Ask the Dermatologist: How to Achieve Red Carpet Glow + Home Facial Tips

Dr. Marie Jhin was born in Seoul, South Korea and is a graduate of Wellesley College and Cornell University Medical College. She is a board certified dermatologist, K-Beauty Skincare expert and director of Premier Dermatology in the San Francisco Bay area. 

Dr. Jhin is the author of “Asian Beauty Secrets: Ancient and Modern Tips from the Far East”, and her new book, K-Beauty Secrets: Accessible Beauty For Every Woman is now available for pre-order.


Is there a way to get a quick boost in skincare for an important event? A friend recommended BBL but I’m afraid of lasers! I also have some melasma—is BBL safe for me?

Excellent question.  Many of my patients come to see me prior to a big event to look their best.  I often recommend treatments that are called “red carpet” treatments.  Before I tell you what some of these treatments are, it’s important to prepare at least 1 month in advance since many of these treatments are best if done in advance.  Also, looking your best also means working with the type of skin you have and the issues that are bothering you.  So if you’re breaking out with acne then there are tips and tricks that I suggest before an important event.  If your skin looks dull and dry then I would suggest something different.  So it’s important to get an analysis if possible by a board certified dermatologist to get the best treatments.

Also there are treatments you can do at home that may help boost your look.  For example, I may use a sheet mask the night before an event followed by a jade roller under my eyes prior to an event.  I also like this Face up Mask the night before as well. All these treatments can help make your skin more dewy and less puffy so you will be camera ready.

For office treatments that work quickly, here are some of my favorites.

  • Neurotoxins such as Botox or Dysport work within 1-2 weeks and are a great way to look refreshed before an event.  
  • Aquagold or micro infusion treatments involve the use of gold-plated, stainless steel needles which create microchannels to deliver products such as antioxidants, wrinkle relaxers and dermal fillers directly to the surface of the skin.  This helps to refresh the skin, decrease the pores, and remove fine lines before an event. 
  • Clear and Brilliant is a type of fractional laser that creates thousands of tiny pinpoint beams of laser energy to penetrate skin and stimulate the skin’s regenerative process from within.  This laser is great for brown spots, melasma, scars, wrinkles.  This laser can help your skin look clear and brilliant for an event.  BBL/IPL lasers are not used for melasma.
  • Hydrafacials is a device that is done by an aesthetician.  It combines cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration and antioxidant protection that removes dead skin cells and impurities, while simultaneously delivering moisturizing serums into the skin.  It will help your skin look fresh and dewy before an event.
How important is it to get regular massages/facials for skincare? Should I splurge on getting regular facials at a salon or spa? Can you describe a home massage that I can do myself?

Any form of self care such as facials, massages are great for your skin but also your well being.  

Make sure the spa has membership in a national or international spa association.

Massage therapists and aestheticians should also be licensed. The consumer needs to be very diligent to make sure that the therapist who is working on them is licensed in their state. Even if the state doesn’t have a license — in the case of massage therapists — they should have documentation from their school (a reputable one) that they have completed training. They also need to be able to produce certification that they actually are trained in some of the machines they’re using, the devices, and the application of certain products.

Facials are great to help if you need a cleansing or need extractions.  As you get older, you may want to incorporate chemical peels, microdermabrasion or hydrafacials with your facials, which are treatments that can help with wrinkles, scars, fine lines as well as dry skin.  There are facials that also incorporate lymphatic massages which is a type of gentle massage that is intended to encourage the natural drainage of the lymph and helps remove toxins and helps swelling of the face.

For home, you can use the K-beauty 10-step routine as described in my book “K beauty Secrets” as a form of massage.  With each step, massage the products gently to the face. 

You can also buy at home devices that are very popular such as the LED red light which penetrates into the dermis where it stimulates cells that produce collagen and elastin.

For at home treatments that can mimic a massage, consider using Gua Sha.

 In my book “Asian Beauty Secrets”, I mention techniques such as Gua Sha and other forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine that have been used for centuries to help heal ailments by moving “qi” or energy in your body.  Gua sha is a technique where the practitioner uses a stone or tool with a smooth surface to scrape the skin multiple times in order to improve lymphatic drainage and increase circulation in areas where there is inflammation or tension.

Gua Sha is helpful to relieve muscle tension, headaches and inflammation.  It can be used on the neck, back, buttocks, arms, legs and even the face.  Some report it to help with chronic pain, arthritis and even conditions such as hepatitis, migraines, tourettes and perimenopausal symptoms. A gua sha tool is used which is usually a stone  with a flat surface. The smooth part of the tool is gently rubbed after oil is applied in the areas of inflammation.  The tool is repeatedly scraped in a downward direction or direction of your lymphatic drainage to move energy. 

I am having trouble finding a great mineral sunscreen that feels good on my face. Do you think chemical sunscreens are just as good or should I keep looking?

In my opinion, any sunscreen or sun protection is better than none.  

Chemical-based sunscreens use chemicals to guard against the sun, while physical sunscreens use minerals, mainly composed of titanium and zinc oxide. This means that chemical-based sunscreens actually absorb the sun’s rays with chemicals like oxybenzone. A chemical reaction turns the harmful rays into heat, which is then dissipated from skin into the air. Natural, or mineral-based, sunscreens instead reflect the sun’s rays, like a mirror on the skin.   

Both sunscreens work well.  Some people prefer mineral sunscreen especially if they have sensitive skin or they are using it for young children.  Chemical sunscreens also run the risk of an allergic reaction versus the mineral sunscreens.  

If you like chemical sunscreens then by all means use them.


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About Dr. Marie Jhin

Dr. Marie Jhin was born in Seoul, South Korea, and moved to the United States at the age of 6.  She moved around the US (Hawaii, Michigan, Virginia and New York) due to her father’s work assignments.  Dr. Jhin graduated from Wellesley College and then went on to Cornell University Weill Medical School.  After medical school, Dr. Jhin finished a residency in Internal Medicine before doing her Dermatology residency.  Upon finishing her Dermatology residency, she moved to the SF Bay Area, which she now calls home.  She is blessed to have a blended family of five kids, a wonderful husband and two dogs.  In her spare time, she loves traveling and being very active in healthcare advocacy. Find her on Instagram @drjhinskin

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