Welcome to 49 ways you can take care of your skin. With this guide we’ve gathered many skincare methods all in one place so that there’s less confusion in what you can do to get healthier skin.
Washing and Care
Before you do anything, you should wash your hands. Why? Because you wouldn’t use a dirty cloth to wipe something down, so why should the same apply to the rest of your body, including the face? The primary way to wash your hands should be thorough, so let’s go with the CDC five-step specifications of hand washing since if it’s good enough for the CDC, it’s good enough for us.
First wet your hands with running water, and then lather them in soap. Make sure to get the back of your hands, as well as between the fingers where dry skin can form. Scrub your hands for about 20 seconds before rinsing and then drying them with a clean towel. If you’re concerned about the soap used, pH-balanced hand wash made for skin care is available.
You should use lukewarm water when washing your face. Extremes in water temperature can cause irritation, so it’s best to have water that’s between those points so that your skin doesn’t get flushed. Micellar water is also a good alternative to lukewarm water, since it contains the micelle molecules it’s named after which break down debris like makeup and dirt more effectively.
Beware of over-washing, especially if you’re prone to dry skin. Remember that when showering you’re getting a face wash too, and that combined with a morning and evening at the sink can be too much for some people. Many products will have recommended amounts, and when it comes to skincare products there absolutely is such a thing as too much.
On the flip side, if you’re thinking about using less than recommended to get more worth out of a cleanser then you should also reconsider that too, otherwise you run the risk of the cleanser not, well, cleansing, which isn’t worth it.
When you’re done washing your face, it’s a good idea to use a toner to rebalance your skin. This will keep it healthy by resetting the pH levels of the skin, making it capable of protecting itself from bacteria and other things that would harm it.
Look for salicylic acid in the ingredients if you suffer from acne. Rosewater is known for its anti-aging properties and is often found in toners, too. Toner can be applied to a cotton ball and swiped along the areas you want to treat.
Moisturizing is an important part of caring for your face, and usually the final stage of most people’s skincare regimen. It can’t be understated how key moisture retention is for achieving healthy skin.
Find a moisturizer that’s compatible with your skin type, dry, oily, etc. and use the correct moisturizing gel, lotion, cream, or balm for it. Apply to the face and you’re almost good to go.
We go into this in more detail later (at number 40) but sunscreen is an important part of skincare routines in much of the world. We tend to wear sunscreen sporadically as and when it’s required, but the sun’s UV rays will always take a toll on our skin.
It’s a good idea to get into the habit of applying sunscreen, preferably one that fights both UVA and UVB rays.
Honey is a great natural ingredient, so for those of you more interested in natural skincare remedies, take note. You can wear a facemask made of raw honey, since honey is antibacterial and softens skin.
Just add a warmed tablespoon of honey to your face and leave it for about ten minutes, and it should have a glowing effect on your face and make it soft, to boot. Honey and lemon can also remove blackheads if mixed and left on for five minutes. This is best done at nighttime since citrus acids make skin sensitive to daylight.
Dry and cracked elbows can be a pain, but there are a wide number of remedies available. Many involved the use of petroleum jelly, so look for that if you need some assistance with your elbows. Vaseline is a popular brand of petroleum jelly. Once you have the jelly, you can moisturize with them using many methods.
For your morning showers we’d recommend putting some on your elbows so that the warm and steamy water can make your elbows more receptive to the moisturizer. Before bed you can also apply some and lock it in by wearing a sock pulled over your arm. This keeps the moisturizer in to soften the jellied skin.
A natural if somewhat unusual way of treating dry elbows is to rub banana peel onto them. Bananas have lots of vitamin C which help with skin healing, so it does make sense, honest.
The peel of bananas is also known to repel fungus and bacteria, and so this odd ritual can double as an antibacterial elbow wipe down too.
Another au natural way of reducing the cracking of elbow skin is to use a halved orange on them. The orange doesn’t only smell pleasant but also softens the area, which helps keep your elbows smooth.
What’s more, this method can also be used for your knees to keep them soft.
Sunscreen isn’t just for the face, you know, especially if that décolletage is going to see the light of day often. Use an SPF of at least 30 so that you block out upwards of 90% of the sun’s harmful rays.
Apply it before you leave in the morning and, if you’re spending a prolonged time outside, top it up every two to three hours depending on the intensity of the sunlight.
You can exfoliate the skin on your chest, too, but you should only do this once or twice a week. You can do this either physically or chemically. Physical exfoliation involves using a special tool like a pumice stone to scrub away any dead cells, which can irritate sensitive skin.
Chemical exfoliation uses acid, but don’t let that word scare you. Many acids are fine, or even beneficial, on your skin, and natural exfoliants like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar are no exception. Avoid products that use microplastics since they can harm skin.
A great natural remedy you can use is made with ground oats, honey and milk. Sure, it sounds like some oatmeal but in actuality it makes a good scrub that you can use.
It’s especially handy if you have sensitive skin that can’t cope with the chemicals even so-called natural exfoliating agents have. The insoluble fibers of the oats work well to exfoliate the skin, whilst the honey and milk soften the mixture so that it isn’t too harsh.
Many people stop at their chin when washing their face, so it’s no surprise that the jawline and neck can go neglected when they’re also prone to the buildup of dirt and debris.
You should not only wash your neck, but also moisturize it to keep the skin there in tip top condition. Whatever you use for your face will be good enough for the neck. There’s no reason not to exfoliate the neck too, but for this you’ll need a gentle remedy like the oat exfoliant at number 13 above.
You can care for your neck by changing a few things in your lifestyle. You can ditch the heavy necklaces since these can scratch against the neck, where the skin is very gentle. You can still wear your favorites on occasion, though.
For the same reason you should also avoid shirts and sweaters with tight collars. When getting ready for those occasions where you might be wearing your favorite necklace, don’t apply perfume to the neck directly. Wrists only, since the neck skin gets dried by perfume, and dry skin is less elastic.
There are also neck exercises you can do to keep your neck muscles fit. By keeping to a small exercise routine, you can strengthen neck muscles and add some tone.
- You can start by making the shape of an O with your mouth repeatedly, holding for a few seconds each.
- You can also push against your head with the palm of a hand but keep your neck straight without tilting backwards.
- Another thing you can try is sitting straight, tilting your head backwards and opening your mouth, and then trying to touch your upper lip with your lower lip without letting your teeth touch.
- The last but most important step, please don’t do this in public.
When washing any area affected by acne, do so with mild soap and lukewarm water. This is because hot or cold water makes the acne worse. Also limit washing any acne-affected areas to twice a day.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the repeated washing of acne areas is external stimuli that will irritate the area and only make it worse.
Exfoliating cleansers or masks can help keep your acne under control. Fortunately, many mild exfoliants are available for you to use. Look for ones that contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and other alpha-hydroxy acids.
These products remove the outermost layer of skin, helping to expose pores so that they’re better unclogged.
Any application of topical treatments used as antibacterial cleansers must be applied with a soft touch. Cleansers come in gel, cream, and lotion forms, so you should be able to score some no matter your skin type.
They use benzoyl peroxide and other ingredients to kill bacteria and keep your acne area clean. Buyer beware, however, as the product market can often have wild price differences between products that are the same, so you should shop around for the best deal for you.
Probably the simplest but one of the most effective ways to take care of your acne skin is to never under any circumstance pick or otherwise irritate your acne with your fingers.
Depending on how you’re irritating it, you can cause so-called acne scarring that will remain for months even if left alone, so the best way you can take care of acne affected areas is to leave well enough alone when you aren’t doing things related to caring for that area like washing or applying topical treatments.
The primary symptom of eczema is very, very dry skin, so it stands to reason that one of the most effective means of controlling the symptoms of eczema are moisturizing creams or lotions.
Moisturize every day, particularly within minutes of bathing for the best results. When the weather is dry, get some moisture in the air by investing in a humidifier.
Some natural emollients like aloe vera and cocoa butter are also available for those who are conscious of chemicals used in certain products and wish to take the au natural route.
There are lifestyle factors to consider when battling the symptoms of eczema too. Try to wear softer fabrics that are gentler on your skin, and make sure your fingers themselves are gentler on your skin by keeping your fingernails trimmed.
Avoid situations where the temperature would change rapidly, or where you’d sweat, and bathe only in lukewarm baths. Use mild soap and when drying, gently pat yourself down with the towel so that you don’t rub the skin the wrong way.
There are medications available for severe cases of eczema. As with all medications, you should get the all-clear from your doctor before trying them out, and they can give you pointers on what to go for and what to avoid.
If your eczema is severe enough to warrant medication, you’ve probably seen a doctor already, but it bears repeating, nonetheless. Corticosteroid ointments are powerful anti-inflammatories that can be acquired online to relieve eczema’s main symptoms. Topical calcineurin inhibitors also suppress the immune system so that the inflammation can die down.
Other conditions brought on by the presence of eczema, such as bacterial or viral infections, should also be treated using antibiotic and antiviral medications respectively.
Proactive treatments for rosacea include oral and topical medications to be applied regularly. Seeing your doctor can help you to determine which treatment, and which medications specifically, will be best for treating rosacea. As a general rule, topical drugs are for mild rosacea whereas oral drugs are needed for stubborn rosacea that resists other treatments.
As for the enlarged blood vessels, forms of laser therapy are available to reduce the redness and help you to restore confidence in your skin.
Avoiding triggers whenever possible can be a good way to reduce the flushes you get. This means not partaking of any caffeine or alcohol, or at least very little amounts, as well as not even eating spicier foods.
Hot drinks are also a no-go zone, too. Protecting against sunlight will be wise too, as will taking steps to reduce stressors in your life. We have sections for those two further down this list!
Cold sores are recurrent, so instead we’ll change things up here and suggest what you should do to manage your cold sore. Try to lessen the irritation your cold sore faces as much as possible.
You can do this by washing your hands after applying treatment cream and taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lessen the pain. Being hydrated also helps, so get plenty of water too. If your cold sore is triggered by certain materials, avoid them, and if that trigger just happens to be the sun you should apply sunblock to your lips to protect them.
Here’s what you shouldn’t do if you want to manage your cold sore and wait for it to pass without incident. Put any cream on by dabbing, not by rubbing as this will irritate it. Stay away from foods high in acid or sodium, and after eating your food ensure that anything that gets into direct contact with your cold sore, like cutlery or lipstick isn’t shared with anyone. Speaking of sharing lipstick, don’t kiss anyone whilst you have a cold sore, and certainly don’t engage in any oral sex as the herpes simplex that causes cold sores can give someone genital herpes.
If you are particularly stressed, you probably have some idea what it is that’s stressing you out. The best thing you can do, whether skin-health is your priority or not, is eliminate that stressor.
If it can’t be eliminated, or you cannot pinpoint the source of the stress, take steps to mitigate it by engaging in activities that have calmed you in the past. This means if exercise is your thing, do that to blow off some steam. Activities like meditation and yoga have earned reputations for increasing mindfulness and reducing stress, too.
If stress seems to have been a constant in your life and the remedies usually suggested have done nothing for you, it may be worth talking to a professional to identify and relieve any long-term stressors you’ve picked up in life.
Some of the stresses we can have aren’t ones that can be washed away by a yoga session, and in those cases, it may be worth getting that professional help if it’s interfering with your life.
When considering which vitamins best support healthy skin, foods heavy in vitamin C and E are great. This is because these two vitamins are powerful antioxidants. Vitamin C is well-known to be found in citrus fruits, but we recommend lemons specifically since there’s household remedies and other skincare applications. Avocados contain both C and E, as well as healthy fats and fibers, making them a good way to get these vitamins too.
Otherwise, look for the dark, leafy greens or otherwise colorful vegetables in order to get your vitamins C and E, like broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, and asparagus. Sunflower seeds and almonds also contain vitamin E and can be used for skin-friendly snacking.
Vitamin A is also a great vitamin for your skin, but in food it’s more found in the form of beta-carotene, the provitamin nutrient responsible for the orange pigment in certain foods. It’s converted into vitamin A inside of the body, acting as another skin-healing antioxidant.
Kale and spinach also have beta-carotene, so consider this a reminder that those leafy greens are packed with the right nutrients to get all of your vitamins covered. Red and orange bell peppers also get their pigment from beta-carotene too, so if you’re already eating them to get vitamins C and E, you’re also getting your fill of beta-carotene.
Otherwise, you may have anticipated that beta-carotene is found in carrots, so get lots of those, and sweet potatoes yield seven times the daily requirement if you want an efficient food for building your beta-carotene store. They’re also found in other earthy, orange-hued foods such as squash, cantaloupes, and apricots. Glowing Orchid Organics outline The Top 8 Vegan Foods For Amazing Skin.
You’ve doubtlessly heard of omega-3 fatty acids, usually associated with fish and the fact that they’re a brainfood, but as it happens it’s a skin-food too.
Go for fatty fish like mackerel and salmon for skin-maintaining omega-3, which helps reduce inflammation. Fish oil is available if you’d prefer your omega-3 in shot form, but if you go for the fish, you’ll also be getting vitamin E and zinc.
As for less hearty snacks you can eat to up your omega-3 fatty acid intake, walnuts are nutritionally similar to fish in their positive effects on healthy skin. Walnuts also contain omega-6 fatty acids, which not only moderate cholesterol but the linoleic acid that’s part of omega-6 acids stops skin thinning.
It’s important to consume omega-3 if you’re also getting omega-6, as an abundance of omega-6 can cause inflammation which omega-3 cancels out.
Another great antioxidant that comes from a place that may be unexpected is resveratrol. Resveratrol is found in grapes, mainly the red ones, and helps your skin to protect itself from sunlight and the development of skin cancer.
Grape-seed extract is available for you to get the benefits of grapes without eating them, but it’s the resveratrol in red grapes that sees red wine appear on so many skincare diets. One glass of red wine contains resveratrol and other polyphenols that take care of your skin, you just need to only have one and drink water to cancel out the dehydrating effect of the alcohol.
More polyphenolic compounds you can sneak into your diet are isoflavones, phytoestrogens that act as estrogen-antagonists in the body, increasing skin elasticity. This reduces wrinkles and seems to work more effectively in postmenopausal women.
You get isoflavones from soy, which is a simple yet versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into many recipes. Chickpeas, fava beans, and pistachios also contain isoflavones, but soy seems to be the most efficient means of acquiring this nutrient.
As briefly mentioned above, zinc is good for the skin too. It regulates the production of new skin cells which, as you can imagine, is pretty important for the continued maintenance of healthy skin.
Fish and walnuts contain zinc, but shellfish like crab and lobster and legumes like chickpeas are also good sources.
An example of a beta-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid is a good nutrient for preserving the collagen content in your skin and resisting the gradual destruction that collagen is subject to throughout a lifetime.
Those of you who have struggled with blackheads may have read this ingredient on product labels in the past, and that’s because salicylic acid is often used to treat skin blemishes.
Strawberries have vitamin C and salicylic acid, and for other sources you only need to consider your summer fruits, those being raisins, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, pineapples, and guava.
Water and Hydration
So, to begin with the obvious, drink water! We lose water every minute of every day, which is why it’s so important that we keep hydrated. Drink the suggested eight glasses a day to stay on top of your hydration, and make sure you account for exercise and drink even more if you’re the active type.
Making sure that you’re generally hydrated is important for your whole body, and you should absolutely consume as much water as is medically safe, but that consumed water has to be shared between many essential organs before reaching the skin.
That’s why we’d also suggest to, alongside drinking water, splash some on your face often so that you can apply hydration directly to the skin.
Aside from water, you can get a hydrated complexion with the use of moisturizers too. Apply moisturizer of your choice to your face and any other skin areas you want hydrated within two minutes of finishing a bath or shower, so that the skin is porous and receptive.
Hyaluronic acid holds water very well, so we’d also suggest applying that pre-moisturization to capitalize on its effects.
On the topic of water and hydration, we feel we should acknowledge the alcohol we mentioned in the diet section. It’s well known that alcohol reduces your hydration, which leads to complications all throughout your body. This is because alcohol is a diuretic, increasing urine production faster than normal, and so depleting hydration faster.
The negative effects alcohol has on your hydration levels correlate with the sugar content in the alcoholic drink. This means that cocktails and wines are the worst that you can have. Yes, that means although its resveratrol content is high, and so just one glass can help your skin, the sugary alcoholic content in red wine still has an overall detrimental effect.
The best option would be to forgo drinking altogether, but if you can’t then the clear, harder stuff like vodkas and whiskeys are better since they have less sugar. Remember to stay hydrated when consuming any alcohol.
The first and foremost idea in your mind when thinking on how to reduce the effects of sunlight on skin is probably sunscreen, and you’d be right. Sunscreens protect your skin from those pesky UV radiation rays, preventing sunburn and the panoply of detrimental effects come with it.
You should be wary though, since sunscreens have side effects that can make skin more sensitive. This is often down to the ingredients used, so it’s a good idea to know your skin’s allergies and sensitivities to make sure any of their triggers are absent on the ingredients label.
It’s also a little-known fact that the side effects of sunscreen are worsened if you apply sunscreen infrequently. Many in the West only apply sunscreen as and when it’s needed, but in other parts of the world sunscreen is actually a part of beauty regimens, so you should make a habit of wearing sunscreen every day to keep your skin safer for longer.
Aside from sunscreen, there are general avoidance tactics you can take to limit sun exposure, such as avoiding prolonged outdoors activities from 10AM till 3PM when the UV rays are at their strongest. Wearing long-sleeved shorts and full pants will also help limit exposure, as will a hat of your choosing.
The wider the brim, the better, but we understand that whilst they may be practical, you’re probably not going to pull off a parasol hat in public.
There’s not much we can suggest except for you to stop smoking. It’ll provide a myriad of benefits to your whole body, and even your mind. You may need a more motivational reason to hang up smoking than saving your skin, but thankfully there are tens of negative effects to smoking for you and others.
It should be acknowledged that for many, smoking cigarettes becomes a stress relief ritual, a coping mechanism that those addicted to nicotine get relief from.
Smoking is what we’d call an unhealthy means of coping with stress, and if you think this is the case with your cigarette addiction we recommend you read numbers 26 and 27 to see your options for reducing stress, which will make kicking that habit easier to do.
Why aren’t you sleeping? If getting the full eight hours is a problem for you, there’s a wide variety of possible causes for it. Stress is one, so see our section on that if you need advice. Otherwise, artificial light is an increasing cause of lackluster sleeping patterns.
Where does that artificial light come from? Your cellphone. It’s not necessarily about the light itself, some can fall asleep in a perfectly lit room and many can’t, but it’s also about the cognitive processes that the phone screen can inspire. You’re taking in information, which can make the mind thoughtful and restless, when the exact thing you want to do is rest!
There’s also a more technical explanation for why cell phone screens can interfere with sleep, and that’s that the spectrum of light that phone screens (and the social media apps on those phone screens) use are often illuminated in a way that is similar to daylight.
This tricks your circadian rhythm into thinking that it’s daylight, which even has a biological effect on your body since it produces more melatonin to prepare for that barrage of UV rays that won’t come, keeping you awake.
As for an alternative in the cases of things like insomnia, a medical professional can advise you on whether sleep medication is an option. We aren’t medical professionals, by the by, and so any recommendation of going down that route is expressly qualified by the fact that you should only use these medications on a temporary basis unless otherwise notified by a licensed doctor.
What’s more is that sleeping medication can yield negative effects for your skin anyway, so you should aim to get to a healthy sleep cycle in as natural and unobtrusive a way as possible. A visit to the doctor could even see them recommending therapy, if they deduce that your insomnia comes from stress.
Avoid These Skincare Myths
We’ve mentioned what you should do and what you shouldn’t do where skin care is concerned, so to close out we thought we’d mention some things that you’re told to do that you most definitely should not do. It turns out there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the internet, who’d have thought?
You Can Sleep in Your Makeup
Some days you just want to jump into bed and drift off, leaving any nighttime rituals incomplete. I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point. Taking your makeup off is often one of those things that’s left at the wayside after a long day, but you should be aware of the damage that causes. The reason there’s some uncertainty about this one is that sleeping one night in your makeup isn’t going to do any long-lasting damage, and so some might assume that it’s harmless to sleep in your makeup.
Those aren’t the same thing. Sleeping with your makeup on consistently, and by makeup we mean mainly foundations, mascara, and lipstick, is a surefire way to clog up your pores with all of the dirt and oil that has developed throughout the day. Those pores will take revenge on your skin by forming breakouts, so use simple makeup removers like micellar water or towelettes and use them before bed so that your pores can stay unclogged and your skin acne free.
You Can Touch Your Face
Okay so, you can touch your face. There’s nothing we can do to stop you, if you want to. What we mean by this myth is that you can touch your face without suffering any detrimental effects on the skin on that face. It’s your face and your hands, so what damage could they really do?
Let us answer that rhetorical question with another rhetorical question. Do you know how many germs exist on doorknobs, sponges, and the cellphone screen or keyboard you used to get to this article in the first place? We touch a lot over the course of the day, so we get a lot of dirt on your fingers that never reach your face. Unless you’re Eskimo kissing everything in sight, your face isn’t subjected to the sheer amount of dirt and debris your fingers are, and that’s the way it should be. Try to limit how often you touch your face, your face will thank you, and you’ll be in a better situation than most if a plague rolls into town.
Side note: Now that we’re talking about not touching our faces, you really want to touch your face, right? If you haven’t already, that is. Same here, my nose itched several times writing this part.
You Don’t Need to Apply Sunscreen to Your Lips
Did you know you should be applying SPF to your lips? Not everyone does, and some even think that they don’t need to. Your lips can burn just like any other part of your body.
In fact, the skin on your lips is more sensitive to pretty much anything than the rest of your skin, so it makes sense to protect your lips from the sun when you stop and think about it. Some lip balms incorporate SPF formulae into them, if you want an efficient and easy way of applying it.
Steam Opens Up Your Pores
Finally, let’s end with a bang with one of the most prevalent, if harmless, myths about your skin out there. Everyone’s heard it, the little factoid that hot steam causes your skin’s pores to open up, becoming more receptive to skincare treatments like blackhead removal (there is a nugget of truth here, in reality it’s easier because steam loosens the clogging material in the pores) but no, it’s not because your pores open up. Your pores aren’t muscles capable of contracting, and quite frankly it’d be terrifying if our faces were covered in tiny holes that opened and closed with the changing of the weather.
There’s even a sub-myth of this myth, which is that splashing cold water on your face closes your pores and so shields them from getting clogged during your day. Given the steam factoid it makes complete logical sense, except both are incorrect since again, pores can’t open, and they can’t close either.
That said, we’ve mentioned the benefits of splashing water on your face for skin hydration, and steaming your face can help with certain beauty techniques, so certainly keep doing those, as well as anything else suggested above to take care of your skin.
This isn’t so much a “don’t do that” as it is a “don’t say that because that’s wrong.” We’re just looking out for you and it turns out stopping you from embarrassingly repeating mistruths in public is a part of that.