50 Best Skin-Care Tips of All Time
50 Best Skin-Care Tips of All Time
Mist Moisturizer, Not Water
If you mist, then moisturize too—it's two steps, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Francesca Fusco. When you just spritz, the water evaporates on the skin, creating dryness. Can't do both steps? Look for a mister with an emollient like glycerin, such as the Body Shop's Vitamin E face mist ($16; at thebodyshop.com).
Sponge On SPF
If you don't like the gooey feel of facial sunscreen, apply it with a sponge, which helps it penetrate. Our pick: Beauty Blender's pink oval ($20; at beautyblender.net).
Condition with Jasmine
Jasmine extract is a soothing oil rich with antioxidants. Many clients of N.Y.C. dermatologist David Colbert treat their faces with Rodin Olio Lusso ($140; at oliolusso.com), which contains jasmine to condition the skin and give it a healthy look. Molly Sims is a fan.
When you want deep exfoliation, do it longer, not harder, as you cleanse your skin. "Don't think scrub when you're using one," since too much force is harmful, says Kenneth Milstead of Bliss Hollywood spa.
Check the Label
The fewer ingredients in an anti-redness product, the better. The simplest soother? Julia March, founder of N.Y.C.'s Julia March Integral Skin Care, suggests health-food-store staple aloe vera juice mixed with a few drops of jojoba oil, which "offers a lipid barrier to prevent moisture loss."
Lay Off the Liquor
More than one drink a day can cause increased oil production and enlarged pores, says Beverly Hills dermatologist Susan Evans. Lack of sleep can have the same effect, so be sure to get your z's—aim for at least seven hours a night.
Double-Cleanse Your Face
Wear a lot of makeup? Wash your face in two steps for the best results, says Milstead. First, remove makeup and sunscreen with a gentle cleanser that's designed to break down cosmetics-try Shu Uemura's Skin Purifier ($72; at shuuemura-usa.com). Next, use a formula with soothing, rejuvenating effects, like CeraVe's hydrating cleanser ($11; at drugstore.com). Rub it in with upward motions from neck to forehead.
Mix in Sunscreen
If your favorite day cream doesn't contain sunscreen, mix it with a lightweight SPF lotion like Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF 30 ($43; at dermalogica.com). Look for micronized zinc, Avobenzone, or Helioplex, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Rosemarie Ingleton. They offer broad-spectrum protection without leaving a purple or whitish cast.
Wear SPF Clothing
To give a favorite shirt or casual sundress extra sun protection, N.Y.C. dermatologist Jody Levine suggests laundering with Sunguard Laundry Aid ($2; sunguardsunprotection.com) for a Universal Protection Factor of 30, compared to a UPF 5 for a plain T-shirt. Like SPF in sunscreen, UPF measures the sun protection in clothing. Or wear a rash guard like Nicole Kidman. The ones from Athleta have a UPF of 50.
Pop Pomegranate Pills
Boost your sunscreen by popping a pomegranate-extract supplement (up to 60 mg; at health-food stores). It can enhance skin's sun-protective properties by 25 percent, says L.A. dermatologist Howard Murad.
Cool Down Your Products
If you have acne-prone skin, use an oil-free spray sunscreen like Clarins Oil-Free spray SPF 15 ($30; at clarinsusa.com). Since it goes on as a fine mist, you'll avoid spreading pore-clogging bacteria from your hands. Prone to ruddiness? Store products in a cooler when outside in the sun: Cold ingredients will constrict blood vessels and make your face look less flushed, says Dr. Evans.
Try DIY Dermatology
Remember this home remedy the next time you get a big pimple: Do several cycles of hot compresses, then apply a glob of 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, like Aveeno hydrocortisone anti-itch cream ($6; at drugstore.com, and let it sit for two hours. "It's very similar to getting a shot of hydrocortisone to deflate the bump," says Dr. Fusco.
Skip Extreme Heat
Intense heat can exacerbate redness, says spa owner Julia March. To limit the appearance of broken capillaries, skip saunas, steam rooms, and spicy foods.
Lay It On Thin, then Thick
For optimum results—and maximum penetration—apply products in the right order, says Doris Day, a dermatologist in N.Y.C. First use the lightest product (usually a serum), followed by heavier formulas. For instance, in the morning apply an antioxidant serum, then a moisturizer, and cap it off with sunscreen.
STEP 1: SMOOTH ON SERUM
Lancôme Genifique Youth Activating serum ($84; at lancome-usa.com).
STEP 2: APPLY MOISTURIZER
Estee Lauder Hydrationist Moisture Creme ($38; at esteelauder.com).
STEP 3: FINISH WITH SUNSCREEN
Anthelios 15 sunscreen ($30; at CVS).
Embrace the Humidity
Moisture in the air helps skin look dewy, so keep hydrated year-round with a humidifier, says Dr. Colbert. Air-o-Swiss's office-friendly Cool Mist Travel Ultrasonic ($50; airoswiss.net) attaches to a half-liter water bottle.
No time for a post-gym shower? Pack a stash of wipes, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Heidi Waldorf. Almay's Oil-Free makeup-remover towelettes ($6; at drugstores) cleanse away the dirt that triggers breakouts.
Pass Time with a Pastime
Stress sets off hormones that cause acne, so make time to wind down. Find a hobby, says David Bank, a N.Y.C. dermatologist. ( Amanda Seyfried knits.) Less stress increases oxygen flow, minimizing flare-ups.
Treat (Don't Lick) Your Lips
If you assume a crusty cut at the corner of your mouth is chapped lips, don't. It could be perlèche, a fungal infection. Dab on an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin ($8; at Walgreens) every few hours to kill the bacteria, says Dr. Fusco.
Prep for Sleep
When it comes to maintenance, proximity and convenience are key: Keep a little case with lip balm, cuticle oil, and hand and foot cream in your bedside table, and make a ritual of applying each one before going to sleep.
•L'Occitane shea butter foot cream ($26; at
Treat Sore Feet
Prevent blisters with a silicone-based lubricant, says Ji Baek, founder of Rescue Beauty Lounge in N.Y.C. For strappy shoes like Leighton Meester's, swipe on Band Aid's Friction Stick (8; at drugstore.com) if you feel chafing.
With airbrush tans, "have the technician spray your face once, but the rest of your body four times," says Julia Marrero of Forever Tan in Miami. Add facial bronzer like Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Bronzing Powder ($35; Elizabetharden.com) for a more realistic glow.
Try a Facial Scrub
Wrinkle creams with retinol or glycolic acid can leave skin scaly. Dr. Day recommends reaching for a facial scrubber once a week to remove dead skin cells: "I like the Clarisonic brush ($149; at ulta.com) because it only removes the cells that are ready to go. It doesn't strip the top level, which is important for maintaining moisture and sun protection."
Plump Your Lips
Try the Clarisonic on your lips for a few seconds—they'll look plump (like Kim Kardashian's!) for several hours, says Dr. Fusco.
Banish Your Bumps
For those who get keratosis pilaris, or little bumps along the upper arms, L.A. dermatologist Ava Shamban suggests using an exfoliating cleanser, like NIA 24's (Physical Cleansing Scrub, $35; at nia24.com) with the Clarisonic, followed by a lotion containing glycolic or lactic acid like AmLactin ($16; Walgreens).
Choose "Fragrance Free" Over "Unscented"
Formulas that claim to be unscented can still contain aromatic essential oils, which may upset sensitive skin, says spa owner March. If perfumes tend to irritate your skin, check for labels that say "fragrance free." First Aid Beauty Gentle body wash ($14; at firstaidbeauty.com) is mild and still ultra-moisturizing.
Disguise Your Tattoo
What to do if your strapless bridesmaid dress shows off your body art—and you don't have the attitude to flaunt it like Angelina Jolie? Hide a tattoo with a highly pigmented oil-free foundation like Cover FX Total Coverage cream ($42; sephora.com). After drying the area and hands, use a synthetic brush and short strokes to pat on the foundation. Set the area with a translucent powder, then ensure that it lasts all night (through dancing and photo-ops) with a makeup fixative spray—a favorite of professional clowns like Kryolan Dermacolor Fixier spray ($20; at naimies.com).
Baby Your Face
When washing skin, avoid abrasive puffs and just use your fingertips. If your routine includes a washcloth, get the gentler, low-loop terry ones made for newborns, says Wendy Allred, education manager at N.Y.C.'s Bliss spa.
Soothe with Fruit
A cool remedy for too much sun: L.A. spa owner Vance Soto suggests a calming bath of warm water, half a gallon of milk, and 15 drops of lavender oil. Watermelon is also an anti-inflammatory; Dr. Shamban likes to purée the fruit and slather it on tingly skin.
Add a Hint of Glint
If your sunscreen leaves you looking ghostly, try this trick: Mix a drop or two of liquid bronzer, such as Clinique Up-lighting Liquid Illuminator ($23; clinique.com), into a teaspoon of your SPF.
Stub Out the Cig
Smoking has been shown to make acne worse since it diminishes the delivery of oxygen to the skin and robs it of nutrients, thereby inhibiting scars from healing, Dr. Bank says. Not enough reason to quit? Smoke depletes moisture, making skin lose its luster and look wrinkly.
Clean (the House) Gently
Housecleaning takes its toll on sensitive skin, since the chemicals in sprays and wipes can trigger irritation, says Julia March. Don't throw in the towel (or call a cleaning lady), just concoct this all-purpose cleaner: Mix ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda into 2 quarts water. For laundry, try dye-free detergents.
Any nick, scrape, and bug bite can turn into a dark brown spot for women of color. "Hyper-pigmentation is our biggest issue, hands down," Dr. Ingleton says. She suggests hiding marks by custom-blending concealer: Mix liquid bronzer like Guerlain Terracotta Huile du Voyageur Dry Oil SPF 8 ($59; at saks.com) with your body cream. We like Vaseline Sheer Infusion ($6; at drugstore.com) The bonus: "You get a nice glow on your skin."
A low-glycemic diet-lots of vegetables, whole grains, and few processed sugars-can eliminate acne, according to a new Australian study. Refined carbohydrates, sugary treats, and processed foods spike insulin, which triggers a surge of other hormones that can cause blemishes. Low-glycemic foods, meanwhile, help the body regulate insulin, says Valori Treloar, an integrative dermatologist in Newton, Mass., and the author of The Clear Skin Diet.
Clue in to Cukes
Maximize cucumber’s calming effect by shredding it—that way it will cover more of your puffy eyes than two little slices. Skin-care expert Ole Henriksen recommends a treatment that’s loved by clients like Jessica Alba: Wrap grated cuke, sushi-style, in cheese cloth. Sit down, tilt your head back, and place the roll across your eyes.
Slather Sour Cream
Twice a week apply a tablespoon of full-fat sour cream to sensitive skin for 20 minutes, Julia March says. It will nourish touchy complexions that react badly to store-bought masks. According to Dr. Shamban, the lactic acid gently smooths skin and improves texture.
Don't Yo-Yo Diet
When body weight goes up and down, it loosens elasticity and makes skin sag, says Dr. Levine. So she suggests finding a happy medium (even if it's heavier) on the scale: "You lose the weight first in the face, but a fuller face may just look younger."
Nix the Rx
Until recently, some dermatologists pooh-poohed over-the-counter wrinkle treatments. Not anymore. According to a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, Olay's new Professional Pro-X ($42; at drugstore.com)regimen improved the appearance of facial lines just as well as the leading prescription product.
Choose Good Oils
To give dry skin healthy, natural oil, Dr. Shamban recommends a weekly 15-minute mask of mashed avocado. Or once a week massage a tablespoon of olive oil into your face in lieu of your usual night cream—but skip it if you're acne-prone.
Launder your Body
If you have chronic eczema, research from Northwestern University shows that a very diluted bleach bath (about ½ cup for a full tub, which is weaker than the chemicals in a swimming pool) kills the surface bacteria that cause inflammation.
Anti-Age with Ice
For homemade skin care, all you need is an ice cube tray, Ole Henriksen says. Pour in some apple juice and freeze. The malic acid in the frozen juice is an anti-aging alpha-hydroxy acid. "Pass the ice cube gently over the skin," he says. "It feels like a mini-facelift!"
Wax (Then Tweeze) Your Underarms
If you want to switch from shaving to waxing your underarms, fall is the time to start. Sleeveless season is over, making the interim growth stage easier to handle, says Ji Baek. Then, the more you wax, the less hair grows back. "Wax every month and by summer, you can just pluck out strays," she says. Our tool of choice: Tweezerman for Benefit slant tweezer ($25; at benefitcosmetics.com).
Sleep on your Back
Yes, it's relaxing to snooze on your tummy, but to avoid wrinkles, flip over. "I can tell which side of their face my patients sleep on," says Dr. Day. A Vanity pillow ($145; vanitypillow.com) cradles your head, preventing tossing and turning.
Eat Your Water
"When you eat hydrating fruits and vegetables like grapefruit or cucumber, the water penetrates and plumps up cells better than drinking water," Dr. Murad says. Aim for three daily servings of fruit and five of veggies.
Boost Your Brows
Sometimes, optical illusions work like the best anti-agers. Lush, thick brows—like Penelope Cruz's—give a more youthful appearance. Fill in sparse growth with a lash enhancer like Latisse (by prescription) once a day, says Dr. Fusco.
Soak with Tea
If you suffer from foot odor, soak your feet in a bowl of very dark black tea, like Lipton. Let the tea really steep, says Dr. Hochman: The tannins change the pH of your skin and combat odor.
Heal Your Heels
After a season of flip-flops, get rid of calluses by applying wart remover like Compound W Fast-Acting gel ($7; at CVS) overnight, says Dr. Fusco. "Just pumice away the dead skin in the morning."
Master your Retinoids
Vitamin A derivatives are key to anti-aging regimens, yet many women avoid them because they're irritating. Dr. Day recommends building up tolerance by using a pea-size drop every other day. Or for a milder version, try Atralin ($192; by prescription). "It's a gel base and gentler than thicker creams," says San Francisco dermatologist Seth Matarasso. Whichever retinol you opt for, counter redness with an antioxidant-rich moisturizer like Revaléskin night cream with coffeeberry ($72; skinstore.com).
Take Lotion Further
Once a week, slather your hands and feet with a thick lotion and cover in plastic wrap for about a half-hour—then strip it away to check out the soft results. For severely dry, chapped hands, Dr. Levine likes dense, rich Triple Cream ($19; drugstore.com), a formula derived from diaper- rash ointment, with oat-kernel extract and petrolatum.
Salicylic acid is an effective ingredient for treating the bother-some bikini-line issue, but some women find it too harsh. As an alternative, Ji Baek suggests a facial toner like 3Lab's Perfect Beautifying toner ($55; 3lab.com) with lavender extract to soothe bumps and minimize redness.
Deal with Dark Circles
File this under "Sad but true": As we age we become more susceptible to dark circles. Melanin builds up under eyes, making skin appear saggy. The best treatment, say dermatologists, is an injectable filler like Restylane or Juvederm (starting at $750–$1,000 per syringe). It pulls the skin taut, getting rid of the crepey effect that emphasizes the discoloration.