Monthly archive for June 2016

The Scary Connection Between Your Feet and Skin Cancer

Using sunscreen is one of the most effective ways to defend your body against harmful UVs , but turns out, skin cancer could be lurking in places you wouldn’t even think to apply SPF. Researchers say melanoma can be found on the soles of the feet due to damage from walking or running.

How can you get skin cancer on a place that rarely sees the sun? “Our clinical observation suggests that mechanical stress – such as plantar pressure and shear stress – is involved in the development of melanoma on the sole,” senior researcher Dr. Ryuhei Okuyama of Shinshu University School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan, told Health Day. “Plantar” areas include places that receive the most pressure like the heel, ball of the foot, and side foot arch.

Although rare (especially under the feet), melanoma can be a deadly form of cancer, and most patients with it on their soles discover it in its advanced stages. According to the study, the average age of those with this rare cancer was 73.5 years.

Consider adding a sole check to your routine screening, and look for any signs of melanoma such as moles, unusual coloration, or any other irregularities that change in size and shape.

10 Setting Sprays That Will Make Sure Your Makeup Can't Budge

The oppressive humidity and scalding temperatures of Summer exacerbate any standard makeup gripes tenfold, but what no one’s sharing with you is that there is one single product that cures all these woes for up to 16 hours at a time. Yes, really! Melted foundation , oily skin, vanishing blush, even sun damage – these issues can all be solved with setting spray.

This genius invention isn’t new. In fact, it’s been around for nearly 50 years but was an insider secret, available only to Hollywood makeup artists and other pros. Skindinavia is largely credited as the brand that made the category more real-girl-friendly. “They had been around since the 1970s as ‘hair spray’ for the face,” explained Allen Goldman, CEO of Skindinavia. “We are the ones who helped blow up the category by making them comfortable to use and nonaerosol.”

So how do setting sprays work? Skindinavia’s formula actually features a patented cooling technology. Your skin temperature is approximately 90 degrees (which can of course get warmer or cooler depending on the weather). That heat is not conducive to durable makeup – it causes melting, color fade, and oiliness. Skindinavia creates an invisible web on the skin that works to lower the temperature of the makeup on your face, making it last.

Setting sprays also use special polymers to seal your makeup in place, creating a breathable mesh on top. They’re super simple to use. Just spritz them across your face just like a standard facial mist . Many brands suggest misting in T or X shape. “This is a way to get a full application with the minimum amount of product,” shared Goldman.

If you’re convinced that using primer is enough for a long-lasting makeup look, reconsider. “Priming sprays are a bit more skin-care-focused and offer more texture for a smooth surface,” Goldman said. “Finishing sprays are about a healthy, luminous look and extended wear.”

Once you incorporate setting spray into your beauty regimen, you’ll be able to party at a music festival , sweat it out on the tennis court, or work a full day and hit up happy hour looking like you just applied your makeup. Read on to discover some of our favorites.

Meet the 14 Geniuses Behind Your Favorite Beauty Products

Maybe you can’t pack a makeup bag without Urban Decay’s Primer Potion or imagine the days when you couldn’t just pop into Drybar for a blowout. Anastasia Beauty might be your favorite Instagram feed (it has over 10 million followers, after all), and you love watching YouTube celebrities show how to use the latest Tarte , Benefit, and Too Faced launches. Perhaps every time MAC reveals a new collaboration , you set a Google calendar reminder to shop it. And when Jen Atkin created her own hair care line , you were ecstatic because you could finally own the tools to get cool-girl, Kardashian waves at home. These are all cult brands and products, and they achieved that status for a reason: genius strategy mixed with focused, innovative vision. Behind every beauty empire is a talented person with the coveted job of creative director.

Creative directors are very important figures to your beloved brands. At each company, the role means something different. For smaller brands, it could be the founder who also has his or her hand in every project. At larger corporations, it might be the employee who designs the packaging, comes up with the product concepts, or oversees the greater vision of each collection. Some creative directors are industry vets (like Sonia Kashuk), while others are teens with brilliant ideas (Taylor and Ally Frankel of Nudestix).

Regardless, these are some of the biggest badasses in the biz. They are not afraid to take risks and even fail. To spotlight what they do, we interviewed 14 of them (mostly over email) about everything from their greatest regrets to unusual ways to use top products (bet you never knew dry shampoo can double as deodorant). Many of them had similar advice: use social media to spread your message, and trust your gut! But you should also “be prepared to shed dangerous amounts of blood, sweat, and tears,” according to Dineh Mohajer, founder of Hard Candy and Smith & Cult.

Whether you one day dream of being a creative director or just want to learn more from the masterminds who invent the beauty goods you can’t live without, we promise everyone can learn something from these boss ladies and gents.

One Black Girl Got a Spray Tan and Lived to Tell the Tale

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sarah Siegel

I have always been a firm believer that black girls shouldn’t artificially tan . To me, using liquid enhancers on dark complexions just wasn’t necessary, and I’ve always feared that any form of enhancement to our natural complexions would end up in an orange Willy Wonka disaster.

So when POPSUGAR’s senior beauty editor Lauren Levinson approached me with an opportunity to get spray-tanned by the pros at Vita Liberta , my first thought was to immediately decline. However, after giving it thought, I wondered if my reaction was purely the result of a beauty myth. Out of pure curiosity, I decided to challenge myself and sign up for the spray tan to debunk the myth or confirm my theory that liquid enhancers aren’t flattering on dark skin.

When it was my turn to strip down (yes, down to my undies) and get into the tanning tent, I knew there was no turning back. I stood there as the cold spray latched onto my pores and anxiously closed my eyes. After a few brief turns and chills, the entire process was finished. Once my tan was complete, I gazed in the mirror and was overwhelmingly pleased with my glowing, toasty complexion. The tanning liquid coated my skin with a radiant shine that made it look like I’d just returned from an exotic vacation. I was visibly darker, but my complexion still looked completely natural.

Throughout the day, I was extremely aware of the tanning solution on my body. I personally couldn’t wait to rinse it off to see the hue once it was settled in my skin, but the experts at Vita Liberata said it was OK to skip a shower and sleep in your tanner to achieve a deeper tint (just avoid white sheets!). But that night, I opted to shower with a gentle exfoliating cleanser to lather away the first layer of liquid enhancer. My tan melted down to a more bronzed version of my typically pale, blotchy skin. I couldn’t wait to throw on a plunge-neck top the next day to show off my sexy complexion. To say I was obsessed with my tan was an understatement.

As it turns out, my earlier hunch was wrong. My belief that a certain beauty enhancement is made solely for one type of skin is just a myth that feeds into beauty stereotypes. I am a black girl, I got a spray tan, and I loved it. And after my first experience, I’ve learned that like your favorite bronzer or liquid illuminator , a faux tan will simply just lift your natural skin tone to transform it into a more radiant version of you. So if you’re like me and thought that spray tans and black girls don’t mix, I can confidently assure you that they do. With proper research into products and technique, you lower the risk of mishaps during your first tan.

I’ve gathered all of my learnings to prepare you for your first spray-tanning experience . Read along for everything you need to know before getting spritzed or doing it at home (especially if you have brown skin).

Preparing For Your Tan

There are a few general rules to follow before stepping into the tanning tent. The day before my tan, I was advised to thoroughly exfoliate with an oil-free body scrub to create a smooth canvas. I smoothed my skin with a brown sugar, honey, and lemon DIY concoction. I was also advised to not apply any moisturizer the day of my tan. So, the night before, I slathered on a thick layer of Ceramidin Body Cream by Dr. Jart+ ($35) so my skin would still be hydrated the following day.

If you’re going on vacation and plan on scheduling a bikini wax around the time of your tan, it is highly recommended to do all hair removal, including shaving your legs, 48 hours before tanning.

The week of your spray tan requires some prep for optimal results, too. CEO and founder of Vita Liberata Alyson Hogg recommends drinking lots of water and eating foods high in lysine (like kale, spinach, and avocado) to further enhance the brightness of your skin. In addition to being mindful of what you eat, wear loose-fitting dark clothing you won’t mind getting dirty, as color from the tan can transfer onto your clothing.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

During Your Tan

Your chances of a flawless application are greater when you tan completely naked. If you’re not comfortable getting bare or if you won’t be in a bikini anytime soon, leaving on undergarments is also totally fine; just don’t wear any lingerie pieces you won’t want to dirty with the bronzing liquid.

Before applying any liquid, your tanning expert will cover the rougher areas of your body with a thin layer of lotion to prevent the liquid from settling into those lines. You can protect your hair with a plastic shower cap, and you’ll be given sticky slippers to protect under your feet. Your tanning expert will instruct you on how to stand and place your limbs. After two to three minutes of turns and large sprays, the entire process will be done!

After Your Tan

Most new spray tans are formulated to dry quickly, like the Vita Liberata one I experienced during my first time. So after your tan, you are able get dressed as normal and go about your day. However, you should avoid contact with water for six to eight hours so your tan can set. Also try your best to wait two hours before washing your hands.

If you removed any makeup prior to getting tanned, it is also recommended to wait two hours (or more) before applying liquid makeup to your skin. But if you’re headed to an event or errand post-tan and want to touch up your makeup, you can use a long-wear powder foundation to avoid reapplying throughout the day. I lightly dusted Esteé Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Powder Makeup ($40) on my face with a fluffy powder brush ($75).

To ensure that my “guide layer” and any dead skin rinsed off completely during my shower, I lathered with an extragentle exfoliating cleanser from Nubian Heritage . After showering, it is imperative that you keep your skin hydrated by moisturizing twice daily to avoid peeling and to help your color fade consistently.

For At-Home Self-Tanning

If you’d rather take your tan into your own hands, there are a few things you can do to have the most effective at-home experience. In addition to your essential prepping steps, a tanning mitt should be the first piece of your arsenal, along with a coloring agent and a thick moisturizer. (Check out which self-tan liquids POPSUGAR editors use at home .)

I consulted celebrity tanning expert James Read of James Read Tan by email, and he stressed the importance of applying the liquid to your body from shoulders to toe in sweeping motions to avoid blotchiness and streaking. He suggested to abstain from placing tanning lotion directly on your elbows, knees, feet, and ankles, as those areas are often rougher in texture and can cause creasing. Instead, protect that skin with a thin layer of moisturizer as your first step. And when tanning your face at home, use a lighter tanning liquid shade to achieve the most natural finish. You can even mix some tanning solution into your facial moisturizer to avoid going too dark!

When using self-tanner at home, be extra cautious of overapplying. To avoid an unwanted dark hue, make sure to spread a thin layer of the liquid or mousse and add more if needed. Most at-home tanning lotions will gradually darken, so try not to overdo it. If you still desire a deeper glow after your first application, opt for an overnight tanner.

Similar to getting tanned by a professional, carefully cleansing and moisturizing your skin is key to a flawlessly fading tan. In addition to exfoliating and hydrating your skin, aftersun products will help preserve the life of your lifted complexion. But no matter your skin complexion or race, protecting your body with SPF is an absolute step to gorgeous healthy skin – tanned or au naturel!

The Natural Deodorant That Weaned Me Off Antiperspirants

My longtime relationship with antiperspirants was like that of a social smoker and cigarettes: I knew they were ultimately harmful and comforted myself with the notion that I would one day just give them up for good. The problem is, I was never really certain when that day would come.

I started using more intense antiperspirants just before college, which was around the same time I got more invested in working out regularly. I was so frequently going from class to the gym to the cafeteria and wherever else life took me that I developed a preemptive fear of smelling bad in front of my peers and the people I was trying to befriend.

When I started interning at the start of my sophomore year, I grew to rely upon my intense deodorant habit even more. I was suddenly having to work in professional environments that felt so out of my league, and it kinda made me sweat.

Around the same time, I kept seeing stories about the harmful effects of common antiperspirant ingredients, which can include aluminum compounds and parabens. Antiperspirants than contain aluminum are especially risky because they can be absorbed into your bloodstream and have been linked to breast cancer , according to the National Cancer Institute.

Here lies my real problem and the source of a lot of paranoia. My grandmother, my mom’s mom, passed away from breast cancer in her 30s. Though she was diagnosed at a time when research and treatment were scarce, that’s certainly not the case right now. If there’s reputable information out there about the harmfulness of antiperspirants, then why the f*ck was I using them?

I gave it some thought and realized that my health and longevity were more important than the strength of my deodorant. My next issue, however, was finding the right natural deodorant that smelled nice and was still effective – although I was prepared to be let down by the effectiveness after years of using my stronger one. After arming myself with some knowledge about other aluminum-free deodorants , I ended up settling on Milk + Honey’s cream deodorant in coconut and lemongrass scent.

Image Source: Milk + Honey

I had a bunch of initial reservations. First of all, the deodorant is $16, which definitely doesn’t make it an economical choice. Also, the notion of a cream deodorant that you have to scoop up with your hands – and thereby rub directly onto your armpits – kind of grossed me out.

While I have to admit I still feel weird about applying it by hand, the price has become slightly more understandable since I realized how a tiny amount of the thick cream can offer a lot of protection. I’ve also become obsessed with its refreshing scent. It smells crisp, fresh, and gloriously lacking in weird chemicals that my body does not need or want. Just the other day, I got a whiff of my armpit as I was working out and it actually smelled nice, ultimately passing the most difficult smell test.

I’m sure I’ll try other types of natural deodorants, but for now, I feel at peace knowing that I can throw away my intense antiperspirant and rely on this pleasant option without fear of offending my co-workers and fellow gym-goers.

11 DIY Beauty Remedies Your Grandma Always Talked About That Actually Work

Every abuela has one: that wild concoction she whips up from ingredients in her kitchen and swears by every time you have a pimple, dry skin, unruly hair – you name it. As kids, most of us rolled our eyes and went along with it, but we’ve done a little digging, and it turns out maybe Grandma wasn’t so crazy after all. Many of those beauty recipes actually work! Warning: do try these 11 practices at home for smooth skin and silky hair – or get these beauty buys that are also grandma-approved .

1. Using mayonnaise as a deep conditioner for healthy hair.

According to hairstylist Nathaniel Hawkins, this old-school method works because of the fat to protein ratio. “The oil softens the hair, making it shinier – and the protein in the eggs will make strands stronger.” He recommends applying the treatment to dry hair, and leaving it on as a mask for 15-20 minutes. Shampoo twice, and condition afterwards. But, Hawkins notes, this treatment works best for hair that isn’t fine or limp.

2. Dabbing nails in olive oil for a healthier look.

Nail expert Stephanie Stone debunked the myth (common in Dominican culture) that rubbing garlic on nails will make them strong (according to studies, it has no benefit). But, she says, applying olive oil (a popular DIY beauty ingredient in Puerto Rico) on nails and cuticles throughout the day is a great way to improve their health. “Keeping your hands and nails moisturized is key, especially if you’re trying to repair damaged nail beds. I’d also recommend applying it lightly throughout the day instead of a full on soak. But consistency is key!”

3. Coconut oil as a body moisturizer.

“This one 100% works,” says dermatologist (and Sofia Vergara’s derm!) Dendy Engelman, M.D., of coconut oil for soft skin, a popular technique in many Latin American countries. “Coconut oil is mostly made up of saturated fats and medium-chain fatty acids, which help repair the skin barrier, trap water to hydrate skin, and also reduce inflammation. And recent studies show it’s also a great treatment for eczema.”

4. Adding honey to hair conditioner for softer tresses.

A custom common in Caribbean Latin America, honey is a natural moisturizer, which Hawkins says does work to help rehydrate your locks. And using unprocessed honey will give you an extra bonus: it’s full of enzymes that will help create a healthy scalp and prevent dandruff.

5. Agua maravilla to fight blemishes.

Also known as witch hazel, this is common in many Latino families, especially from Puerto Rican and Dominican backgrounds. Engelman says it works because the mixture contains anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antibacterial properties. Engelman also recommends Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Towelettes ($6) to control blemishes and calm bug bites.

6. Washing hair with Coca-Cola for shine.

This is a long-time favorite technique among not just Latino families, but celebrities like Suki Waterhouse . Hairstylist Nunzio Saviano gives this traditional trick the thumbs up: “The acidity closes the hair cuticle, which makes it look healthy and shiny. But be careful: the sugar can leave your hair sticky, so you might need to rinse it out quickly. Apple cider vinegar is an alternative that might not be as messy!”

7. Beach sand as a skin exfoliant.

“Sand is essentially finely granulated rocks, so it’s perfect to remove excess dry skin cells,” Engelman says. “But because it’s so abrasive, I’d only recommend you use it to exfoliate feet. It might be too harsh for other parts of your body.”

8. Manzanilla grisi shampoo to lighten hair.

Saviano says that this traditionally Mexican and South American product – which contains Flor de Manzanilla and claims to both wash and lighten hair – does work, but he would use it sparingly. “This will maintain your tone and even lighten it at times, but if you use it too much, your color might become dull or even fade.”

9. Grape skin paste for glowing skin.

Grapes are a gold mine, says Engelman. “They’ll have a brightening effect over time because they contain vitamins B6, C, and A, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, selenium, and flavonoids, which act as antioxidants and remove toxins from the skin.”

10. Sugar and lemon juice as an antiaging exfoliant.

According to Engelman, the sugar crystals act as an exfoliator, sloughing away dead skin, while the lemon juice helps peel away dead skin cells because of their content of alpha hydroxy acid (which is found in many antiaging treatments). Exfoliating is important, Engelman says, “because as we age, our skin doesn’t shed as effectively. Plus, getting rid of dead cells helps your moisturizers penetrate better.”

11. Avocado for healthy cuticles.

“Actually, rubbing avocado oil on cuticles is more effective than actual avocado,” says Stone. But good news for avocado lovers: “Avocados in a healthy, balanced diet will help you see overall improvement in your hair, skin, and nails, too.” Bring on the guacamole!

RELATED

The Scary Side Effect You Could Suffer After Your Next Massage

When I’m low on cash but highly stressed, I turn to affordable beauty treatments to soothe my frazzled nerves. One of my favorites is receiving a deep-tissue massage in Chinatown, NYC. I usually pay about $40 (tip included!) for a full hour of bliss. However, after a recent massage – which was wonderful, by the way – I started feeling sick. Really sick: about an hour after the rubdown, I threw up.

I couldn’t believe it. I’d felt nauseated post-massage before, but never enough to actually hurl. And by the way, after puking, I felt great (from head to toe . . . stomach included). In attempts to find out why this happened to me, I conducted a deep Google search, which revealed nothing quite informative enough for my liking.

Luckily, when I’m desperate to solve a problem, my job as a beauty editor allows me to consult experts. I reached out to Heather Wyborny, massage therapist at the esteemed Golden Door spa in San Marcos, CA, to get to the bottom of this phenomenon.

First, I needed to know what a deep-tissue massage actually did, because, yes, I was just blindly going in for treatment. “A deep-tissue massage reduces heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones, enhances immune function, boosts levels of endorphins and serotonin, and increases blood circulation,” explained Wyborny. Therapists use firm, concentrated pressure to break through tension of deeper muscle and connective tissue – which can sometimes hurt.

That soreness is the most common side effect of deep tissue massage. My vom-fest was a pretty atypical reaction. On my short-lived Google search, I had read that nausea was due to “toxins being released into the body,” which sounded a bit hokey to me. “Massage stimulates movement of the lymphatic system and byproducts of muscle metabolism,” Wyborny clarified.

A deeper dig into the lymphatic system’s functions revealed some interesting information. In fact, one of the primary responsibilities of this part of the body is responsible for removing waste from the blood. Lymph then shuttles said waste off to be filtered through the liver and kidneys, and eventually excreted.

This waste can be anything from allergens and excess fat to viruses and bacteria. If you have too much lymph in your body, it can build up in the tissues under the skin’s surface – the same tissues that are manipulated during a massage. It would make sense, then, that a deep-tissue rubdown would cause your body to suddenly be flooded with those toxins in your lymph, making you suddenly feel icky. Not as hokey as I thought!

Headaches aren’t uncommon post-massage, especially if your therapist does a lot of deep work in the neck and shoulders, Wyborny remarked. But nausea occurs less frequently, she said, and that one could feel queasy because of dehydration.

Drinking lots of water before and after your appointment is an obvious solution to remedy dehydration (and in turn, nausea). Wyborny also advises sipping on ginger tea and “doing some deep breathing exercises and stretches ” after your massage to allay any signs of illness.

If, like me, you’ve experienced an upset stomach after what was supposed to be a relaxing experience, you might want to consider switching up the style of massage therapy you receive. Wyborny recommended opting for a light Swedish massage. This technique consists of long, gliding strokes instead of the more probing pressure of deep-tissue work. “Or just focus on scalp or feet,” suggested Wyborny.

I definitely haven’t sworn off massages for good – and I’ll even be going back to my spot in Chinatown. But I’ll be sure I’m plenty hydrated first. Otherwise, I’ll be searching for a new way to de-stress on the cheap! Pedicure, anyone?

Keep Your Skin Clear and Glowing With This Blogger-Approved Routine

Achieving clear skin is nearly impossible without finding an effective routine and sticking to it. Maintaining a healthy diet and regular facial treatments are all a core part of stellar skin care, but the two work even better when used in conjunction with a religious regimen.

If you’re on the road to clearing up your skin and need some effective tips on where to begin, beauty blogger Shani Grimmond shared her nighttime skin care habits, which she calls “the most important five minutes of the day.”

Shani’s steps to caring for her skin are fairly simple. First, she frees her face of makeup with a double cleansing ritual. She follows with an exfoliating cleanser and mud mask to treat her skin and lightweight lotion to moisturize. After completely cleansing and treating her skin, Shani’s face is left visibly clean and beaming. Her routine is perfect for women with sensitive skin, and it covers all the essentials of a basic yet effective routine.

Watch her tutorial to see the products in action, and keep reading to shop her picks and incorporate them into your beauty regimen.

This Giant Waterslide Is the Most Fun Way to Apply SPF This Summer

We know how important it is to religiously slather on sunscreen , but actually adhering to an application schedule can be challenging. When we’re out frolicking in the sun, we often forget to reapply SPF until hours later – when we’ve gotten some serious overexposure to UVA and UVB rays . And, of course, we miss those little random spots, including behind our ears and those hard-to-reach patches on our back.

However, Nivea has a genius solution to all of these woes: a sunscreen-dispensing waterslide. According to AdWeek , the iconic skin care brand developed the “SunSlide,” which is loaded up with gallons of waterproof SPF 50+ and features hundreds of spray jets to coat riders from head to toe. Just one trip down the SunSlide provides 100 percent coverage! And, each person is provided with goggles, so they can enjoy the view as they glide down without the risk of getting SPF in their eyes.

The only bad news is that you’ll need to head to South Africa to try out the invention. It was developed in partnership with FCB Cape Town, a local advertising agency, after discovering that the country has the world’s highest rates of skin cancer . We hope the SunSlide comes stateside soon, as this would be a genius installation at any Summer music festival. Watch the video to see how it works!

Why Microdermabrasions Are the Best Exfoliating Treatments For Your Skin

I am a really boring beauty editor. I don’t get Botox , fillers, or any fancy cosmetic dermatology treatments (sorry, I can’t give your mom a first-hand account of Fraxel). My hair is virgin , meaning I’ve never colored it. And my best tip for antiaging is to eat cleaner , because IMHO, beauty starts from within – as in the gut .

That said, there is one treatment I get every month at the dermatologist’s office, and that’s a microdermabrasion. It takes about 15 minutes total, it’s relaxing, and it leaves me with smooth, glowing skin. I’m talking about the type of face you only see a week after a facial or when you get back from a truly hypnotic vacation. And it garners me compliments from co-workers and family members.

If you’re a beauty connoisseur, you’re probably thinking, “What?!” It’s so unexpectedly old-school. And if you’ve never heard of microderms, then you’re probably also thinking, “What?” Let me answer your questions: To the former I prefer gentle, tried-and-tested treatments over trending, invasive ones. The photo above is not photoshopped and features my true skin at 31. And to the latter, a microdermabrasion is a machine used to exfoliate the skin.

Let’s get into the science! I interviewed my dermatologist, Dr. Amy Wechsler , for a deeper analysis. She’s actually the derm who worked with Chanel to create the brand’s first ever fragrance-free face lotion, La Solution 10 . And if you haven’t used it, you need to, because it will make your face feel velvety without any fragrance or irritating ingredients .

Dr. Wechsler explained what a microderm really does: “You gently remove all the dead cells on the top of the epidermis, which is called the stratum corneum. And in removing those cells all at once, it stimulates the cells beneath it to all renew at the same time. There are no chemicals involved, it’s a mechanical treatment.”

To help you decide if microderms are a suitable treatment for your skin, Dr. Wechsler broke down everything you need to know about them:

How your skin will look after a microderm

“Skin will look smoother, more even. There will be more of a glow or a brightness to the skin. All those dead cells on the top can make your skin appear a bit dull or gray. After the microderm, you’ll have an even skin tone without those dead, grayish cells on top.”

Microderms vs. peels

“I think microderms are the best, because there are no chemicals and there is no damage to the epidermis. I like chemical peels, but the main chemical peels that we use here are salicylic acid based. Those are great if you are very acne prone or have active acne, because it calms it down. But peels are drying. When you do microdermabrasion, you’re not drying someone’s skin out or putting a chemical on their skin that stings. And it’s relaxing – some people even fall asleep!”

Microderms vs. microneedling

“I don’t like microneedling. It tries to mimic what Fraxel laser does in making little micro openings down to the dermis; so that if you damage the dermis in tiny ways, it heals by laying down new collagen. Microneedling just doesn’t make sense to me – I’m not really quite sure what the goal is. I don’t think that it’s been studied enough, and it’s just this big fad that I’m not jumping on.”

Who can get a microderm

“It’s really for everyone other than those who have chronic acne. Any skin tone, any ethnic group, men and women – it’s really great in that way. It’s not invasive, and it’s safe. You can even do it during pregnancy, because there are no chemicals involved whatsoever. You can do it if you have a tan. I don’t want people to have tans, but there are some procedures that you actually cannot do when you’re tan, and this is not one of them.”

Why acne-prone people should avoid it

“I find that if you’ve got active acne, a microdermabrasion can stimulate it and make it a bit worse. There are some doctors who absolutely disagree with me and do microdermabrasion on purpose on their acne patients. I’ve seen those patients afterwards and they’re worse.”

When should you avoid them

“Before the treatment, I don’t want people to have just done a peel, microneedling, or laser. Skin should be untouched by other procedures for at least a week, if not two.”

What to know about your skin after a microderm

“Take care of your skin post-treatment by moisturizing and wearing sunscreen. After a microdermabrasion, the skin actually absorbs and accepts moisturizer or serum much better than if you didn’t get one. So your skin can get like extra moisturized, and it lasts for a couple weeks. Since your face accepts moisture so well, it will feel smoother. Makeup artists love people who get microdermabrasions – they put primer or whatever on, it looks great.”

How often you should get them

“If you can do it once a month, that is the best. More frequently than once a month doesn’t do anything. Many people don’t have the luxury of going once a month. I certainly don’t do mine once a month – I should – but I say that the minimum should be quarterly.”

Where to get them

“I love when people do it in a doctor’s office, because then you know the instruments are sterile. If you’re doing it somewhere else and they’re using wands, I like people to be shown that the wand is in a sterile package. It’s like when you get your nails done, and they have those sterile packages.”

Why it’s more than just a facial treatment

“Getting a microdermabrasion feels good, and it’s relaxing. It doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t sting. Your eyes are closed, and you’re not on your phone. Someone is taking care of you, and I think that’s such a good way to de-stress. It’s 15 minutes once in a while, but it’s so good for your brain and your cortisol levels to just take a little break. Whereas there are some procedures that, because they hurt, don’t give you that same relaxing, cortisol-dropping, stress-relieving feel.”

How to Master a 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine in Under 15 Minutes

When I introduced the Korean 10-step skin care routine for the very first time in 2014, the reaction was unexpectedly positive. I say “unexpectedly” because, sure, I was obsessed with the results I got from a multistep regimen, but I wasn’t sure if others would be as into it as I was (thankfully, they were).

Since then, a lot’s changed for me and my face. My skin care needs are different (hello, 30s and hormonal acne!), and a whole slew of new products have come on the market. Naturally, my skin care routine has changed too. Here’s an updated, two-years-in take on my own Korean 10-step routine.