The Golden Rules for Taking Care of Your Skin

There is a ton of information out there about how to properly care for your skin. It can seem daunting with so many beauty products in the market to choose from, but we asked the experts what practices we need to engage in to truly take care of our skin. Experts Dr. Stephen T Greenberg, Joanna Vargas and Dr. Lamees Hamden all weighed in on the golden rules of skincare. Spoiler alert: They all agree on the most important product that you can use in your routine.

1. Eat healthy

Greenberg recommends a diet rich in antioxidants like fruits and veggies in addition to topical anti-aging treatments. Hamden’s pro tip is to try to “eat the rainbow,” meaning to eat raw fruits and veggies of all colors. She also recommends healthy cold-pressed oils like coconut, avocado and olive.

Vargas agrees on eating the rainbow and getting plenty of healthy fats, such as avocado, into your daily routine. For her clients that don’t always have time for a daily green smoothie, Vargas recommends buying liquid chlorophyll. “It tastes like mint, it oxygenates the skin, keeps skin clean and works from the inside out, and you’ll see a huge difference in your skin in a matter of days,” she says.    

2. A skincare routine is essential

“Skincare is the link between all anti-aging strategies,” Greenberg says. A healthy diet is great, but you need a topical skin care routine to support the work you’re doing internally. “Effective skin care should be professional grade inclusive of peptides, vitamins, antioxidants and sun protection,” he adds.
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3. Exfoliate

Vargas recommends exfoliating the skin twice a week. “Getting rid of the buildup of dead cells and surface dirt is such a great thing to do for your skin,” she says. Try an exfoliating mask for a gentle method of exfoliation without all the harsh scrubbing.
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4. Cleanse at night

“Cleansing at night is an important step, and using facial wipes just won’t do,” Hamden says. Sorry, face wipe lovers. Hamden recommends double cleansing at night, preferably with a muslin cloth, to get the day’s dirt and pollution off the skin.
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5. Stay hydrated

It’s a fact that you just can’t escape: hydration is key. It’s not just important to stay hydrated while working out. It’s a constant practice. “Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated is a key rule to help reduce wrinkles and prevent dehydration”, Greenberg says.

6. Get some beauty rest

“Your skin is a window into what is happening on your inside. If you are struggling with your skin, also examine your routine and diet. Do you eat well? Sleep well? These would affect your skin too,” Vargas says. She recommends using an overnight mask to repair and hydrate while you sleep.
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7. Some products are tried and true

There are a lot of buzzwords in the beauty industry about skincare ingredients, but there are a few ingredients that are backed by science to be the most effective anti-aging products you can buy. Hamden lists these ingredients as “Vitamin A derivatives (retinol), antioxidants, Vitamin C  and a weekly acid peel.”
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8. Wear sunscreen

The experts all agree — sunscreen is THE golden rule of skincare. “The most important way to protect your skin is to apply sunscreen,” Greenberg says. He recommends, when shopping for a sunscreen, to select one that says “Broad Spectrum” and is an SPF 30 or higher. Vargas recommends a hat and sunscreen every day, even in the winter.

“The sun causes cell mutation (i.e. wrinkles, sunspots and fine lines) so you have to protect it,” Vargas says. Hamden recommends applying your sunscreen after all your other products, but to let it penetrate for at least 2 minutes before applying any makeup, regardless of whether or not your makeup has sunscreen in it.  

Follow these simple steps and you can be sure your skin will be looking fabulous for years to come. But remember, the most important step is to wear sunscreen every day, year-round.

Lisa Bensley is the founder of BeautyByBenz, a health and beauty blog that is really just an excuse to buy too much makeup. When she is not writing, she's probably boxing, obsessing over her Dachshund, Stanley, reading, or binge-watching Law & Order: SVU. Follow her (and Stanley's) antics on Instagram.