Considering the high price tags of some of the buzziest skincare products and treatments on the market right now, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t interested in a beautifying hack that’s not only easy to do but also free. Luckily, there are plenty of beneficial tricks that fall into both categories and are dermatologist-approved to boot. In fact, legendary skincare guru Dr. Barbara Sturm swears by a skincare hack that can be done anywhere — and is technically a workout move.
The Zoe Report recently caught up with the founder of the cult-favorite namesake label at the second-annual Sephoria House Of Beauty expo in Los Angeles. “A handstand or downward-facing dog [pose] every day is good for getting the circulation going in the face,” says Dr. Sturm. “If you do one-to-two-minutes of either (with breaks), you’ll help get the blood flow pumping to your skin.” If a handstand seems like a daunting position, opt for the latter traditional yoga pose, in which the body is shaped like an upside-down “V” with the arms outstretched overhead.
Yes, according to a Self article featuring yoga instructor Sophie Herbert, “any pose where the heart is above the head is a good one for the circulatory system, because it encourages blood flow throughout the body. An active circulatory system helps flush toxins from our body, keep our immune system in tip-top shape, and helps regulate blood pressure.” When done regularly, said toxin-flushing movement can promote more radiant skin and hair.
Speaking of circulation, Dr. Sturm also happens to be a huge fan of dry brushing, which also promotes healthy circulation and blood flow. In fact, the skincare specialist went so far as to develop a body brush for her own brand. “It’s so good for the skin on the arms and legs,” she explains. “It gives your body a nice massage.”
While a vigorous scrub on the body is OK in her book, the beauty pro warns against being too aggressive on the face via harsh formulas and treatments. "Using acid peels, abrasive toners, and lasers all the time [is how I classify overdoing exfoliation]," says Dr. Sturm. "The perfect exfoliant is an enzyme cleanser, because it takes off dead skin cells but is super gentle and only focuses on the [top layer]. If you take off too many skin layers you make your skin extra vulnerable."
Yes, in general, the doctor prefers a more gentle approach to skincare, suggesting bare-bones and low-maintenance techniques (hence the downward-dog sessions). “If you keep your skin metrics in a good place, that’s the key to having elasticity and nice, strong skin,” she explains. “So micro-needling and vampire facials [platelet rich plasma therapy] are OK once in a while. But don’t overdo it and don’t try them at home. I also don’t love taking all these devices home and using them like crazy. I just don’t think they help your skin.”
One thing that will always help your mug, particularly in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond? Hydration via hyaluronic acid, which Dr. Sturm says is the elixir of life in the skincare world. "I think hydration is the key to healthy skin, especially as you get older," she explains. "You must give the complexion ingredients to rejuvenate and fight inflammation. This should be a given part of your routine."
The moral of the story? Don't waste too much time (and money) on fancy gadgets and formulas that promise to plump, tighten, and firm. Go for the tried-and-true methods that will allow your skin to breathe, rejuvenate, and be its most hydrated self. Oh, and don't be afraid to hang upside down once in a while. Doctor's orders.