The Holy Grail Skin-Care Tips You Need to Know, According to Dermatologists
What if there was an encyclopedia of game-changing skin-care tips — an amalgamation of the best advice, hacks, and to-dos sourced straight from dermatologists and experts — all in one easy to find place? It would feel a little like finding the golden ticket in a Willy Wonka factory, only in this case, everybody wins.
That's where we come in and curate a compilation of the most useful advice we, as beauty editors, have learned over the years. These aren't your standard (but accurate) "wash your face at night" soundbites you're used to seeing everywhere, either, or the many a beauty hacks out there we'd hard recommend you (pretty please) avoid. Instead, the below tips cover everything from acne to dryness to sunburns, and are all pro-approved and safe to infiltrate into your skin-care routine, STAT.
With that, we have three words: grab your notepad.
Best Tips For Breakouts
Tip: If you feel a zit coming on, put it on ice (literally).
There's nothing better at treating an undergrounder than cold therapy; in fact, placing an ice cube on the area is much like putting an ice pack on a bruised or injured area of the body. "It's the same concept, and many people who suffer from inflammatory skin conditions like acne and rosacea can benefit because of its ability to reduce the inflammation on the skin, which is a key trigger to both conditions," celebrity facialist Candace Marino previously told POPSUGAR.
Icing the area after a pimple pops up can also keep it from getting any worse, says Dermatologist Papri Sarkar, MD.
Hack: Let your shampoo work double duty.
Sometimes you'll find the most effective acne busters where you least expect it. "I [tell] many of my patients who get acne after workout classes or yoga to use shampoos with zinc pyrithione as a body wash," said Dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, MD. "It helps treat pityrosporum, a yeast cause of acne that is often missed."
You can also use this same method with fungal acne, experts say. (Just make sure you confirm that's what it is before you start to treat it.) Dermatologist Claire Chang, MD, recommends using Nizoral Anti Dandruff Shampoo ($15) as a body wash and letting it sit on your skin or a minute or two before rinsing it off. "You can also use over-the-counter selenium sulfide shampoos, like Selsun Blue Medicated With Menthol Dandruff Shampoo ($7), that have fungus-fighting activity," she said.
Tip: When you shower, save your face-wash step for last.
This one is an easy swap: instead of reaching for the face cleanser first, start with your hair-care routine and then suds up. "Shampoo and conditioner may have some potentially pore-clogging ingredients that seep onto the hairline and down the cheeks and leave behind some residue," said celebrity aesthetician Renee Rouleau. "In some hair conditioners, the ingredient panthenol can be used in high concentrations and could potentially be the cause of breakouts. To prevent this from happening, wash your face after shampooing and conditioning so you're sure the skin gets properly cleaned."
Tip: Put a Band-Aid on the blemish.
Not just any Band-Aid will do — you need one with a hydrocolloid dressing, which typically contains a gelatin to trap moisture and promote healing. "Hydrocolloid is often used in wound healing because it draws moisture out of wounds and can stick to both dry and wet sites," said Dr. Sarkar. "I ask patients to very gently prick the pimple with a clean pin once, then apply the patch on top. It's great because it draws out the contents and, sometimes more importantly, keeps the patient from picking at it."
Best Tips For Maintaining Hydration
Tip: Apply your moisturizer immediately after the shower.
Countless dermatologists and skin-care experts agree: the best time to slather on lotion is when the skin is still a little damp — but not soaked — so you can seal in the moisture. Dermatologist Michael Kaminer, MD, told Skincare.com that water evaporates off your skin quickly postshower, which can leave that dry skin feeling. "Your skin has the most moisture when it's wet, and most moisturizers work best when skin is already hydrated," he said.
Best Tips For Blackheads
Tip: Soften the surface area — spa-style.
"Before cleansing, wrap your face with a warm, damp towel for one minute," said Madeline Gawronska, aesthetician at Red Door Spa. "The heat mimics the steam you'd get during a spa session and softens the debris in your pores, so you get a deeper cleanse faster."
Tip: Prevent the oil from turning black in the first place.
For the uninitiated, a blackhead occurs when oil from your pore reaches the surface of skin and comes in contact with the open air. That oxidation causes the dark color, so you want to prevent it from getting to that point. Rouleau's best advice? Use an antioxidant like vitamin C.
Tip: Make sure those little black dots aren't actually sebaceous filaments.
That's it. That's the tip.
Best Tips For Sunburns
Hack: Grab the nearest Greek yogurt.
No aloe vera? No problem. Greek yogurt can draw the heat out of the burn, and "the probiotics in Greek yogurt, as well as in other foods such as unpasteurized sauerkraut, may help your skin repair against damage caused by UV rays," Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ, previously told POPSUGAR. Leave it on skin for 10 minutes then rinse it off.
Hack: Try a tomato.
No yogurt? Whew, let's try something else in the kitchen: tomatoes. According to Stacie Stephenson, DC, CNS, and chair of Functional Medicine for Cancer Treatment Centers of America: "The lycopene in tomatoes, most concentrated in tomato paste, has been shown to have a protective effect against the UV damage of a sunburn."
Best Tips For Wrinkle Prevention
Tip: Change your pillowcase — and change it often.
"A treatment that many people forget is regularly washing or changing their pillowcases," said Dermatologist Monica Valentin, MD. Silk fabrics can ensure you cause less friction while sleeping. Added boon: changing it up on the regular also helps prevent bacteria-induced breakouts. "There are even pillowcases that are now designed with ingredients such a silver to fight against bacteria," she said.
Best Tips For Under-Eye Bags
Tip: Sleep with an extra pillow. Sorry to tell you this (and thanks a lot, mom) but most under-eye woes are largely genetic, which means there's not much you can do to change those dark circles or bags. Still, you can reduce the appearance of the latter by de-puffing the area. To do so, add an extra pillow under your head at night to elevate and drain any excess fluid.
Tip: Promote healing with a tea bag.
If you're suffering from under-the-skin pimples, try to bring them to a head with warm compresses and tea bags. After you pop the pimple, boil some water, soak a tea bag, and gently press the tea bag on the area for as long as you can.
Tip: Keep a small spoon in your freezer.
In the same way ice can help treat inflammation, cold therapy can also work wonders at de-puffing. An easy alternative to slapping ice cubes on your delicate eye area? A small spoon stored in the freezer.
Best Tips For Oil Control
Hack: Find a DIY blotter.
If you don't have proper oil blotting sheets on hand, don't sweat. If you're at a restaurant, mall, or event space, you can grab a toilet seat cover and use it to soak up excess oil in a pinch. Another alternative: the ridged paper napkins you find at some takeout spots, like Chipotle.
Best Tips For Spray Tans
Tip: Use a large powder brush to dust on talc-free baby powder.
According to celebrity spray tanner Anna Stankiewicz Babakitis, doing this post-application helps set the formula and absorb excess oil, which will counteract any tackiness or color transfer to your sheets or clothes.
Hack: Grab Vaseline.
Another way to protect yourself from a patchy self tan: try using Vaseline on trouble spots such as ankles, elbows, knees, and wrists before self-tanner application. The ointment will act as a barrier cream on these drier areas and prevent uneven absorption for a smoother-looking glow.