Ask Us Anything About: Skincare!

Welcome to our new feature, where Birchbox editors answer questions from you. This month’s topic: skincare. You submitted tons of great questions via Facebook—it was hard to choose! Ultimately, we narrowed it down to three concerns that many of you asked about: pesky dark spots, tired-looking dark circles, and unstoppable acne.

Q: What’s the best product for dark spots on sensitive skin? How long does it take to work?

—Carole

A: We’re big fans of dark-spot serums with damage-repairing niacinimide (a type of vitamin B) and skin-brightening ingredients like vitamin C, licorice, and white birch extract. Personally, I rub a few drops of Kiehl’s Dark Spot Solution over my whole face to lighten acne scars and sun spots. (My skin is especially sensitive, and I haven’t had any problems!) You should start to see improvement within a few weeks. If you have extra time, try Masqueology’s Brightening Masks for a 20-minute treatment and rub the serum in after you’re done. Another, more intensive method: microdermabrasion treatments with a trusted aesthetician. Just do plenty of research first!

Q: Is it true that there really is no way to get rid of dark circles?

—Charisa

A: It’s totally not true! There are definitely ways to help lessen and even get rid of dark circles. So-called raccoon eyes are often caused by undereye dehydration, which can be exacerbated by lack of sleep or a severe cold or sinus infection. Invest in an eye cream to help rehydrate, like Benefit’s It’s Potent, which uses cocoa extract to boost microcirculation and sodium hyaluronate to lock in moisture. For a quicker fix, try an undereye mask like Frownies Eye Gels, which use arbutin to repair hyperpigmentation and dark rings. And on days dark circles appear despite your best efforts, use an extra-pigmented cover-up, like Dermablend’s Smooth Indulgence SPF 20 Concealer.

Q: What’s the skinny on adult acne?!

—Jenny

A: Oh boy, do we feel you. Adult acne is so frustrating! First, you’re in very good company. According to a 2008 University of Alabama study, over 50 percent of women in their 20s, and over 25 percent of women in their 40s, are still fighting persistent zits. For a quick refresher on the acne basics, like whether you’re washing your face enough (make sure your makeup’s all off) or too much (over-drying is a major blemish culprit) here’s our Acne 101 cheat sheet. And during the winter, be sure that you’re drinking enough water, since it’s easy for skin to get dehydrated and irritated from the combination of blustery winds and indoor heating. If you’re just seeing a few blackheads or individual zits here and there, try a spot treatment like DDF®'s Acne Control, which uses salicylic acid to unclog pores and glycerin to help calm skin and re-balance pH levels. Everybody’s skin responds differently; for moderate to severe acne, we always recommend checking in with a dermatologist.

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