Simple Steps for Glowing Skin
Simple Steps for Glowing Skin
By Bora Chang
A gorgeous, glowing complexion doesn't require a complicated regimen. These skin care basics are all you need to achieve smooth, flawless skin.
Your skin, as you probably know, can be your best friend or your worst enemy. But your relationship with your complexion should be kept simple. “Skin care doesn’t have to be complicated — in fact, the simpler, the better,” says Emmy Graber, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine. Here are the skin-care basics that will help you make peace with your skin.
Cleanse With the Right Ingredients
“One of the big challenges is that many people don’t wash their face, especially at night — they are just too tired,” says Patricia Farris, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Tulane University and a dermatologist in Metairie, Louisiana. But no matter how exhausted you are, it’s imperative that you wash the debris that can lead to clogged pores and dead-skin buildup. “You simply have to remove the makeup, dirt, and pollution from the day,” Dr. Farris says.
When it comes to choosing a face wash, remember: The milder, the better. “My motto is ‘Do no harm,’ because it’s easy to irritate the skin and go overboard,” Farris adds. For most skin types, a gentle cleanser or even a mild soap will do the job. If you have oily, acne-prone skin or dry or mature skin, try a cleanser that has an alpha hydroxy acid, such as lactic acid or buffered glycolic acid, that will chemically exfoliate the skin without irritation.
Protect Every Day
No matter your age or skin color, wearing daily sun protection isn’t negotiable. Choose a sunscreen or a moisturizer with a consistency that you like with at least SPF 30 that offers broad-spectrum UVA or UVB protection. Apply 15 minutes before going outside, whether it’s sunny or cloudy, says Farris.
For oily or acne-prone skin, opt for an oil-free sunblock or light gel-based lotions. If you have combination skin, use a light fluid-formula sunscreen during the daytime, and focus on treating the dry areas at night, Graber recommends.
For sensitive skin with rosacea, melasma, or other pigmentation issues, look for sunscreens with micronized titanium oxide or zinc oxide, which are physical UV blockers that won’t aggravate the skin. “The important thing is that these sunblocks do not let the sun enter the skin, so they prevent heat from being generated, which can worsen facial redness and inflammation,” Farris explains.
For dry or mature skin, look for sunscreens or creams with proven hydrators such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E.
Do Damage Control at Night
It’s a no-brainer: You can maximize the time you spend sleeping to deliver moisture, correct existing problems, and help prevent future damage to your skin. You can select any number of options, but antioxidants are the most powerful tool in helping to restore your skin.
To prevent and treat fine lines and wrinkles, use products that have tried-and-true antioxidants such as retinol, a potent source of vitamin A, which helps promote collagen and prevent free-radical damage. Effective prescription products are available through your dermatologist.
If your skin is sensitive and can’t tolerate retinol, try products with antioxidants such as vitamin C, coffeeberry, or extracts of green or white tea. These antioxidants can help fend off the free radicals that attack collagen, thereby slowing down the aging process.
For blemishes, you will benefit from treatments containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid. “Look for products that multitask, such as acne creams blended with calming ingredients so that they work synergistically and not dry you out,” says Audrey Kunin, M.D., assistant clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
For sensitive skin with rosacea, melasma, or other pigmentation issues, opt for calming lotions with antioxidants, such as green tea and vitamins C and E, and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as licorice extract and feverfew. “Products with these ingredients can be used to regulate inflammation,” says Farris.