Sofie Pavitt, the NYC-based facialist and "acne whisperer."
I often feel like I'm playing Whac-A-Mole when trying to treat my skin. I add one new product into my routine, like a vitamin C serum or retinol that multiple people tell me "transformed their skin," and all of a sudden I'm dealing with little red bumps on my cheeks and breakouts at my jawline. Before I know it I'm spot treating with a Starface patch or benzoyl peroxide while trying to add hydration back to pimples that have dried up. The cycle is endless and expected, much like the daily skin-care ads I’m served on Instagram.
The problem, as New York City-based esthetician Sofie Pavitt explains, is the paradox of choice when it comes to products that leads us to overdoing it. "I see a lot of girls on tretinoin [a topical prescription often used to treat acne and fine lines] and I'm like, why?" she says. "Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, tretinoin, retinoids, vitamin C — if we use everything, we'll just be a skull with no skin left."
What Pavitt offers her followers and clients (if you can get into her Chinatown studio, do it) is education, personalized treatment, and a simple at-home care routine to follow — and it works. The 360-degree approach and impressive before/after results earned her the title of "the acne whisperer" among "skin content" influencers, celebrities, and editors. (Similar to the concept of body neutrality over positivity, being "skin content" is the realistic goal, as our skin is constantly in a state of change.)
Here, Pavitt debunks some of the most common myths we’ve been fed when it comes to acne that keep many of us in the breakout cycle. Even if you can’t get a personalized facial or skin diagnosis (or a highly sought-after appointment with Pavitt, who books out months in advance), this advice will help you spring clean your routine and treat your skin with the right stuff.
Results as seen on a real Sofie Pavitt client.
Myth: Oily skin = acne-prone skin.
First, we have to understand that oily skin is not synonymous with acne-prone skin. Oily skin is a skin type, whereas acne-prone is a skin condition. "You can be dry as a bone and have really inflamed acne," explains Pavitt. "You don't treat that type of acne the same way you would if you have oily skin and non-inflamed acne, which is more of a pebbly texture. It's about finding your skin type and concerns and working on those two in tandem."
So, how do you figure out your skin type? You can see a dermatologist or an esthetician, or you can diagnose yourself at home, right now. "Wash your face, don't put anything on, wait an hour, and then look at your skin," says Pavitt. "If your skin feels tight to the touch and looks matte, you have a dry skin type. If you have some kind of sheen in the T-zone, down the center of your face, but feel dryish on the sides, chances are you have combination skin. If you have a light sheen all over, you have an oily skin type."
As for your skin condition, if you're reading this, you're probably at least a bit acne-prone. "If you have consistent and persistent breakouts, chances are you are predisposed to breaking out — 40% of the population falls into this category," says Pavitt. "Their cells shed at a faster rate, so you get a lot of dead skin cell buildup within the pore, on the surface of the skin, that will break you out or cause congestion."
Myth: Instant results are the best kind.
When treating acne or breakouts, it makes sense that we think we want clear, balanced skin as soon as possible — but Pavitt thinks we're wrong. Instead, we want to use ingredients that aren't necessarily the buzziest of the moment but work slowly but surely over time. Pavitt's hero acne-clearing ingredient is one you're probably not familiar with: mandelic acid, an exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) with a large molecular size that is gentler than go-tos like glycolic or salicylic acid. "I think the reason why mandelic acid hasn't had its day in the sun because we're all obsessed with instant results," Pavitt says. "Mandelic acid is a low and slow [ingredient]. You've got to wait, like, three months to see a result."
Still, when you're consistent with your "low and slow" exfoliation and use a product containing mandelic acid, like Sofie Pavitt's new Mandelic Acid Clearing Serum, once a day, you're going to be impressed. "The before and afters on my Instagram are usually 12 weeks apart," says Pavitt. "That's just to show people to play the long game."
Myth: Daily exfoliation is bad for skin.
You've probably heard that daily exfoliation is going to "strip your skin" and cause it to dry out — but really, the key is how you exfoliate. "I firmly stand by daily exfoliation for acneic or breakout-prone clients," says Pavitt. "If you're blemish-prone, your skin is shedding and you need that daily help with your exfoliation."
With daily exfoliation, you want something gentle, like the aforementioned mandelic acid, combined with moisturizing and soothing ingredients as well. "I formulated that mandelic acid with hyaluronic acid and panthenol," says Pavitt. "Hyaluronic acid is really hydrating and panthenol is skin-soothing, so it helps with that barrier support." You're essentially sloughing away the dead skin cells that can be a precursor to acne, while ensuring that your skin stays balanced.
Results as seen on a real Sofie Pavitt client.
Myth: A prescription drug is the ultimate cure.
If you have a conversation with an acquaintance and acne comes up, you can bet they'll mention that they know someone who went on Accutane and saw their skin clear right up. Maybe they're even speaking from personal experience. The issue with prescription medication is twofold: It's not widely accessible to people who can't afford to see a dermatologist, and it's more like slapping a temporary Band-Aid on a bigger problem with deeper roots.
Pavitt says that it all goes back to instant results, which medication can offer. A dermatologist might prescribe a medication that will help decrease skin's oil production, like spironolactone or Accutane, or put you on an antibiotic like doxycycline or tetracycline to kill bacteria. These medications might work, but one of the the downsides is that you can become reliant, with no telling what will happen once you go off them. Accutane comes with no shortage of health warnings, and antibiotics can damage your skin's microbiome and create antibiotic resistance in the body. "If you really want to stay clear long-term without medication, daily exfoliation to get rid of dead skin cells is key," says Pavitt, adding that the result is as simple as healthy skin function. "The pore is clear, the oil has somewhere to go, and the bacteria doesn't have a food source."
Myth: Don't eat dairy, sugar, gluten, etc.
"What you put in your body is as important as what you put on it" is among the most overused tropes the wellness industry sell us. Of course what you eat matters, but no one should tell you to cut out entire food groups. "I tread really lightly around diet and skin," Pavitt says. "In my experience working with people with acne, which is such an emotionally charged skin condition, people will try anything to clear their skin. People will come to see me and say they're barely eating anything because they're scared they're breaking out from certain food groups."
The not-so-secret secret is everything in moderation, and then supplement if and when you need to. "I think that we have to focus on things that are great for the skin," Pavitt says, as opposed to what we fear is "bad" for it. She recommends that most of her clients take omega-3 fish oil supplements to help regulate the skin's oil production.
Results as seen on a real Sofie Pavitt client.
Myth: Spot treat your breakouts, not your whole face.
The acne industry has taught us to spot treat our pimples rather than addressing the face as a whole, but Pavitt offers an alternative that may be more effective for preventing future breakouts. "I like to use a benzoyl peroxide treatment as a face mask," Pavitt says. "I tell people to use it as a face mask all over or in problematic areas, like your chin, as opposed to just spot treating with it."
The idea is to treat breakouts before they happen, thereby ending the cycle. "When you see a pimple, the cycle to create it started 12 weeks ago," Pavitt explains. "You might as well treat the whole area, low and slow with benzoyl peroxide 2.5 to 5%. Short contact application, which means just applying it as a mask, is how you stop skin from getting irritated. Just a hint of it, wash it off, moisturize, and go to bed."
Myth: Retinol should be used as an acne treatment.
What makes retinol, and any similar vitamin A derivative, a tricky ingredient is that most of us don't really know how it works and how to use it correctly. "A lot of people don't realize that retinol is not an exfoliant; it encourages cell turnover," Pavitt clarifies. "Here's why I don't treat breakouts with retinol: People who are acne prone are super shedders and they have a lot of dead skin cells. When you add vitamin A into the mix, what does it do? It creates more cell turnover. For me, it's like, let's get the exfoliation process moving, then once you're cleared, you can add a retinol to speed up the process if you want."
So, you can still use your retinol, but make sure you have a proper exfoliation routine in place. "If you use retinol, you're going to increase the number of dead cells on the skin. When you use mandelic acid in conjunction with that, it's going to wipe away those dead skin cells and make your retinol work better for you," Pavitt explains. "Having an AHA with your retinol is really great, but I wouldn't use them at the same time in your routine. Alternate or do one during the day and the other at night."
A skin-cycling schedule is a good choice, but if that's too much fuss for you, Pavitt recommends a simple routine: cleanser, mandelic acid serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen during the day. At night, you can wash your face, apply a benzoyl peroxide flash mask (or mandelic acid if you didn't use it in the morning), moisturize, and go to bed. Give it 12 weeks, and you might just find you've transformed your skin.
Shop a Sofie Pavitt-approved skin routine, below:
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Sofie Pavitt Face
Mandelic Clearing Serum
Sofie Pavitt Face
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- COCONUT OIL. This is a very popular alternative that is very well-known, cheap and can be found at your local grocery store. ...
- OLIVE OIL. ...
- ALMOND OIL. ...
- SHEA BUTTER. ...
- COCOA BUTTER. ...
- ALOE VERA GEL.
“Glass skin is when your skin is at its very healthiest,” explains Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach & Lily. “In order for skin to appear poreless, luminous, and translucent, so many things have to happen. You can't just be hydrated and look that way. Your skin really needs to be its healthiest in all aspects.Is Drunk Elephant dermatologist recommended? ›
Do dermatologists recommend Drunk Elephant? Yes, many dermatologists recommend Drunk Elephant products, particularly for those with sensitive or dry skin. Drunk Elephant's products are formulated with ingredients that are considered safe and effective for skin.What are the side effects of glass glow treatment? ›
It is unsafe
According to Dr Rashmi, there are documented side effects to this beauty treatment which include patchy skin, redness, dermatitis, allergic reactions, pigmentation and scarring, and for some people even swelling of the skin.
According to Dr. Thornton, the three products everyone should include in their skin care routine are cleanser, sunscreen and targeted treatments to address concerns like adult acne, dry skin and wrinkles. Skin cleanser is a must-have for your morning and evening routine.What is the most natural moisturizer for your skin? ›
- Superbloom Illuminating Gel Moisturizer - For Oily & Combination Skin.
- Indie Lee Active Oil Free Moisturizer.
- Beauty by Earth Oil Control Facial Moisturizer.
- Bulldog Men's Original Moisturizer.
- Burt's Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream.
It's the result of an extensive skincare routine and naturally sourced hydrating extracts present in almost all Korean skincare ranges. For people who don't know, glass skin is flawless skin that is pore-less and translucent. It refers to almost baby-like bouncy skin because their skin is the healthiest.Why do Koreans have good skin? ›
Since ancient times, Koreans have only used natural, harsh-free ingredients for their skincare routines: green tea, “snail slime”, bamboo extracts, propolis, and honey are just some examples of the elements they used and have passed through generations.Is it too late to get glass skin? ›
Of course, it's not something you achieve overnight but you can never be too late to join the glass skin party. We recommend a complete overhaul of your daily skin care routine is your roadmap to dewy skin.What is the No 1 brand recommended by dermatologists? ›
What you need to know. Developed with dermatologists, CeraVe is the #1 dermatologist recommended skincare brand1.
Drunk Elephant was sued by L'Oréal for patent infringement
Beauty enthusiasts hailed Drunk Elephant's serum to be a cheaper substitute for SkinCeuticals' serum for the same volume.
Simon Ourian™, M.D.
Dr Simon Ourian ™ has become one of the world's most sought-after cosmetic dermatology doctors, with superstars such as Kim Kardashian on his books.
A saviour for tired, stressed skin, this 7 day glow treatment is expertly formulated to fight signs of ageing, restore skin's youthful vitality and natural glow. After 1 day: skin feels nourished and rejuvenated. After 3 days: skin appears more radiant, with fine lines and imperfections visibly reduced.How to get Korean glass skin? ›
Firstly, you have to double cleanse our skin with a gentle oil-based cleanser, followed by a foam-based cleanser. Follow it up with exfoliation. You can use your favourite scrub to exfoliate the skin. Next step is to apply toner to balance the pH levels of the skin.What is the Korean glow treatment? ›
Leanne's Korean Glow is a safe instant beauty alternative that can assist in reducing the appearance of freckles and aids in skin whitening. Leanne's Korean Glow can dramatically improve skin discoloration and texture caused by acne, photo aging, age spots and help to reduce wrinkles.What are the 2 most important skin care products? ›
- Cleanser. ...
- Serum. ...
- Moisturizer. ...
Moisturizer, eye cream, and sunscreen should also be an important part of your daily routine. Exfoliators shouldn't be used on a daily basis, because you can actually strip your skin of important oils.What are the 3 most important skincare products? ›
Caring for your skin is as simple as using a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen.What is a natural moisturizer for overnight? ›
- Mix beeswax and almond oil in a double boiler and boil the mixture.
- Heat until it melts completely.
- Remove the mixture from the flame and add aloe vera and mix.
- Add green tea extract, essential oil, and rose water.
- Apply it on your skin and store it in a container.
How to moisturize overnight. There are plenty of overnight creams and lotions out there. Popular options include CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream with hyaluronic acid and biomimetic peptides or Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin C for dry to normal skin.
- Coconut oil.
- Olive oil.
- Shea butter.
- Avocado and avocado oil.
- Sunflower seed oil.
According to the latest Golden Ratio of Beauty Phi report, English actress Jodie Comer has the most beautiful face in the world at 94.52% accuracy.Which country has the best skin in the world? ›
If you want to look young and have a great complexion, adapt a lifestyle similar to Japanese women who are known for having smooth, clear and youthful skin. Many Japanese women maintain a diet rich in vitamins and minerals that contain antioxidants.Why do Koreans have good hair? ›
“According to my hair stylist, Korean women use a hair essence or oil every single day, which is why they have such silky, soft, and shiny strands.” A personal favorite for Cho is British M's Organics Annatto Hair Oil, while Lee is a fan of the Mise en Scene Pearl Shining Hair Essence.Why do Korean sleep on the floor? ›
Sleeping on the floor became common when ondol floor heating was introduced to the Koreans. When HVAC systems were not a thing, households had to find ways to keep warm and remain cool. Ondol floor heating was a process that used the smoke from fireplaces to warm up the whole house from under the floor.How do Koreans get such beautiful skin? ›
Double dosed skincare
This is why Korean women live by the rule of double cleansing, double eye mask and double hydration in their skincare regimen. The step cleansing method includes a foaming face wash followed by an oil-based cleanser. This clears the skin of every last bit of makeup and dirt from face.
If you talk to a dermatologist or any skin expert, they will tell you it is never too late to start a skincare routine. It does not matter how old you are because you will see benefits regardless of your age. The key is to ensure that you stick to your routine every day.Is 50 too late to start retinol? ›
The good news is that it is never too late to start incorporating retinol into your skin care routine.What happens if you don't get glass out of skin? ›
Infection. Tetanus and other infections like cellulitis and MRSA can happen if you don't properly clean a glass splinter. In severe cases, you may need a foot amputation.What is the #1 skin care line in America? ›
Neutrogena. The brand: You don't need to spend tons of money for effective products that derms love; Neutrogena is touted as the number one dermatologist-recommend skincare product and you can find it at the drugstore.
While it is advised to consult with your doctor about dietary guidance and curating the proper beauty regimen, our experts share that salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and topical retinoids like adapalene are the most effective ingredients to treat and prevent acne.Who is the number one dermatologist in the United States? ›
Kimberly J. Butterwick, MD (San Diego)What is the suspicious 6? ›
We call the culprits the Suspicious 6—essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes, and SLS—and you will never find any of them in our line.Which celebrity uses Drunk Elephant? ›
Just last month, the celebrity hair stylist revealed the hair products that The Morning Show star swears by. He told Vogue that Aniston uses Drunk Elephant's T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub as a supplementary treatment.What does Drunk Elephant stand for? ›
And if you've ever wondered about the name behind the brand it's because one of the star ingredients in the products is marula oil (often found in facial oils) and it is said that when elephants drink the juice from marula fruit they act as though they are drunk.Who is Bella Hadid's dermatologist? ›
Her splurge-worthy product line, Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics, uses clean ingredients and smart, molecular actives to concoct hi-tech, high-performance skincare that's also seriously chic.Who is the TikTok famous dermatologist? ›
Muneeb Shah– known widely in social media as “DermDoctor” or “Doctorly” is the #1 dermatology influencer worldwide. With an ever-increasing number of followers reaching over 20 million across his platforms, Dr.What skin tightening treatment did the Kardashians have? ›
Under the care of Dr. Ashkan Ghavami, whom Kardashian has seen for a variety of cosmetic procedures, the Kardashians star had her skin tightened using the Morpheus8 microneedling tool.What are glow injections? ›
These injectables boost the skin's hydration, help stimulate collagen and improve skin texture, elasticity, skin quality and light reflection. You can think of it as a face mask treatment that lasts for months!How long does bbl glow last? ›
In the week following your first treatment, you may notice pigment coming to the surface of your skin. It's also common to experience redness, peeling, and swelling. Dark spots and freckles may darken before fading and flaking off over time, usually within 1 to 3 weeks.
Miracle Glow Skin Lightening Cream will make your skin clearer and healthier. It reduces the appearance of dark spots and reduces the signs of aging on the skin thanks to its effective formula.How do you get spotless glass skin? ›
- Step 1: Double cleanse. ...
- Step 2: Exfoliate. ...
- Step 3: Tone. ...
- Step 4: Add an essence. ...
- Step 5: Treat with a serum or ampoule. ...
- Step 6: Moisturize. ...
- Step 7: Apply an eye cream. ...
- Step 8: Seal with a face oil (daytime only)
But what exactly is glass skin? "It means skin that looks crystal-clear, poreless, translucent, [and] luminous — like a piece of glass."What helps your skin look like glass? ›
At the most basic but holistic level then, glass skin involves using a cocktail of products that hit the following steps: cleansing (double-cleansing, if possible), exfoliating (when needed with something gentle), treating with a non-drying toner and/or essence, adding a hydrating serum, and then finally applying your ...What do the Kardashians use for body glow? ›
Look no further, as we now know that this celeb-backed, all-natural exfoliator is the secret to Kardashian's luxurious skin. A product of environmentally conscious skin-care brand, C & Moon, the Malibu Made Body Scrub ($64) is the beloved product behind Kim's consistently glowing body.How do Koreans get glowy dewy skin? ›
- Get a Brightening Cleanser. In my DIY face masks post, I often include egg as an ingredient. ...
- Reduce Pore Buildup. As you guys might have guessed from this post, I do struggle with the occasional blackhead. ...
- Get a Hydrating Moisturizer. ...
- Use Essence. ...
- Massage Your Face.
Carrier oils are much healthier than commercial moisturizers because they contain high amounts of fatty acids that improve skin quality. These fatty acids can be easily absorbed into the skin and nourish it from within. Some examples of carrier oils include jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, etc.What is better than moisturizer? ›
Serums can be used both morning and night to address specific skin issues more effectively than a moisturizer alone, and will also boost the hydrating effects of your moisturizer. Ensure your serum contains antioxidants to provide protection from environmental damage.Why do dermatologists say not to use moisturizer? ›
Aesthetic dermatologists have observed that habitual, daily moisturising over a prolonged period can actually age the skin. This induced ageing occurs because the same fibroblast cells which produce GAGs (the skin's moisturiser) also produce collagen and elastin, which help maintain the skin's elasticity.What is better for face than moisturizer? ›
Besides the ingredients, both moisturizer and oil have the same purpose: to soften the skin. All skin types will benefit from a moisturizer while dry and aging skin may prefer a facial oil. If you're super thirsty or looking to up your barrier's defenses during the winter months, we recommend using both.
Vaseline® has been a fixture in homes for decades. This much-loved product is safe to use on your body and your face. The triple-purified petroleum jelly helps restore the skin and seal in moisture making it ideal for use on the face.Which serum is best for anti aging? ›
- Blu Atlas Vitamin C Serum.
- Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate.
- L'Oreal Paris RevitaLift Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum.
- Kiehls Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate.
- Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum.
- The Ordinary Supersize Hyaluronic Acid.
- BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner.
Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free, moisturizing bar soap, cleanser, or body wash. Doing so will help soothe rather than dry your skin. Moisturizing ingredients that can help reduce dryness include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and lanolin. Use warm (not hot) water.Which is better anti aging cream or serum? ›
Harvard Medical School recommends using a serum to reduce skin concerns related to aging rather than a moisturizer or cream. This is because serums are highly concentrated and absorb more quickly into the skin.What does over moisturized skin look like? ›
Some signs you may be over-moisturizing are clogged pores, blackheads, bumpy skin and excess oil.Should I put lotion on my face before bed? ›
"Skin's oil production peaks at midday, and there is less oil production at night. Therefore, when you lose that protective layer of natural oils, your skin loses more water, so it's important to replenish the water loss with a moisturizer overnight," says Sobel. "While you are asleep the skin goes into renewal mode.What happens to your skin when you don't moisturize? ›
"You'll notice your skin feeling dry, tight, and ashy, because you're rapidly losing water," says Gohara. "Moisturizer doesn't just add water back into your skin, it also traps in the water you already have to plump it up and protect it."Should oil go over or under moisturizer? ›
You might be surprised to learn that unlike a serum, your face oil should go after your moisturizer. Meaning, it should be the very last step in your skincare routine.Why does my face feel better without moisturiser? ›
So by stopping moisturising, this actually stimulates cell turnover and encourages natural desquamation (that's the shedding of the outer layers of the skin). This improves skin function and exposes the tightly packed plump fresh cells to effectively reflect light and leave the skin glowing.Should you put a lot of moisturizer on your face? ›
When applying moisturizer, a nickel-sized amount should be enough for your entire face. Using too much moisturizer may leave your face feeling oily and potentially lead to breakouts.