“Drink more water.”
Usually, when you ask a skin expert for a quote, you’ll get served up one of these old, tired, common-knowledge pearls. So we were surprised when Gina Mari, aesthetician to the stars, whipped out a totally new piece of advice we’d never heard before—stop using your magnifying mirror.
“The biggest problem that I see with people is that they look at their skin too closely,” says Mari. “People look at their skin in magnifying mirrors and that’s why too close—that’s not what you actually look like! Think about instead how you look to other people,” she argues. The woman is right—unless you’re laying nose to nose in bed with your lover, or leaning in to hug a BFF, no one is really examining the diameter of the pores on your nose.
Mari also worries that people with an untrained eye—AKA most of us—can do more harm than good while treating their skin. “You’re doing yourself a huge disservice because you don’t really know what you’re looking at and it’s like unnecessary torture! It’s like going bathing suit shopping everyday—you don’t do that to yourself! People are doing too much. If you’re looking at a magnifying mirror, you’re not seeing everything. I don’t even do that to my own face.”
Picking a freaky whitehead every once in a while is OK, but when someone begins obsessively seeking out clogged pores to pick it can be a big problem. In fact, excoriation disorder is a compulsive skin picking disorder that’s characterized by the repeated urge to pick at your own skin. People with excoriation disorder don’t pick at their skin for cosmetic reasons—it’s more of a stress-induced or obsessive-compulsive issue.
Mari notes that when she has clients with this problem, it can almost undo the positive work she’s done to heal and correct their skin issues. “People that over-pick their hair follicle or over-pick their faces, it’s a stress reliever. When I run into clients like that I tell them to choose something different [to do]. I basically try to make a deal with people and say, “OK, if you’re going to invest your time and your energy and your money here with me, that’s not your job anymore. It’s my job. So you let me do your job, and I’ll do my job.” It’s frustrating and it’s heartbreaking because you see people doing more harm than good.”
So basically, toss your magnifying mirror. You don’t need it anyway!