I recently answered a reader question over on my Office Hours asking what I thought about Botox (check out the highlights for my answer), and it got me thinking: since I haven’t dabbled in injectables, what are the things that are most impactful when it comes to keeping my skin glowy and clear? Considering I used to deal with random breakouts, my kids often wake me up way before my alarm clock, and I am technically in my mid-thirties (34 to be precise), I’m pretty fanatical when it comes to taking care of my skin and feel that when I don’t, it shows up in dryness, dark circles, and those first whispers of fine lines. Sure, I’m all about using high-quality products and I’ve got a list of ones I love, but there are a few things I do (beyond products) that have really moved the needle (pun intended) for me over the past year. Scroll on to find out what they are, and I’d love to hear what skincare secrets y’all swear by in the comments!
Clear + Brilliant Laser Treatment
My dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, turned me onto this laser that’s sometimes referred to as “Baby Fraxel” because it helps prevent visible signs of aging without the downtime required of harsher lasers (ie you won’t need to go into hiding afterwards.) I try to get it done at the beginning of each season, and I’ve noticed clearer, smoother, glowier skin with smaller pores. Yes, it’s pricey, but I’ve personally chosen to forego regular facials and instead put all my money towards getting this treatment 4x a year since, for me, it’s more impactful. By the way, here’s a comparison of Laser Treatments versus Microneedling, for those who are trying to decide which one to try.
A couple of years ago, a facialist asked if I wanted to tack on a dermaplaning session to the end of my facial, and since I’m pretty much always up for trying out a new facial treatment that doesn’t involve a scalpel or needle, I said sure. Well, all it took was one session, and I was totally hooked on the resulting baby butt-soft skin and glowy complexion it gave me. Only prob is that the results only lasted a couple of weeks, and I’m sorry but I just don’t have the time (or money) for that kind of maintenance. Enter… the at-home dermaplaner! When I saw the Dermaflash online, I thought it must be too good to be true. But one year into using it, I’m still obsessed to the point that I think this company needs to hire me as their spokesperson. Seriously. For the uninitiated, dermaplaning is a form of deep exfoliation where a sharp razor-like tool is used to scrape off the top layer of the skin and any peach fuzz that comes along with it. Doing it at home is bizarrely easy – I’ve never once cut myself, and there’s something oddly satisfying about seeing the dead skin and hairs I didn’t even know I had fly off my face and into the air. Sounds gross, but trust me: it’s amazing. I love it so much that I dermaplane every Sunday evening and then apply my best skincare treatments since they soak into just-treated skin so much more effectively.
Sensing a pattern here? All of my skincare secrets really have to do with removing dead skin and getting those new skin cells to turn on over (which equals a fresh, dewy, youthful complexion!) I’ve always known you should exfoliate, but it wasn’t until this past year that I really developed my system of multi-step exfoliation. Here’s what it entails:
- Double face washing. This is exactly what it sounds like. Before you go to bed, wash off your makeup with makeup remover or cleanser, then use a gentle cleanser to wash your face – again. It’s amazing how a double wash really does wonders in clearing up any lingering residue or pollution on the skin’s surface.
- Chemical exfoliation. In the shower, I apply an AHA mask 3x per week (I love Goop Exfoliating Instant Facial) and let it sit on my skin for 5 minutes while I shave my legs and let the treatment work its magic.
- Physical exfoliation. This means using something with granules (I like the classic St. Ives) to scrub away dead skin 3x per week. My pores tend to hold onto dirt and pollution, so keeping them clear is key to preventing breakouts. I’m also a fan of removing face masks with a good old fashioned wash cloth which helps rub dead skin right off with it. (Bonus points: Use a dry towel to vigorously rub and exfoliate dead skin from your neck when you hop out of the shower. For me, it works better than anything else and is an especially necessary step before applying any type of sunless tanning products.)
- Retinol. I use this one most nights before moisturizer and it is the gold standard in cell turnover – my derm said that just about everyone should be using it in some form.
It’s a routine that packs a punch. Let me know what skincare tricks you swear by in the comments!