The things we do for love—of our own skin. I personally have shot hot lasers at it, massaged it at rapid rates every morning and night for months, and applied countless masks. And although I’ve gone through all of these moments as part of a ‘skin journey’, I wasn’t born with flawless, glowing skin. Quite the opposite: I was born with troubled, reactive, irritated skin. I remember one picture in particular from a school volleyball team photo when I was 13 where my flaming, severe acne was raging. My mom still sometimes brings that image out at family holidays for distant relatives to showcase where I’ve been.
I say this all to you now so you know I have been on that journey. My skin is different now; I know how to talk to it. We have conversations, sometimes she talks back to me to tell me she doesn’t like things I’ve eaten or hours I’ve lacked in sleeping. But in theory, we’re friends. I always say that I see skincare as a powerful thing—it literally changed my life. I learned things, through magazines, great dermatologists, and websites, and they empowered me to talk to back to her, thoughtfully.
The beauty industry is evolving, and thanks to the skin positivity movement, there is a greater acceptance, and celebration of, less-than-perfect skin. Had I seen that when I was young, someone with skin like mine staring back at me in the magazines I idolized, I’d certainly felt a world’s different and better about myself and my skin. All of this is to say that skincare is a journey, and wherever you are, someone else in this world has been there too, and you are not alone.
For me personally, perhaps the biggest thing that changed and evolved my skin is exfoliation—gentle exfoliation. Exfoliation is so great for almost all skin types because it helps clear out dead skin cells and debris that can cause dullness at first, but zits and blackheads if left on the surface for too long. I remember dipping my toe in exfoliating early in life, with retinols and strong peel pads recommended by doctors, and having very strong, very severe reactions. My skin did not like it.
But the gentle exfoliation has been a big part of my life. Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($86.50) is one of the smartest damn chemical exfoliants on the market. It clears that top layer of yuck, but is still so gentle you won’t have a moment of irritation.
And I love so many other chemical exfoliants, like Ren Glow Daily AHA Tonic ($35), which I do about two to three nights a week after I wash my face. It works as a resurfacing toner that exfoliates and brightens—gently—with lactic acid.
I’ve been more hesitate on physical (aka scrubs) and tools that exfoliate. I just don’t trust myself to take it easy, I fear (and have been proven time and time again this fear is justified too) that I’ll push it too far.
That is until I was given one tool, a dermaplane by Tweezerman.
A dermaplane is basically a form of exfoliation via a sharp tool to scrape off the top layer of dead skin cells. And if that sounds frightening—and I’ll admit as I’m writing it it does sound rather scary—it is painless, harmless, and fairly foolproof. Well, at least this Tweezerman version is. There is a single stainless steel ‘blade’ but it’s not sharp; this isn’t the same type of blade you use for shaving—it will not pierce the skin.
You’ll take the tool and with light strokes run it down your face everywhere except for your fragile eye area. That’s all you do—it’ll take a total of about two minutes, and you’ll have zero irritation. It’s also an effective tool for peach fuzz removal, simply do the opposite then, going in light upward strokes with the tool.
With continued use (about once a week or every two weeks) your skin should be brighter-looking, makeup will apply easier on your smoother face, and actually your moisturizers can penetrate much more effectively since they aren’t having to fight through the dead skin layers.
There are other dermaplane tools on the market, but what I like about Tweezerman’s is the simplicity, and the price—$30 for the tool and three backup razors, which should last a year in total. Others on the market are electronic, which to me, a blade + my face + a razor + an electronic component = no thank you. And they can cost upwards of $200 or more.
Dermaplaning is available via your dermatologist, too. And, of course, you’ll get the most extreme and effective results with this method, which basically mimics the results of a microdermabrasion without the recovery time.
There’s kind of nothing to loose with this handy Tweezerman tool, it’s cost-effective, gentle, exfoliating, skin brightening, and heck, a conversation starter when you need a topic to discuss in lulls at a party (“So, I use this special razor and ‘shave’ the dead skin cells off my face. How was your week?”)
I frankly love this tool, but use it as part of my arsenal along with other gentle exfoliants and masks. As with everything, make sure you start out slowly, and try to listen to your skin talking. She’s usually trying to say something…