As much as we dedicate ourselves to our skin – an effective skincare regime, check, regular facials, check, tubes of sunscreen, check – there’s still going to be little issues, thanks to factors out of your jurisdiction and probably from the genetic department, that you can’t fix on your own simply because a doctor could best care for it. There’s really only so much you can do with those little brown spots on your face, right? But it would make you so happy to be off with its head, once and for all.
So we thought we’d pitch in! Here below are some of the most common skin concerns and their most effective treatments. See you at the doctor’s office!
What: If it’s going to make you feel any better, there are tons of people dealing with acne everyday, so know you’re not alone. There are various reasons for it: excess sebum production, increased skin cells lining the hair follicle, bacteria overgrowth, inflammation; and different levels of severity, from mild to cystic – which only means it requires a multi-targeted approach to combat it.
How: While a little tweak in your skincare regimen would probably be enough if you have recurring whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples, more serious acne could involve a series of deep-exfoliation treatments (both physical like a Clarisonic, and chemical like peels) to be done every two weeks.
For severe or nodulocystic acne, you might need topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinoids, or antibiotics, oral medications, or a combination of these. Finally, if all else fails, you have the option of steroid injections, and laser and light treatments, obviously under the supervision of a professional.
What: You know those random brown or gray-brown patches you spot on the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip? The discolouration could also show up on other body parts, quashing your dreams of an even tone. It’s probably melasma, a hyperpigmenting skin condition that could be caused by exposure to UV radiation or just your hormones.
How: Here’s the first key tip you should know if you’re dealing with melasma – the three magic letters, SPF. If they have physical blocks like zinc oxide, even better (here’s all you need you know about SPF, in case you’re lost). Eliminating melasma completely though, is tricky business, because it’s hormone-driven as well. But generally, medium-depth peels and SilkPeel microdermabrasion are the safest ways to deal with it, because they give the right amount of exfoliation without being too harsh. Consulting a gyno or endocrinologist might also help!
3/6 DARK CIRCLES
What: This is one problem that the next girl and her mother complain about, usually with no happy ending. Dark circles are only that common because the skin around the eyes is very thin, making blood vessels more visible, and appearing a bluish hue. It gets thinner as you age and genetics and hyperpigmentation could also add to the dilemma (if you’re curious, here’s everything you need to know about dark circles).
How: Your number one priority is to increase circulation around your eye area, which can be done using a high-frequency device and then applying a layer of a light peel. Brightening eye creams also help to moisturize, smooth out fine lines, and brighten the area. The Clarisonic is also a real boon here, by the way. Finally, there’s always the option of fillers.
4/6 LARGE PORES
What: This is a particularly frustrating issue, only because there just doesn’t seem to be a long term fix for it. I mean, there’s only so much Benefit Porefessional can do, even if it does temporary wonders. (Additionally, here are some products that work great in keeping those pores in check.) There could be several factors for enlarged pores: bacteria and sebum trapped in the follicle, loss of skin elasticity as you age, and simply genetics.
How: If the reason for your large pores is the first one, ie. trapped bacteria and sebum, you’re going to have to get ready for a series of deep exfoliation and extractions to see real improvement. For a more severe case, prescription-strength retinoids could also help, as could regular use of an AHA product, and a wash that contains an alpha-hydroxy acid – if you don’t have sensitive skin. Besides that, a skin brush and microneedling (we tried it out!) are your best friends.
5/6 FACIAL LINES (forehead, crow’s feet, frown and laugh lines)
What: There are two kinds of facial lines: dynamic lines that you only see when animated, and static lines that are visible at rest. But in general, all lines are caused by strong muscle movements that come with Emilia Clarke-level facial expressions, because the collagen fibres in the area collapse.
How: Sure, regular microdermabrasion and peel appointments definitely help treat your lines and wrinkles, especially as you cross the big thirty age bridge, but there’s only one way to effectively banish age lines, especially dynamic ones.
You guessed it: Botox. If you’re not a fan of a frozen forehead however, you could also consider Botox Lite – a secret weapon of Hollywood celebrities. Injecting tiny amounts of the toxin gives a softer, more relaxed look. Laser resurfacing, like Fraxel, also helps if the lines are both dynamic and static.
What: As with the rest of the ‘concerns’ on this list, this one too depends entirely on personal choice. While Karlie Kloss and Eva Mendes like to flaunt their birth marks, some of us would be happier without any kinds of spots on our faces, so to each his own. While you might just generically call them moles, what these are are a bunch of harmless skin lesions, with different subsequent treatments to get them removed.
How: Flesh-coloured moles can simply be flattened with an ablative laser and dark moles may need to be excised, but be prepared for possible post-removal scarring. And while on the topic of moles, it’s a good idea to check your body for moles regularly, just so they can be prevented if cancerous.
Cover image courtesy Jamie Nelson.