Our Guide To 6 Common Skin Concerns & How To Treat Them
Article by Refinery29
Adulting may get a bad rap in memes, but in practice,
it’s one of the best things ever.
Adulting may get a bad rap in memes, but in practice, it’s one of the best things ever. Take exhibits A through C, to start: We call the shots — whether that means eating popcorn for dinner, dousing our living room in hot-pink paint, or, after years of trial and error, finally landing on a skin-care routine that works. But that grown-up life also means that when the random bout of redness, flakiness, or hyperpigmentation pops up, we’re often caught off guard and underprepared. Exactly where did these skin woes come from (did the popcorn-for-dinner thing have something to do with it?), and — more importantly — what can we do to walk them back?
For answers, we turned to New York-based dermatologists Sejal Shah and Dendy Engelman. They offered up some expert advice on how to take down various skin concerns — from zits and acne (acne-fighting retinoid Differin Acne Gel Treatment can help) to sudden skin sensitivity (for which botanicals are a blessing). The best part? Not a single one of their fixes requires a prescription. Ahead, get their tips for how to maintain radiant skin, no matter what kind of complexion-messing curveball comes your way.
The Flare-Up: Redness
The Takedown: We’re hard-pressed to find something wrong with beach days and rosé — that is until we talked to Shah, who filled us in on a little secret. For some, seemingly innocuous factors like a bit of sun exposure or sipping a glass of wine can cause residual redness. One of the quickest ways to recapture your natural skin tone? Creams or serums loaded with a shot of caffeine, which works to minimize the appearance of redness by constricting blood vessels. However, if redness occurs with regularity, you may want to schedule a visit with your dermatologist as rosacea may be the culprit. “For these individuals, ingredients that reduce inflammation and help repair the skin barrier are beneficial,” she notes.
The Flare-Up: Acne
The Takedown: If it can happen to celebrities and supermodels, it can happen to anyone. We're talking about acne. And according to research by dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, one third of total acne office visits are made by women over 25 years old. Those of us for whom breakouts didn’t stop in high school are well aware that the key to dealing with zits is not just treating them after they surface but also preventing them before they take shape. An acne-fighting retinoid, like adapalene, found in Differin Gel Acne Treatment, does both. “Retinoids help acne by increasing cell turnover and minimizing the growth of skin cells that can clog the pore,” Shah says. In fact, Engelman notes that the ingredient can be such a workhorse, it may be best paired with gentle skin-care products. Look for a moisturizer loaded with proven hydrators that don’t tend to irritate skin, like hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
The Flare-Up: Flaky Skin
The Takedown: Time to debunk another skin myth: Flakiness isn’t just a cold-weather thing. Thanks to reactions to some skin products, aggressive cleansing, and sun exposure — among other factors — our complexions can turn scaly just about any time of year. “Flaky skin often indicates dryness, so moisturizers are key,” Shah says, suggesting a trifecta of healers to hydrate skin back to health: ceramides (which help repair and strengthen the skin barrier), hyaluronic acid (which helps draw moisture to the skin), and niacinamide (which has been shown to increase ceramide and fatty acid levels in the skin).
The Flare-Up: Dull Complexion
The Takedown: As the days grow longer, a laissez-faire attitude spills over into just about everything we do — including our approach to skin care. With less frequent exfoliating, our skin’s natural glow starts to fade to a point that even highlighter can’t revive. The quickest way to get back on track? Cleansing with an exfoliant (which sloughs off dead skin cells) and nourishing with vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps neutralize free-radical damage that can lead to dull skin, according to Engelman.