When it comes to skin care, we're not usually ones for hard and fast rules. Everyone has unique skin types, skin tones, lifestyles, and genetic histories that make it impossible to have a single piece of one-size-fits-all advice. It can take years — and dozens of trips to the dermatologist — to discover how to treat acne effectively on your unique skin. Ahead, we rounded up the best advice on how to get clear skin from top dermatologists. Read on for our favorite ways to get your skin to look and feel its best.
The first and most important rule isn't groundbreaking: Remember to wash your face! Cleansing and treating your skin twice a day is the best way to keep breakouts away. For those emergencies when you're just too tired to wash your face, keep a stash of face wipes in the drawer of your nightstand. This way if you get home super late and don’t feel like going all the way to the sink, you can still go to bed with clean skin!
Buying a generic face wash won’t necessarily improve your complexion; for a cleanser to be most effective, you have to pay attention to your skin’s needs and pick the ingredients accordingly. If your skin tends to be oily, choose products with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or glycolic acid. For sensitive skin, look for cleansers with lactic acid or hydrating ingredients like glycerin, which aren’t as drying as those made for oilier types.
Scrubbing your face daily with grainy cleansers and exfoliating products can do more harm than good. When done too often, it can cause redness, inflammation, and irritation. Exfoliating a pimple can pull away healthy skin cells and create an open wound and higher risk for scarring. Exfoliation should be done with caution, and not more than 2-3 times a week maximum.
When you think about it, consistently reaching for your go-to face towel every day is like reusing a dinner napkin over and over again. Using dirty towels can harbor bacteria, and they can even introduce new bacteria to your skin, which may lead to more pimples.
Worried moisturizer will make your acne worse? Think again — it can actually help improve your skin. If the skin surface is dry and dehydrated, the oil glands tend to overproduce oil and this can make acne worse. Hydrating the skin surface can re-balance oil glands and help control acne and improve healing.
While SPF is a must, some sunscreens can trigger breakouts. You want to look for oil-free and non-comedogenic formulas that won't clog pores.
Take an extra five minutes before hopping on the treadmill to completely wash your face and remove your makeup to minimize the risk of breakouts. Sweat is released through visible pores in the skin. When makeup covers those pores, that barrier doesn't allow the sweat to make it to the surface of the skin, which can lead to clogged pores. The trapped debris and bacteria are a perfect breeding ground for acne bumps and zits.