Deep Cleanse and Gentle Detox
Before adding any new treatments to my skin, I make sure my cleansing routine is as effective as possible. I often find that just stepping up my cleansing will really improve the texture of my skin. I like to use a combination of cleansing milks and gently foaming, sulfate-free cleansers. (Cleansing balms are another great option, but I haven't found one I love yet, and they tend to feel a little too heavy on my skin.) Cleanse as soon as you get home to remove the dirt and makeup from the day and let your skin breathe. The one "investment piece" in my cleansing routine is my Clarisonic. I use this nightly with the sensitive brush-head; it feels like a mini-facial, and I notice a dramatic difference in how smooth my skin feels. I also like to exfoliate using a combination of physical and chemical products. I know some people think that physical exfoliants are too abrasive, but I use them once or twice a week to help refine my skin's texture. Currently, I reach for my Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser once or twice a week in lieu of the Clarisonic (do not use this with the Clarisonic!). It contains tiny beads that polish the surface of your skin, and it has an invigorating citrus scent.
Know Your Skin
As someone who likes to read beauty blogs, I inevitably choose some of my products based on what is most hyped. This has led to some amazing discoveries as well as, on occasion, the desire to use a product even though it's not the best match for my skin. Over the past couple of years, I've paid attention to what products and brands my skin likes and dislikes. It takes a bit of patience, but once you find a regimen that works, stick with it. Especially before special occasions, don't try too many products simultaneously, and don't stray from your good old standbys. You don't need 20 products to achieve clear, glowing skin. This will also save you lots of $$$!
Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
Though my Instagram feed might suggest otherwise, I eat a clean diet most of the time and drink a lot of water (2-4 L) every day. I hate to admit it, but what I eat truly does influence how my skin looks. I've read that a sugar overload can negatively affect your collagen production, so I try to tame my huge sweet tooth. Too many insulin spikes can also lead to inflammation, which can manifest itself as skin irritations. I've also noticed my skin is more radiant after I sleep and after I exercise, so I've been trying to make time for both of those things, too!
Obviously, if your skin is still troublesome despite your best efforts, it's worth a trip to your doctor to investigate what other issues might be causing the irritation. Tell me your favorite skin-clearing tricks!