Whenever I'm lying on their treatment table, peacefully dozing into a half-sleep as my esthetician swipes on active serums and facial masks, I always make sure to ask them absolutely every skin-related question that pops into my brain so that I can leave with a clearer complexion and the knowledge to keep it that way until my next sesh.
Last time my face got treated with some professional-grade TLC, I asked my esthetician Jeannel Astarita, founder of Just Ageless Body and Beauty Lab in New York City—who happens to treat the skin of Elle Macpherson, among other A-listers—the three things she would absolutely never do to her own skin.... or the skin of her clients. Because if she's not doing it to herself (or, you know, to actual super models) it's probably worth taking her pointers and using them as skin-care commandments. Behold: the three skin-care practices to avoid at all costs, according to Astarita.
1. Never skip out on sunscreen
It's a basic tenet of skin care that everyone should already have down pat, but Astarita stresses how important it is to apply SPF every single day, several times a day. "I would never go in a UV tanning booth or tanning bed, and I wear sunscreen every day of my life," she says. "I swipe on really good sun protection. When I'm outdoors, I reapply every two hours." Sun protection is a beauty staple, y'all.
2. Never use aggressive face scrubs
We've been told to put down the walnut scrubs, but that's not the only physical exfoliant to avoid. "I'd never use a scrub that's more gritty than a toothpaste," says Astarita. "Anything that's grittier than that, if you look at it under a microscope, it's basically just little shards, and all it's doing is tearing your skin." So rather than slough off dead skin cells, as exfoliants are meant to do, it just harms your skin. "I recommend something more gentle, that has a bit of an enzyme or acid component so it really helps break down the intercellular glue that's holding the dead skin on the surface," she explains, noting that grittier scrubs cause inflammation which leads to all sorts of skin woes. Her recommendation? Defenage's 2-Minute Reveal Mask ($74).
3. Never extract a non-whitehead pimple
Picking pimples is, like, a major mistake—99 percent of the time it makes the situation worse. Astarita points out that it's especially bad if you're attempting to pick at a cystic pimple, or one that hasn't come to a head yet. "I'd never attempt to extract or pop a pimple that didn't have a head on it," she says. "If it's cystic and there's no head on it, just leave it alone or see a dermatologist who can bring the inflammation down." You should leave them be because they're deep under the surface of your skin, so you won't be able to achieve a real pop, anyways. "You'd never be able to extract it if you squeeze it—chances are it's going to rupture under the surface of your skin and cause bacteria to spread," she says. "It probably has lots of inflammation involved, and you're much more likely to get hyperpigmentation as a result of it." So put. your. hands. down.
On a similar note, here's a dermatologist's advice on what not to do to your skin. And these are 4 beauty products that are actually bad for your skin.
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