5 Skin Care Basics Everyone Should Know

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Even with—or maybe because of—all the skin care advice floating around, often we can skip over the solid, basic no-brainers in favor of the latest fad (we’re looking at you, Korean beauty products). There’s nothing wrong with considering new tips and products of any type—but we should all be masters of the very basics and not get sidetracked. These basics include the following:

#1 Hands Off!
No matter how clean your hands are, touching your face can lead to spreading bacteria and make certain problems worse, like acne.

#2 Clean Up
This means using a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil twice a day—and NOT sleeping in your makeup, ever. Makeup is great for the day or the night out, but left on, it will clog pores and promote breakouts. Also, invest in some baby wipes to keep your cell phone clean. Remember, it’s going up against your face a zillion times a day, bringing along bad bacteria with it. So make sure you wipe it down frequently.

#3 Get Rid
Exfoliation is your friend. However, you shouldn’t do it more than once or twice a week, because overdoing it will remove the friendly oils your skin produces naturally that help keep your skin fresh and moisturized. This rule applies even if you have acne—maybe even especially if you have acne. Why? Removing too much of those oils can signal your skin to produce more to make up for the ones you got rid of, bringing you right back to where you started with—oily skin—in a vicious circle.

#4 Pick Right
Be sure you pick an exfoliant with 2% salicylic acid if you have oily skin, rosacea, or acne. Salicylic acid is also known as a beta-hydroxy acid or BHA. Now, if you’re dealing with sun-damaged, wrinkled skin, your best bet is a product with an alpha-hydroxy acid or AHA. Be cautious with DIY exfoliants, even if with natural products like honey or lemon. You see, it’s not enough that a substance removes the dead skin and gunk, it also has to have the right acidity or pH level. Too much will make your skin dry out. That’s why a formulated product with good, proven ingredients like AHAs and BHAs is a better bet.

#5 Switch Up
This means washing your pillowcases regularly to protect your skin from bacteria and using one towel for your body and another for your face—one you change regularly. Again, the bacteria that get around can really do a number or skin—and that’s why you also need to wash your makeup brushes regularly, as well.

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