Why is it that celebrities have perfect, poreless faces that just don't seem genetically possible? Their secret: diligent skincare and some seriously skilled dermatologists! The truth is, you can have that same enviable skin at any age if you stick to a regimen and avoid some common pitfalls. The biggest: overcleansing and overexfoliating, says Whitney Bowe, MD, FAAD. "Your skin thrives when it is treated gently," says Bowe. Cleansing is essential, but using the wrong formulas can be detrimental. "The more you use harsh cleansers with strong ingredients or microbeads, the more stress you place on your skin," she says. Here, the 411 on achieving a close-to-flawless-as-possible complexion.
Cleanse the Day Away
Hours of makeup buildup and pollutants in the air can wreak havoc after an entire day, which is why cleansing is so important. Look for formulas that contain alpha and beta hydroxy acids. "AHAs help to exfoliate the skin so that pores are less likely to clog," says Bowe. "BHAs like salicylic acid decrease inflammation," she says. One to try: Dermadoctor Ain't Misbehavin' Medicated AHA/BHA Acne Cleanser. The soothing formula is soap- and oil-free, which means it's gentle enough for all skin types and can be used morning and night. The benefits: It dissolves and exfoliates debris in your pores, reduces excess oil and controls shine.
A little extra muscle in the way of an electronic exfoliator can make a difference in the surface of your skin. "Electronic brushes can help exfoliate the skin," says Bowe. "These are best used twice a week; if you use them more often, they can actually dry out the skin by stripping it of its natural oils." However, since they do a thorough job of excavating your pores, apply your moisturizer right after, says Bowe.
"It'll penetrate deeper and can really do its job," she says. One to try: Clarisonic Mia 2 Sonic Cleansing System. It's not only the cutest brush around, but it also packs a serious punch. Sonic technology deeply cleans pores in a nonabrasive way. Plus, it gets rid of six times more debris and makeup than your average cleanser, so your skin will look and feel oh so smooth.
Slick on a Serum
Moisturizer alone isn't enough to improve the quality of your skin. This is where serums come in. "Some serums dramatically improve your skin texture and tone," says dermatologist Paul Frank, MD. "A serum can have a stronger concentration of a key ingredient which will penetrate the skin better." Serums can also provide protection for your skin. Those that are antioxidant-based can shield your skin from the damage the sun can cause to skin cells, says Bowe. One to try: Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Serum. This little wonder in a tube contains vitamins A, C and E that go deep into the skin to correct damage, decrease fine lines and age spots and boost collagen production. Use it once a day underneath your moisturizer.
Thanks to aging and years spent in the sun, pesky dark spots (also known as lentigines) can appear on your face. And, because of hormones, dark patches, or melasma, may also make their mark. To treat these areas, look for products that contain ingredients that help lighten the skin, says Frank. One to try: Vichy ProEVEN Total Dark Spot Corrector. Melanin-targeting ingredients like LHA and vitamins C and E work their magic through the layers of your skin to fade dark areas so skin is even and glowing. For the best results, use it twice a day under a sunscreen.