After a long stressful week, we can see the damage, even on our skin. Stress affects the skin by causing inflammation, blotchiness and redness because the brain sends stress signals to vital organs, including the skin. We caught up with New York City dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross who gave us a simple formula for boosting the skin with this four-step DIY facial.
“At-home facials can be just as effective as an in-office treatment when using the correct products and ingredients, and are a fraction of the price,” Gross says. “The four components to achieve an effective at-home facial are a gentle cleanser, steam, an exfoliating peel, and a moisturizer.”
Step 1: Cleanse
“Gentle cleansers are necessary to remove dirt and mildly de-grease the skin before opening up the pores to help the active ingredients in the next steps penetrate more effectively,” says Dr. Gross. One we love is Simple Skincare Foaming Cleanser ($7.99, simpleskincare.com) because it refreshes with glycerin, chamomile and geranium and isn’t harsh on sensitive skin.
Step 2: Steam
“Steaming the skin allows clogged pores to open and creates a natural perspiration to help remove dirt, bacteria and makeup residue,” says Gross. His brand just came out with Steamer Solutions ($125, sephora.com), a miniature steamer that fits comfortably on a desk or bathroom counter (if you don’t have a home steamer, you can hold your face over a bowl of hot water, or apply a warm wash cloth for a few minutes). You can also add a mask, such as Fresh Rose Face Mask ($55, sephora.com), a hydrating and toning mask formulated with pure rosewater and real rose petals. Applying a mask while steaming allows the ingredients to penetrate more deeply into the skin.
Step 3: Exfoliate With A Peel
“The first step of the peel will get rid of any excess debris left over after steaming. The second step closes the pore to avoid any bacteria going back into the pore (which would result in skin irritation or a blemish). The peels include anti-aging, hydrating, and pore minimizing benefits.” Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta 14 Day Challenge – Original Formula ($45, dgskincare.com) is an introductory kit with two-step Alpha & Beta Hydroxy Acid treatments — pre-moistened pads that create glowing skin immediately.
Step 4: Moisturizer
Finish with a moisturizer, such as First Aid Beauty Daily Face Cream ($20, firstaidbeauty.com), to protect and lock in moisture.
Read more: Have You Outgrown Your Acne Products?