The Christine Chin Skin Cure-All

Christine Chin has been cleaning the faces of many of the city’s working models and actresses for decades. Nicknamed Mean Christine (she’s actually totally lovely), the treatments at this Lower East Side institution are light on spa flourishes and hard on extractions: They don’t sweep the microdermabrasion paddle across your face just once, after all—they work it across your skin until all the plaque (the dry skin you feel when you touch your face) is gone. All gone. Likewise, Christine and her team will literally dig out “donuts”—indentations and bumps left behind by a pimple that comes and goes repeatedly—so that the skin can heal flat. Regardless, a visit is not for the faint of heart—in fact, you might want to pop a Vicodin in advance of a session. Below, Christine explains how she treats some of the issues she sees most frequently. (And for more of our favorite spots for facials, look best facials.)


“Basically with a donut, there’s excess production of the sebaceous oil glands. So when people have a lot of build-up and oil from their glands, and they get a pimple or rash, they can develop donuts when it’s not professionally cleaned out. If it’s left alone, or not fully removed and scabs over, it will stay in your skin. Those oil glands are still producing, and so it will get bigger and bigger—it’s like pregnancy! After awhile—a few months, or even a few years—you will develop a big lump that can come to look like a big donut, where the hole in the middle is the oil gland. To make it go away, it must be opened up and completely dug out, including the back of the pimple. If it is done right, it will heal without a trace in four to seven days.”

“When I encounter one that is really big—so big that cutting it is impossible—I will put a needle in to melt it as it’s essentially just hardened oil. If left forever, it can literally become stone-like.”


“I’ve treated a lot of rosacea, from mild to severe. The best thing to do is to find the right microdermabrasion, and use the right products for sensitive skin, including a hydrating toner. A lot of people who come to me have been using heavy, medical creams that can make the skin even worse. The plaque piles up, and suffocates the skin, and makes it even more inflamed.”

Cystic Acne Scars

“I use a laser to treat cystic acne, though first, and most importantly, we must really clean the skin to take out the infection. If you go straight to laser, it can make the problem worse. One client came to me after going to a dermatologist for a laser treatment and her cheeks were purple-y blue and bruised and full of puss. I needed a lance to open them up to drain them: The puss came out like a balloon. You must clear up the skin so it’s not incredibly infected—then you can use a CH laser, which has 36 teeny needles that transfer a radio frequency to the skin. Every day, your skin will start to get better as it builds up more collagen. Even if someone has years of acne scars and craters on their face, I can take care of it so long as they can spend the money and time.”

Pollution & Food Allergies

“Sometimes people come because they believe they’ve developed acne, but the blemishes are not pimples, and they are not blackheads—it’s a rash. When that happens, we send them to check for allergies. In my experience, many people are allergic to yeast, which unfortunately, is in a lot of food. And unfortunately, everything you eat does show up in your face. Also, pollution and the quality of water (LA has terrible water) can absolutely affect your skin.”

Fungus & Skin Tags

“Fungus, or those pesky little skin tags, really comes down to sanitation—a lot of my clients tan, and when the skin is dry, it can attract a lot of bacteria, especially around the neck. Perfume is also drying. Also, women tend to wear a lot of necklaces and then sweat a lot. Also, a lot of clients use powder shampoos or wash their hair infrequently. Fungus is highly contagious and will go all over the body. I’ve literally removed 100s of skin tags from a single person.”


“While I have a lot of clients who do Botox and fillers, and really have nothing against it, I do believe that aging gracefully is much more beautiful than getting all puffed up. Honestly, the most important thing is sunscreen, as it prevents the sun from damaging the skin, including the deeper layers. When all the collagen is destroyed it’s very aging. This is particularly important for people who live on the water as skin is so delicate, especially on blondes. I’ve seen 19-year-olds who have the skin of a 50-year-old simply because they do nothing to protect their skin. And don’t forget your eyes and eyelids!”

“We do have a special laser to remove sun damage, which does make people look younger. It pumps up the collagen and can remove broken capillaries. But while it can resculpt, firm, and regenerate the skin on the face, it’s never quite the same.”

“And then finally, drink water. Drink lots and lots of water. And use toner—when you’re brushing your teeth, you’re not relying solely on the brush to clean your teeth. The toothpaste matters. Skipping toner is like skipping toothpaste. Clean, tone, and then apply sunblock and eyecream. Twice a day! If everyone followed those rules they’d be so much happier!”