The key to not looking tired? It’s…not being tired! Easier said than done, we know. Do whatever you can to get in seven to eight hours a night and your skin—including those pesky undereye bags!—will look noticeably better. Trust us: Sleep offers the kind of results that no face cream can mimic.
If you have any kind of inflammatory acne—think red, puss-filled bumps—these stickers are life changing. Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers ($8, amazon.com) are thick, gel covers that work like a sponge, absorbing oil and puss. You can actually see it working because the translucent patch turns white when the dressing needs to be changed. Bonus: It’ll keep you from touching your zit, and you can even apply makeup over it, too.
Wrinkles form for a variety of reasons, but photoaging (damage to the skin from sunlight) is a big one. Sunlight breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin — two proteins which help the skin connect and remain flexible. As they break down, the skin slowly becomes weaker and less supple, leading to drooping.
What to look for: Use a non-irritating, lubricating shaving gel, or a prescription shaving foam containing benzoyl peroxide or a topical antibiotic that’s designed for men with acne. When you shave, use a sharp razor so you don’t pull on the hair or cut your skin. Shave downward, in the direction of growth of the hair follicles, to prevent irritation. After shaving, skip the splash of cologne or alcohol-based aftershave, which can irritate your skin — not to mention leave you in agony if you have any open cuts or recently popped pimples. Use an oil-free moisturizer or a prescription topical antibiotic lotion or gel instead.
Experts and users agree: Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum is an excellent choice to renew and revitalize your skin every day. It has a complement of ingredients that result in soft, silky skin and can minimize signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. Since it does not contain sunscreen, this serum is best if paired with a moisturizer with sunscreen during the day; but it can be used alone at night.
Toner: Avoid ingredients like SD alcohol 40, denatured alcohol, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol. “These [ingredients] are commonly found in toners and should be avoided,” Rouleau cautions. Try Cremorlab’s Mineral Treatment Essence ($42) for a boost of energizing, brightening hydration.
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Don’t overdo it. It can be tempting to layer on lots of cream, especially if you’re excited about trying out a new product. But everyone’s sensitivity to retinol and AHAs is different, so it’s best to be cautious until you know how well your skin will tolerate the product. Dr. Ford recommends a graduated approach: “We tell our patients to begin using retinol on Mondays and Thursdays for a few weeks, then up it to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a few more weeks, and eventually you’ll just be taking weekends off. Some people can tolerate these products every day of the week.”
In every case, introducing a retinol into your night regimen will normalize your skin, encouraging it to shed and rebuild in a healthier way. “Retinols are fantastic multitaskers, proven to clear pimples and fade the marks they leave behind,” explains New York City dermatologist Doris Day. The vitamin A derivatives can be irritating, but this version contains a tolerable .1 percent of the over-the-counter retinaldehyde. Ease in by using yours just two or three nights a week and topping it with one of those inflammation-curbing oils we mentioned earlier. (As skin adjusts, up the frequency, adding one night each week.)
It is a specialized anti-acne cleanser. So, if you only have occasional blackheads or whiteheads here and there, and you’re primarily after keeping your skin clean and clear, this product might be an overkill for your condition.
Hydrating Moisturizer: “Some ingredients I recommend to look for in moisturizers are rosehip seed oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil, phospholipids, cranberry oil, sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil,” Rouleau says. “All of these ingredients mimic the natural lipids in your skin and do a better job of repairing your skin’s moisture barrier.” Try Perricone MD’s Nourishing Moisturizer ($80) or Intraceuticals’ Rejuvenate Moisture Binding Cream ($69) for a big dose of moisture that doesn’t feel greasy.
Antioxidant Serum: Rouleau recommends using a highly potent antioxidant serum (look for vitamins E, A, and C) during the daytime to help prevent collagen breakdown—just make sure to follow with SPF. We love SkinInc’s Vitamin A Serum ($45).
Promising Review: “Not only did I use this on my face. But I’ve also used it to help the acne areas on the backs of my arms. It is a very gentle product and does not have a strong scent. I love how it clears the acne and soothes the red spots that come with it!” —KohlenBlakesMom
TeensHealth: “I used another girl’s lip pencil sharpener for my lip pencil. Can I get any diseases from doing that?” “Can I Prevent Acne?” “Does Putting Toothpaste on a Pimple Make It Go Away?” “Indoor Tanning,” “Melanoma,” “Myths About Acne,” “Tanning,” “Why Do I Get Acne?”
Our one mild quibble is that Dr. Dennis Gross Brightening Solution is not strictly a cream — it’s a serum, with a thin, oil-like consistency. If you like the skin-feel of lotion or thick cream, you may want to consider either La Prairie or one of our not-quite-perfect runners-up below. That said, we found the formula easy to apply. The angled dropper allows you to precisely deposit small drops onto your face or finger and then rub it in. The package also includes a wrapped stack of microfiber pads if you’d prefer to apply this way.
Removes Tan: Save the money you spend on your sun tack packs for something else. Just prepare a pack by mixing 4 tsp gram flour with 1 tsp each of lemon, yogurt and turmeric powder. Apply to your cleansed face and wash off with cool water after the pack dries. The good news is that this pack can be applied daily without any side effects.
Shhhh…you didn’t here it from us, but popping a pimple can actually be OK sometimes, if you do it the right (not-scar-inducing) way! Zits always seem to show up when you’re already stressed, so don’t take out your existing troubles on your poor, helpless face. Only give the spot a squeeze if it’s white on top. Using two cotton swabs, gently press on both sides of the little sucker until it pops. Once you’ve cleaned off the gunk, dab a salicylic acid treatment on top.
Do: Exercise regularly. Running, jogging and yoga will give your body the necessary blood circulation, and also accelerate the cleansing process of your entire body. You will notice a glow on your face after working out. Racing against time? Just take a brisk walk around the block.
Don’t let the lack of any active ingredients in the Pore Normalizing Cleanser throw you off. This gentle gel is designed just to cleanse, not treat, which is a good thing: The Nurse Practitioner study emphasizes the importance of washing with mild cleansers in conjunction with topical acne medications to combat or avoid excessive skin irritation. This one is water-based and fragrance-free, and uses sodium laureth sulfate (as opposed to its harsh cousin sodium lauryl sulfate) to eliminate any chance for irritation.
To repair and protect, look for a serum rich in antioxidants, like vitamin C or E, or epidermal growth factors to help stimulate collagen production, says Jackson. (If you’ve become particularly concerned about your eye area, give your eye cream an extra boost with a specialized serum containing the same ingredients.) Over that, layer a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 moisturizer.
Consider this your rule of thumb, according to Dr. Nazarian: “Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply at least every two hours. Chemical sunscreens should be applied directly to clean skin, while physical blockers can be applied last in your skin-care regimen, but before makeup is applied. About two tablespoons of sunscreen are appropriate to cover your face and exposed areas of your body; within that amount, use a nickel-size dollop to cover your face.”
A couple of affordable and readily available drugstore brands landed in this category. They contain retinoids and AHAs, the two most important anti-wrinkle ingredients. All they lack is sodium hyaluronate — our favorite moisturizer. An easy work-around is to add a face moisturizer to your routine — preferably one that does contain sodium hyaluronate. (Our top picks for best face moisturizer both feature it, if you need a recommendation.)
Don’t share makeup or makeup tools. Use fresh applicators when you try on makeup in stores. Don’t apply eyeliner inside your lid, because it may irritate your eye. If you’ve had an eye infection, buy new makeup so you don’t reinfect yourself. Never put on makeup in a car or on the bus. A bump or swerve could make you scratch your eye or get makeup and germs in it.
American Academy of Dermatology: “Acne,” “Dry skin: Signs and symptoms,” “Dermatologists’ top tips for relieving dry skin,” “How to Create an anti-aging skin care plan,” “Melanoma,” “Skincare on a budget.”
When used in conjunction with a good facial cleanser, facial moisturizer and eye cream (which we cover in separate reports), a good wrinkle cream can minimize fine lines and wrinkles, diminish age spots, and brighten your skin for better skin tone and a youthful glow.
The Pore Targeting Treatment gel and Complexion Perfecting Hydrator moisturizer slip on nicely, with the former powered by skin-loving glycerin and the latter by a whole slew of delicious ingredients, including licorice root extract, sodium hyaluronate, bisabolol, and allantoin. We are iffy on the Skin Smoothing Exfoliator face wash, though, and not only because the microbead granules can be harsh on active breakouts. “Acne products that are washes will tend not to work as well as leave-on or rub-in products,” explains Dr. Green. “Think about it. How well can a product work when rinsed off a few seconds after you put it on?”
Aretha C. Smith began her professional writing career in 2004. She has authored several training guides for Dalhousie University, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English. Smith also holds a diploma in library information management from Nova Scotia Community College.
The face finale is my ride-or-die: Georgia Louise Sleeping Beauty Oil, I love you so much. Seriously, I love you so much. In my [un]professional opinion, beauty oils are the key to age-defying youth. I always rationalize spending my cold hard cash monies on the best oil that I can because this is the most critical part for me. I live and breathe for this moment. While I’m pressing a few drops of this into my skin, I’m also repeating powerful words of self-love in my head. I’m always grateful for the nightly skincare journey, but honestly, always so happy once I’ve reached my destination.
Wash your face with a natural, organic cleanser. Natural cleansers can be found at a health food store or in many chain drugstores. Look for a cleanser with a glycerin or castille soap base that cleans without stripping the skin’s protective acid mantle. Other ingredients that are soothing and cleansing include essential oils, coconut, aloe vera, chamomile and oats.
Don’t neglect the rest of your routine. This includes the obvious: Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. If you wear heavy eye makeup, invest in a dedicated eye makeup remover to avoid tugging at the delicate skin around your eyes more than necessary. You may also want to explore eye creams, which use many of the same ingredients found in wrinkle creams, but in gentle doses intended for the very thin skin under your eyes.
“Use a skincare product that optimizes the skin barrier and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients. This will also help reduce chronic inflammation, induced by ultraviolet light and airborne pollution. Barrier-damaging skincare and cleansing should be avoided.” — Carl Thornfeldt, MD
Botox Alternative- -Snake Peptide, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 Peptide , 5% Vitamin B3 Niacinamide, B5, E , C & 1% Retinol Dmae ,Hyaluronic Acid Anti-aging, Best Wrinkle Cream, Serum Repair, Boost Collagen 1.oz Pump
For a safer tan, try sunless self-tanner. It stains your skin and comes in many forms, including lotions, sprays, and towelettes. Or try airbrush tanning, where a salon expert sprays the tan right on your skin. For a quick fake tan, try some bronzer. It’s a brush-on powder or tinted cream that gives the look of a fresh tan. But remember — you’ll still need to protect your skin from the sun.
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.
Promising Review: “This product really works! My skin has never looked this clear! I saw the difference within a day on my new breakouts. By the next day, they were already disappearing and they didn’t come back!” —Brandy
Fights Acne: The natural antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties of this yellow-skinned fruit are beneficial for those who have acne and pimple-prone skin. Get rid of your blackheads with a simple mixture of lemon juice and honey.
Company Reputation: An online search reveals many powerful user reviews.* The company openly admits to third party testing, is based in the USA, and they further indicate the product is made in an FDA registered lab that follows GMP guidelines.*
You may like to be tan, but you hurt your skin when it changes color from the sun or indoor tanning. UV exposure can make you more likely to get skin cancer — now or later. It can also lead to wrinkly, leathery-looking skin and spots. Regularly using tanning beds raises your chances of getting melanoma (the deadliest skin cancer) by 8 times.
What to look for: All of your makeup, from blush to eye shadow, should be non-greasy, non-comedogenic (or non-acnegenic), hypoallergenic, non-irritating, and oil-free. Read the ingredients — the very first one should be water. Mineral-based cosmetics contain added ingredients like silica, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide, which both absorb oil and hide redness without irritating skin and causing pimples. Another ingredient to look for is dimethicone, which also conceals redness while smoothing out uneven skin.
Wear sunscreen everyday. Daily sun exposure can cause premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and other problems. Even if you don’t plan on going outside for long, put on sunscreen before you leave home. Your sunscreen should be SPF 30 or higher. Apply it fifteen minutes before going outside. 
One word of caution, though: Dr. Lawrence Green, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at George Washington University, warns that even moderate acne can be beyond what an over-the-counter treatment can handle, and recommends seeing a specialist. Our advice: Track your progress while using any over-the-counter treatments, and consider consulting a doctor if your skin continues to worsen or not improve after one month.
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.
At-Home Peel: “Dry skin responds well to [gentle] exfoliation,” Rouleau says. “If your skin is dry, it means you have dead skin cell buildup—if you try to hydrate dried skin cells that are expired, it makes no sense.” She says that dry skin has invisible “cracks,” so you should avoid using a facial scrub with sharp edges. “Chemical exfoliants do a better job of dissolving dead skin cells without tearing at your skin,” she says. Try her line’s Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($87) or AmorePacific’s Treatment Enzyme Peel ($60).
People have been covering up their blemishes for centuries. In the 1600s, women wore star-and moon-shaped silk patches to hide their smallpox scars. Today, we use makeup to camouflage our pimples, but applying layer after layer of cover-up when you have acne isn’t necessarily the best approach. Makeup can be very good at hiding pimples, but it can also accentuate zits if you use the wrong kind of concealer or slather it on too thickly. The redness and peeling many acne treatments leave behind can look even worse when smeared with thick makeup.
Toner: Rouleau says to look for an alcohol-free toner that has ingredients like sodium PCA (a humectant to hold water to your skin), geranium (an essential oil good for cutting oil), and witch hazel (a natural ingredient with an astringent effect without the drying effects of alcohol).
Choose your makeup carefully too, especially if used to cover up pimples. Acne treatments can be made moot if you pile on pore-clogging cosmetics. Look for labels that state non-comedogenic — or get started with our review on the best foundation.
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“When the skin ages, less oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to it. For example, by the time you reach 75 years old, you have about 50% fewer blood vessels in your face. So with fewer vessels, it means less nutrient-rich blood, and oxygen is being brought to the cells of the skin. The result is dull, tired-looking skin. To be sure skin is healthy and has good blood flow, hang your head upside down for three minutes per day—it’s one of the best skincare tips. This can also be done up against a wall, during a downward dog in yoga, or by simply hanging your head over the side of your bed. After three minutes, a slight redness will appear on the skin, and in the long run, it can make a big difference in getting and keeping that inner glow going strong.” — Renée Rouleau
Why She Loves It: It may sound fishy, but the hard worker in this serum is actually an enzyme released by salmon at birth, which scientists found helps the baby salmon break free from their shell. Used in skin care, the same enzyme is a great natural exfoliant, says Chapas. (And the concentration is doubled in this serum.) Plus, it contains a mushroom extract to naturally lighten and brighten skin.
You don’t always have to exfoliate (especially if you have sensitive skin), but keep in mind that exfoliating at least twice a week is crucial for clear, polished skin. Sloughing off dead skin cells makes it possible for the rest of your skin care products to mingle with your pores and do their magic. Gently massage or tap an exfoliant into your skin for smooth and silky skin.
Promising Review: “Look no further for an amazing pimple treatment. I’ve been using this for three years now. I get hormonal and stress acne. But when I use this product, it can make a pimple go away in as quick as two to three days.” —Kindle Customer
I’m so glad you included Sukin. I’ve been using their soap-free bodywash for a year now as I get very sore skin on my legs and torso during the winter and it’s brilliant – it’s the only thing my skin will tolerate when it’s really bad, it’s great value as a little goes a long way and its green credentials are very impressive too.
The face wash contains 2% salicylic acid for loosening dead skin around blackheads, but you rinse this skin-active ingredient down the drain almost as soon as you put the product on your face. The lotion also contains menthol, which can increase oil production on some types of skin. The daily toner also contains salicylic acid, but at a pH (2.3) – low enough actually to burn the skin. Even worse, the toner contains a large amount of isopropyl alcohol, which can dry out the skin. And the toner is also mostly alcohol.
Like Olay, Estee Lauder Perfectionist does not contain retinol or fragrance so it’s a good choice for sensitive skin. Because it contains no sunscreen, it should not be used as a daily moisturizing lotion unless it’s used under an SPF-rated product, such as a daily facial moisturizer. However, many users say they use it day and night, layering it under other products.
In the days before your period, swapping out your regular cleanser for one with antibacterial benzoyl peroxide (BP) like the Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser can keep zits from cropping up, says Robert Anolik, a dermatologist in New York City. (If you find it too drying, use it only on your lower face to target impending zits.) But, again, he stresses, “even if you knock out bacteria and unclog pores, hormonal acne will often persist without the help of birth-control pills.” While Anolik prefers BP for pimple prevention, once bumps arise, he likes salicylic acid (in both spot treatments like this and masks) for its unparalleled ability to free up pores and temper swelling.