With a million products that promise to erase bags under the eyes or zap a zit, the average medicine cabinet can get a little crowded. Instead of stocking up on every “promise in a jar,” here are the core ingredients that are actually necessary for the ten most common skin conditions (for example, you should know that there are better solutions than lip balm for those cold-weather chapped lips).
1. Occasional breakouts
Look for a spot treatment with a minimum of 10% sulfur to dry up a pimple in a pinch, advises Jamie Yee, Director of Education at Kate Somerville, a skincare hotspot that tends to the complexions of celebs like Demi Moore and Kate Hudson. Pair this with derma roller amazon and you’re good to go.
2. Dark circles under the eyes
Skincare guru, Liz Earle, notes that dark circles are rarely caused by lack of sleep. Instead, blame fluid retention and nasal congestion, which causes the veins that usually drain from the eyes to your nose to become diluted and darker. To combat, drink plenty of water to fight dehydration and discourage fluid retention. Topically, witch hazel’s astringent properties can help to shrink the capillaries.
3. Chapped lips
Exfoliate with gentle scrubs (jojoba or man-made spherical beads) then follow with hydrating ingredients like shea butter, allantoin, beeswax, candelilla wax, or try overnight treatments like straight olive oil or argan oil, advises Yee. Honey can also provide an instant lip repair.
4. Dry, flaky skin
Look for hard-working botanical ingredients like shea butter, which is very nourishing, advises Earle. Other ingredients that calm extra-dry skin include borage oil and St. John’s Wort, which heals and sooths the skin.
5. Brown sunspots
Try ingredients like Alpha-Arbutin, licorice root and kojic acid, as well as 2 percent hydroquinone for more stubborn spots, says Yee. Small sunspots can also be treated with a nightly application of rosehip oil mixed with a vitamin E capsule, according to Earle. Kate Somerville uses more aggressive treatment, lasers like Cutera’s IPL or LimeLight to target challenging areas of pigmentation.
6. Fine Lines
Look for makeup and creams that include peptides to stimulate collagen, and light-diffusing pigments. Products that reflect light will minimize the appearance of fine lines, says Yee.
7. Puffy eyes
Products with cucumber extract are the most helpful, along with the application of a cold spoon or cool tea bags (black teas work best because of the caffeine, according to Yee). Earle also advises refrigerating eye cream for 5 minutes before applying to reduce puffiness.
For full-fledged acne, Somerville recommends products that combine AHA and BHA acids, time-release Benzoyl Peroxides, and oil-balancing ingredients like marine extracts. If the acne is severe, the ingredients to reconsider may be in your food. Try ditching refined sugars, yeast, gluten products and dairy. Instead, load up on water, fruits, veggies and non-processed foods. If there are still no results, LED treatments such as Omni-Lux use blue and red light technology to target breakouts, bacteria and oil production.
9. Large pores
Exfoliate with gentle jojoba scrubs then follow with lightweight, non-clogging moisturizer. Look for water-based algae extracts because they aren’t heavy and won’t settle into pores.
10. White spots/reverse pigmentation
Some treatments can lighten the skin to “blend” it so that it will be as light as the white spot but be careful as those treatments are risky thanks to the high percentage of skin-bleaching ingredients. A laser treatment known as Fraxel can also help with some loss of pigmentation caused by acne.