and there have been so many studies to show that, but they sadly don’t make the headlines as much.” And if you’re really worried, do as Dr. Idriss suggests and simply opt for a physical sunscreen instead of a chemical one.
Myth #10: There’s No Real Difference Between Chemical And Mineral/Physical Sunscreens
Although both types of sunscreen achieve the same goal, scientifically, they work very differently. “Mineral and physical are interchangeable terms, and the most common ingredient in those sunscreens is either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,” explains Dr. Robinson. “Those are metals, and if you think about a sheet of metal, you know that it literally just reflects light; so, physical sunscreens sit on top of skin and reflect the UV rays and scatter light.” Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, absorb the UV light and put it through a chemical reaction (their namesake comes from this) that converts the light to heat. “Because the chemical sunscreens have to first absorb the light, they take a little longer to become active, so you can’t apply them while you’re outside or even right before,” the Chicago dermatologist notes. “You have to allow at least a few minutes, which the bottle will tell you.”
Some people can be more sensitive to the ingredients in chemical sunscreens, so for babies, children, and anyone with sensitive skin, a physical sunscreen is the way to go. Historically, some consumers have shied away from physical options because they can leave more of a white film, but some recent additions to the sunscreen market have gotten around that with advanced technologies. Dr. Robinson recommends SkinBetter’s SunBetter Stick, a physical SPF 56 sunscreen which uses a new technology to uniquely shape the zinc particles so that they sit atop the skin without leaving the familiar white cast. She also loves Eryfotona Actinica from ISDIN, another physical option that uses DNA Repairsomes to repair DNA damage that can come from sun exposure, and Revision Skincare’s IntelliShade TruPhysical, which has Vitamin C in it and effectively serves as two necessary products in one.
Myth #11: If You Didn’t Wear Sunscreen When You Were Younger And Already Have Sun Damange, There’s No Point In Wearing It Now
“Although most of the damage is actually accumulated while you’re younger (typically before the age of 18), it doesn’t make you immune to worsening damage,” Dr. Idriss says. Indeed, sunscreen protects from the visible signs of aging caused by sun exposure, but it also reduces your risk of skin cancer, and that alone is reason to start or continue wearing it even if you’ve already suffered some sun damage. “I recommend you adopt a ‘never give up’ attitude,” suggests Dr. Idriss. “You only have the skin you’re in, and hopefully your life will be long, so you might as well protect and enjoy it every step of the way.”
Myth #12: Sunscreen Never Expires
Of all the myths that exist about sunscreen, the notion that it doesn’t expire might be the most outlandish. “Sunscreen is doing a lot of work, so when you’re applying it, you want to be confident that you’re getting the coverage you think you are,” Dr. Robinson explains. Like everything in life, sunscreen has an expiration date, and you can find it by looking at the back or bottom of the bottle. As for any wiggle room when it comes to that expiration, like the “five-day rule” for milk, Dr. Robinson says, “we don’t take chances with sunscreen.”
Images: Retha Ferguson / Pexels; Maciej Serafinowicz / Unsplash; Antonio Gabola / Unsplash; Taylor Simpson / Unsplash
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
Everyone wants beautiful, smooth, flawless skin. But navigating the landscape of skin care these days can feel more confusing and complicated than trying to do your own taxes. There are toners, serums, facial mists, oils, washes, gels, masks, and about a million other skin care products that seem to have just popped up within the last few years. Most people don’t know where to start—which is totally understandable, because the skin care industry doesn’t exactly make it easy or transparent to figure out what you actually need. So I’m here to help. As a freelance makeup artist for the past five years, I’ve seen (and used) it all. I’m here to explain where you should start, what various products do for your skin, which ones you can rely on, and what I always keep in my stash!
1. Micellar Water
The number one skin care product and makeup remover I always recommend to anyone is micellar water. Micellar water is a liquid that is just as light as water, but with tough properties that make it ideal for makeup removal. I love the Bioderma Sensibio micellar water, but the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Cleansing Water is an affordable drugstore alternative that works really well.
Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water
This product is so amazing, you can say goodbye to wasting your money on makeup remover wipes altogether. All you need to do is wash your face, then wipe your eyes and face with a cotton pad soaked in micellar water. It will take off your makeup so well, you’ll feel like Mulan when she’s singing about her reflection not showing who she is inside.
2. Face Wash
Cerave Hydrating Face Cleanser
Let’s talk about the main thing everyone needs for good skin: face wash. And, just in case you’re not aware, I’m not talking about using your hand soap to wash your face. (No judgment, though—when I was a kid, I knew nothing about skin care and legit thought that’s what you were supposed to do.) I’m talking about a great, well-balanced face wash that’s good for sensitive skin and helps get rid of dirt on your face. My favorite face wash is the Cerave Hydrating Face Cleanser. Most dermatologists approve of this one because it’s great for sensitive skin, has no scent, and is easy to use. Just rinse your face, rub this in your hands, and rinse it off at least four times. Just make sure you’re not pulling a Kylie and you actually take off all your makeup and foundation first.
The third product that needs to be in everyone’s metaphorical (or literal, IDK where you keep your skin care products) makeup bag is moisturizer. Whether it’s for your face or body, moisturizer not only hydrates your skin to keep it more healthy, but it also enhances the function of your uppermost layer of skin. This layer of skin has fats, oils, and skin cells that help keep the moisture in, which in turn helps your skin look more youthful. Who doesn’t want that?! Answer: nobody.
As another added bonus, moisturizer helps your makeup lay more evenly on your face. Moisturizer comes in all shapes and forms, from creams to oils, gels, eye creams, and face mists, and I have tried them all. But personally, I’m into the creams. Right before I apply my makeup, I use the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base. It’s on the thicker side, but it absorbs faster than you’d think, and it packs a punch. It allows your skin to breathe without being too heavy—I promise!
Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base
For an everyday moisturizer, I love the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer, and for an affordable drugstore alternative, I use the Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer.
Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer
Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer
4. Micro Exfoliant
To really make your makeup go on even and last throughout the day, I would suggest using a micro exfoliant beforehand. Exfoliating removes the dead skin, smooths everything out, and brightens dullness. Some people also use a heavier abrasive exfoliating product once a week, which you can do. Sometimes if I don’t want something so abrasive, I use a glycolic acid toner like Pixi Skin Treats Glow Tonic, which combines a light exfoliating feel with a toner. This makes my skin baby soft, and ensures my makeup will sit nicely without as many bumps or dry patches.
Pixi Skin Treats Glow Tonic
5. Face Masks (Duh)
The last items I want to talk about are the ones you can splurge on! I’m talking about if you have extra spending money, and you want to pamper yourself for some self-care (because you deserve it). You guessed it (or can pick up on context cues, whatever): I’m talking about face masks. Face masks come in a variety of types, including clay masks, sheet masks, and thick lotion type masks that you swipe on your face, to name a few. The best thing about face masks (other than the fact that doing one gives you the illusion that you’re actually taking care of your body even when you stay out drinking until 4am) is that there are so many for different purposes. Like, if you’re looking to do a moisturizing mask after a flight, a rough work day, or work week, I absolutely love the Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment. As an added bonus that does absolutely nothing for your skin, it smells like pumpkin pie. So what’s not to love?
For an in-shower mask that helps with pores, I love the Glamglow INSTAMUD 60 Second Pore-Refining Treatment Mask. It helps me retain some moisture in my skin while I sleep.
Glamglow INSTAMUD 60 Second Pore-Refining Treatment Mask
I also love the Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon, and the lavender scent calms me down for sleep. Masks come in all shapes and sizes. It’s like a first aid kit for your skin when it needs some extra TLC.
Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon
These may seem basic, and they kind of are, but good skin care practices have to start somewhere! These are just some of my go-to everyday favorites that I think will help everyone. If you want me to do a more in-depth skin care article, comment below!
Kat Sketch is your artistically odd internet best friend. An innovative beauty and fx makeup artist, she has a glamorous side to her beauty makeup and a gory side too! She’s known as being one of the first professional makeup artists online to do her own creepy, twisted makeup looks on very popular movie or television characters. Kat inspires many others, by creating online video tutorials of her makeup looks. On her YouTube channel with over 700,000 subscribers, she has managed to achieve a lot of success, and has worked with notable companies such as Disney, Paramount Pictures, Regal Cinemas and many more.
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I know you answer questions about skin care all the time, but I recently have began making skin care more of a priority. I’m taking my makeup off every night and using both an eye cream and night time moisturizer daily. My question is about different skin masks… I’ve used charcoal/peel off masks, pore strips, sheet masks, and eye patches. Is it bad to use so many different types of products? Should I be using one of each once a week, or just pick one and stick with it? P.S. I have dry AF skin.
Dear Confused Betch,
Honestly your skin regimen sounds fucking exhausting. Like, I need a nap just listening to all the shit you do with your skin. However, you do bring up an interesting point. Dealing with your skin can be a more delicate art form than crafting the perfect Bumble bio or calculating how drunk is too drunk at work happy hours. TBH my skin can be way more psycho and vindictive than I’ve ever been with any of my ex-boyfriends. The good news though is that unlike my personality, your skin is totally fixable. So here’s what I’ve got for you:
1) You’re doing way too much with your skin rn. You need to cut that shit out pronto. Back to that psycho bitch comment, your skin can change with weather, mood, etc. so you should invest in a two-step skin care process. For example, pair a hydrating mask with a clay/exfoliating mask. The clay/exfoliating mask will pull out all that shit that’s clogging up your pores, while the hydrating mask will, like, hydrate your skin. Duh.
2) You’re also probs picking the wrong type of mask. Picking out a skin mask is not like showing up at CVS on your period and just saying “fuck it” when you get to the ice cream aisle. Just because the store is out of the type of mask you need doesn’t mean you can settle for whatever is there. This isn’t a frat party in your freshman dorm. It’s legit the chemist’s job to come up with the perfect formula for your skin so if you have dry skin (Hi, Confused Betch) then you need to use a hydrating formula.
3) But if you
like wasting your time want to continue using the multi-masking system then you should only use multiple face masks to treat problem areas as they arise. This week it could be your nose low-key sabotaging your selfie game with blackheads. Then you should use a charcoal/clay mask for that area. Or maybe you got way too fucked up at last night’s happy hour and have more baggage happening under your eyes than I do in my love life. Then you need an eye-specific sheet mask. If you only treat the problem areas as they arise then you won’t overburden your skin more than you already are with that exhausting skin regimen.
But, I mean, at the end of the day, did I go to dermatology school or did I read just a bunch of articles on the Internet? I’ll let you decide…