by Jenna Rennert
view feature on VOGUE.com
Temperatures are expected to climb into the low 50s in parts of the Northeast next week, and the promise of sunny days this early in winter is almost too good to be true. But before swapping out ankle boots for those new khaki suede flats, consider a similarly ritualistic approach to skin care. While most of early 2017 has been spent layering on moisturizers and shrouding wind-chapped faces with cashmere scarves, it’s officially time to put your best face forward. Spring-cleaning starts now, with the help of hardworking treatments designed to reveal a glowing complexion, just in time for the season ahead. Here, New York City dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., shares four ways to get your best skin yet.
Try a Radio-Frequency Treatment
“It feels like a hot-stone massage,” Bowe says of ThermiSmooth Face, which she labels “the perfect post-winter” cure for thawing out from the cold. Bowe pairs the in-office device, which delivers radio-frequency energy to “firm and tighten,” with moisturizing coconut oil—moving back and forth in sweeping motions under the eye area. “It has been shown that when the skin is heated and held to 42 to 45 degrees Celsius, the collagen beneath is naturally stimulated,” she adds, meaning it also reduces fine lines and wrinkles. The resulting fresh-faced, wide-awake glow makes it the equivalent of “a big drink of water for your skin.”
Trust Your Pores to a Professional
To clear out congestion beneath the skin, a little more than a light exfoliation may be required. Bowe’s favorite deep-clean comes by way of TheraClear: a photo-pneumatic device that physically pulls out any dirt from the pores and shines a broad-spectrum light onto the skin to kill bacteria. “It works as a really efficient vacuum cleaner,” she explains. “The combination of the blue and red light calms any inflammation that may have occurred with the cold.” Plus, it’s great for acne- or rosacea-prone patients looking to get results in 10 minute treatments. Bowe suggests getting the treatment once a month leading up to summer for a happy and breakout-free face.
Choose a Targeted Peel for Hyperpigmentation
A series of in-office peels can dramatically improve the appearance of the face, hands, or neck, taking off old dead cells to reveal brighter skin. For those with hyperpigmentation, consider a still-more targeted version of the treatment. Boyd likes SkinCeuticals’s clinical-grade Advanced Corrective Peel, a concentrated blend of salicylic and lactic acids and phenylethyl resorcinol that’s specifically designed for patients with brown spots or uneven texture. “It literally lifts pigment out of the skin when left on for three to five minutes,” explains Bowe, “and those spots will flake off within a few days.” Because peels can increase the skin’s UV sensitivity, it’s best to start now, before the sun is at its strongest, and be diligent about applying a daily broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher.
Consider Microneedling for a Collagen Boost
Using a sterilized device, microneedling delivers a series of controlled “wounds” beneath the skin’s surface, triggering its own natural collagen production. “It’s an amazing tool for pores, tone, and overall texture,” says Bowe. At her office, she relies on a 2.0 version of the treatment known as the EndyMed. Marrying microneedling with radio-frequency energy that heats up the dermal layer, it produces more significant results for “a smooth and super-filtered look.” She recommends three procedures, spaced one month apart.