Sometimes it’s hard to know what your skin really needs to be as healthy as possible.
Every day we are bombarded by marketing hype for various skin care and cosmetic products, as well as advice from social media influencers and other beauty gurus.
So, what does the research say your skin actually needs? What helps and what doesn’t in the quest for clear, radiant skin?
This write-up will help answer those questions by providing some basic tips on what you can do to get the glowing complexion you want.
Wash your face daily
If you are prone to breakouts or have oily skin, don’t skimp on washing your face as part of your morning and evening skin care routine.
Use a simple cleanser
The aisles at most drugstores are packed with all sorts of facial cleansers. Trying to figure out which one is right for you can be overwhelming.
When it comes to choosing the ‘best’ cleanser, fancier may not necessarily be better.
While this may be disappointing if you’ve spent a lot of money on an expensive cleanser, the takeaway here is that keeping it simple is probably best.
A mild cleanser without a lot of ingredients and fragrances can work just as well as more expensive options.
Moisturize when necessary
How does a moisturizer help keep your skin clear? Well, if your skin is excessively dry, it may try to compensate for the dryness by overproducing oil. The result? Breakouts.
Like cleansers, moisturizers don’t have to be expensive or filled with fancy ingredients.
More importantly, look for a moisturizer that’s noncomedogenic. This means it won’t clog your pores.
If you have oily skin, moisturizers labeled “lightweight” may be best to prevent a heavy, greasy feeling.
Some people find they have to switch to heavier moisturizers during the winter months when cold, dry air can leave skin feeling tight and dried out.
Exfoliation can help remove excess dead skin cells. If these cells stay on your skin for too long, they can clog your pores and lead to breakouts.
Having a buildup of dead cells on your face may also make your skin look dull, flaky, or prematurely aged.
Get enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep may also cause your skin to break out more often.
To stay healthy both on the inside and out, aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.
Apply an acne-fighting agent
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), many topical therapies can help fight acne.
The key to finding the most effective one for you is knowing what type of acne you have.
Depending on the type of acne you have, the AAD recommends the following:
- Comedonal acne (blackheads and similar bumps). Look for products that contain retinoids like adapalene gel (Differin).
- Mild acne. Topical benzoyl peroxide can help fight mild acne, either on its own or together with a topical retinoid.
- Inflammatory acne. Topical dapsone 5 percent gel is recommended, particularly in adult females.
- Acne with scarring. Azelaic acid preparations can help reduce acne and the risks of acne scarring.
If you want to simultaneously target different types of acne, the AAD recommends using a combination of benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, or adapalene gel.
Using these treatments together may dry out your skin, so be sure to use a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
Choose makeup that won’t clog your pores
Studies have proven that people who use cosmetics seem to be more likely to have skin breakouts. To ensure your makeup routine is skin-friendly, be sure to:
- Use products labeled “noncomedogenic” or “oil-free.”
- Always wash your hands before applying makeup or skin care products.
- Always remove your makeup before going to sleep or exercising.
- Wash makeup brushes and sponges on a weekly basis.
Makeup can cause its own form of acne that doctors call acne cosmetica. This condition causes small, raised bumps that usually appear on the chin, cheeks, or forehead.
Relax and exercise
Several studies have shown a connection between stress and acne. If you are dealing with a stressful event or situation, look for healthy ways to de-stress.
Some options include:
- exercising at a high to moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes
- doing breathing exercises
- doing yoga
- meditating for a few minutes
- writing it out
- practicing sound therapy, like playing a musical instrument or listening to your favorite music
When it comes to clear skin, pay attention to what you put on your face — like cleansers, moisturizers, and makeup — and what you don’t — like unwanted bacteria from your fingers or dirty brushes and sponges.
Focusing on certain lifestyle factors, like quality sleep, a healthy diet, and stress management, can make a difference to your skin, too.
If you’ve tried several types of treatments for your acne and nothing works, make an appointment with a dermatologist. They may prescribe treatments like antibiotics or prescription medications to help clear your skin.