Your biggest skincare problems, solved!
Dark under-eye circles
While a lack of sleep is the most widely known cause of dark circles under the eyes, there are other contributors as well, including basic things you may not realize. “Feeling increased stress and irritation from rubbing eyes, as well as allergies all contribute to dark circles under the eyes,” New York dermatologist Dr. Ariel Ostad told InStyle.com. “There are two easy things you can do to prevent dark circles. Don’t rub your eyes! This will break the blood vessels in the delicate under-eye area. And wear sunglasses all the time with UVA/UVB protection. The sun weakens the collagen and elastic tissue in the under-eye area, including the collagen in the blood vessels, making them more likely to rupture.”
TRY: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Infusion ($62, esteelauder.com; NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($28, sephora.com); Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream ($55, shiseido.com; Yes To Grapefruit Dark Circle Correcting Eye Cream ($16, yestocarrots.com.)
The pending warmer months are especially treacherous for those of us blessed with excessively oily skin, as the added moisture in the air is a recipe for skin disaster. But celebrity-loved New York dermatologist Dr. Paul Frank has a simple solution to combat that extra sheen: steer clear of any and all moisturizers.
“The oil the skin is already producing is the best natural moisturizer,” Dr. Frank said. “When people have super-oily skin, I advise them to stay away from moisturizer all together and focus on a face wash with salicylic acid. Cleansers that contain an AHA such as glycolic or salicylic acid prevent breakouts, too.” He recommends Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash ($5.50) to rid the skin of extra oils and help reduce the risk of breakouts. Two benefits for the price of one!
ALSO TRY: Neal’s Yard Palmarosa Facial Wash ($24, nealsyardremedies.com); Glytone Mild Gel Wash ($30, glytone-usa.com).
Very dry skin
This year’s prolonged winter has contributed to abnormally long bouts of dry skin, especially for those prone to the condition or battling skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. New York-based integrative dermatologist Dr. Cybele Fishman emphasizes that dry skin is not just an external problem, but should be treated from the inside out. “About 15% of the lipid bilayer—which is a major part of what protects our skin from the outside world—is made up of essential fatty acids," she said. "So if you lack these, your skin will be dry."
How can you fix it? "I recommend fish oil, containing the essential Omega-3 fatty acid EPA, which is necessary to maintain skin moisture," she said. "Gamma Linolenic Acid, the healthy omega-6 fatty acid is great for maintaining skin moisture as well. It is most abundant in Borage oil and Black Currant seed oil.” We recommend Spring Valley’s 1,000 mg fish oil capsules ($6), Now Foods’ Borage Oil ($18), and Black Currant Seed Oil ($30).
ALSO TRY: Bliss 24-Heaven Healing Body Balm ($35, blissworld.com; SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion ($60, sk-ii.com); Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough Replenishing Oil ($45, ulta.com).
Anyone who has spent any time at all in the sun is no stranger to dark spots—the localized increase in melanin is a widely known result of UV exposure. “Age spots, also known as liver spots, solar lentigines, and sun spots are generally a result of prolonged exposure to the sun,” Dr. Frank told InStyle.com. “This increases the production of melanin and leads to the generation of rough pigmentations on uncovered parts of the skin. When excess melanin is generated in a certain area, it leads to a brownish spot on the skin.”
His suggestion to combat the unwanted blemishes? “At-home exfoliation encourages cell turnover, which in turn will reduce pigmentation to help fade dark spots,” he said. Combine an at-home exfoliator like the Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($199) with a potent cream like GoodSkin Labs’ Equinol Dark Spot Concentrate ($39) for maximum spot-fighting results.
ALSO TRY: Jurlique Purely Bright Skin Brightening Spot Treatment ($42, jurlique.com); Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me Pigment Lightening Serum ($48, sephora.com).
The start of fine lines and wrinkles
Fine lines and wrinkles are no longer a curse for only the aged among us: they can start to show up much earlier than you might expect, especially if you over-stimulate your skin. Dr. Fishman says most women put way too much product on their skin, causing premature signs of aging. “I think the biggest mistake many women make is they over-wash, over-exfoliate, over-do everything,” she said. “Do less.” Her three must-have anti-aging products are: “SPF daily with zinc or titanium, a vitamin A-based product—either by prescription like Retin-A or with a high concentration of retinol over the counter—and a potent antioxidant.”
TRY: Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retional Night Cream ($85, sephora.com); Algenist Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid ($38, sephora.com); Goldfaden MD Needle-less ($115, spacenk.com).
Acne isn’t just the result of poor cleansing habits or excessively oily skin—it can also result from how you treat your body as a whole. “Stress, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of exercise are the most common culprits causing acne,” Dr. Ostad said. “It is important to limit processed sugar and be gentle to your skin to avoid adult acne." He also points out how several studies have shown that cows’ milk can increase adult acne, though soy or nut milks, as well as cows' cheese or yogurt, don't pose the same risk.
"A recent study also showed that fish can help prevent acne, which is why I like all my acne patients to take fish oil high in Omega-3 fatty acids," he added. "A low glycemic index diet—think the Mediterranean diet—can also help prevent or improve acne.”
TRY: Obagi CLENZIderm Daily Care Foaming Cleanser ($22, obagi.com for locations); Burt’s Bees Clarifying Toner ($10, burtsbees.com); LaRoche -Posay’s Effaclar Mat ($31, laroche-posay.us ); and Kate Somerville’s Eradikate Acne Treatment ($22, sephora.com).