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“All complexion issues begin with a blocked pore,” says New York dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross. “The first thing you see is a black dot. As the pore gets bigger, collecting dead skin and oil, the black dot grows bigger.” If you do not attend to it, a dismal chain reaction sets in: clogged pore to blackhead to whitehead to pimple to cyst.
For collagen stimulation there are other classic anti-agers besides retinol that will also do the trick: vitamin C, peptides, and antioxidants. But choose your combination carefully. “Peptides just stimulate collagen and ferulic acid is an antioxidant that prevents its breakdown, but vitamin C stimulates and prevents,” says Gross. And beware of any heavy moisturizers, especially those with comedogenic mineral oils that will incite a major traffic jam for your pores, advises Lacey.
Do: Paxson loves the exfoliating effects of Biologique Recherche’s cult classic Lotion P50. If you have sensitive skin conditions like eczema or rosacea, however, Gross cautions against using anything enzymatic because the enzymes work by causing a skin irritation. Gross’s latest incarnation of his beloved Alpha Beta Peel, which uses a combination of alpha and beta hydroxyl acids and willow bark extract, is geared specifically toward the super-sensitive, with lower concentrations of its active ingredients. And in the summer, when skin is subjected to more SPF than usual, both Mattioli and Lacey think a little manual exfoliation of the DIY variety is in order. Mattioli likes to use a simple muslin cloth, while Lacey recommends using your ring finger to polish the skin in the shower.
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