I’ve had acne-prone skin my entire life, and I can testify to trying every lotion, potion and prescription medicine on the market. I’ve tried it all, including harsh creams with lofty promises to eliminate blemished skin. Two years ago, I took a little break. After spending a copious amount of money on products that delivered little to no result since I started puberty at 14, I decided to try out a new routine. I read about something called the Korean Skin Care Regiment, a multi-step ritual that women in Korea incorporated into their daily routine for preventative measures. More significantly I found a yoga studio that I loved, and started practicing hot yoga everyday. And to round it out, I found an aesthetician that I loved that was gentle yet efficient.
The result? For the first time ever, I prefer my natural skin to any concealer, foundation, or highlighter combination sold in the market. I no longer have to hide under layers of products to feel refreshed, and more importantly, feel like the best version of myself. Even run ins with exes and old acquaintances would take note of the visible change (which made me wonder, how bad was it before?) This was by no means a huge lifestyle change,only a moderate addition to my daily routine that required some time for self care and maintenance.
1. Hot Yoga
Although I’ve been active my entire life, (as a dancer in high school, a surfer in the summer, a skier in the winter, and a lots of boxing, barre and pilates in between), I started noticing a significant difference in my skin the moment I started practicing hot yoga. What I love about hot yoga are the challenges of the Asana poses, which increases blood circulation to the head and face. Often you will notice a natural flush coming out of every class. It also stimulates circulation, increases perspiration and eliminates toxins.
And to quote Dr. Rouleau for Refinery 29 “When the skin gets warm, the capillaries and vessels dilate, causing nutrient-rich blood and oxygen to be brought to the cells. Blood circulation is what feeds the skin and its cells and keeps them acting healthy, while giving the skin a glow from within.”
2. The Korean Skin Care Regiment
In most Asian countries, skin care is introduced at an early age to prime for preventative measures vs. reactive measures more commonly practiced in the States. The Korean Skin Care Regiment ranges from 10-15 steps. This sounds daunting at first, but it’s easy to modify based on your skin’s actual needs (and often you can skip steps depending on the circumstance.) Initially when I decided to go off extremely harsh, paraben and sulfate packed skin care products, I started with five items (not brand specific) to create a routine.
1. Cleanser – A cleanser is great to wipe out the dirt and environmental pollution our skin picks up throughout the day.
2. Toner – Toner helps balance out your skin’s PH levels and primes your skin by hydrating.
3. Serum – Serums are great for pore refining, brightening and tightening the skin. I love Kate Somerville’s Hydrating Serum if I’m going for a natural sheen.
4. Eye Cream – The skin around the eyes is the most sensitive part of your face, and is the first to tell your body signs of dehydration. I softly dab La Mer around my eyes both day and night.
5. Moisturizer – Moisturizer is the final step that locks everything in. To me, it feels like a seal that protects and hydrates everything. Moisturizer tends to be the product that I switch around the most, depending on where I am in the world, the time of day, season or climate. Glossier is great for every day application that I usually wear under make up, and Clinique is my go-to for something a little bit more hydrating.
Last but not least, after a flight or start/end of the week, I typically treat myself to a face mask. Dryness is my biggest issue living out of planes and LA’s arid climate, and I love Dr. Jart’s hydrating sheets in Deep Hydration or Water Replenishment.
Having a proper, thorough maintenance routine to clean your skin I found to be more efficient than the months I took taking prescription acne pills or harsh, creams promised to eliminate break outs. I immediately saw results within a 1 week, and a significant difference within a month. I would encourage keeping a skin diary and photographing from Week 1 to 4 to document any noticeable differences.
3. Find a dermatologist you love
I’ve tried multiple aestheticians in LA until I found one that I loved, and I swear by Kate Somerville in West Hollywood. Kate has built her entire career on cutting-edge skin care products that deliver long-lasting results, and there’s a reason why she’s maintained the reputation that she’s built. The LED-light facial keeps my skin glowing for week. My favorite products by her is the serum and SPF moisturizer that are on the pricier range, but is definitely worth the investment.