Skincare in Lockdown: Q&A with Magda Bellanova

Author Team Essentialist

We’re back with Part 2 of our Q&A series titled Skincare in Lockdown.  We had a great chat with the wonderfully talented Magda Bellanova of Bellanova Beauty Lab in Brooklyn, NY, and got her scoop on the best at home skincare practices, and how to improve your skin between treatments.  Adapting to her clients’ needs during the pandemic, Magda started offering virtual consults so even if you’re not in the New York area you can still reach out for advice!  Visit her website or follow her on Instagram @bellanovabeautylab to learn more.

Walk us through your idea of a healthy daily skincare routine?

A proper skincare routine for your skin type is key. In general this will include (in this order) a pre-cleanser, cleanser, toner/essence, and any form of antioxidant like Vitamin A, C & E, good hydration, and an SPF. Gentle exfoliation daily and mild exfoliation once or twice per week with an exfoliating mask or peel is also a key part of a healthy routine.

You recommended gentle daily exfoliation above, can you explain what you mean? 

For me daily exfoliation is key but, I don’t mean physical exfoliation. I suggest using gentle acids as part of your daily routine. This does not mean an actual peel!  Simply look for products with AHA’s, they can be found inside your moisturizer, toner, or serum and will have a very mild exfoliating effect.  It depends on skin type but gentle AHA exfoliation daily and more intense exfoliation once per week will make a difference. 

Let’s talk exfoliation, give us your insights.

What I see with my clients most commonly is not enough exfoliation. As we age our cellular turnover rate diminishes, so we need to increase exfoliation to help our skin get rid of old and damaged cells. We also have to keep in mind the cellular turnover rate which is very short for teenagers (15-20 days), goes to roughly 21 days during your early 20’s, and reaches 28-45 days in your 30’s. It gets increasingly slower in your 40’s and 50’s so for this reason it is extremely important to increase exfoliation as you age.   

The biggest thing we forget while at home?

Not wearing SPF AT HOME.  50% of aging rays are absorbed at home! 

Your best advice for stepping up at home care?  

I love cosmetic derma-rolling.  It’s very appropriate for at home care and wonderful if you can’t get a treatment for many months.  It ensures collagen stimulation and helps infuse whatever ingredients you’re using more deeply into the skin.  One important reminder, don’t ever derma roll acids into your skin, use only vitamins, peptides, and hydrating agents.

Your take on home extractions? 

My answer is simply no. Most people don’t have the proper skills or instruments to do this at home.  If you have the need for extractions but cannot access a professional, exfoliation will help you. AHA’s, peeling masks, please go this route instead.

What would you tell people suffering from “maskne” and mask related sensitivity?  

Besides the acne that masks are causing, our skin is more sensitive in general now because masks are in constant contact with our skin causing friction.  To help with both the breakouts and sensitivity I recommend a good cleansing routine. For me this means double cleansing. Start by using a pre-cleansing oil to soften the sebum and melt SPF/makeup/surface dirt. Emulsify the oil with water to loosen whatever the oil has melted but do not rinse at this point. The last step is to apply a foaming cleanser on top and massage everything together rinsing once at the end. This is a very gentle cleanse suitable for all skin types from very dry, to oily, even acne prone. This should help.

What were your top treatments once you reopened?

Peels, extractions, hydrodermabrasion (with a hyaluronic acid infusion), and microneedling. Everyone’s focus was to repair! 

(Photo from Sora Shimazaki via Pexels)