All the answers to your skin care questions are on this page. Quick answers, actionable tips and the make-a-difference details you need for great skin, let's go!
The skin care questions below are from my amazing website visitors (like you!) who send me their concerns through email - usually through our newsletter where I want to hear about your skin.
This page is divided into categories for easy navigation (see the menu below). Enjoy!
Quick points to start:
*IMPORTANT: I am unable to answer specific/personal skin care questions over the internet. The answers on this page are detailed but general advice only. If you are concerned about your skin and need more than general answers or tips, please see a dermatologist :)
Questions on this page are divided up by topics/concerns. Click on each one below to be taken straight to that section (or simply browse them all):
Q. I feel like I've tried everything to deal with my acne but nothing is working. It really effects my self esteem. Please help.
Acne has common 'surface' causes such as over-production of oil, dead skin cells, inflammation etc.... basically unbalanced skin. It is what causes these surface symptoms that can differ so much - and is the reason why a treatment that worked for your friend may not work for you.
Important: your acne can be helped. It's simply a matter of finding out what will work for you. In general, most acne conditions can be successfully treated once you can get an idea of the main cause:
Q. I always get those deep painful pimples that can never be squeezed and take forever to go away.
Ah the 'blind' pimple. Yes they are painful, and yes they tend to stick around for a long time. Luckily, there are ways to deal with them properly - see this article for everything you need >
Q. I am 37 years old and still getting pimples. What gives?
You might be surprised at how common this question is. Whether you are 24 or 42, dealing with pimples/acne at this age is not at all unusual.
Of course, you have a double problem - you are usually dealing with aging concerns as well as acne. Let's look quickly at why it may be happening, and what you can do about it:
What to do about it:
Q. I always break out in the same place on my chin, why does this happen?
Ah the 'recurring pimple'. Those spots that just keep turning up without being invited. See this article for everything you need to know about why they happen and what to do about them....
Q. I have a new zit on my face and I need it gone by TOMORROW!
Don't they always turn up right before a big event??
While it isn't possible to make a pimple entirely disappear overnight, you can make a big enough difference that you will barely notice it anymore. If you reduce the inflammation (redness, pain, swelling), it is much easier to cover with concealor or simply forget about.
Dealing with the inflammation like this will also speed up healing, shortening its lifespan significantly.
Q. My skin is dry and oily at the same time, so I have dry flaky skin and breakouts and pimples. How is that possible?
This is usually due to an oily skin 'type' that is dehydrated, or at least in severe need of good exfoliation.
Often this can be misdiagnosed as a dry skin type, which is then followed by applications of rich hydrating products and inadequate cleansing/exfoliating - which only increases the problem.
It will usually look greasy, dull and uneven. It can especially be 'bumpy' on the forehead. If you have what seems like tiny bumps all over your forehead that can't be squeezed like normal pimples, or that don't seem to go away on their own, this is likely your problem.
Deal with the layer of dead skin cells that is causing the dullness and blockages. And deal with the dehydration/imbalance that contributed to it in the first place. And keep your skin clear and healthy in the future.
That sounds like a lot, but it is fairly simple:
You might be surprised at the true state of your skin! Following the above steps will freshen, brighten and clarify your whole complexion.
Q. My face/nose is shiny by mid morning, no matter what cleanser or moisturizer I use.
Depending on where you live or what type of environment you work in, it can be very hard to control oil, even if you are doing everything right skin care routine-wise. Here are a couple of quick tips that deal simply with preventing the oil-slick:
Q. I have really oily skin and hate wearing moisturizer. Can I just not use it?
Skipping moisturizer isn't recommended. This will unbalance your skin and ultimately make it more oily in the long run. Plus, looking after your oily skin will ensure it ages well - oil acts as a lubricant against wrinkles!
The perfect moisturizer for those oily-skin-er's who don't like moisturizer is our Oil Free Mositurizering Gel. Check it out here >
Blackheads are the most common skin complaint I get. And for good reason - they are stubborn, persistent and just plain annoying. They can also exist on an otherwise 'clear' face - nobody is immune!
The answers below will help, and be sure to check out the links at the end for all the blackheads details, treatments and tips you need.
Q. Why are the blackheads on my NOSE so much harder to get rid of, even when the rest of my face is clear?
The nose generally has larger pores than the rest of the face, and is in the middle of the 'T Zone'.
Nose blackheads are usually more obvious due to the shape of the nose (in other words, blackheads on the chin can be 'hidden' and only seen if you stretch/jut your chin out). Whereas black dots on the end of your nose are hard to avoid :(
It also has nooks and crannies - the sides being perfect gathering areas for oil and dead skin cells to build up and block pores.
Blackheads may also be more common on the nose because of subtle reasons like wearing glasses, sweating, and touching your nose frequently out of habit or allergy-necessity.
All of the above make nose blackheads harder to deal with.
Much like blackheads in general. Except a bit more diligence and persistence is usually required. See this page for everything you need to know about dealing with blackheads >
Q. How can I get rid of the blackheads in my ears?
Ahhh those sneaky ear blackheads... It's hard enough even realizing they are there to start with! They are tricky but can be treated successfully. See this article on exactly how to do that specifically >
Q. I have fine lines around my eyes but no where else (yet), how can i deal with them and stop them from getting worse?
The eye area is usually the first to show fine lines, since the skin here is so much thinner than the rest of the face, and it also lacks the oil glands that work as anti-wrinkle lubricants.
Of course the obvious: 'use a good eye cream'. Its main job should be hydration so any sort of cream here is fine, no need for the expensive types (although if you have a higher budget, my favorite is Clarins Super Restorative* eye cream).
Also consider simply bringing up your usual moisturizer just over the eye bone (orbital bone). Use an eye cream as well for a double whammy, or not.... Your normal moisturizer by itself is adequate, especially if you use a good active face cream like our Complete Retinol Cream. This will deal with those fine lines very nicely.
Q. My skin always feels dry and tight no matter how much moisturizer I apply. What's wrong with it?
Has your skin always been 'dry'? Are your pores visible? These questions determine if you have an actual dry skin type, or if your skin is actually dehydrated (oily or normal skin can be dehydrated). Which one it is will determine your skin care routine.
Either way, the following tips will help with dry or dehydrated skin:
Q. What can I do about acne scars?
There are two general 'types' of acne scars. The first are the common red/dark marks left over from pimples. These are not pitted or raised in any way - and while they can last a while, if left alone they will eventually disappear since they only effect the top layer of skin.
The second type are the deeper acne scars - usually from cystic or severe acne (also sometimes from measles or boils). These scars are often pitted or dented, or may be raised. For this reason they require professional help. 'Surface' approaches like the above can help fade the color and make then slightly less noticeable, but can't deal with the break in skin surface.
Q. Can I use retinol and glycolic acid together? I'd also like to know if I should be using my retinol in combination with the glycolic exfoliant or if it's all too much exfoliation for the skin?
These two powerful ingredients/products are amazing on their own, and together are a golden skin combination. They have different actions, briefly:
Here's my suggestion for using both - if you have been using retinol for a while (aka, your skin is fairly accustomed to it), you should be fine introducing the Glycolic Exfoliator as normal while continuing to use the retinol. Just keep an eye on your skin, and if it starts to peel (a little peeling is normal in the beginning, but not too much), or gets irritated, you can try one of the following:
I would first try using both together - the glycolic followed by the retinol, as they have the most bang together this way. Just take it easy and if you need, try one of the above methods until your skin becomes more accustomed.
Remember, after 2 or 3 months of use your skin can probably handle leaving the glycolic acid on for up to a minute - if not every night at least a couple of nights a week, just build up slowly to this.
Should I use a stronger cleanser in the evening and a more gentle cleanser in the morning?
As long as your cleanser is good at cleansing the skin (duh), then you can use the same one morning and night. As for strength this is personal preference.
If you are using an exfoliant like the Glycolic or Salicylic Daily Exfoliator that actually works as an extra deep cleanse.... so, as long as your cleanser is taking off makeup and giving a decent surface cleanse, it is fine. A strong cleanser may be too much with the exfoliant anyway, at least in the beginning.
It is a good idea to cleanse in the morning; some say you don't need to but it makes a difference - whether you use a gentle or stronger one will depend on your skin and preference.
The main goal with cleanser in the morning is to set up skin to look 'nice' for the day, so as long as it doesn't irritate and cause redness, and provides a good cleanse for a smooth fresh base... great!!
Can I use a glycolic acid peel AND a glycolic moisturizer?
This is overkill - literally. You are better off separating the functions/benefits of each:
Use a quality peel/exfoliant. Then use a quality moisturizer which can do what it is supposed to do - moisturize and hydrate. You will get better results from both.
The peel/exfoliant ensures all dead skin cells are removed so your moisturizer can 'sink' in deeper and do a better job. And the moisturizer will ensure your skin doesn't get too dry from the peel.
Short answer: you can use a glycolic peel and a glycolic moisturizer of course, however this will likely irritate your skin. And you are much better off letting different products do what they do best.
I want to know more about your oil free gel. I love gels but some soak right into the skin and leave me with more of a matte look and bring back my dry spots if I have any. Some leave behind more of a supple hydrated feeling -- what is yours like if you wouldn't mind describing it?
Great question! Our Oil Free Moisturizing Gel is the 'soak right in variety', which makes it excellent for oily skins. It provides hydration and protection (it contains hyaluronic acid), yet it doesn't leave a film or add any greasiness. It also helps prevent oil throughout the day and does not clog pores.
It may not be enough for some skins, so it can also be used as a 'spot moisturizer'. Either applied to oily areas only (such as the nose), or applied all over the face with a heavier moisturizer over top on drier areas. This way, it works like a serum as well.
Can the glycolic (or salicylic) exfoliant be used in place of a more granular exfoliant? Or is it a good idea to alternate?
Absolutely both the Glycolic Daily Exfoliator and the Salicylic Daily Exfoliator will replace a granular exfoliant - and do a better job.
One of these exfoliating products is the only exfoliation you need. If you still like a granular exfoliant for the feeling of it, go ahead and alternate but do make sure to leave a day or so in between.
Salicylic acid or glycolic acid? Which one should I use?
The simplest way to work out which one is best for you:
Salicylic acid is best for acne/oily skin since it is oil soluble. This ensures it gets deep into pores and is therefore particularly good for clearing up acne and breakouts. It also exfoliates and softens skin, so you will see a difference in texture, tone and appearance.
See this article for details: How to use salicylic acid >
Glycolic acid is great for all skin types (apart from sensitized). It also works for acne/breakouts, and is particularly good for blackheads, dull skin, pigmentation, aging concerns and general clarity. It works by dissolving the 'glue' between cells and sloughing them off - creating a soft, clear, glowing surface.
See this article for details: How to use glycolic acid >
Q. Are Vitamin C serums really a waste of time?
There are some good quality vitamin C products around, so to say they are a waste of time in general wouldn't be fair... However because vitamin C is such a volatile molecule it requires not only the right extraction but the right handling and storage.
And like anything in skin care it requires a decent amount of potency to actually do anything - a lot of over-the-counter serums and moisturizers are nothing more than expensive hydrating products.
But, vitamin C does have excellent skin benefits, especially for anti aging as it brightens and tightens. So it can be very worthwhile to make your own serum, which ensures potency, quality and control (and is usually much less expensive). See this article for an easy how-to >
Q. The skin on my body is rough and dry.
First, a bit of prevention is needed:
Next, body skin care be treated much the same as face skin. It is thicker, with less oil glands, which makes it more likely to be rough and less likely to have acne (although body acne is certainly still common). Try the following for dry body skin:
How can I get glowing, soft skin?
Try one (or better yet, all) - of the tips below:
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