Skin care and beauty quick-fixes seem to be the popular answer women are turning to in order to look their best in a pinch. With a quick scan of the Internet for a DIY (do-it-yourself) formula and a trip to the pantry, anyone can concoct a homemade cream or mask for troublesome skincare problems like dry skin, dark circles, and scars. However, if you’ve ever slathered a mask of honey and apple cider vinegar on your face in the hopes of attaining more radiant looking skin, you’ve probably wondered if it actually works.
Dr. John Martin, a facial cosmetic surgeon in Miami, says some of these home remedies can be effective, especially if the goal is to get noticeable results in a very short amount of time, and the expectation is not that the outcome will be permanent, meaning they may last for a night. However in the same breath, he notes that for some skin issues, professional solutions are more realistic because they are done by a certified physician and use a higher concentration of skin-perfecting ingredients than something that is purchased over the counter or made from household items.
He’s answered some questions for us regarding the best remedies to tackle some of the most common skincare problems.
Dark Under Eye Circles
You may have tried everything to prevent and eliminate dark circles – an arsenal of eye creams, gallons of water, 8+ hours of sleep – without ever finding that perfect solution.
The reality about dark circles is that they are not caused by lack of sleep or dehydration. These elements can intensify their appearance, but their source is deeper rooted. Dark circles are caused by either dark pigmented skin, which is genetic, from hollowness in the lower eyelid, or from orbital fat, which is a sign of aging. This means no amount of hours spent with cucumbers or lemon juice on your lids will help them disappear.
To solve this problem, the area must be made lighter and professional treatments are the best solutions. Dr. Martin recommends laser treatments or cosmetic bleaching creams to even the skin-tone under the eyes, instantly reducing the appearance of any darkness. Cosmetic fillers like Belotero or Restylane can also be injected to fill in the hollow areas. These will help to decrease the shadows which accentuate the dark circle.
If you’re looking to plump your pout with a filler, Dr. Martin suggests only using hyaluronic acid injections. Although these can be expensive ($600+), when done correctly they can last for several months. If you are unhappy with the result, the filler can be dissolved easily.
However, most of the time people are looking for fuller lips for a big event or a night out, so a semi-permanent filler might be too drastic. In that case, he recommends swiping on lip venom gloss or exfoliating lips with a dab of cinnamon. Both increase blood flow to the area, which causes the lips to swell, just slightly, to give the illusion of fuller lips.
The best way to rejuvenate skin that has lost its luster, due to acne, peeling, and signs of aging, is to slough off the top layer of dead skin cells, to allow the new, fresh cells to come through, revealing younger, healthier-looking skin.
Some DIY remedies include at-home exfoliants with something grainy that will buff off the dead skin cells, like sugar. The danger here is that in order for exfoliating to be effective, the beads that buff the skin must be very, very small. If not, the grains actually cause micro-scarring in the skin, which can lead to acne, therefor making your problems worse, not better.
Instead, he recommends a glycolic facial cream. The glycolic acid in the cream works to remove dead skin cells and smooth the skin’s texture while hydrating. If a more aggressive treatment is necessary, microdermabrasion is extremely effective. During the treatment, microcrystals are applied to the skin with an abrasion tool, to remove the outermost later of dry, dead skin cells.
If you’re looking for a quick remedy for that pimple that pops up right as you’re about to leave your house, DIY tricks can come to the rescue in a pinch. But generally speaking if your skin issues are deeper than that, it’s best to seek professional treatments. They are going to last longer and produce real results.
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