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3 Ingredient Tips From A Holistic Esthetician & Acne Specialist 

Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director. Previously she worked at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com.
Image by Lordn / iStock
January 24, 2022

"In my skin care regimen, I'm doing all the things I recommend to my clients," says holistic esthetician and acne specialist Zaida Gordan, founder of the acne clinic SkintegrityLA. In this episode of Clean Beauty School, we chat about all things acne, including how the 41-year-old skin care specialist deals with her own. However, as we note in the episode, treating acne is challenging and always unique to the individual. So while she loves the below, you may find that it doesn't work for your special skin type or needs. "We always encourage people to seek out a skin care professional that you feel comfortable with and you feel safe in their space so you feel empowered and well guided."

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Mendelic 

"We use a lot of gentle effective chemical exfoliants that won't strip the skin but will expose the clear skin underneath, such as mandelic acid," she says, noting she likes this option from Face Reality. "Mandelic acid is a great example of a gentle alpha-hydroxy acid that will dissolve the dead skin cells on the surface to clear the skin."

While she says you can play around with what chemical exfoliant works for your skin (we also love glycolic and lactic acids), she says what's most important is that you're not using an abrasive physical exfoliant, like a face brush or scrub. "A scrub, for example, is creating micro-tears in the skin. If you have inflammation in the skin, then the last thing you want is to make it worse by scrubbing it." 

But the most important thing here is you just need to be gentle—disrupting your slip barrier is ultimately harmful to acne-sufferers and can make it worse.

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Vitamin A

A favorite for skin longevity and acne, retinol and other vitamin A derivatives are gold standards for ingredients. The ingredients work with your cells' receptors resulting in reduced inflammation and increased skin cell turnover (the latter of which means fewer clogged pores!). Additionally, this can help with fine lines and loss of firmness. 

"We love multitasking products. For somebody that suffers from a lot of smaller comedones, clogged pores, and signs of aging, a gentle retinol serum is also going to be very effective," she says. "I personally use that almost every evening."

Mineral SPF 

Like most skin care experts, Gordon is a SPF advocate for her clients. And her habit started in her youth, watching her mother. "I have a mother who is a product and beauty junkie, so I would watch her get ready, and she had really beautiful skin. So I would watch her beauty rituals and I'd see her putting on her sunscreen, so I started wearing sunscreen myself because that was one thing that she taught me from a really young age," she says. "A lot of my clients will come in and want a mineral sunscreen now, too," she adds. 

Mineral sunscreens have the added benefit of being incredibly soothing for skin—and zinc oxide even has the ability to help with acne according to research. So if you have acne-prone skin, this will help care for your skin breakouts while protecting your skin from UV damage. 

Alexandra Engler
Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director at mindbodygreen. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She has worked at many top publications and brands including Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends and updates in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as travel, financial wellness, and parenting. She has reported on the intricacies of product formulations, the diversification of the beauty industry, and and in-depth look on how to treat acne from the inside, out (after a decade-long struggle with the skin condition herself). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.