I Asked My Facialist About the Most Common Skincare Mistakes

(Photo: Amplitude Magazin)

(Photo: Amplitude Magazin)

The story of how I found my facialist began about one year ago. It was a couple of months from my wedding, and I wanted to have glowing skin on my big day, so I decided to get a facial. I went to a very well-known NYC spa institution that shall remain unnamed here. That was a huge mistake. Their aggressive extraction methods left me bleeding, swollen, and I think I even developed a zit on top of another zit. Desperate, I scoured Google for someone who could fix the mess the first facialist made.

My search led me to Jennifer Rasa, a licensed esthetician and founder of Pretty Please Skin Care Studio in New York City, and Jen not only calmed me down, but she also calmed down my angry pores — after all, 167 glowing reviews on Yelp don’t lie. Her approach to skin is so gentle, she even has a disclaimer on her site that reads, “During extractions we DO NOT use needles or lancets, nor will we force anything out of the skin that is not ready to come out. While we do lots of extractions, we do have a very noninvasive approach! We respect your skin and your skin will respect you!” 

Picture perfect skin on my wedding day. (Photo: Nirav Patel)

Picture perfect skin on my wedding day. (Photo: Nirav Patel)

I’ve been dedicatedly seeing her ever since. And yes, my skin was amazing on my wedding day.

While my diet, lack of sleep, stress, and hormones mean that I’m still trying to crack my adult acne (I plan on writing up a piece on this someday), the overall texture and evenness of my complexion, I credit entirely to her care. Jen has over 16 years of experience working in the beauty industry, and so I decided to pick her brain about some skin-related questions I’ve always wanted to know the answers to, and she was kind enough to comply. Check out her answers below. You’re welcome in advance!

(Photo: Curology)

(Photo: Curology)

What are some super common skincare mistakes you see your clients committing all the time?

  • Over or under exfoliation. Sometimes people either think they need to exfoliate all the time or never. It’s best to exfoliate two times a week to prevent clogged pores, dead skin cells, or overwhelming the skin in any way. I like a rice powder that gently cleans out the pores of the skin not just scratching the skin’s surface.  

  • Cherry picking from different skin care lines. Most people have so many products from different brands. I like for you to find a brand you love and stick with that line soup to nuts! The products are meant to work together instead of using so many different lines that could ending up working against each other.  

  • Not giving their skin time to heal. It’s important to give the skin time to heal and adjust to new treatments or products. So many people just jump from one thing to the next if it doesn’t work right away. That will cause more harm than good and completely overwhelm your skin. It takes time for the skin to adjust to a new product or treatment. 

  • Overuse of products. Most people think when they have a skin problem to constantly try new products and start putting so much on the skin to heal it. When a lot of the times skin needs just the opposite — to be left alone! It needs a break and putting so many thing on to help it is doing the opposite. It helps to stop everything and to slowly start bring things back one thing at a time after your skin calms down. Then we can find the culprit! ;)

  • Buying professional tools online. These days it’s so easy to get our hands on anything and everything because of the internet. Be very careful when buying professional products such as microdermabrasion, extraction tools, ultrasound, etc. It’s best to leave these specialty treatments to the professionals. They will be able to guide you and help you see if you’re even a good fit for these types of treatments. It’s also very easy to go overboard when using these products on yourself. A highly-trained professional will know exactly how to use these tools, make sure they are sterile, and guide you to see if these treatments are a good fit for you and your concerns.

(Photo: Linh Ha)

(Photo: Linh Ha)

What’s your number one pet peeve when it comes to these mistakes?

My biggest pet peeve is just how people are not guided the right way. There needs to be more education that comes along with products and tools so that people can have a better understanding of what they are doing to their skin. It’s just too easy and tempting to get without proper guidance.

Do you have any tips and tricks for soothing irritated skin? 

When it comes to irritated skin less is more! I will always tell clients to stop exfoliating and using so many different products [and instead go] back to basics to see if we can find the culprit. Lay off makeup for as much as you can to let the skin breathe. Using a gentle milk cleanser as opposed to a gel or foam is a great idea. It’s so calming and hydrating.  

Using a gentle organic moisturizer (SPF during the day) to product the skin’s natural barrier is also important. Stay out of the sun and stay away from anything with harsh ingredients. Ingredients like chamomile, Arnica, cucumber, and sweet red roses really help to calm irritated and sensitized skin.

Be honest, is there a right way to pop a pimple at home? 

I actually think there is!  I always tell my clients to never touch a pimple unless it’s come to a huge whitehead that is just ready to burst. If this is the case and only if this is the case you can then wrap your fingers in tissue and gently roll it out. [It’s] best to do right after a shower so the pores are nice and open.

The tissue will catch whatever comes up and then right away apply a toner to clean the area. Apply a spot treatment immediately. You can also hold an ice cube wrapped in paper towel over it on and off for about five minutes to reduce inflammation before applying the spot treatment. If the blemish does not just easily roll out and you have to apply more pressure then it is not ready and leave it alone! ;)

(Photo: Lauren Fleischman )

(Photo: Lauren Fleischman )

For folks who struggle with adult acne, do you have any personal advice? 

First, breathe! There are many reasons as to why you could be experiencing this and it takes some detective work to see what your triggers could be.  

I take a very holistic approach with my clients to help figure out why this could be happening. [It’s] very important to focus on stress management as cortisol, a stress hormone, is released in the body [when you’re stressed and] that can affect the skin.  

I also say to keep a food diary to see if any foods can be triggering your breakouts. Topically I would say never pick at those breakouts as they can spread like wild fire! 

It’s also important to use clean ingredients as certain chemicals can also be triggering your breakouts. From skincare to makeup you should check the ingredients and avoid certain things like parabens, fragrance, SLS, petroleum, BHA, phthalates, etc. 

Eminence Organics Skin Care is my favorite brand and stores like Credo carry amazing options for clean makeup. It’s also a great idea to get facials every four to six weeks to clean out and treat the skin. It’s also great to regroup with your esthetician every session to see if there is anything you need to tweak in your regimen that can help improve your skin each month or season.

Featured photo: Lucija Ros/Unsplash