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Whether your skin is dry, oily, or somewhere in between, it's important to cleanse your face in the morning and before bed. This is especially true for acne-prone skin because forgetting to wash off the oil, debris, and bacteria that accumulate throughout the day could lead to breakouts the next morning, says Dr. Joel Schlessinger, board-certified dermatologist and president of LovelySkin.com.
Follow everyday cleansing basics.
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Bathing can play an important role in healthy skin, says Dr. Marnie B. Nussbaum, board-certified dermatologist. When showering, make sure to use warm water. Cold water doesn't open up pores, and hot water can dry out the skin.
Pat skin dry.
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To avoid irritation, Dr. Nussbaum recommends patting—not rubbing—the skin dry after showering.
Treat existing acne.
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Apply a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid treatment to the affected area, Dr. Schlessinger says. Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial agent that eliminates acne-causing bacteria inside the pore, while salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates to unclog pores and smooth skin.
Exfoliate unwanted flakes.
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Microdermabrasion or hydrafacial treatments performed by dermatologists can remove buildup of dead skin cells, says Dr. Josie Tenore, board-certified family physician. A gentle exfoliating scrub also can be used to exfoliate skin at home.
Moisturize every day.
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Even oily skin needs moisture so the skin doesn't overcompensate for dryness by producing more oil. Dr. Tenore recommends using thicker moisturizers in the winter and lightweight products in the summer.
Apply makeup with a brush.
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Avoid using your fingers to apply foundation and concealer. Touching your face can transfer new bacteria from your finger to a pimple, Dr. Schlessinger explains.
Clean makeup brushes regularly.
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Makeup brushes store bacteria that may lead to further skin irritation. To avoid this, cleanse brushes at least once a week.
Use non-comedogenic makeup.
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If you need to cover a blemish, choose a non-comedogenic foundation and concealer, Dr. Schlessinger says. Non-comedogenic means the formula won't clog pores or aggravate acne.
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Left intact, the head of a pimple keeps bacteria contained to one area and the pimple will typically heal itself within a few days. Popping the pimple could force bacteria and debris even deeper into your skin, making the blemish worse, Dr. Schlessinger says. Picking is also the most common cause of acne scarring.
Follow the 8 x 8 rule.
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To maintain a youthful appearance, you must first maintain a healthy lifestyle. Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day will help your body stay healthy and prevent acne flareups, Dr. Nussbaum says. Additionally, eating a diet with lots of fruits and veggies will help your skin stay clear.
Indulge in Weekly Masks.
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What woman doesn't love a little pampering? Face masks are a great way to address skincare concerns, such as acne or dryness. Make sure to choose one tailored to your specific needs.
Wash and change sheets often.
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Bedding should be washed about once a week to remove dirt and germs that may be resting on the sheets. It's always smart to keep more than one pair of sheets on hand, so you can switch them out periodically for washing.