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We don’t know about you, but we feel like we’re always trying to get a better grasp on our own skincare routines. They always seem in flux—from season to season and year to year. We’re always trying to nail down a solid regimen that keeps our skin healthy and glowing.
In order to do that, we thought we would consult an expert (both for our benefit and yours) to tease out some of the mistakes you might be making when it comes to your skin, and how you can remedy them.
We turned to Elizabeth Grace Hand, an esthetician and the founder Ställe Studios, “a treatment-focused facial studio in Soho, New York that combines deep knowledge of medical and spa treatments in a boutique setting,” according to the company.
Our main focus was acne. A lifelong battle with acne inspired Hand to pursue a career in esthetician, during which she has developed her methodology for treating the condition. Here’s what she has to say.
Why is picking your skin so bad?
When dealing with acne, there is always going to be the urge to pick at it. It’s human nature. But it’s also a bad idea, according to Hand. “Picking your skin leads to bacterial infections, like acne, infections and scarring,” she says in an exclusive interview with SI Swimsuit. “You should never pick your skin at home and only ever let a licensed esthetician or dermatologist pop a pimple in a clean and sterile environment (plus they’ll be able to get a better angle than you).”
We know it’s a tough ask, but she has a very reasonable explanation. The first step towards achieving better skin is to stop messing with your own.
How to stop popping pimples?
It’s easier said than done, that’s for sure. But it’s a necessary step on the journey to a clearer, healthier appearance. Hand says the most important thing is to “step away from the mirror and remember that it looks worse to you than anyone else. Never, ever use a magnifying mirror — nobody should see your skin up close other than an esthetician or a dermatologist.”
As with anything, it’s important to remember that we’re all our own worst critics. Stop agonizing over your appearance and consult an expert.
What should you do instead of popping a pimple?
Hand has a multitude of suggestions for addressing acne that doesn’t involve irritating your skin further.
Think about the long term impact
First, consider the scarring, which “is always much harder to treat” than the acne itself, according to the esthetician.
Use pimple patches
The simple tool has gained a lot of attention in recent years, and Hand is a big proponent. Her favorite come from Rael Beauty. During the day she recommends using either Rael Miracle Patch Microcrystal Spot Cover for pimples under the surface or Rael Miracle Patch Invisible Spot Cover for surface-level acne.
These are perfect for brightening and treating pimples under the surface.
A great—and, like the others from Rael, vegan—option for drawing out pesky, on the surface pimples.
At night, she’s a big proponent of the brand’s Miracle Patch Overnight Spot Cover.
These dermatologist-tested patches gently draw out impurities while you sleep for clearer skin come the morning.
Use Manuka honey spot treatment
Manuka honey is a tried-and-true treatment for skin impurities. Hand recommends “put[ting] it directly on the pimple,” and letting it work its magic. “It has instant healing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties,” she says. Plus, “it stops you picking because the stickiness reminds you to keep your hands off your face!”
Invest in Sofie Pavitt Nice Ice Toner Pods
If you have consistent acne problems, these cryo toning treatments might just be for you. They “provide instant calming and cooling while keeping the hands busy,” Hand says. “They have green tea for redness, ashwagandha for inflammation, and the coldness helps reduce the swelling and provide temporary relief for those pimples that hurt.”
Get a Celluma Pro LED mask
While pricey, the product might just be worth the splurge. Hand recommends that her clients “use it for a minimum of 15 minutes three times a week in combination with a Manuka honey mask to get a double dose of anti inflammatory treatments on their skin,” she says. “I’ve seen it work wonders on pimples, reducing inflammation and shrinking the appearance of the bump after even one session.”
Don’t touch a popped pimple
If you’ve caved and popped a pimple, leave it alone. “Our skin is amazing—it knows how to heal itself,” she explains. “It’s important to keep your face clean and hydrated — moisturize and avoid any acids or heavily scented products while you are healing.”
Wear sunscreen daily
If you don’t, you risk irritating your acne even more.