Clear skinGo ahead and skip the foundation this summer. Follow four simple rules from New Jersey doc Jeanine Downie, and get ready to show off flawless, glowing, bare skin.
#1. Use a Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser
The first step to achieving perfection, says Downie, is to chemically slough dead skin cells with a daily glycolic cleanser, followed with a physical exfoliator up to four times a week (oilier, more acne-prone skin can exfoliate more often). "Look for scrubs that contain spherical, pliable microbeads versus grains with rough, scratchy edges to avoid irritation," she says.
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#2. Go for Multitasking Serums
Next, Downie says to use a powerful multitasking serum. Her go-to: Vivité Vibrance Therapy ("It's stronger than over the counter products, and only sold in doctors' offices"). The gel contains natural antioxidants such as licorice, mulberry, grape, and green tea to brighten, even skin tone, and protect against free radical damage-plus soy and retinol to build collagen, and glycolic acid to exfoliate. "A lot of my patients use the product twice a day-once in the morning and once at night, while others only apply it in the evening," says Downie, who points out that the retinol in the product may cause sensitive skin types to become more susceptible to the sun's UV rays.
An effective yet less potent drugstore alternative to Vivité, says Downie, is the new Aveeno Ageless Vitality, which similarly smooths, brightens, and perfects. And if luminosity is your main goal? Try Avon's Anew Clinical Luminosity Pro Brightening Serum. It exfoliates and brightens skin, and contains a patented amino acid that inhibits pigment production.
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#3. Try a Chemical Peel
For extra brightening and smoothing power, a series of chemical peels could be the answer: "Chemical peels are great for getting rid of dark spots and acne," says Downie, adding, "They also help with overall exfoliation." Downie favors glycolic acid peels (also known as alpha hydroxy acid peels) and salicylic acid peels (beta hydroxy peels) "because they work with every skin type to improve texture, tone, acne, and fine lines."
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#4. Don't Skimp on SPF
No matter what cleansers, serums, or treatments you may employ, however, Downie says the most important tip for perfect skin is to apply an SPF 30 moisturizer or sunscreen, especially if you're using products that contain retinoids. "You should wear sunblock every day, rain or shine, January through December," she says, "Or else you could end up with more hyperpigmentation, darker patches, and deeper fine lines."
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