If Your Pores Need a Detox
Treatment No. 1: Deep Pore Cleansing Facial
There's no shame in indulging in a relaxing facial every now and then—especially when it involves skin-smoothing products and tantalizing scents—but sometimes you have to deal with a little pain in order to get to face massage paradise. "[Your] skin will greatly benefit from additional care with facials that include manual extractions," says Renée Rouleau, a celebrity esthetician (she counts Demi Lovato among her clients) and founder of her own namesake skin-care brand. And since clogged pores lead to breakouts, you'll want to keep them nice and clean.
Treatment No. 2: At-Home Detox Mask
The cheapest and most delightfully lazy option is sitting on your couch and masking. "A calming, inflammatory mask designed to clear clogged pores and bacteria from the skin's surface can be used multiple times a week," Rouleau says. Although you don't have to spend too much brain power on planning a mask-and-chill session, set a loose schedule to help you remember. (We suggest a Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday rotation.)
Pore Minimalist Black Charcoal Sheet Mask by Dr. Jart, $8, sephora.com.
Rapid Response Detox Masque, $61, reneerouleau.com.
If Blemishes Won't Go Away
Treatment No. 1: Light Chemical Peel
A chemical peel can sound frightening and downright invasive to your delicate complexion. There are variations, however, which are tailored to different types of skin situations. "For those in their 20s, facials should use salicylic, lactic, or glycolic acid to give an effective exfoliation," Rouleau says. "They can target specific conditions like brown spots, post-breakout marks, and acne." Aim to book a light peel only once every few months, since increased chemical exposure can impair skin over time.
Treatment No. 2: Exfoliating Facial
Another day, another reason to get a facial. As mentioned earlier, extracting treatments do wonders for the pores, but if you tend to skip exfoliation at home, regular facials can reinvigorate dull and spotty complexions. "I recommend a facial once every four weeks," Rouleau says. "The reason for this is that it takes that amount of time for the skin cells to move through a full life cycle of growth, which moves them to the surface to be sloughed off." However, if at-home exfoliating is your thing, you should wait at least six weeks between appointments.
If You're Worried About Aging
The Only Treatment: Sunscreen
OK, so this isn't exactly the fancy treatment you're probably searching for, but hear us out! Protecting your complexion from the sun is the most important and effective thing you can do to prevent spotting, wrinkles, and any other signs of wear and tear. "Find a lightweight formula that you enjoy using and doesn't block pores," Rouleau says.
Sunscreen Face Lotion with SPF 50 by CeraVe, $11, target.com.
Skin-Soothing Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40, $16, supergoop.com.
If You Follow Internet Trends
Treatment No. 1: LED Light Therapy
Looks like those scary-looking fluorescent lights do make a bit of a difference, but it should be noted that this isn't just a one-and-done process. "When it comes to LED treatments, for the most part, they help the greater good of the skin," Rouleau says. And the at-home devices count, too! "Devices offer benefits, but only when they are used regularly, so if you invest in one, commit to using it to get the best results." Just think: You'll get a ton of frightening selfies out of it.
Light Therapy Acne Mask, $35, neutrogena.com.
Treatment No. 2: Microneedling
Before you get too excited (or, uh, nervous) about the prospects of needles piercing your face, you should know that microneedling isn't great for those aged 30 and under. "This treatment uses needles to create micro-injuries to the skin to stimulate collagen production, which is best done when the metabolism of the skin and collagen production have slowed," Rouleau says. The speed of skin regeneration slows down once you hit your 30s, so for the teens and twenty-somethings out there, skip the microneedling.
Ah, but you've heard it helps with acne, right? Well, it can actually worsen your breakouts. "Acne is an inflammatory condition of the skin, so microneedling only increases inflammation, which encourages new breakouts and discoloration," Rouleau says. Seriously, stay away from the needles!