10 skin care secrets for healthier-looking skin
These general skin care tips from dermatologists can benefit just about everyone.
Apply sunscreen every day before you go outdoors. Sunscreen is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. It really can slow down skin aging. It can also help prevent skin cancer. Look for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30 (or higher), and water resistance.
While it's important to protect infants' skin from the sun, the AAD recommends applying sunscreen ONLY to children who are 6 months and older.
Don't smoke. Smoking speeds up how quickly your skin ages. If you smoke, your wounds will also take longer to heal. And research shows that smoking worsens some skin diseases, including psoriasis and hidradenitis suppurativa.
Check your skin for skin cancer. Skin self-exams can help you find skin cancer early when it's highly treatable. If you notice a spot that differs from the others, or one that changes, itches, or bleeds, make an appointment to see a dermatologist.
Use a self-tanner if you like looking tanned. Anytime you tan indoors or outside, you prematurely age your skin. You also increase your risk of getting skin cancer. A self-tanner can give you the look you want without the risks. To keep your skin healthy, you want to protect it from the sun even when using a self-tanner.
Use skin care products that match your skin's needs. What's your skin type — oily, dry, normal, combination, or sensitive? Do you have a skin condition? Using products formulated for your skin's needs will help your skin look and feel its best.
Resist the urge to scrub your skin clean. If you've been sweating heavily or have a serious acne flare, it may seem natural to scrub your skin. Don't! Scrubbing irritates your skin, which can worsen any skin condition, including acne.
Wash your face when waking, before bed, and after sweating. Washing when you wake up removes the dirt and bacteria that settle on your face while sleeping. Before bed, you want to remove makeup and grime, such as smog, smoke, or dirt, which may have landed on your skin.
Gently wash your face. Gentle cleansing helps skin look its best. To gently cleanse your face, wet it with lukewarm water. Then apply a mild cleanser, gently applying the cleanser in a circular motion with your fingertips. Finish by completely rinsing off the cleanser and gently patting your face dry with a clean towel.
Stress less. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can help your skin, too. Some skin diseases like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (eczema) often appear for the first time when someone feels really stressed. Stress can also cause flare-ups of many skin conditions, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.
See a board-certified dermatologist if you dislike something about your skin. When it comes to our skin, dermatologists are the experts. These doctors diagnose and treat thousands of different skin diseases. They also have the expertise needed to help people safely rejuvenate and care for their skin.
Related AAD resources
Alikhan A, Lynch PJ, et al. "Hidradenitis suppurativa: A comprehensive review." J Am Acad Dermatol 2009;60(4):539-61.
Chien AL, Qi J, et al. “Perioral wrinkles are associated with female gender, aging, and smoking: Development of a gender-specific photonumeric scale.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;74:924-30.
van de Kerkhof PCM and Schlkwijk J. (2008) “Psoriasis.” In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, et al. editors. Dermatology, 2nd ed. Spain, Mosby Elsevier: p. 115.