Follow these tips for great looking skin
Don't waste money
"There's no need to buy an expensive cleanser loaded with fancy ingredients," says photobiologist Daniel B. Yarosh, Ph.D., author of The New Science of Perfect Skin. "They're on your skin for less than a minute, so they don't have time to really do anything."
Adding injury to insult: Some pricey ingredients can actually cause irritation (that would be you, peppermint and eucalyptus). Start with inexpensive face washes and see-through glycerin soaps like Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Bar.
Both remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells without stripping away your skin's natural (and necessary) oils.
Cover your mouth
We're talking about a lip balm with UV protection, not ruby red lipstick. Your lips (along with your eye area and upper chest) have some of the thinnest skin on your body, so they need extra shielding.
A survey by a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery found that only 47 percent of respondents used lip protection containing UV blockers. That's bad news, because "when skin cancer originates from the lips, it's especially aggressive and has a higher risk of spreading," says Erin Welch, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Guard your smackers by stocking up on balms with sunscreen, like Softlips Lip Protectant/Sunscreen with SPF 20.
Get the red out
For the estimated 14 million people in the U.S. with rosacea--the condition whose symptoms can be triggered by alcohol, spicy food, exercise, and sun exposure--their reddened skin can feel like a scarlet letter.
Researchers have found that when rosacea sufferers wash their faces with a sonic skin-care brush, their skin calms down. The theory is that the gentle exfoliation allows skin treatments to be absorbed more effectively to put out facial fires.
There are more skin-care products claiming to be "natural" or "organic" than there are reality-TV stars. If environmental and purity standards are important to you, consider buying products made in Europe. Companies overseas making eco claims trace ingredients back to their sources to verify their natural origins.
A few of the brands that do: Lavera (lavera.com), Keeva Organics (keevaorganics.com), and Dr. Hauschka Skincare (drhauschka.com). And while you're at it: On products from the U.S., look for the National Products Association's new Natural Seal; it certifies that 95 percent of the ingredients are truly natural and pose no suspected human health risks (for more information, visit naturalproductsassoc.org/certifiednatural).
Use an anti-ager now!
Don't wait for the first crow's feet to appear before you reach for that little tube. "Even women in their twenties should be using a topical retinoid--unless they're pregnant or nursing," says Francesca Fusco, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Here's why: Retinoids, which contain vitamin A, are one of the most potent agents for preventing and reversing sun damage and signs of aging. And, says Hirsch, "they're the ultimate multitasker. They speed skin renewal by shedding dull, pore-clogging cells and increase collagen production to prevent wrinkles."
Ask your doctor about a retinoid prescription or try an OTC, such as Anti-Aging Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream which contains deep hydrating and moisturizing antioxidants for eye, face and neck. Read it more here.