Well, not exactly poreless, but close enough.

I’ll clue you in on my dirty little secret… I get Chinatown facials every 6-8 weeks. Frills are thrown out the window – who am I kidding, it’s a basement- I go for knee-deep, coal mining, extractions. My amazing esthetician seldom speaks, but I use her initial once-over analysis as a report card to my current skincare routine; “too dry”, “congested”, “needs a peel”, or “try not to touch your face so much”.

Walking out with born-again pores, I mentally take notes and try to recreate the cleansing ritual at home. Lo and behold, my pores will inevitably gunk up, but I’ve recently discovered the best way to do some light extraction work on my own without turning my face into Mars.

I realized that the first step to any facial is usually some sort of tingly peel to remove dead, built up skin. I have dry skin, so I am always cautious with anything too abrasive, but I have been incorporating Malin + Goetz’s AHA Treatment Solution into my routine. It’s meant for daily use, but I use it every other day to help gently exfoliate skin. I apply at night, after a double-cleanse session, and let it sink into the skin for a few minutes before layering on hydration. The AHA acids work at the surface layer of the skin while the sodium hyaluronate and niacinamide help to hydrate and restore – if that was too much jargon for you – it is removing the dead skin without wrecking the new skin.

On the nights that I don’t use the AHA treatment, I have been gently guiding out whiteheads while I still have face wash on my face. By no means is this kosher advice – any expectations are best left to professionals – but this method has been working for me. I then rewash the area that I’ve been extracting, and then I do a quick swipe of tea tree oil on a cotton pad to disinfect and follow with my normal nighttime routine. By morning, redness is gone and my face is more even and clear.

If you have oily skin, you can use the AHA Treatment Solution more liberally, but as I am bone-dry, I try to do this every other day. If you’re brave (or dumb) enough to tackle blemishes yourself, keep yourself in check, set a timer on your phone, and keep any mission to under 30 seconds. When in doubt, see a professional.

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