the 5 best skin-care habits to have

according to your dermatologist

photographed by kava gorna

When it comes to skin care, we all have a few bad habits. We may not use sunscreen; we may not wash makeup off after a long, fun night out. Hey, it happens. But those bad habits add up over time, resulting in skin that's less than flawless. So, we decided it was time to nip those behaviors in the bud, with advice from the pros on what we should actually be doing. 

Ahead, Dr. Dina Strachan and Nicole Tardio, M.S., PA-C, experts at Aglow Dermatology, share their best tips for a skin-care routine that'll get you glowing in no time. 

1. Prevention before correction.
The daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher is key for both healthy and beautiful skin. Sunscreen prevents most types of skin cancer and prevents the sun damage that ages the skin. Despite the many things available to correct sun damage, preventing it is the best strategy. The experts at Aglow Dermatology emphasize that people with all skin tones can benefit from consistent sun protection, especially as they are more likely to be experience hyperpigmentation, or dark spots, which get worse with sun exposure.

2.  Do not over-cleanse your skin.
Cleanliness is next to godliness, but over-washing your skin can cause damage. Washing it skin too much can strip it of essential oils, which help keep this organ from drying out. Dry skin causes inflammation, which can result in the worsening of problems such as eczema, acne, and rosacea. The Aglow Dermatology team recommends using gentle cleansers and avoiding harsh scrubs. “The best time to moisturize is after washing,” says Tardio.

3. Use retinoids to treat and prevent wrinkles.
One of the upsides of having acne (yes, we just wrote that sentence) is that it gives you a reason to see your dermatologist—who may introduce you to the benefits of topical retinoid therapy. In addition to treating and preventing acne, retinoinds are also excellent for treating and preventing fine lines, sun-damaged skin, and minimizing the appearance of pores. As retinoids, especially prescription-strength ones, can be drying, the experts at Aglow Dermatology recommend using only a pea-sized amount and using a moisturizer twice daily with this treatment. Of course, the morning moisturizer should also contain sunscreen.

4. Watch your diet.
Sometimes the specifics of how certain foods affect our health and beauty are unclear and controversial.  There is evidence that a low glycemic diet  ay be beneficial for people who are acne-prone,” according to Tardio. “Skim dairy products, but for some reason not whole milk dairy, seem to be more associated with acne flares in some studies,” adds Dr. Strachan. They also recommend red foods such as watermelon, tomatoes, and strawberries as they are excellent sources of lycopene, a sun protective antioxidant. Ms. Tardio advises, however, not to pitch the sunscreen just because you are eating lycopene-rich food.  As a self-reported “coffee achiever” Dr. Strachan happily notes that there is a lot of evidence that beverages such as coffee and tea are protective against many kinds of cancer, including skin cancer.

5. Get enough sleep.
In our multitasking, over-stimulated society, we often forget the importance of basic habits such as sleep. Sleep deprivation is associated with increased risk of physical and mental health problems. “Sleep deprivation causes stress, “ states Dr. Strachanm, and adds that stress can cause hormonal changes that have a number of negative effects on one’s health and beauty, including making skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and rosacea flare.