We Asked an Esthetician All of Our Facial Questions (And Learned How to Glow All Season Long)

From treating classic skin mistakes to the best ways to exfoliate.
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For every confident answer we have about skincare, we have just as many questions, from how to get rid of stubborn chin acne to proper exfoliating techniques. Last week, our Social Media Manager, Jess, visited Heyday Skincare, considered the "dry bar" of facials in New York and L.A., to ask our esthetician Ava Lemons, all of the things. You may have caught a few of our favorite tips on @shopcupcakesandcashmere, but we gathered a few of our favorites below: 

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Although getting a facial is definitely a luxury, it's a worthwhile investment because knowing your skin type (whether normal, dry, oily, or combination) is the first step in knowing how to properly take care of it. Your skin type dictates the type of products you use at different steps of your skincare routine (we found this article to be a good resource). 

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The number one mistake you can make is to not wear sunscreen every day. It doesn't matter if it's freezing or cloudy outside, your skin's protection is vital to avoid skin cancer and early signs of aging. Other repeat offenders involve exfoliating incorrectly and skipping a nighttime skincare routine. 

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Exfoliating is a step that most people get wrong. You should exfoliate between two times a week, and up to once every two days to combat winter dryness and build-up in pores. The two types of exfoliant, granular and enzymatic, cleanse and remove dry skin. Granular exfoliants are cream- or gel-based products with granular elements added, requiring physical movement to get rid of the dead skin. Enzymatic exfoliants are gel based and work by sitting on the face for a certain amount of time, typically a few minutes. The best way to exfoliate is to grab a nickel-size amount, and rub it onto your face with your hands while its damp, or in a steamy shower with a granular product. If using an enzymatic cleanser, be sure to pay attention to the type of acid in the product: If you have sensitive skin, consider opting for lactic, which is much more gentle on the skin than salicylic

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Deep nodules or cysts below the chin can be related to hormones, environmental factors, and even dairy intake. The best way to deal with it is to simply not touch it. A salicylic acid spot treatment can also assist in drying out the pimple. 

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Everyone is obsessed with in-flight skincare, and we desperately wanted to know if it actually helps. To put it simply: It does. Over the course of a flight, the skin becomes incredibly dehydrated and is exposed to countless germs as the air recirculates within the cabin. The best thing to do is bring a moisturizing toner spray and an anti-inflammatory mask to keep your face hydrated throughout the flight. And avoid makeup at all costs—because the cabin is so dry, the combination of makeup sitting on the skin and the circulating air can lead to increased dryness, acne, and signs of aging.

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Many spas offer "add-ons" to facials these days. Ava told us, "Dermaplaning is a great way to remove facial hair, but it doesn't give your skin too many additional benefits. Microneedling is amazing for breaking up scar tissue and stimulating collagen but should only be done by someone who's properly licensed to do so." (In California and Illinois, only physicians can perform these procedures, so make sure to go to someone properly registered to do so.) And lastly, microdermabrasion uses an applicator to remove dead skin cells similar to, but less intense than, a chemical peel. It's worth looking into if you're hoping to combat signs of aging or sun damage.

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There are so many products you can put on your face, but if you're looking for a pulled-back routine, Ava recommends investing in the following cleanser, exfoliant, toner, serum or hyaluronic acid, rich moisturizer, and sunscreen. Here are some additional favorites: 

P.S., Here's how to transition your entire routine to natural skincare products.