Clear skin: we all want it. But, between hormones, pollution and other pore-clogging aggressors waiting to wreak havoc on our complexions, achieving a clearer, blemish-free complexion can seem like an impossible feat. Fortunately though, according to dermatologists, it’s totally attainable, but it does require a few lifestyle changes to get your skin right back on track. To find out for ourselves what women with clearer skin does (almost) every day, we sought the advice of two top dermatologists. See their expert tips, below.
If you want clear skin, you’re going to have to cleanse better. According to board-certified dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, Dr. Debra Jaliman, a sonic cleansing system is the best way to start, “as it takes off more dirt, bacteria and makeup from your skin.” In addition to providing the skin with a deep cleanse, sonic cleansing brushes exfoliate the surface of the skin, leaving it looking and feeling softer and smoother, thus revealing a more clear complexion.
On top of cleansing your complexion with a sonic cleansing system, Dr. Jaliman suggests switching to a mild cleanser. If you are experiencing breakouts, a mild cleanser allows you to cleanse your complexion thoroughly without stripping the skin of its natural oils. Stripping the skin of its natural oils can often lead to an increase in oil and more breakouts. Since mild cleansers are more gentle on the skin, you can follow up your regimen with a stronger acne product that targets breakouts.
If you are experiencing a bout of acne, board-certified dermatologist and Director of Clinical Research at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, Dr. Jeremy Brauer suggests giving topical retinoids a try. Applying a topical retinoid made from antioxidant-rich vitamin A to your complexion as part of your nighttime routine can help to unclog follicles and in turn may help acne treatments work better and faster.
We hate to break it to you, but your cell phone could be the reason for your breakouts. According to Dr. Jaliman, the bacteria on your phone will cause breakouts. Her solution? “Don’t rest your phone against your face, use earbuds instead!” In addition to earbuds, you should also consider wiping your phone down with a disinfecting wipe or cotton pad dampened with rubbing alcohol.
We know you’ve probably been told this a thousand times, but we thought one more reminder wouldn’t hurt. According to Dr. Brauer, picking, poking and popping your skin will not get you the results you’re looking for. If you have a pimple that you’re desperate to pop, try applying a spot treatment or pimple cream to the affected area instead of picking. After all, pimple creams are designed for this sort of skin care woe.
As much as we hate to admit, we’re all a little guilty of splurging on junk food every once and a while. And while it may be satisfying to our cravings, junk food is not beneficial for our skin. Dr. Jaliman suggests cutting down your processed food, sugar and dairy intake since those can lead to breakouts and recommends “eating a diet rich in antioxidants instead.” That being said, you can still succumb to your sweet tooth with a healthy sweet, like antioxidant-rich fruits and berries.
Easier said than done, right? But, for the sake of clear skin (and your sanity), Dr. Brauer says to make it a point to get a better night’s sleep. When you sleep, the skin works to restore itself through a process called regeneration and lack of sleep can lead to a tired-looking complexion, dark circles, puffy under-eye bags and sometimes even breakouts. Whether this means turning your phone or TV off an hour earlier than usual, taking a relaxing bubble bath before bed, or giving meditation a try, you’ll be glad you did!
Need a facial but don’t have time? Dr. Jaliman suggests treating your complexion to a weekly at-home clay mask facial. You can use your favorite bentonite-infused face mask or create your own! To DIY your own clay mask, Dr. Jaliman suggests combining two tablespoons of all-natural calcium bentonite clay powder with one tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of honey to form a paste. Apply it onto the skin and let it work its magic for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing off with a warm washcloth. Pat the skin dry and voilá! “This will leave your skin feel smooth, yet hydrated,” says Dr. Jaliman.
If you aren’t already using a toner in your morning and evening skin care routine, now is the time to start. Dr. Jaliman suggests choosing “a toner with glycolic acid or salicylic acid to unclog the pores for clearer skin.” In addition to promoting clearer skin, toners can also balance the skin’s natural pH level and soothe your complexion.
When it comes to breakout-prone skin, finding a sunscreen that works with your skin type and doesn’t cause new blemishes is actually easier than you may think. Dr. Brauer suggests choosing a broad spectrum, meaning an SPF that will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB sun rays.