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The One Minimal Skin Care Practice This Derm Wishes More People Were Doing 

woman massaging skin
Image by ohlamour studio // Stocksy
December 10, 2020

We know, we know: Tacking on even more skin care to-do's can feel overwhelming, especially if your routine is already teeming with steps. But, rest assured, this derm's counsel is quite minimal, and you can use the products you already have in your lineup. 

When we asked board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., what skin care practices she wishes more people were paying attention to over on the mindbodygreen podcast, her answer was refreshingly straightforward: "Honestly, just a simple massage." According to Bowe, even a minute-long massage can work wonders in your skin care routine. Below, she explains why (and how to do it right). 

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Why this derm says you should massage your skin. 

"Massage is amazing for boosting circulation and helping with lymphatic drainage," says Bowe. In fact, there's research behind its ability to improve circulation in the face1, which in turn spurs the production of collagen and helps keep your skin looking firm and taut. Not to mention, massaging in your products can help those ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin, since you're quite literally working them into your face. It fosters a lit-from-within glow, by all accounts.

Bowe also notes that regular facial massage is a form of self-care—for some, it can help manage stress and trigger a relaxation response (since stress can deplete your collagen levels and contribute to dullness and fine lines, it's a worthwhile add to your skin care routine). Research has even shown that psychological stress can translate into physical inflammation on the skin2 (be it sensitivity, irritation, or acne). "You can actually impact the inflammation in your skin just by taking a few moments to breathe." Perhaps start a skin care gratitude practice, while you're at it, for a touch of self-love. 

A quick facial massage tutorial. 

Facial massage can be as robust or simple as you please (for a DIY version that's heavy on the details, read on over here). Regardless, you'll want to make sure to start with clean hands and keep a gentle-to-medium pressure. You'll also need some slip—be it with a serum, oil, or moisturizer. It should feel fluid and easy, never like you're pulling or dragging at the skin (if your product starts to dry out, feel free to add a few more drops and resume). 

Below, Bowe's simple massage to try out:

  1. Find your favorite serum, oil, or moisturizer. 
  2. "Rather than just slapping it on and running out the bathroom, take a minute and massage it into your skin," she says. Perhaps move your fingertips upward and outward toward your ears and temples. Whatever feels good! Remember to keep your touch light, here, erring on the side of gentle. 
  3. "Breathe deeply, maybe repeat a mantra, and just give yourself a moment to yourself," Bowe adds. When you're done, follow with the rest of your routine and behold your bouncy glow. 
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The takeaway. 

According to this derm, the best skin care practice to add to your routine doesn't involve products at all—just a little more attention and mindfulness. There's a reason facial massage techniques have spanned centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine: A mere glide with your fingertips can help you glow from the inside out. 

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