Contrary to popular belief, the secret to great skin doesn't lie in semi-annual bathing in the Fountain of Youth or promising your firstborn child to an exorbitantly expensive skincare line. In fact, it's all pretty simple. There are really only a handful of things you should be doing for your skin each day to achieve a fresh, glowing complexion. It can often seem like the most elusive beauty goal in the book, but bringing your routine back to basics can yield major changes.
There are literally endless options when it comes to skin care — antiaging serums, toners, acne-fighting cleansers, soothing masks... you name it. And while these things can have a place in your skincare routine, that doesn't mean all of them need to. Don't have acne? No need for a face lotion with salicylic acid. Aren't worried about fine lines? Save the hard-core retinoid cream for when you are.
It's all about customizing for your own needs, so you don't overload your skin. Personally, I love using my witch hazel toner to balance out my skin a few times a week, and the occasional charcoal mask to clear out toxins. I also swear by manuka honey to calm down redness. But when it comes to things I use on the reg, I strongly believe less is more.
That said, the "less" part of that equation is paramount. Here's what everyone should do for their skin on the daily.
Cleanse Based On Your Skin Type
This is where things really get personal, because everyone's skin is different. Dermatologists are divided on whether you really need to cleanse twice a day, so your best bet is paying attention to what works for you. Oily skin? Morning and night is probably the best option. Dry skin? You may be better off with once a day. Choose a simple cleanser, and consider springing for a skin brush — I like using Cetaphil alone when I wake up, and I employ my beloved Clarisonic before bed. (It's game-changing.)
Much like washing your face, how often you moisturize is up to you, but ideally you should be doing it at least once a day. If you're a twice-a-day kind of girl, a lighter formula or serum in the morning is perfect for wearing under makeup, and you can save the heavier stuff for nighttime. An undereye cream can also be a good addition — the area around your eyes is delicate, so it's more likely to become dry or irritated.
Use SPF Religiously
The cardinal sin of skincare? Not using sun protection. Not only does it prevent skin cancer, but it also protects against signs of aging (I'm not going to lie — that's a big motivator for future me.) And I hate to break it to you, but according to an article by The New York Times, the SPF in your makeup most likely isn't enough. Choose something light, oil-free and non-comedogenic.
The best way to keep your skin looking healthy without even knowing it? Drinking your agua. Skin can look dull when you're dehydrated, so keep a water bottle on hand during the day for sippin' on. Drinking more water is certainly not going to hurt you, and the benefits are myriad. You can stay hydrated by eating water-rich foods, too, like fruits and veggies (watermelon, anyone?)
Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face
I admit, I am the worst offender of this (I will probably touch my face within 60 seconds of writing this sentence.) Your hands carry tons of bacteria, dirt and oil (ew), and your fingers can transfer all that good stuff to your skin. Hello, potential acne. Your best defense? Hands off.
Ah, the golden rule of skin care. I repeat: Take. Off. Your. Makeup. Before. Bed. You won't regret it. Wearing makeup to bed can clog pores, which can cause acne. Plus, Women's Health spoke to Dennis Gross, MD about the issue, who said “When the makeup becomes impacted in pores, it can make them appear larger.” No bueno.
Get Enough ZZZs
There are many benefits to getting enough sleep, and good skin is one of them. According to DoctorOz.com, not getting enough sleep increases inflammation and "reduces the skin’s ability to stay hydrated and supple leading to a dull, dehydrated appearance."
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