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The days of laying out in the sun and monitoring the UV index like it’s our full-time job are quickly approaching. While this may be a more enjoyable task (who doesn’t like being tan?), something many of us avoid or simply forget to do before basking in the sun is apply sunscreen. You can easily avoid a lobster-red sunburn by just applying a little SPF, especially to your face – one of the first areas of your body the sun reaches.
Choosing the right face sunscreen is crucial for all skin types to help protect your skin from the sun. Not sure which sunscreen is best for your skin type? Here’s a quick cheat sheet.
If you have acne-prone skin, finding any sunscreen that doesn’t completely irritate your skin probably seems impossible. Sticking to an oil-free sunscreen will save you from a horrendous breakout.
This water-resistant sunscreen is specially made to provide light hydration and broad-spectrum sun protection. It contains a handful of plant-based boosters which help reduce skin inflammation, moisturize the skin and prevent any further dreadful breakouts.
This mineral-based, oil-free sunscreen is formulated with lactic acid, which can help brighten discoloration (like from acne scars) while protecting your skin from free radicals.
Any sunscreen made with chemical UV blockers can aggravate the skin, which is a nightmare for anyone with sensitive skin. Nobody wants stinging, burning, or redness, so if you do have sensitive skin, look for a mineral sunscreen.
Made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, this 100% mineral, non-comedogenic (won’t block your pores) sunscreen will protect your skin from the harsh sun, while the Thermal Spring Water soothes it.
Hydrate, repair, and protect your sensitive skin with this non-comedogenic, dermatologist tested, and synthetic fragrance-free SPF. This 4-in-1 formula helps absorb oil, reduce shine, hydrate and provide sun protection. Get you a sunscreen that can do it all.
With dry skin, you want to look for a sunscreen with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate, and avoid anything with fragrances as they can be irritating.
The extremely lightweight sunscreen shields your skin against harsh UV rays. Once applying, your dry skin will feel moisturized, hydrated and feel silky soft – all without irritating your skin.
A 100% mineral sunscreen that absorbs harmful UV rays which can damage skin and cause your skin to age quicker. Your skin will look and feel moisturized while wearing this sunscreen.
When you have oily skin, you should use an SPF that has a high concentration of Zinc Oxide—at least 5%. This is important as it helps mattify oily skin.
This lightweight, silky, 100% sheer mineral sunscreen blends into skin effortlessly without clogging your pores or leaving behind streaks or white residue. It’s made to help control excess oil that may get worse over the summer and minimizes the appearance of pores.
Made with oil-trapping microspheres that mattify your skin and deliver smooth, soft skin. This SPF controls oil and shine for 10 hours while protecting your skin against the sun.
Wrinkles and Fine Lines
One of the downfalls of basking in the sun is how much it can age your skin. Luckily, using a broad spectrum formula sunscreen everyday can protect your skin from the sun’s rays and delay damaging and premature aging effects of sun exposure.
This SPF moisturizer will hydrate your skin while helping delay any signs of aging. It’s antioxidant-rich White Tea-Infused formula will nourish your skin and further protect your skin’s youth.
A daily hydrating, broad-spectrum SPF that works to promote healthier, younger looking skin. The water-light formula fights visible signs of aging and prevents premature aging of the skin, which we can all benefit from.
Image: Pansfun Images / Stocksy.com
In my free time, I like to overthink all of the potentially embarrassing things I’ve ever done or said in front of other human beings. On the off chance that I have run out of things to cringe over, I give my nerves a break from roasting myself and instead put the heat on a topic that’s been hammered into my little noggin since I first developed spatial awareness: why do celebrities look so good, and how can I do it, too?!
Although I could be reasonable and focus on the facts (entire teams of people are paid to primp them and they generally have incredible genetics), there are a few incredibly cursed claims that I simply cannot unhear. If my brain sounds like a horror movie, that’s because it is. Except, instead of a bloody figure popping up in the mirror while I’m winding down for bed, it’s the ghost of a celebrity sponcon post touting a holy grail beauty product and a discount code that will essentially shave $1 off the retail price. Here are a few unrealistic things celebs have said about how they look so good. These tend to pop into my head usually when I’m perusing CVS for a product that will drastically change my appearance (without breaking the bank), or when I’m simply in a phase of blissful self-confidence, during which I’m convinced simply drinking enough water is making me objectively stunning.
Don’t Let Your Body Tell People How Old You Are
Do you have at least five Kardashian-Jenner quotes floating around your head at all times of the day, or are you normal? (I am truly just a girl caught between “phone eats first,” and Kim’s deranged mantra: “Instagramming photos of food isn’t sexy.”) Ever since Khloé shared her “new mom beauty routine” with Vogue, I’ve been unable to shake the sound of her voice from my subconscious when I get ready each morning. After toning, Khloé says she lathers SPF 46 on her face, hands, neck, and chest, “because this is where we all show our age.” Sorry, but that’s essentially my entire body? You mean to tell me that my entire body… shows my age? Damn. It really do be like that. Now, when I moisturize and apply sunscreen, I make sure to work the product all the way down to my toenail cuticles, lest anyone do the math and find out when I graduated college. Next, I cycle through five different photo editing apps and gaslight anyone with access to photos I haven’t doctored first. (But trust: I owe it all to the SPF.)
Stop Being A Potato
You know what will totally save you after a long night out? Potatoes. Unfortunately, you will not be eating hash browns, but you will be rubbing them on your face if you subscribe to the ways of Lauren Conrad, who once suggested, “to reduce puffiness, slice up a few refrigerated potatoes, soak them in water for a moment or two, and then place them over your lids for 15 minutes. Works like a charm.” Although, I have to wonder: if I am the kind of person who is whimsical enough to calmly sit with chilled potatoes on my face, what lifestyle mistakes am I making to suffer from puffiness in the first place? There must be some other habit I can eliminate. LC, LMK.
Enough With the “I’m Practically A Vegan!” Charade
During a chat with Extra, Halle Berry revealed that if you want to glow, you simply cannot be vegan. Relax, vegans, she did not call it out like that, but if you want to be beautiful, you’ll have to be able to stomach potentially seeing an animal carcass. Her skin care secret is simple: homemade bone broth. “You can go to the butcher and get all the bones they’re going to throw away and he’ll give them to you for free. Take the bones, boil them up for 24 hours… and you drink the broth. It’s so full of collagen that it’s crazy.” You heard it here, folks. It is officially free to look like Halle Berry.
Beauty Is Pain
Oh, the $28 Glossier serum you use to decrease inflammation isn’t working wonders? You should probably trash it immediately and opt for nature’s fix: letting a bunch of bees sting you. If you’re feeling skeptical, let Gwyneth Goop Paltrow calm your nerves: “I’m open to anything. I’ve been stung by bees. It’s a thousands of years old treatment called apitherapy,” she told the New York Times. “People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It’s actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it’s painful.” Perhaps the best part of Gwyneth’s suggestion is that even she doesn’t sound sold on it… which somehow makes me want to try it even more? It’s like when you meet a friend for a Starbucks run, and when she takes one sip of the $11 unnaturally colored drink and says, “This tastes like shit,” your first instinct is to grab it and try it for yourself.
But Also, Don’t Worry Because Everything Is Optional!
Bella Thorne has done a lot of things that made the internet collectively scream, “Oh no!” so it’s understandable if you missed the day everyone was spiraling over her beauty routine. The former Disney star revealed, “I don’t use moisturizer or anything,” which is simultaneously the most reassuring and troubling statement I’ve ever heard in my life. When a casual happy hour turns into all-night karaoke, the one thing I can typically manage to do when I get home is slap some kind of hydrating concoction over at least a portion of my face. If I lose sight of the most foundational skin care rule, I’m not really sure where I’ll end up next. But on the other hand, I know that even if I finally pull the trigger on the $70 Drunk Elephant moisturizer that’s been sitting in an online cart for a week, I’m still going to wake up and reenact Mia Thermopolis’ “This is as good as it’s going to get” scene from The Princess Diaries every day for the rest of my life.
Images: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Good American
The typical quarantine routine consists of overeating, sleeping, and skin care. I don’t know about you, but I’ve mastered the overeating and sleeping segments and am now ready to take on skin care. Since spa getaways are a no-go these days, the assumption is that we have to forgo certain luxuries, like facials. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case. Take it from Halle Berry—she’s doing the quarantine life just like the rest of us and hasn’t sacrificed a second of her skin care. Seriously, her glowing skin is what dreams are made of. (Just look at her.) But how does she do it?
Turns out she gets by with a little help from her esthetician. Berry recently treated us all to a special self-care Sunday with an inside look at her at-home facial routine. The 15-minute tutorial features a fresh-faced Berry applying face masks to her already flawless skin, guided by her go-to skin guru. Since we haven’t all become master estheticians in quarantine yet, I figured it was time to turn to a specialist—specifically, Halle Berry’s skin specialist—to get the insider secrets on everything skin care.
The woman behind Berry’s glowing complexion is celebrity esthetician Olga Lorencin. Olga, aka The Acid Queen, breaks down Berry’s skin care regimen, telling Betches, “Her standard routine is very simple, but it’s consistent.” If I’ve learned anything in all my years, it’s that simplicity is key in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to your skin. So is consistency (things I whisper in the mirror to force myself to wash off my makeup after a night out). Lorencin says, “She uses a rehydrating cleanser morning and night along with a rebalancing toner and a lactic acid hydrating serum.” She also adds that Berry is “very in tune with her skin”, something I hope to say about myself one day.
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This is an EXTRA special #SelfCareSunday, you know why? Because I’m finally introducing you to my ultimate skincare secret. Her name is @Olgalorencinskincare, and today? We’ll be showing a facial you can DIY with one of her at-home kits! During COVID I haven’t seen her in forever so I’m VERY excited. 😂 I definitely stand by the investment of Olga’s at home kits, BUT if you’re looking for a more affordable option? Olga loves a simple at-home recipe – 𝐈𝐍𝐆𝐑𝐄𝐃𝐈𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐒: 1 tsp Full-Fat Greek Yogurt (vegan option = coconut yogurt) 1 tsp Honey For Dry Skin – add a slice of avocado + a few drops of avocado oil For Acneic Skin – add a bit of powdered charcoal. Option – add a few drops of Chlorophyll to fight breakouts and reduce inflammation 𝐃𝐈𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍𝐒: 1. Mix ingredients together into a bowl 2. Massage into clean skin (face AND neck) 3. Leave on for 15-20 minute Note: for best results, relax in the bath or in a steamy shower for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off. This mask is rich in probiotics, which are very helpful with skin balancing and congestion. The honey is a natural humectant – it attracts water from the air to your skin. Enjoy and happy Sunday!! ☀️
While having a crazy amount of skin envy over celebrities is fine, it’s important to focus on and figure out your own skin needs. However, that’s often easier said than done, and according to Lorencin, figuring out what your skin needs is the most difficult part for most people. It can be especially tricky to nail down what your skin needs if you don’t have any particularly concerning issues. But whether you have clear skin or not, nobody is immune to the frustrations of establishing a successful skin care routine. So, like all those brand marketing emails we received in April, we’re all in this together! The Acid Queen recommends, “If the products that you are using are working, stick with it. However, if you have a skin condition or concern, see an esthetician so they can figure out what you need.” When in doubt, always seek out a specialist.
And the secret to flawless skin care is—drumroll please—it depends. (Sorry, that probably wasn’t worth a drumroll, but it was fun, wasn’t it?) On anti-aging, Lorencin says, “It can vary vastly from person to person, but de-aging ingredients are universally the same. It just depends on how we use them and in what combination.”
When it comes to how many products we should be stocking up on, Lorencin advises, “As little products as possible, anywhere from 4-10. Don’t overdo it! Layers upon layers will just cancel each other out or cause your skin to be confused.” Lorencin continues, “Buying random skin care products produces random results.” This probably means that the bucket of youth promising serums under my bathroom sink isn’t quite as effective as I had initially hoped.
Lorencin also breaks down the different products that we should be using in the morning versus at night. “At night, it’s a good time to use retinols and exfoliating products that contain AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid). In the morning, it’s a good time to use antioxidants like Vitamin C, whereas hydrating and collagen building products can be used both day and night, such as peptides, ceramides, and hyaluronic acids, etc.”
In addition to applying the proper blend of serums and lotions, your face can also benefit from an occasional massage. Facial massages are an effective measure for pampering yourself with some much needed TLC. Lorencin explains that, when done properly, facial massages can reduce puffiness and help prevent wrinkles.
Move over, cucumbers—the at-home facial has received a serious upgrade. From professional kits to DIY recipes, there are endless possibilities to soothe your skin and turn any day into a self-care day. According to Lorencin, step one of doing a facial at home is “making sure you are using facial masks on exfoliated skin, or they won’t do very much.” Help yourself get the best results by allowing the mask to easily find its way to your clean skin. Once your skin is prepped, you can then opt for either a homemade or professional facial mix, depending on your budget.
Weighing the pros and cons of each method, Lorencin says, “Homemade masks are nice and won’t cause side effects, but they also most likely won’t produce very transformational results.” For more noticeable results, you may want to consider investing in a professional facial kit. It may be more pricey, but getting skin like Halle Berry? Priceless. (Actually, it’s more like $98, but you get the idea.)
While Lorencin has created facial kits for Halle Berry-level results, she also favors an easy and delicious at-home recipe that you can make with ingredients found in your kitchen (or borrowed from your hot neighbor). All you need is 1 teaspoon of full-fat Greek yogurt (substitute coconut yogurt for a vegan option), and 1 teaspoon of honey. If you’re feeling really fancy, you can also add in a slice of avocado and a few drops of avocado oil to soothe dry skin or a dash of powdered charcoal for acneic skin. According to Berry and Lorencin’s IGTV video, adding a few drops of chlorophyll to either mix can help fight breakouts and reduce inflammation. The next step is to apply the mask (obvi) to your face and neck—don’t neglect your neck!—and leave on for the standard 15 to 20 minutes. Lorencin also advises limiting homestyle facials to once or twice a week. Treat yourself, but don’t overdo it. Balance, baby.
Honestly, when it comes to skin care, just do whatever Halle Berry does.
Images: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com; halleberry / Instagram
My freshman year of college can be summed up with one word: cringe. It’s the year I thought it was a #lewk to wear a bra, leggings, and combat boots to dorm parties; the year I really mastered the art of the peace sign, duck face selfie; and it’s the year I tried my hand at filming my own makeup tutorials. Now, please don’t get me wrong—there is nothing cringeworthy about makeup tutorials in and of themselves. In fact, there have been many a morning when I’ve woken up with “the grumpies” (as my free therapist calls them) and have been seconds from giving up, ordering chicken parm for breakfast, and going back to sleep, only to be saved by my favorite makeup artist, Katie Jane Hughes, and her divine ability to film perfect winged eyeliner tutorials while dancing to ABBA. Makeup tutorials have never been the problem; it was me doing makeup tutorials that were the problem. Me—sitting at a bulky wooden desk, filming on a used MacBook Pro, my twin extra long bed as a backdrop, and the casual cameo from my roommate who did not speak to me—filming makeup tutorials. That was the cringe factor. Needless to say, I took a quick look at the footage from my first 55-minute video, made the Jay-Z yikes face, and decided to permanently retire from the makeup tutorial filming profession. (Okay, you got me—I had every intention of posting that 55-minute video, but my laptop crashed, making the difficult but necessary decision to end my beauty blogger career for me.)
Although my YouTube influencer dreams never came to fruition, my passion for makeup and beauty never stopped. But then again, how could it? Long before I could even spell “going viral,” I had a well-established, indelible, even, relationship to beauty that ran deep. Some of my earliest memories include my mother scrubbing my face every night with Ivory soap and my dad laying down my eyebrows with a thick, nourishing pomade. My parents agreed on very little, but thankfully, they were able to come together on the essentials: skin care. As a teen, I technically was not allowed to wear makeup, so I joined the cheer team to bypass the system, as a glitter eyeshadow was a mandatory part of our getup. But what really solidified my affinity to beauty was my first trip to Sephora. I was a senior in high school touring colleges in New York, and my mother and I had some time to kill (how every great Sephora tale begins). We spent far too many hours and far too many dollars in that black and white striped oasis than I’d care to admit publicly.
All this to say, if there is one thing I know well, it’s makeup and beauty. I’ve always received much joy, confidence, and even peace in discovering new products and new beauty routines. You have your healing crystals, I have my Bobbi Brown shimmer brick (we both should see health care professionals). But as a Black woman, specifically, my passion for beauty discovery has had to be far more intentional than your average (okay, white) consumer. Let’s face it, despite Black women being a majority demographic for beauty brand consumption, very few products are actually made with us in mind. I can’t tell you how many eyeshadow palettes I’ve opened that disappear entirely on my skin; how many skin care products that seek to fight “redness” when very few dark-skinned people encounter that issue. So, after years of being makeup and beauty obsessed, and even more years of being a Black woman, here are some of the beauty products that I swear by.
Every girl has a moment in her life that she’ll remember forever. For some, it’s her engagement day, for others, it’s the birth of her first born. For me, it was the day my roommate asked me if I was wearing makeup when all I’d done was wash my face. What can I say? There is glory in proper skin care! In the last few years, models, influencers, and makeup artists alike have been raving about one universal craze: glow. That sunkissed, radiant bronze that screams “I spent the entire summer on a nude beach in Brazil.” Now, amateurs will try to achieve this look with bronzing powders or shimmering highlights or booking an illegal (COVID, etc.) flight to Brazil, but real radiance experts know: the perfect glow starts with the right skin care.
Shea Moisture African Black Soap Facial Wash & Scrub
In all honesty, I first started using this product accidentally. My family lives in California, and whenever I went home to visit, I hated lugging around my entire beauty cabinet. So, I decided to go to Target and randomly select a travel-sized tube of this African Black Soap Facial Scrub and keep it in California. While I was home, I would use this product every day, and would also start saying things like: “Wow, my skin is so much better in California—must be the water!” It took me a couple of trips home to realize that it wasn’t the California tap water that was revitalizing my skin, it was this Shea Moisture Facial Scrub. I then started incorporating this product into my daily routine (the right way, I must add—this is an exfoliant and shouldn’t be used daily, but rather 2-3 times a week max). And, at the humiliating risk of sounding like an infomercial, after using this scrub, my skin feels like legit silk. Not only does my skin feel softer, it is so much clearer. This facial scrub leaves your skin looking clear, feeling soft, and providing you with the perfect canvas for the rest of your skin care routine.
First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads
I discovered this product recently, during the height of COVID quarantine. I was depressed and had a promo code that was “expiring soon”—a lethal combination. I’d been looking for a better alternative to the toner I was using at the time and will be forever grateful that this impulse buy was just that. These radiance pads are unique because they are 3-in-1: they tone, but they also exfoliate and illuminate the skin. I use these pads after I cleanse my face, so they also help remove any excess makeup, oils, dirt, etc. And I can honestly say that within days, I noticed my skin became brighter and more radiant. I also love First Aid Beauty products because they’re conducive to all skin types. My skin is very dry and very sensitive, but I’ve been using this product regularly for about four months now, and haven’t had any negative reactions. Who knew that glow could start with your toner? This product is definitely a must.
Tatcha Violet-C Vitamin C Brightening Serum
Full transparency: the first thing you’ll notice when you look up this product is that it is disgustingly expensive. And to address your questions now: no, I do not have a trust fund, I just have a credit card with no real sense of the word “debt.” And that, I get, is a “me” thing. But I do also sincerely believe that if there is one thing to splurge on, it’s your skin. You only get one face, unless you are a Real Housewife, so I choose to take care of mine at all costs. You’ll also notice that this product is a serum. Honestly, I did not start using serums until about a year ago because I “didn’t find them necessary,” but really because I didn’t know what they were or how to use them. After some research, however, I found that serums are attractive skin care aids because they target specific skin care concerns. Truly whatever concern you may have, there is probably a serum for it. My major issue has always been hyperpigmentation, which is a multisyllabic word for dark spots on your skin. I love this Tatcha Serum, in particular, because not only does it eliminate dark spots, but it also, you guessed it, radiates the skin! I’m looking for glow anywhere I can, babe. Pro tip: this was the product I started using when my roommate asked me if I was wearing makeup. Needless to say, it is worth its weight in gold—and is probably a similar price!
While deeply humbling, it’s important that I admit: it has taken me a while to master the “no-makeup makeup” look. If you unearth any of my Instagram photos circa 2012, you might have trouble identifying me, as in most of the pictures I look like a woman in her 50s going through a nasty divorce, painting on blush and eyebrows to mask her pain and be strong for the children. It’s been… a journey. But after much trial and error and watching Rihanna’s 10-Minute Beauty Routine sincerely once a month, I finally have a makeup routine that’s comprised with products that make me look natural and youthful. So now when I look like a woman in turmoil, it’s because my life is in disarray, not my makeup!
Believe me, I tried to narrow this list down to one Fenty product. But asking me to choose only one product from this brand is like asking me to choose between cheese and sauce on a pizza—it’s simply not done. A few years ago, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line garnered critical acclaim and traction when it launched foundations and concealers that were inclusive to, dare I say, all skin tones. From the palest to the darkest coverage seekers, Fenty formulated a hue just for you. As such, I simply cannot mention makeup must-haves without highlighting the Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer. This is a full coverage soft matte concealer that can be used on its own or combined with your favorite foundation. I often find that some matte concealers can be chalky and overpowering, but this one provides the perfect amount of coverage while still offering a dewy, natural look. I bought this concealer a year and a half ago, and it has remained in my makeup bag ever since.
Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer
While we’re talking Fenty, I also have to shout out their Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer. Bronzers have always been sort of an enigma to me. I loved how they looked on other people, but I, myself, was unsure of how to use them, especially as someone with darker skin. But, after watching the aforementioned Rihanna video, I learned that bronzers are used to warm the face. After applying your foundations, concealers, and powders, chances are you’ve eliminated blemishes, but you’ve also probably eliminated any warmth in your skin along with it. Bronzers bring that warmth back, and this bronzer, in particular, brings it back effortlessly by bringing out the undertones within your skin. I can’t recommend this product enough.
MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream
Earlier this year, I was on the hunt for a great highlighter. I researched powder formulas, cream formulas, and finally came across the MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream. This product is unique because it’s not a typical highlighter, meaning you don’t apply this product to the high points of the skin toward the end of your beauty, like most highlighters. Instead, this product can be combined with your favorite foundation at the very beginning of your routine, providing for a more natural, radiant glow. This is because the deceptively lucent white cream has iridescent undertones. I wear it every day, either on its own for a natural radiance, or combined with a finishing highlight, for even more drama. This product is one of my most prized (and top-secret) products in my toolbox. You’re welcome.
Pat McGrath Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner
I couldn’t honestly tell the story of my makeup journey without mentioning my personal never-ending plight: trying to find a liquid eyeliner that is very black and easy to use. In my quest, I’ve found tons of eyeliners that have been extremely pigmented, but also extremely hard to use, or a liner that glides on effortlessly, but doesn’t show up on my skin at all. Which is why we simply must give thanks to Pat McGrath and her precision liquid eyeliner. If you don’t know Pat McGrath, she is a prominent makeup artist, and she is a Black woman. If there’s one thing she knows, it’s how to formulate beauty products that are bold, pigmented, and inclusive. And she’s done just that with her perfect liquid eyeliner. Admittedly, I can’t take full credit for discovering this product because I first learned about it from watching Naomi Campell’s 10-Minute Beauty Routine (I watch these videos like most people watch the news). It was good enough for top model Naomi Campbell, and it has been more than good enough for me. When it comes to liquid eyeliners, this product is top-tier.
Beauty products are an integral part of most of our daily lives. At the very basis, they are preventive maintenance agents that work to provide us with healthy and youthful-looking skin for years to come. But beyond that, they’re simply fun—offering so much to play with, discover and explore. Which is why some of us (@ing myself here) decide to throw caution to the wind, foregoing contributions to a retirement plan, and invest in rejuvenating eye serums instead. But believe me, beauty products are far less enjoyable to play with when you don’t feel represented by most of them, when only select products are accessible to your skin concerns and hue. The discussion of beauty inclusivity is a big one and shouldn’t stop here, as there is much work to be done in this arena. And while some brands are making strides to better diversify their products, the work isn’t done until this mindset is adopted widely across all brands. I hope that this list is helpful to you in the meantime.
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.
Images: Alex Sorto / Unsplash; Giphy; Shea Moisture; First Aid Beauty; Tatcha; Fenty Cosmetics; Mac Cosmetics; Pat McGrath
Every day during my daily social media scroll, I pass by influencers, friends, and just general Instagram users who are now self-proclaimed skin care experts. You know, the friend who watched six TikToks and now believes she knows more about your own skin than you. We are living in a strange time where 15-year-olds dancing on an app are as influential as the Kardashians, and if you ask me, that signals the end of society—but that’s not really why we are here.
I have seen every skin care tip and trick in the book shared across these platforms, and while some tips are amazing, some are not so great. I know, hard to imagine that social media can be misleading! But, on a serious note, don’t believe everything you see (especially on the internet). Since I’m actually upfront about the fact that I’m not an expert, you don’t need to just take my word for it: I spoke to Candace Marino, aka the LA Facialist and Kourtney Kardashian’s trusted medical aesthetician. I asked her to break down the negatives of self-care at home, and which shiny new tools and tricks you may want to avoid.
“There are brands out there that want to cash in on professional services, making them ‘easy and convenient’ for at home use, but let’s be honest, they do not compare,” explains Marino. “Medical device companies spend thousands of dollars on research and development and clinical trials to ensure professionals can safely and effectively treat people with lasers, and microneedling, etc.”
If you’re currently worshipping your $150 at-home microdermabrasion tool, prepare to be heartbroken. So what products should you not bother with? We’re here to break it down for you.
Let’s start basic and broad, because these are the tools that most of us have fallen victim to. Any massage tool, roller, gua sha, or sculptor with a triple-digit price tag is a ripoff. If something is real stone, it has the same impact whether it costs $10 or $100, and that is where the trouble comes in. “These prices are NOT worth the investment. I’ve seen these gorgeous facial rollers at Bergdorf Goodman for $290, I have to roll my eyes,” Marino explains. Because, as mentioned before, these expensive rollers are the same thing as an inexpensive tool. Or you can even forego the tool entirely: “Save that money for a treatment that will actually do something for you,” Marino advises, “and massage your face with your hands.”
Her reason for passing on these products? “Half of you are going to see an ad, get jazzed about it, buy it, do it for one week and then lose it in your sea of beauty products,” she says. Okay, I feel attacked but also seen. I don’t want to say this rattled me, but I will admit that I’ve definitely considered splurging on a “good” gua sha or face sculptor. That being said, as long as the stone is real, it’s safe. And if you want to skip altogether, your hands are always free.
I am proud to say that while I’ve seen these all over the ‘gram, I have not been tempted to purchase. After all, I live in a Manhattan apartment, aka my windowless bathroom doubles as a steam room. “Are you really going to waste $50-200 on a facial steamer when steam is FREE? Boil a pot of water, throw a towel over your head and voilà,” Marino says, validating my thoughts. “Or simply jump in a shower. Plus, I don’t think people should be regularly streaming, it’s actually more harmful than good when done too much or too regularly. This is definitely not an essential piece of beauty equipment. Save. Your. Money.”
What is a dermaroller, you may ask? Well for starters, if you’re asking, you can mark yourself safe from these. But, if you search the internet, you’ll see that a dermaroller is a spikey little torture device used to poke holes in your face. JK—sort of. “These are NOT the same as professional microneedling,” Marino is quick to say. “I see people digging into their faces with these. First of all, you should not be puncturing yourself with anything that isn’t sterile. You’re opening up your skin to infection, and also potentially damage.”
Marino emphasizes, “I’m not an advocate of home dermarolling. Of course people are going to still do it, but I hope they have a professional to guide them. I’ve seen more harm done from these than good.” If you are going to use one, she advises, “make sure the depth is less than .5mm. Anything larger than that is just tearing the skin, and you should be leaving anything that punctures the skin to a trained professional.” I for one would never purchase one of these, simply because I don’t trust myself doing such a risky procedure. But, I do have many friends who own these, and furthermore rave about them. So for this one I’d say, (derma)roll at your own risk.
“This is a great way to break capillaries, damage your skin and cause bruising,” explains Marino, urging people, “Please don’t buy into the hype. It’s a $260 investment that will literally damage your skin. I’ve had customers debate me on this, saying ‘diamond glow and hydrafacial and microderm all use suction, how is this any different?'” The first is rather obvious: these are professional devices used by trained professionals who have the knowledge and skillset to properly treat skin issues. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but someone’s gotta do it: watching hours of YouTube does NOT make you a professional.
The second, less common-sense reason is that blackheads are waxy plugs in the skin (ew), so the approach with this device might be wrong from the start. “A vacuum isn’t the answer, it’s going to have to be awful strong to magically pull a true blackhead from the skin. What you do get is bruising, sensitivity, and broken blood vessels,” Marino explains.
Again, if you’re like “wtf is an extractor”, do a little internet search and you’ll likely recognize these sneaky little tools. The good news is, these aren’t dangerous when used properly. The bad news is, your favorite influencer is probs using it incorrectly, and therefore you likely are too. “I see people digging into the skin…that’s not what they’re intended for,” Marino says. “You should be gliding the extractor gently, not pressing, which causes injury and may lead to scarring.” Yes, scarring. So be careful!
I also asked Marino to help debunk some myths floating around TikTok and the internet in general.
I recently saw a video that basically tried to *end* jade rollers, saying that jade stone holds in dirt and particles (gross). The video also mentioned rose quartz was the safe way to go, so I asked Marino what the truth is.
“The healing power of stones and crystals have been used for centuries—their ability to cool the skin, yet warm up once worked with makes them great tools to use at home and in the treatment room,” Marino says, confirming that jade is OK to use, when real. “When discussing the powers of rollers, I always say, don’t look for a miracle. This isn’t going to change your life or your face. Is it a good self-care practice? Yes, you’re doing no harm, you’re encouraging circulation and you’ll definitely look more plump, alive, awake. Go for it, just be realistic with your expectations.” *sigh* When rolling my face, am I expecting to come out of it looking like Bella Hadid? You bet I am. I guess I’ll have to live on with chubby cheeks for another day.
I also asked about the ever-popular ingredient debate. Are clean beauty ingredients really better? Are essential oils all safe for your skin? Are there any ingredients you should actively avoid? I, for one, have a skin care cabinet that could last me a lifetime, and I wanted to be educated by someone other than the internet.
“I don’t chat ingredients,” Marino says. “What’s important is formulation. People want to talk ingredients like they’re chemists. They question simple things like an alcohol, an ester or an oil and automatically assume a product is bad… you can’t base a product on one ingredient alone.” To this I say, stick to your dermatologist’s advice. Different ingredients work for different people, and Marino can’t exactly diagnose all of our skin needs simultaneously.
So now that we’ve addressed the bad and the ugly, don’t be afraid to rid of your favorite tools. Trust me, a few dollars wasted today is better than permanently damaging your skin. On the bright side, I can keep my $12 jade roller and put that rumor to rest. On the even brighter side, I am now one step closer to being the first (naturally) blonde Kardashian. An all around win if you ask me!
Stay safe out there kids, and be good to your skin.
Images: Mariya_nova / Shutterstock.com; Candace Marino, Instagram; Bergdorfgoodman.com; Dermstore.com; Beautybio.com; rodanandfields.com
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.
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
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