Trying to figure out the best way to take care of your skin is confusing: Do you need a firming cream, antiwrinkle serum, sun protection, nighttime lotion, and daytime moisturizer? Do you need separate products for the neck, chest, and eye areas?
If you rely on advertising claims or on the explanations you get from cosmetics salespeople about how to take care of your skin, you will almost assuredly end up missing some of the vital steps for achieving radiant, age-defying skin.
Instead, follow this checklist for 10 ways to transform your skin now to start seeing instant results!
1. Exfoliate with BHA or AHAs (Not with a scrub!)
Without question, everyone can benefit from a well-formulated exfoliant, whether it is an AHA product (alpha hydroxy acid, such as glycolic and lactic acids) or a BHA product (beta hydroxy acid, also known as salicylic acid). Healthy skin naturally sheds millions of dead skin cells every day, but sun damage, dry or oily skin, genetics, and other skin disorders can block this process, resulting in clogged pores, blemishes, white bumps, dull or flaky skin, and uneven skin tone.
AHAs and BHAs gently get rid of the built-up dead skin cells, unclog pores, reduce breakouts, rebuild collagen, smooth out wrinkles, and allow dry skin to heal!
Why shouldn’t you use a scrub? Scrubs deal only with the very top, superficial layer of the skin, so most of the built-up dead skin cells are beyond the reach of a scrub. Even worse, many scrubs contain particles with a rough, coarse, or uneven texture that can damage the skin as it abrades away the surface, causing tiny tears that damage the skin's barrier, which is not good for any skin type!
2. Eat Right
The amount of research showing that a diet rich in antioxidants can help skin is astounding! Dark berries, fresh salmon, avocadoes, butternut squash, and green tea are just a few of the anti-aging superfoods you should add to your grocery list.
Which foods should you avoid? Sweets and salty foods. Too much sugar (even honey) can lead to collagen deterioration, loss of elasticity, and increased likelihood of wrinkling. A diet overloaded with salt also will take a toll on your skin, resulting in bloating and puffy, tired-looking skin.
3. Wear Sunscreen Every Day
We know,… you’ve heard it before, and it’s really boring,… but we know you’re not doing it! Only 10% of people wear sunscreen on a regular basis and most still get a tan. Many also continue to use tanning beds, which might as well be called wrinkle-beds.
Sun protection is by far the most important tool in preventing skin damage and helping in the anti-aging fight. Nothing else in your skin-care routine matters if you leave out this critical step. Using an antiwrinkle cream and not using sunscreen is like eating broccoli in hopes of reducing the effects of smoking cigarettes.
You must wear sunscreen 365 days a year! Even on cloudy days, and even if you’re inside. The sun’s damaging rays do penetrate the clouds and they do come right through the window. Just because you’re inside, doesn’t mean your skin is protected.
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day and your skin will thank you in the years to come. It is the only way to look younger than your friends!
4. Remove All of Your Makeup (It’s more important than you think!)
Left on overnight, any amount of makeup can clog pores, prompt skin-damaging irritation, and cause puffy eyes! Start with a gentle, fragrance-free, water-soluble cleanser, and then remove the last traces of eye makeup with a colorant-free, fragrance-free, irritant-free makeup remover.
5. Don’t Rely on Only One Product
There is no single magic bullet ingredient or product for your skin; it takes more than one product to provide the full range of results. Some products do perform multiple tasks, but—let me repeat—your skin needs more than just one product. Here is what your skin needs:
- Gentle cleanser
- Toner loaded with antioxidants and skin-healing ingredients
- Sunscreen loaded with antioxidants for daytime
- Moisturizer—in serum, gel, lotion, or cream form—loaded with antioxidants for night
- AHA or BHA exfoliant
- Treatment products for skin discolorations, blemishes, oily skin, or blackheads
6. Don’t Pull at Your Skin
Repeatedly rubbing, tugging, and pulling at your skin stretches the skin’s elastin fibers, causing sagging and drooping! Whether it’s from pulling on your skin to remove waterproof mascara, getting a facial, or rubbing your eyes, you’re helping gravity take a toll on your face. Stopping this now will benefit your skin down the road.
7. Consider a Foundation with Anti-Aging Ingredients
There are some wonderful new foundations on the market with state-of-the-art ingredients (e.g., sunscreen, antioxidants, and cell-communicating and skin-identical ingredients) that really can improve your skin. If you already wear foundation, this is an easy way to get extra benefit without adding another step to your routine. If your foundation contains an effective sunscreen, that’s even better!
8. Antioxidants, Antioxidants, and More Antioxidants!
Topically applied antioxidants are essential for skin, just like they are for your diet. Given that your skin is your body’s largest organ, it needs many of the same healthy substances the rest of your body needs. Antioxidants prevent some of the free-radical damage that causes skin-destroying inflammation over time. They also help skin heal and produce healthy collagen. What’s not to love about that?
Among the dozens and dozens of brilliant antioxidants for skin, there is no single one that is best for skin. Don’t believe the ads suggesting otherwise. In fact, skin needs a blend of potent, stable antioxidants to really start acting and looking younger, and the more the better.
9. Save Up for a Dermatological Treatment
People often decide that dermatological treatments, such as Botox, dermal fillers, lasers, intense pulse light procedures, FRAXEL, or chemical peels, are beyond their budget or that a skin-care product can achieve relatively similar results.
Fact 1. There is nothing in the world of skin-care products that comes close to giving you the results you can get from medical cosmetic corrective procedures.
Fact 2. Following our advice—products we recommend and products we warn you about—may allow you to save enough money over time to afford the procedures mentioned above.
That doesn’t mean that skin-care isn’t important. Without question, your skin will benefit from using well-formulated products on a consistent basis, but your skin still ages. Just remember, skin-care products have limitations, no matter what the ads tell you.
10. Give Up Bad Habits
Don’t underestimate the role your lifestyle plays when it comes to the condition of your skin. You could do everything else right, but if you’re smoking, tanning, or irritating your skin with bad ingredients, your skin will pay! It’s easy to think that you aren’t hurting your skin if the negative impact doesn’t show up immediately, but the cumulative damage adds up—and it isn’t pretty!
Visit Beautypedia for more science-based reviews on thousands of skin-care and makeup products.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!