Achieving flawless skin is a process, and that process doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes the right products and a solid routine to ensure you look your best from head to do. While there is an endless list of products that claim will give you your best skin, many dermatologists believe that less is best.
In an interview with The Today Show, New York-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner said it’s best to use only one or two products in the morning and evening. “The fewer products to apply means fewer products you forget to use. So keeping it simple usually helps people stay on track with regular use of their products.” This simplified method helps you create your ideal routine and stick to it.
That said, slathering a pricey product on your face isn’t the only way to achieve that ever-desired glow. It takes some effort to ensure your skin is not only looking its best but is truly healthy inside and out. Whether you’re traveling, working long hours, or out enjoying one too many cocktails with friends, it’s important to try your best to follow these 12 steps before to achieve flawless skin at any age
- Get quality sleep every night.
Anyone who has had to pull an all-nighter can confirm that “beauty sleep” is very real. Even the cleverest of makeup tricks won’t do much to help out the deep circles that form under your eyes when you’ve skipped getting in a night of solid rest. Research has shown that a lack of sleep can contribute to periorbital hyperpigmentation, which causes those dark circles.
Your skin makes new collagen while you sleep, which prevents sagging that leads to fine lines and wrinkles. According to New York dermatologist Patricia Wexler, only getting five or less hours of sleep a night can leave your skin dryer, making lines more visible.
Create a sleep routine that works for you, and stick to it as often as possible.
- Use SPF daily.
Most people only apply sunscreen when heading to the beach or pool. The truth is you should be wearing it every day, both on your face and on your body. Sunlight is at the root of skin damage, accounting for 80% of the signs of visible aging, such as skin thinning, wrinkles, and facial lines. It is also a major contributor to skin cancer.
Even on cloudy or cold days, the sun can still cause damage. So, invest in a quality sunscreen, and protect your skin and body from the inevitable harm the sun will do over time.
- Schedule some chill time.
Some days are just go, go, go. While having a hectic daily life isn’t uncommon, it’s important to try your best to plan ahead and schedule in some relaxation. Both tension and stress wreak havoc on the body. This causes a surge of cortisol, a hormone that breaks down collagen and elastin, ultimately leading to wrinkles. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, stress can also exacerbate skin conditions such as psoriasis and rosacea.
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Your skin’s moisture needs will change as each season changes. Making sure your skin stays moisturized is extremely important to fighting off wrinkles, fine lines, and other issues that overly-dry skin can cause like acne breakouts and more. In the winter months when the air is much dryer, you’ll need a heavier moisturizer. And as the cold weather eases up, you can ease up on the level of moisture and find a lighter option. Pay attention to your skin from head to toe; it’ll let you know what it needs.
- Establish a workout routine— even for just 30 minutes a day.
You don’t need to become a gym rat overnight, but spending just 30 minutes a day about five days a week can actually improve your skin and leave you with a more radiant glow. A study presented at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine showed that previously sedentary subjects who started a regular exercise routine had a reversal of their skin’s signs of aging.
New York City dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick says, “Exercise, by getting the heart rate up and improving blood circulation, can help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin which keeps the skin healthy, promotes collagen production, and promotes new skin cells which keeps the skin looking glowing and is also helpful for anti-aging.”
- Wash your face every morning and night, even if you skipped wearing makeup that day.
Foundation, shimmery bronzers, and other face makeup will lead to congested pores and breakouts. But even if you don’t wear makeup, small microparticles from air pollutants build up on your face and body. Be sure all your makeup is off your face before you apply any night creams.
Additionally, sweat, facial oils, skin cells, hair and face products, and dust all end up smushed into your pillow at night. When you sleep, all of these things can pack themselves into your skin. So it’s best to wash your face in the morning as well. You may also want to consider buying a few sets of pillowcases so you can change them out every few days.
- Limit your sugar intake.
A staggering amount of the foods we eat contain sugars, whether natural or refined. Fruits, for example, can have high sugar content. But their health benefits make those natural sugars pretty benevolent when consumed moderately.
What you want to stay away from is sweets such as candy, white carbs, baked goods, and pretty much any foods with a high glycemic index. These processed guilty pleasures lead to inflammation and create an increase in cortisol through a process called glycosylation, where sugars bind to collagen and weaken it. Excess sugar intake can also aggravate skin conditions like eczema and cause acne breakouts.
- Don’t overdo it when exfoliating.
Your skin needs to be exfoliated regularly to slough away dead skin cells and dirt packed into your pores. That said, a gentle exfoliant is all you need to have smooth, radiant skin. Jessica Krant, M.D, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology, says working too hard on your skin leads to increased microscopic inflammation that swells the surface of the skin, clogging pores and increasing blemishes and redness. You only need to gently exfoliate once a week to allow new skin cells to emerge.
- Keep your hands off your face.
Touching your face regularly and popping pimples with your fingers leads to several issues. Your hands contain oils and dirt. Even if you just washed your hands, your face has oils on it that can be spread and pushed down into your pores leading to breakouts and blackheads. Picking at and popping pimples may be satisfying in the moment, but doing so can lead to more acne and even scarring. Do your best to keep your hands off your face, and if stubborn acne just won’t go away, see a dermatologist who will know the best way to treat it.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Facial moisturizers and body lotions can only do so much if you aren’t drinking enough water. Along with your daily and nightly skincare regimen, you need to be drinking plenty of water to flush your system of toxins. This keeps your skin clean, pushes out bacteria, and reduces the risk of acne and other skin problems.
Your skin is largely made up of water, and you lose large quantities of water every day. When you’re dehydrated, your skin not only becomes dry, tight, and flaky, but it also becomes more prone to aging.
- Use a repairing serum.
A nightly repairing serum can vastly improve your skin quality. Repairing serums help repair skin damage, reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, and assist hydration by penetrating deeply into your skin. It’s best to apply serums at night, giving the skin ample time to soak in the benefits and begin to repair without being exposed to pollutants.
- Invest in silk pillowcases.
A silk pillowcase has a much smoother surface than the traditional cotton pillowcase. This means less tugging and friction on your skin (and your hair) at night. Silk is also less absorbent than cotton, so it doesn’t steal as much moisture from your face which can help decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
These are just a few ways to improve your skin and keep you looking your best. The common thread here, is all of these are “healthy choices”. You’re not going to ruin your skin by making the healthier choice. Sleeping enough, protecting yourself with SPF, limiting sugar; all of these will help you look better and feel better.
Do you have any other natural solutions for skin care? Have you totally ditched serums and creams for these health habits? We want to know your story below...