taring at the computer screen, the lines, red spots and wrinkles shine back at you. You notice everything about your face. After all, you’re staring at it for hours a day as you take virtual call after virtual call.
With the surge in screen time over the last two years, skin care providers across Mt. Lebanon have seen an uptick in clients seeking treatments and purchasing at-home regimens to give their skin a fresh glow.
“People are more aware of actually taking care of their skin,” said Kristen Peckich, owner of La Pomponnée Beauty Artisans on Washington Road. “They’re definitely getting facials, but they’re getting facials that are more results oriented.”
As many aspects of our work and social lives have gone digital, we’ve been seeing more faces on screens. Add in the growth of Instagram Stories and TikTok over the last five years, and people are paying more attention to their skin than ever before.
“You all of a sudden become very similar to an anchor person,” Peckich said. “The people that we’ve watched on TV for years, they’re so conscious of how their hair looks, how their makeup looks. All of a sudden, not only with Zoom calls, but people who use their Instagram stories, or people that use social media, their personal brand is important to them. They want to be their best self.”
Estheticians at La Pomponnée were certified in dermaplaning last year and, in November, began offering the popular service where they scrape a disposable blade against the skin to remove peach fuzz and fine layers of skin.
“We’ve noticed a huge interest in this, especially because I think people’s faces are in front of the screen and they want that kind of fresh, glowy skin,” Peckich said.
At LanaVita Massage and Skin care on Beverly Road, dermaplaning has become one of co-owner Kim Evans’ most popular facials. “It brightens the skin. With or without makeup, you already just look brighter when you wake up,” she said.
Vujevich Dermatology Associates, with offices on North Wren Drive, and in Washington County and Pleasant Hills, has seen an increase in its cosmetic practice over the last two years.
“A lot of people come to see me saying ‘I’ve noticed when I’m on the camera, X-Y-Z,’ whether they have pigmentation that they don’t like, or wrinkles or some sagging skin,” said Dr. Christie Regula, a board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon.
For Regula, it’s important to focus on the patient’s desires. With skin care recommendations popping up all over social media these days, she often has clients coming in asking for very specific procedures that some TikTok star might have convinced them they needed.
“I say, ‘Let’s just take a step back and let’s talk about what’s actually bothering you,’ … and then I look at what is the best skin care or treatment to address that concern,” Regula said.
A lot of people are looking for minimally invasive procedures, which are the majority of treatments done at Vujevich, which can include Botox, fillers and lasers, Regula said.
But, for starters, there’s a simple thing that everyone should be doing daily that will help their skin glow: sunscreen.
“Before two years ago, folks didn’t have as much of a concern about blue light. Maybe they should have, because we were all in front of the computer,” Regula said. “But blue light, it’s thought at this point that it can really increase free radical damage in the skin. And having free radicals in the skin can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastic. And those are really the building blocks of our skin. So that can lead to premature wrinkling and aging.”
In short, sunscreen is needed for more than just the sun.
Lisa Barba, a dermatology certified nurse practitioner at Vujevich, said applying sunscreen is one of the most important things you can do for your skin.
“Sunscreen is essential. I cannot emphasize that enough,” Barba said. “You wake up, you brush your teeth, you put on sunscreen.”
Even if you’re not directly in the sun, if you’re near a large window or go outside quickly to walk the dog, you need to be applying sunscreen, she said. She also recommends putting a topical Vitamin A or retinol-based product on your skin daily.
“I consider those essential products,” Barba said. She works individually with her clients to meet their needs. “Ultimately, we want to feel confident. Those lines and the pigmentation, it can bring us down a little bit,” she said.
Evans, who co-owns LanaVita with massage therapist Cara Mondzelewski and fellow esthetician Nicole Stanton, said she’s also been selling a lot more at-home skin care products since the pandemic began.
It’s important to combine at-home skin care along with routine facials for the best results, experts agree.
“I always tell people, you can get a facial and walk out of here and say, ‘Oh, wow! My face looks great!” But for the long term, everyday skin care matters too,” said Bernadette Verbonach, owner and esthetician of Facade European Skin Care Salon on Washington Road.
“Women, they have to realize that those peptides and all of the hyaluronic acids and all of those ingredients in the products make a difference. But it is cumulative, and you have to keep up with it. It really makes a huge impact in your skin when you do.”
Here are a few things you can do at home to be videoconference ready all the time:
Apply sunscreen. It doesn’t matter if you’re indoors or in front of the screen all day. Especially if you’re outside, reapply.
Keep it simple. Start with one or two products that could include sunscreen, toner, cleanser or moisturizer. Create a routine. Then build on it.
Stick with it. “Keeping up with it, making it a priority, like everything else in your life … Keeping up with your skin care habits is really, really important,” Verbonach said.
Look at the ingredients. Regula recommends finding products that contain retinol, Vitamin C serums, alpha-hydroxy acids and products with peptides.
Drink plenty of water and eat fruits and vegetables. “Your skin really reflects what you put into your body,” Peckich said.