We all want perfect, glowing skin, but with new products hitting the stores all the time and seemingly limitless skincare advice on the Internet, it's not always easy to figure out which skincare program is right for you. You already know the basics: drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep, and wash your face, but what about the rest? Fortunately, there's no need to spend a fortune on pricey treatments or mystical procedures to attain beautiful skin.
We consulted physicians and top beauty professionals to compile a list of the best skincare recommendations. These simple tips — along with some top-tested product selections from the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab — will help you have glowing skin as soon as possible, from choosing the proper cleanser for your skin type to the necessity of cleaning your makeup brushes.
"A salicylic gel or benzoyl peroxide wash works excellent for oily or acne-prone skin," says Dr. Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Santa Monica. "Use a moisturizing glycolic or milky cleanser on dry mature skin. Use a brightening wash, such as an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser, on skin with brown patches or melasma."
Dr. Julia Tzu, a dermatologist in New York City, warns that layering many skincare products at once is a big no-no. It can be irritating to the skin, causing breakouts and plugged pores.
Dr. Janet Prystowsky M.D., a dermatologist in New York City, says the optimal times to moisturize are just after you get out of the shower and shortly before bed.
Avoid lotions with strong scents and look for a moisturizer that is soft enough to apply every day without causing irritation.
It's critical, according to Dr. Tzu, to figure out how to avoid touching your face. It can cause scars, wrinkles, and even the flu or other viruses, in addition to spreading bacteria and causing outbreaks.
The importance of hydration was stressed by every skin specialist we spoke with. According to Dr. Mona Gohara, a dermatologist in Connecticut, "a lack of hydration equals less brightness and greater sag." She recommends using hydrating formulae in all of your products (cleaning, moisturizing, and anti-aging). Also, drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
Not only should you avoid the sun, but you should also avoid being too close to heaters and fireplaces. "Inflammation and collagen degradation are the results. I recommend keeping a distance of at least ten feet "Dr. Debbie Palmer, a dermatologist in New York, advises. Take a step back the next time you're roasting chestnuts or s'mores over an open fire.
"We lose 50 million skin cells every day, and if we don't give them a little additional kick, they'll hang around and make the skin seem sad," Dr. Gohara adds. To combat this, "select a pH-neutral product that will not dry out as it exfoliates." Exfoliating your skin on your body is just as important as exfoliating your face.
While a well-balanced diet is essential, there are other ways to provide vitamins to your skin. Topical antioxidants are serums and lotions that offer nourishing nutrients for the skin (think vitamin C serum).
Dr. Palmer states, "These can significantly assist to restore the skin from sun damage." Are you unsure how to put them to use? They're best applied shortly after cleansing to allow your skin to absorb them, or you may layer them under your sunscreen for extra protection.
Though it's tempting to reach for a cup of coffee as soon as you wake up, Joanna Vargas, a NYC-based skincare facialist, believes that picking the correct beverages might make all the difference. "To brighten, oxygenate, and moisturize your skin, take a shot of chlorophyll every morning. Chlorophyll also aids in the drainage of puffiness by activating the lymphatic system, making it beneficial for cellulite."
If you don't want to have a shot, chlorophyll pills are available at most drugstores and health food stores. "It will alter your skin in a couple of days," she says, "and it helps oxygenate the skin and stimulates lymphatic drainage, so it's also de-puffing."
"Omega-3 fatty acid is crucial to your skin's natural barrier to retain moisture," Joanna adds. "Adding flax seeds to your salad or walnuts to your diet will instantly enhance your omega-3 levels, improving your skin's capacity to retain moisture." Also, eat a diet that is low in items with a high glycemic index (simple and complex carbohydrates).
Dr. Prystowsky recommends washing concealer and foundation brushes once a week to prevent infection and blocked pores. She says using brushes around your eyes twice a month, and any other brushes once a month is good.
Here's how to do it: In the palm of your hand, place a drop of mild shampoo. Using lukewarm water, wet the bristles. Then, in your palm, rub the bristles to spread the shampoo throughout the brush. If the metal section of the brush becomes wet, or the base of the brush hairs gets moist, the glue will soften and the bristles will fall out. Rinse out the shampoo and wring out the excess water using a towel. To dry, lay the brushes on their sides with the bristles dangling off the counter's edge.
"Many individuals believe they only need to wear sunscreen on sunny days or when going to the beach," Dr. Palmer explains. "However, even when driving a car, flying in an airplane, or running errands, we need to protect our skin. UV exposure on a daily basis contributes to the obvious indicators of aging." What is the best sunscreen? Select a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and remember to reapply every two hours.
"Fad products and exotic substances are interesting to try, and they occasionally work wonderfully," Dr. Prystowsky explains, "but they usually go as quickly as they appear."
It's more than just getting eight hours of sleep every night.
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