Congested skin doesn't feel good. Even if you don't have a ton of pimples, when your pores are clogged it can be irritating. If this is something you deal with regularly, incorporating gentle exfoliating toner could be a game-changer. Medik8 just launched one that's made with the crème de la crème of de-gunking and pore-soothing ingredients that derms love: salicylic acid, tranexamic acid, and aloe vera. Plus, it gets an added hydration boost from sake.
"Pores can get filled with dirt, oil, sweat, makeup," and dead skin cells, says Purvisha Patel, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare. Board-certified dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum, MD adds that "once the sweat and oil sits on top of the skin, the pores get clogged and produce inflammation. The excess oil also allows for growth of P. acnes, the bacteria which causes acne."
Regular exfoliation with the ingredients in the Medik8 Press & Clear ($38) can help you de-clog your pores and keep them clear. Just apply a bit to a cotton pad and sweep it over clean skin. It feels light—no stinging—and it's free of alcohol so it doesn't leave your skin feeling dry or tight.
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that's known for its pore-clearing abilities. In this formula, 2 percent salicylic acid is encapsulated so it's gently released.
"BHAs encourage exfoliation, helping to prevent and treat blocked pores, and also may help diminish some types of superficial hyperpigmentation," David Lortscher, MD, dermatologist and founder of Curology, previously told Well+Good. Salicylic acid "works by penetrating and dislodging the gunk (sebum) in your pores, so that it’s no longer trapped—resulting in a lower chance of triggering an acne breakout."
Tranexamic acid is a brightening ingredient that helps to even out discoloration while decreasing inflammation that clogged pores can cause. It will "help calm the skin, reduce inflammation, and help promote the health of the skin's natural barrier," says Colorado-based board-certified plastic surgeon Manish Shah, MD.
Aloe vera can also make a huge difference. "Not only is [aloe vera] super-soothing, but it helps heal the bacteria that could be causing acne," Valerie Grandury, founder of Odacite skin care, previously told Well+Good. The toner also includes sake extract which is derived from fermented rice water and rich in natural amino acids and is super soothing and hydrating.
All these ingredients together make for an effective exfoliant that's gentle enough to work into your daily routine, keeping your pores clear and soothed.
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