Everybody wants clear, flawless skin, but not everyone has the time to follow a 13-step skin-care regimen every single day. And if you’re like me, even washing your face is a chore much less a twenty-minute routine. Luckily for you, there are ways to have clear skin without sacrificing a ton of time, effort, and money.
Don’t be fooled. However much I wish there was, there is no overnight fix to breakouts and blemishes and no instant miracle remedies. You’ll still have to invest some time into clear skin, and you have to stick to a routine no matter how small it is. Consistency is key.
Incorporate your skincare into your morning and night routines. You don’t have to follow your routine religiously, but try to make it a habit. Trust me, your skin will thank you.
Ready to start your routine but not sure where to start? The first step is to get organized. You’ll likely be doing your skincare in the bathroom, so clear out anything you don’t use and make room for the products you’ll be using. Having an organized space will make you more motivated and willing to do your routine, so keep the space clean, and you’ll want to do it every day.
Once you are organized, it’s time to start your routine. It doesn’t need to be 13 steps, but there are some basic skin rules to follow:
1. Wash your face. Clean = clear so wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. If you can’t commit to this in the beginning, at least wash your face in the night. You should also wash your face after working out. Don’t use hot water. Hot water can dry skin out and keep your pores open meaning it is easier for them to get clogged. Use cool water instead along with a gentle cleanser.
2. Moisturize. Dry skin can spell disaster for breakouts especially in fall and winter. To minimize this, use a moisturizer after washing your face and again after applying any creams or ointments. Make sure to find moisturizers that work well for your skin and won’t clog your pores. My favorite moisturizer to use as a base coat is the hyaluronic acid from Trader Joe’s.
3. Apply serums, creams, and ointments. Skincare looks different for everyone, but this is really where your routine will differ from others. At this step, you can apply any medicated serums, creams, or ointments you have. This includes prescribed and over-the-counter products. For those that don’t already have products to use, look for products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Clean & Clear and The Ordinary are great brands for this. These are great acne-fighting compounds that can be found in over-the-counter products at your local grocery or convenience store. Some of these products can be potent, so make sure to read the directions and use only a small amount.
4. Moisturize again. Any medicated cream will likely cause dry skin and irritation, especially in the beginning. It is crucial that you keep your skin hydrated with brands like CeraVe and Cetaphil (these two are also great brands for people with sensitive skin).
5. Apply sunscreen. This is a really important one that only takes five seconds. Apply sunscreen every morning and reapply as needed.
And that’s it! This easy 5-step routine isn’t foolproof as it might not work for everyone, but if paired with simple lifestyle changes, you could be seeing clearer skin in no time!
Besides having a skincare routine, there are other things you can do for more flawless skin:
- Cut back on added sugars. Reduce your intake of foods with high sugar content and instead try to incorporate more natural foods into your diet.
- Drink water! For some reason, this is an extremely difficult task for me. But water has a plethora of benefits for the body, and skin-clearing is just one of them.
- Use ice cubes. It is preferred that you take cold showers instead of hot to keep pores closed and unclogged. But no one is actually going to do that (good for you if you do) so you can lightly rub an ice cube on your face to re-close your pores after showering.
- Reduce stress. This is not an easy task either, but reducing stress will make you generally healthier, so it is worth a shot. Try doing something you love for a little every day whether that is a half-hour of reading at night, some journaling in the morning, or a walk after school.
- Don’t touch your face. Bad oils are your skin’s enemy, so refrain from touching your face without clean hands. And, make sure your hands are clean before applying anything to your skin.
- Pat, don’t rub. Rubbing your face dry with a towel can cause irritation, so it is best to gently pat away water.
- Check your hair products. Some hair products have ingredients that can actually cause breakouts, so once you know what they are, try to avoid them as much as possible.
- Do your research. If you're serious about getting clearer skin, you'll have to learn more about your skin and the products that might work for it. Fortunately, there is a myriad of sources you can find with one quick Google search that will get you started.
- Be kind to yourself. I’ve always thought that the harsher you are on yourself and your skin, the worse it can get. And the harder it is to stay focused on the goal and stick to a routine. So stay positive and remember that the condition of your skin is temporary.
All of these things are relatively small and can be easily done every single day. The most important thing is to not get discouraged and remind yourself that skincare is a process that might take some trial and error before you get it completely right.