Welcome to The Upvote, where we reveal the best beauty finds, break down the hottest topics, and tackle the most burning questions from Reddit’s vast beauty community and bring it all straight to you. It’s just like talking beauty with your BFFs — all 575 million of them.
Even if you’re a regular polyglot (looking at you, Natalie Portman), learning about skin care from people who already know a lot about skin care can sometimes feel like a study in foreign-language immersion. Factor in a lengthy list of acronyms and shortened forms like ‘cones (that would be silicones) and Vit C (yes, for vitamin C), and it’s basically the Tower of Babel up in Reddit’s SkincareAddiction, where the routine advice is plentiful, the community is tight, and the ease of navigation is… not the best.
Ahead, we’ve decoded some of the forum’s most commonly-used acronyms and phrases. Because once you know the right word for “dark spots” and how to determine whether it’s PIH or PIE that’s lingering post-breakout, you’re that much more likely to find the right stuff to sort it out. Don’t let a minor language barrier get in the way of your perfect skin goals.
OCM: Oil Cleansing Method
There is life beyond harsh cleansers that leave skin feeling dry, tight, and squeaky clean in the worst way — it’s called oil cleansing. The idea of using oil as a solvent to remove makeup and impurities without stripping skin of its natural moisture balance might sound like a Crisco marketing ploy to the uninitiated, but the “like dissolves like” theory is legit. Do it yourself with oils like jojoba, castor, and sweet almond, or buy one from the store. (See also: grits.)
SF: Sebaceous Filaments
Not blackheads. Often seen in the T-zone area, sebaceous filaments are normal, healthy hair follicles that can develop a grayish appearance frequently mistaken for blackheads. You can lessen their appearance with exfoliation but, for the most part, they should be left alone — as in, not popped, picked, or squeezed.
PIH: Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
The actual name for what we’ve come to colloquially refer to as “dark spots,” PIH is the cause of the purplish spots that remain after a breakout has healed. Inflammation of the skin, like the kind that results from acne, can trigger melanin overproduction as it attempts to protect itself, leaving dark pigmentation behind.
PIE: Post-Inflammatory Erythema
Similar to PIH, but not the …read more