The best skincare routine for dry skin typically contain products that keep skin hydrated. “Dry skin has a damaged moisture barrier,” Rouleau says. “Your skin has invisible cracks in it and it allows moisture to escape and irritants to get in more easily.”
With the many options of wrinkle creams available, it is not always easy to know if you are making a safe and effective choice. Here are a few tips to ensure you have chosen a safe and reliable brand.
Microcurrent waves: A low-level current sends waves through the skin to tighten and contour the facial muscles — think of it as a workout for your complexion. [NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device, $325]
For many, the word “toner” brings to mind stinging astringents from the ’80s. “The original was an alcohol-based product that was used to dry up oily skin and remove any leftover dirt following cleansing,” Dr. Nazarian says. Today’s formulas, however, have evolved. Think of them as supplements — these thin liquids deliver an extra shot of nutrients, helping the other products in your regimen absorb better, while still balancing your complexion. Most experts, the New York City aesthetician Jordana Mattioli says, consider toner to be optional: “It can be a good way to add in specific ingredients that you may not have in your other products or add another layer of skin-replenishment.” If you have the time and inclination, here are some hero ingredients to look for:
The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion ($10) had no real scent, smelling only like a mild lotion. It’s an emulsion, which is similar to a serum, with a consistency that put us in mind of liquified lotion. Like our top pick, Dr. Dennis, The Ordinary is applied with a dropper, but testers preferred Dr. Dennis’ angled tip over The Ordinary’s straight one, which they found trickier to control.
Keep in mind that even if some products market themselves toward severe acne breakouts, all the kits we looked at are definitely designed for mild to moderate acne. Not sure where you fit on that scale? You’re not alone! When you’re in the middle of a breakout, all acne seems severe, so it can be difficult to self-diagnose your symptoms. We talked to dermatologists and cosmetic chemists to better understand the differences between various types of acne, and have compiled an acne guide below.
Touted as a pure and natural way to improve your skin, botanical facial oils — infused with plant and farm-fresh extracts — have exploded into the mainstream market lately. Still, experts often advise caution when dousing yourself, as not all oils are created equal. “I recommend avoiding essential oils or those with added perfumes, which increase potential of skin irritation,” Dr. Nazarian says.
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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.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are usually derived from fruits (like apples and oranges) or sugars. They are exfoliation powerhouses, and multiple studies have demonstrated their effectiveness in improving the look of aging skin.
If you give the Regular Strength kit a try and don’t see the results you want, Paula’s Choice also has an Extra Strength Clear Acne Kit that boosts the Daily Skin Clearing Treatment up to 5 percent benzoyl peroxide (and replaces the sodium hyaluronate in the exfoliant with green tea extract) to give your acne a real kick. But we recommend starting with the regular strength version. “When it comes to strong products, less is more,” Townsend says.
Yes to Tomatoes 2-Step Nose Kit ($4, ulta.com) feeds on every blackhead removal fantasy you’ve every had. The first step is to apply a charcoal mask that helps loosen up pores, then you apply the pore strip to pull out all the gunk. So satisfying!
Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also consider laundry additives, which give clothing an additional layer of ultraviolet protection for a certain number of washings, or special sun-protective clothing — which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays.
There’s a reason people are freaking out over Clarisonic face brushes—they actually work! The handy little tool cleans and exfoliates in one fell swoop. Oh, and remember that circulation thing we were talking about earlier? Face brushes are perfect for getting your blood circulating. For a less expensive option, try the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System, $30.
If you’ve found that your skin is too raw and sensitive to handle any treatment at all, don’t despair: there’s still hope. Thi Nguyen, program development specialist in dermatology at pharmaceutical research organization Biorasi, told us: “Patients with sensitive skin are not obligated to use topical products. Modifications like limiting dairy consumption and eating foods that are low on the glycemic index scale can be helpful.” Because skin issues tend to be a combination of genetic, dietary, and external factors, finding a solution to your acne requires more astute sleuthing than brute-force doses of chemicals.
We wanted an anti-aging cream with a full arsenal of defenses, so we required our top picks to contain hyaluronic acid of some type. But we opted to bring all 8 of our remaining contenders into the office for hands-on testing — four with HA and four without. This allowed us to check out drugstore runners-up like RoC, which are a lot cheaper and easier to find than brands like La Prairie (and can be paired with a face moisturizer containing HA).
You may also hear about retinyl palmitate. This is in the same family as retinol, but if the skin care product you choose contains retinyl palmitate, you will need to use more of this product than one that contains retinol to get the same effect. Pregnant women or nursing mothers cannot use retinol.
If you are on People magazine’s website, the URL will say people.com. If you’re not, it will say something else. It’s that simple. If you click on a particular section, it will say people.com and then whatever section, like this:
Clay Mask: Rouleau recommends indulging in a gentle clay mask once a week (we love the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque, $30). “Make sure your clay mask doesn’t dry too much before rinsing it off,” she warns. “If you smile and it cracks into 10,000 pieces, you’ve waited too long and it’s gotten too dry—this can actually dehydrate your skin.”
Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress. Get enough sleep, set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results might be more dramatic than you expect.
No, your eyes aren’t skin, but they are the centerpiece of your face. If your eyes look red or tired, your skin will look drab as well. Wake up your peepers with some eye drops and you’ll instantly look and feel more alert.
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Little Barn Apothecary is another natural beauty brand to know. Our favorite product is this green sea mineral recovery mask. The dry powder is meant to be mixed with liquid—whether honey, yogurt, floral water, or something similar—to turn into a traditional paste mask. It’s sold in a dry form to avoid fillers and additives that come with liquid masks.
My Experience: I made my own little two-step SPF program. I started with the Neogen Day-Light Protection Sun Screen ($30, sephora.com), which I applied after my moisturizer every morning. And I finished everything off with the Amorepacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ ($60, us.amorepacific.com). This bouncy compact filled with tinted moisturizer not only provided SPF coverage, but it also gave me a glowing complexion without that cakey makeup feel. A cushion compact seemed like the best place to end since it’s a makeup innovation that’s also fresh out of Korean beauty culture.