How can I get rid of my blackheads?
There are two options. The first is a professional facial with an Esthetician followed up by a home care routine including the use of a daily toner or serum that contains salicylic acid. The acid will continuously break down and dissolve the dirt and oil that cause blackheads. However, if there’s no time or money for a professional facial, the second option is a DIY facial at home:
- Step 1: Cleanse Skin
- Step 2: Steam Treatment. Option one: Use a pot of hot water and place a towel over your head to steam your skin for no more than 7 minutes. Option two: Take a clean towel soaked in hot (not boiling) water and press it against your face for several minutes.
- Step 3: Take two pieces of soft paper towels and gently squeeze around the blackhead. The key word here is gentle. If you press harshly, you will cause bruising.
- Step 4: Wash face thoroughly with an antibacterial cleanser. Pat to dry. Follow up with oil-controlling toner or Chiara Infusion. Apply moisturizer and then sunscreen after allowing skin to dry.
Use caution! I hesitate to recommend at-home removal of blackheads because of the increased risk of infection and scarring. However, in a pinch (pun intended), it is a viable option.
What is the best way that I can minimize my acne problems?
There are several types of acne. Each type has its own causes and problems. For the sake of simplicity (and to keep you awake) we’ll talk about one common type and cause: congestion and inflammation. Acne is your body’s way of telling you that something may be wrong, that something is inside that needs to get out. My first reaction to clients who complain of acne is to ask them how often they go to the bathroom….and I do mean number 2. What you put into your body needs to be used for energy and then wasted. So, if you are experiencing constipation in your gut this will translate to inflammation, congestion, in short, acne. The leftover waste is not being eliminated properly (at least once or twice a day) and so it will leave your body by any means necessary.
A good remedy for this is fiber. There are many fiber rich whole foods that will allow you to eat healthily and become more regular. Skip the fiber pills and powdered supplements and reach for broccoli, apples, raspberries, good ‘ol kale and legumes. Adding these foods to your diet, in addition to increasing your water consumption and omega 3 fatty acid intake, will help you bring in the good and get rid of the bad. If you are already eating these types of foods and still dealing with acne, consider a facial and a review of your home care products, daily routine, stress levels, and diet. As I said before there are many reasons for acne and over time we will address more. Stay tuned.
How can I shrink my pores?
For the most part, pore size is genetically predetermined. However, there are many factors that can make your pores appear larger than normal. Pores are bigger when they are filled with oil, dead skin, or inflamed. Sun exposure can also affect pore size. UV rays can damage the collagen that supports pore tightening, causing them to appear larger. Using a quality SPF 30 regularly will support your skin through the years and reduce the chance of pores becoming larger. Stress and heat are also factors; stress increases the production of hormones, such as cortisol and testosterone, that can lead to more oily skin. High temperatures, whether at the beach or working out at the gym, cause pores to dilate (widen); this can allow dirt to enter and clog the pore. It’s important to cool off and occasionally rinse your skin when overheated.
For men, using cold water after shaving is a good way to cool off the skin, close pores, and minimize irritation. We also suggest a post-shave toner containing salicylic and glycolic acid to calm inflammation from potential ingrown-hairs and dissolve bacteria and oil.
A lot of cosmetic companies claim to shrink pores, but don’t be fooled by their wording. “Reducing the appearance of large pores” and “pore minimizing” are completely different than making pores physically smaller. Applying makeup can coat the skin, possibly making pores look smaller however I’d be wary of the ingredients within the product that makes that claim.