Craving that fresh faced look but feeling a bit spotty? We tapped Dr. Debra Jaliman, New York City Dermatologist, American Academy of Dermatology Spokesperson, and author of Skin Rules, for her top tips for getting - and keeping! - clear skin.
Wash, wash, wash
You're probably not surprised that Dr. Jaliman's first tip for clear skin is to WASH YOUR FACE! We're talking morning and night. The emphasis here, however, is on HOW you do it.
"I'm a big fan of sonic cleansing systems," Dr. Jaliman says. "One option is the Clarisonic which has different brush heads for different skin types. Another is the Foreo. I find these are better than manually washing the skin."
Not quite ready to invest in one of these bad boys? Opt for a cotton round or a washcloth.
"If you choose a washcloth you must change the washcloth every time you wash your face otherwise bacteria builds up on the cloth. You can choose a mild cleanser like Cetaphil or Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish.
Are you surprised by the budget-friendly suggestions above? As she states in her book, Skin Rules, Dr. Jaliman says, "Don't waste money on expensive cleansers - spend it on moisturisers, sunscreens, and antiaging products instead."
Makes sense to us. Cleansers are washed off the face almost immediately... everything else is essentially made to stay put. Might as well drop the big bucks on those goodies!
Yep... you knew it was coming! Taking special care to protect our face from the sun is one of the most important ways we can keep our skin clear - and healthy.
"It's important to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen so that the UV rays do not keep the skin red and do not cause postinflammatory hyperpigmentation," Dr. Jaliman says.
"Choose a sunscreen that is noncomedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores. I like EltaMD UV Clear. It has zinc oxide which is anti-inflammatory and helps soothe acne-prone skin." Another good option is La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50.
Not spending all day in the sun? Doesn't matter, SPF is always important. "Remember, look for a moisturiser with an SPF of at least 30, even if you're going to be sitting in an office or a classroom," Dr. Jaliman says. You may feel protected indoors, but windows and glass walls let in harmful UV rays, too!
Give your skin what it needs
We all need to wash our face, and we all need to apply SPF - those two things we can agree on. But aside from those caveats, our routines can vary greatly depending on the condition of our skin: dry, sensitive, combination, acne, or oily. And we all need our products to do different things, whether it's anti-aging, moisturising, or brightening.
"If you are oily in the t-zone, it's helpful to use an impregnated pad with salicylic or glycolic acid. It helps clear up the skin and does not dry it out," Dr. Jaliman says. Try something like the Superfacialist Tea Flower Pore Purifying Clay Mask or Korres Sensitive Sage and Salicylic Acid Regulating Gel.
Don't forget that skin changes with the seasons too. It may need different things in July than it did in January.
Dr. Jaliman tells us, "Keep in mind that a cleansing routine that works in winter may not work so well in summer. Plus, what worked for you a couple years ago may no longer be effective because of age or changes in hormone levels reflected in our skin. When it comes to skin, you should be observant and adaptable."
Your skin will tell you what it needs - it's up to you to listen!
Watch what you eat
Turns out what you put in your body is just as important as what you slather on top of it! Guess the old adage, "you are what you eat," is true in this case.
"Avoid processed foods and especially high glycemic foods," Dr. Jaliman advises. Processed foods are full of crap that aren't good for you inside OR out. High glycemic foods rapidly convert to sugar. Sugar raises your insulin levels, which causes inflammation. The enzymes produced by that inflammation break down collagen and elastin - the good stuff that helps your skin staying - and looking - firm. With a decrease in these, your skin could start to sag or - GASP - look wrinkled!
Dr. Jaliman also suggests limiting dairy products as they can flare acne. If you suffer from acne and eat a lot of dairy products, try cutting it out for a bit to see if your blemishes subside at all.
Don't touch (too much)
We've all probably been guilty of touching our faces too much at one point or another. After all, it's an area our hands spend quite a bit of time in - from skin care to makeup applications to scrutinising our pores, it's a part of our body we're pretty familiar with.
However, too much touching, especially when it isn't preceded by hand washing, can be bad. Think of all of the other things our hands come into contact with during the day. Would you want all of that on your face?
"Keep your hands off your skin as there's bacteria on the hands," Dr. Jaliman says.
Watch that mobile, too. "Wear ear phones when talking on your cell phone instead of holding it against your face. It can aggravate your acne."
Another hint for keeping your skin clear? "Change your pillowcases frequently," Dr. Jaliman says.
Admit it, you've tried to extract your own pimples and blackheads before. We've ALL done it, even though we know it's wrong. But are there any exceptions?
Nope. Plain and simple, "Do not pick your skin," Dr. Jaliman states.
"Be patient with your acne regimen as it takes time to clear the skin. Products with benzyl peroxide or retinol are very helpful with acne." Bio Retinoid by Ren Anti Ageing Concentrate tackles the signs of ageing and combats imperfections, leaving skin smoother and brighter.
When you get frustrated, remember: nothing beautiful ever happened quickly!
Create a ritual
Some of us prefer to concentrate on our skincare routine in the morning before we put on our makeup; others relish the opportunity to indulge in a face mask before bed. Whatever you do, and whenever you do it, Dr. Jaliman has two absolute rules:
1. Swipe before sleep.
2. Shower after sweat.
"Never go to sleep with make up on," Dr. Jaliman warns. "It will clog your pores."
If you're dead tired and can't think of anything but falling into bed, we totally get it. Keep a pack of makeup wipes in your bedside table for those nights when you can't be bothered with a full face wash. Then you'll REALLY have no excuses for snoozing in your mascara!
But don't be lazy too often. "I cannot emphasise this enough: Never go to bed without cleansing your face," Dr. Jaliman says.
And no matter what time you get your workout on, make sure to take care of your face afterward. "Always shower and clean your face after exercise," Dr. Jaliman says. "Heat and bacteria from exercise can be a problem."
What's your favourite product for getting clear skin? Tweet us @sofeminineUK
You might also like: