We’ve heard it a billion times, but taking care of your skin will do wonders for your health and aging aesthetics by following these basic, but oh-so-necessary steps.
1. Keep it Clean
Wash your face morning, night, and after the gym with a cleanser that contains up to 2 percent salicylic acid wash away makeup and unclog pores.
2. Resist Popping Zits
Resist the temptation! Popping your pimples will only result in inflammation, scarring, and eventually, more acne.
If you couldn’t help yourself, disinfect the area with a 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide product such as Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment and dot on a salicylic acid—dermatologist Doris Day recommends Clean & Clear Advantage Popped Pimple Relief Drying Paste—to help unclog the pore.
4. Think Basic
Benzoyl peroxide or glycolic or salicylic acid for acne are key skincare ingredients. If you don’t see results right away, be patient: they need at least six weeks to work. “If nothing has changed by week six, the product will never work for you,” says David Bank, a professor of dermatology at Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Then, it’s time to see a dermatologist—prescription products or in-office treatments may offer some relief.
5. Perk up with Retinoids
Retinoids aren’t just for wrinkles. They also fade spots, build collagen, and prevent acne—but only when used correctly. At night, instead of your overnight acne treatment, dot a pea-size amount on your fingertips and rub it all over your face.
6. Treat Early On
Spot-treating your pimple can reduce its lifespan by one to two days. But the real goal is a clear complexion—and early intervention is key. “You need to prevent acne from forming, and that means treating skin that’s prone to pimples even if there are none present,” says dermatologist Karyn Grossman. So use all acne products over your entire face.
7. Don’t Over Do It
Overusing acne products can lead to excess drying and, in some cases, chemical burns. Apply the amount recommended on the packaging (usually enough for a thin layer), not a giant palmful. Finish with an oil-free moisturizer.
8. Take a Breather
Stress hormones increase oil production, which can lead to clogged pores and whiteheads. So make an effort to relax when needed. “Anything that reduces stress in your body—tai chi, running, sex, a warm bath—will make you have less acne, less often,” says Richard Fried, a dermatologist and clinical psychologist in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Acne products can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage, so be sure to use SPF 30 or higher. Look for formulas labeled noncomedogenic, which won’t clog pores.
10. Even Out
Just because the pimple’s gone doesn’t mean it disappeared. Use a scar treatment with salicylic acid and licorice-root extract.