We are going to begin with a mental exercise: Close your eyes and visualize your favorite accessory. You know, the one that goes with every outfit, the one you never take off. What comes to mind? Is it your most luxurious designer handbag? Your diamond earrings?
Trick question... It’s your skin.
Your skin is the one accessory you will wear your entire life, so it goes without saying that it deserves some TLC. The truth is, however, most of us don't devote enough time to carefully considering the products we use to cleanse, moisturize, and treat our faces. In general, we just care that they smell nice, look pretty, and promise instant and miraculous results. But as you know, style addicts, all good things (including good skin) require time and effort, which sadly means that prettily-packaged face-lift-in-a-jar is probably too good to be true.
To achieve real, noticeable results, you must assess your skin and invest in products and ingredients that target your concerns appropriately. A brand name is not indicative of a truly effective product. Do you have dry skin? A textured forehead? Dark spots or acne scars? All are vastly different problems with vastly different solutions. Knowing your skin, and knowing which products are right for your skin, is the key to beautiful complexion. Below, I have identified the three most effective ingredients for treating three of the most common skincare problems. No more being fooled by pretty packaging or empty promises - it’s time to see results.
SOLUTION: Hyaluronic Acid
Dry skin is skin that is frequently patchy, flaky, or scaly. Dry skin can be attributed to the weather, like moisture-zapping winter temperatures, or it can be genetic (which is usually also exacerbated by the weather). Regardless of the reason, if you suffer from dry skin, hyaluronic acid - which occurs naturally in the human connective tissue - is your holy grail. Hyaluronic acid plumps and hydrates thirsty skin, and fills fine lines and wrinkles for an overall smoother complexion. Want more good news? You can bypass brand names and purchase pure hyaluronic acid for just $15 on Amazon.
PROBLEM: Clogged pores
SOLUTION: Salicylic acid
I am not exaggerating when I say that salicylic acid changed my life. While I’ve never suffered from acne-prone skin or experienced severe breakouts, recently I noticed the pores on my chin and around my mouth were perpetually clogged.
Determined to rid myself of these tiny nuisances, I invested in a new cleanser, began washing my face twice a day, and even eliminated dairy from my diet - all to no avail. One day, however, an exasperated Google search led me to Peter Thomas Roth’s Max Collection Correction Pads, which each contain 2% salicylic acid. After a few weeks of wiping my face twice a day with these salicylic acid-infused pads, my blackheads were 90% gone! It’s science, not magic: Salicylic acid is a potent beta hydroxy acid that dissolves blackheads and whiteheads while reducing inflammation. Translation: Goodbye, acne!
PROBLEM: Dark spots
Dark spots and pigmented skin are typically the result of sun exposure. Overexposure to the sun prompts our bodies to defend themselves by (over)producing melanin, a natural pigmented substance occurring in our skin and hair. Hydroquinone, a skin bleaching ingredient present in many lightening and brightening skincare products, can correct excess production of melanin - AKA those pesky dark spots. You can find hydroquinone in products like Murad’s Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum.
Who is Betty Joe?
Hailing from Amish Country, Pennsylvania, Betty Joe moved to NYC to pursue a career in magazine journalism. Equal parts fashion and beauty junkie, she spent the last few years working at fashion blogs, startups, and publications, most notably in the beauty departments at Us Weekly and Harper's Bazaar. Betty Joe graduated from Fordham University with a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media Studies, a curriculum that revealed her passions for social media, marketing, and brand development. Ultimately abandoning the editorial career path for a career in digital branding, Morgan now works on the digital team at a beauty PR firm. In her free time she enjoys browsing her favorite fashion and beauty blogs (there are many), exploring the city with her friends (you'll find her in Brooklyn), and eating way, way too much gelato (if she's not vegan that day). Well-versed in traditional fashion and beauty journalism but a product of the digital age, Betty Joe hopes to bring a fresh, dynamic perspective to A Cute Style Addict.