Dermatologist helps with top skin care concerns: expert exfoliation and pore minimization tips
Dr. Audrey Kunin’s advice settles an age-old skin care argument once and for all: Should we use chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid or physical ones like terry cloth? Both are essential, she says, because skin cells are held together in two ways, making each method of exfoliation a necessary part of your routine.
Dr. Kunin is a dermatologist in Kansas City, Missouri. She is also an author and founder of the DERMAdoctor brand of skin care products. Forbes calls her work “groundbreaking” and says she’s “one of the most-quoted skin care authorities in the US.” DERMAdoctor was the first medically-backed and female-founded skin care brand to be carried by Sephora and Ulta.
Below are her answers to our most pressing skin care questions. With it, we’ve updated our regimens in the spirit of her smartly-named product collections like “Calm, Cool, and Corrected,” “Wrinkle Revenge,” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”
What are 5 of the most common mistakes you’ve seen your patients make in their skin care or body care routine?
- Skipping the sunscreen
- Using pore strips/tape: They really don’t remove the subsurface debris and can cause skin abrasions that lead to infection
- Using pore vacuums: They just don’t work
- Sleeping in their makeup
- Not incorporating exfoliation for face and body
Can you explain the importance of exfoliation?
Dr. Kunin: Skin is structured like a brick wall. The cells are bonded together by a “glue,” which chemical exfoliants such as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) like glycolic acid help dissolve. They are also anchored together by microscopic fibers, which physical exfoliation breaks apart.
Exfoliation by both methods helps unplug pores, smooths out dry, rough, bumpy skin, keeps mature skin from looking dull and drab, and keeps skin overall healthier.
What are five mistakes that lead to enlarged pores?
Dr. Kunin: Pores become stretched (envision pulling on a rubber band) as they become clogged with dead skin cells, excess oil, makeup, and pollution. Aging skin (loss of dermal collagen exacerbated by cumulative sun exposure) also contributes. Dermal collagen is what “squeezes” pores closed beneath the skin’s surface. As we lose 1% of this dermal collagen each year from the age of 40 on, the pores become more flaccid and gape open.
What are some common mistakes that can lead to more visible pores?
- Not wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
- Not incorporating Vitamin C and retinol into your skin rejuvenating regimen
- Not physically and chemically exfoliating skin: Cells are held together in two ways and using both methods provides a comprehensive exfoliation
- Wearing skin care/cosmetics that are comedogenic (pore plugging)
- Not removing makeup at bedtime/sleeping in your makeup
How can we minimize our pores?
- Use a chemical/physical exfoliant in one (like DERMAdoctor Physical Chemistry) that helps dissolve the debris and breaks the bonds holding skin cells together
- Wear a pore minimizer to help detox pores
- Wear oil-free non-comedogenic SPF 30 sunscreen
- Use 1% retinol every other night and Vitamin C serum with Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E every day
- Try using chemical peel pads
What leads to keratosis pilaris?
Dr. Kunin: Keratosis pilaris (KP) is a hereditary skin condition that affects approximately 50% of the global population.
In KP, excess skin cells are programmed to be made more quickly and to build up around affected hair follicles. This is primarily the upper outer arms and thighs; however, the buttocks, face, and back can also be affected. Inflammation occurs at the base of the affected follicles, creating discoloration.
What formulas should people turn to for anti-aging results?
Dr. Kunin: Use 1% Retinol every other night, alternating with a Vitamin C with Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E, or use a single product like DERMAdoctor Kakadu C 1% Retinol with 12% C Ferulic Acid + E Complex.
Also, use a 20% Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E every morning. And don’t forget your SPF 30!
Epoch Health articles are for informational purposes and are not a substitute for individualized medical advice. Please consult a trusted professional for personal medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. Have a question? Email us at [email protected]