There seems to be a plethora of ideas and opinions out there about what is best for your skin and how you should best take care of that complexion to maintain its healthy glow. Your dermatologist may say one thing, your spa may say another, your best friend yet something different, and your favorite magazine will have a whole article full of advice. Much of the information out there is sound advice, and chances are, you wouldn’t be steered wrong if you followed it.
But everywhere we turned, and no matter who we talked to, the same five recommendations came up time and time again. . . .over and over.
With just about everyone in agreement on these five tips, we just know you can’t go wrong! So what are these phenomenally hot tips everyone is raving about? You may just be surprised because they’re really not secrets at all!
1. Wash Your Face Before Bed
It’s an absolute must. During the course of the day, your skin has magically suctioned up all sorts of dirt and dust particles and environmental pollutants. Yup. Micro particles of pollutants, which can damage you skin. Add to the gunk-pile the makeup that you applied in the morning, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a mess. According to My Thirty Spot, makeup clogs your pores and is filled with all the outside elements from the day like dirt, dust, smoke, smog, etc. It’s a magnet for all of those things. Leaving that on overnight is just asking for a breakout.
Cosmetic dermatologist Doris Day believes that most people don’t wash their face properly. She recommends using a cleansing brush with a gentle facial cleanser in lukewarm water to remove the day’s dirt and oil. Don’t overdo it with the brush. Dr. Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Santa Monica recommends making sure you choose the right cleanser for your skin type. “For oily or acne prone skin, a salicylic gel or benzoyl peroxide wash works great,” she says. “For dry mature skin, use either a moisturizing glycolic or milky cleanser. For skin with brown spots or melasma, use a brightening wash, such as an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser.”
2. Moisturize Your Face Properly
Making sure that your skin is able to hang on to hydration is crucial for its vitality. Moisturizers help to slow down water loss through the outer layers of skin, and strengthening your skin barrier. Look for a moisturizer that is gentle enough for every-day use and that doesn’t cause irritation. Lotions with heavy fragrances are a no-no for just about everyone, and if you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to look for products that contain ceramides, one of the three types of lipids (fats) in the skin.
Dry winter months will find your skin begging for more and thicker moisturizers, while you’ll be able to back off during the humid summer months. “People with perfect skin are in touch with how dry their skin may be and how important it is to keep skin moist,” says David J. Leffell, M.D., professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine.
Use products that contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin A (in the form of retinol), vitamin E, and vitamin C. They’ll help your skin combat free radical damage to help reduce and prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and inflammation.
Not only do you have to worry about what moisturizer to choose, you also have to know the best time to do it! “The best times to moisturize are right after you get out of the shower and right before you go to bed,” explains Dr. Janet Prystowsky MD, an NYC-based dermatologist.
3. Wear Sunscreen x 365
Sunlight is the cause of 80% of the signs of visible aging such as freckling, skin thinning, wrinkles, and some facial lines . . . .not to mention the big dreaded “C. “
“Many people feel they only need to protect themselves on sunny days or when visiting the beach,” says Dr. Debbie Palmer, a New York dermatologist. “But the truth is that we need to protect our skin even when we’re driving a car, flying in an airplane, or running errands. It’s the daily UV exposure that contributes to the visible signs of aging.”
“You’re consistently exposed to the sun’s rays during daylight hours, even when you don’t realize it,” warns Jeanine Downie, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and director of Image Dermatology in Montclair, New Jersey. “You should be wearing an SPF 30 every day, not only to protect against skin cancer but to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, and uneven skin tone.” That sage advice doesn’t matter what skin complexion you have, or what the season may be. Just because it may be chilly out doesn’t mean the sun’s not throwing harmful UV rays in your direction. Damage from the sun’s rays is cumulative, so protecting yourself now is vital to preventing wrinkles and age spots in the future.
Protect yourself every day with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Roger S. Ho, M.D., of the NYU Medical Center advises you apply it every two hours that you’re in the sun. But that’s not enough. You should really try to avoid direct sunlight (by staying indoors or seeking good shade) between the hours of 10am and 2pm. Supplement all that with protective clothing and sunglasses. The sensitive skin around your eyes is at risk, too!
4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Drink Lots of Water (fooled ya!)
Every skin expert you ask will tell you one of the absolute best things you can do for your skin is to stay hydrated. (And no, wine doesn’t do the trick.) A lack of water can lead to dry, flaky skin that’s prone to breakouts, acne, and wrinkles. That means “less radiance and more sag,” says Dr. Mona Gohara, associate clinical professor at the Yale Department of Dermatology.
Skin is your largest organ, and it requires good hydration to function properly. Those eight glasses a day will do wonders for your complexion (and overall health!). Watch drinking too much tap water though. It is loaded with chlorine, which can wreak havoc with the important good bacteria in your gut. Turn towards natural spring water or glass bottled water when you can.
5. Sleep Well and Relax Often
Beauty sleep is definitely real.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to inflammation (which can lead to breakouts) and accelerated aging. Your cells need time to rejuvenate, rest, and heal. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your skin doesn’t have the chance to do that. In fact, collagen, important in maintaining your skin’s elasticity and shape, is made during your deepest stages of sleep.
Chronic tension and physical stress causes surges of cortisol in the body. Nothing is worse for beauty than prolonged levels of cortisol (the fight or flight hormone) surging through your body. This hormone can break down collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles, warns Gohara. Stress will also worsen certain skin conditions, like psoriasis or rosacea, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Learn how to relax, not only for your skin, but your overall health, as well!