The Dos & Dont's of Good Skin
Want fresh, radiant-looking skin? Of course you do. But are you well-equipped with the tools you need to help you achieve it? Read on for the skin care commandments you should follow religiously—plus, bad habits you (and your skin) most definitely could do without—to be well on your way to winning the flawless-looking-skin game. Consider this the dos and don’ts of great-looking skin!
DO: WEAR SPF EVERY DAY
The sun doesn’t take a break, which is why your defense against its harmful UV rays shouldn’t either. Wearing water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen—SPF of 15 or higher—daily, rain or shine, is crucial for healthy-looking skin that’s protected against the sun and the damage its rays can cause—from wrinkles to dark spots to cancer. Need help choosing an SPF that’s right for you? We share our favorite sunscreens—for dry, normal, sensitive and oily skin—here!
DON’T: FORGET TO REAPPLY
Applying sunscreen 15 minutes prior to sun exposure is only half the battle. If you forget to reapply every two hours (sooner if you towel-dry, sweat excessively, or go for a swim), you continue to be at risk for damaging your skin. Eek! In addition to reapplying on time, make sure you don’t skimp or miss any areas, like around your scalp or the tops of your feet.
DO: CLEANSE YOUR SKIN
Each day, your skin is exposed to dirt, pollutants, and impurities that run the risk of clogging your pores and subsequently leading to breakouts. To keep pores clear, it’s important to cleanse your skin at least once per day (if not twice) with a handy dirt-removing cleanser.
DON’T: USE PRODUCTS NOT SUITED FOR YOUR SKIN TYPE
But don’t just pick any old cleanser—or beauty product, for that matter—off the rack at the drugstore. Make sure it’s formulated for your skin type to avoid possible irritation and to maximize efficacy. Some of our favorite cleansers include:
For oily skin: Garnier Clean+ Shine Control Cleansing Gel
For sensitive skin: SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser
For acne-prone skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser
For dry skin: Vichy Pureté Thermale Cleansing Micellar Oil
For normal skin: Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash
DO: EXFOLIATE REGULARLY
Exfoliation is the process of sloughing off dead skin cells on the skin’s top layer to reveal younger skin cells. According to board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com expert, Dr. Dendy Engelman, exfoliation is the single easiest way to achieve radiant and glowing skin, so don’t skip it in your routine! The jury’s still out on how often one should exfoliate, but most experts agree that once or twice a week—increasing in frequency, as tolerated—is a good starting point.
DON’T: SCRUB YOUR SKIN TOO AGGRESSIVELY
Scrubbing skin too aggressively with harsh exfoliators can lead to skin that’s irritated. Avoid using products that may cause irritation, and if you’re noticing signs of over-exfoliation, take a break for a bit until your skin calms down. Consider applying products that offer a soothing, cooling effect on the afflicted area.
DO: APPLY SPOT TREATMENTS FOR YOUR ACNE
In addition to cleansing your face to keep your pores clean, applying spot treatments formulated with common acne-fighting ingredients on blemishes can help keep your blemishes under control. Reach for products containing salicylic acid—which works by exfoliating the skin, unclogging pores, and reducing the swelling associated with pimples—or benzoyl peroxide, which can help kill acne-causing bacteria and remove excess oil and grime that can clog pores. Need to clear a breakout fast? Follow these steps.
DON’T: PICK AT YOUR SKIN
The truth is, we all touch and pick at our skin from time to time. Is that what we’re supposed to be doing? Not at all. Can it leave our skin worse off? Definite yes. Where possible, resist temptation and keep your hands off your blemishes! Picking at your zits runs the risk of cross contamination, skin discoloration, and permanent scarring. If you’re reading this after popping a zit, don’t panic. We’ve laid out foolproof steps to care for your skin post-pop.
DO: USE MOISTURIZER
Happy skin is hydrated skin. Apply moisturizer to your skin—while it’s damp to help lock in moisture—every day after cleansing. It helps skin not only feel soft and smooth, but can also offer anti-aging benefits. Just make sure you choose one that’s targeted for your specific skin concerns—fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, to name a few—and formulated for your skin type.
DON’T: NEGLECT YOUR NECK, CHEST AND HANDS
The neck, chest, and hands are among the most neglected areas of skin when it comes to a daily routine; always make sure to extend the dedication of your regimen to these areas, as well. Not to mention, they are among the first areas of skin to show signs of aging, so gear up!
DO: EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Maintaining a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables can offer benefits to your skin. To nourish your complexion from the inside, reach for antioxidant-rich superfoods like sweet potatoes, avocados, salmon, and blueberries. Where possible, cut out excess salt—which can lead to facial bloating—refined sugars and alcohol.
According to the Mayo Clinic, smoking can accelerate the normal aging process of your skin and contribute to wrinkles. In addition, many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke also damage collagen and elastin, the fibers that give skin its strength and elasticity.