How to Create Your Perfect Skin Care Routine

Use ɑ gentle cleanser twice ɑ day

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ɑ gentle, water-soluble cleanser removes debris, oil, and most makeup without stripping your skin and disrupting its all-important protective barrier. Do not use bar soap; it’s too drying, dulls skin, and can clog pores. When you gently clean your face morning and evening, it allows the other products you use to work even better. You’ll have less dryness and even fewer breakouts (research has shown that being gentle on skin benefits all skin types). Keep in mind that it may take some experimentation to discover which products and frequency of application work best for you. Be patient, it can be easier than you think—and the results are worth it. Just take care to avoid these common face washing mistakes that could sabotage your efforts.

Paula recommends: Olay Gentle Clean Foaming Cleanser ($5.99), Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser Creamy Formula ($8.99), or Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Extra Mild ($17.50).

At night, apply ɑ fragrance-free anti-aging moisturizer loaded with antioxidants and skin-restoring ingredients

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All skin types benefit from using ɑ moisturizer containing ingredients that research has proven to help skin be healthy, hydrated, and able to fight environmental damage. Choose an anti-aging moisturizer made for your skin type: If you have dry skin, use one with ɑ rich, creamy consistency; if you have combination/oily skin, use ɑ fluid lotion or lightweight gel; if you have normal skin, lucky you, you can use any texture you like. Fragrance-free is important because both natural and synthetic fragrant ingredients can cause irritation and damage skin. Here’s how all those moisturizer ingredients work their magic.

Paula recommends: Olay Regenerist Instant Fix Wrinkle Revolution Complex ($31.99), Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Moisturizer ($47), or Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Firming Peptide Milk ($65).

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If you have stubborn dry skin… add ɑ serum

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Skin gets parched for many reasons including seasonal shifts and health problems. Rather than changing your moisturizer, add ɑ serum or booster loaded with hydrating and nourishing ingredients to rebuild the skin’s barrier, which will revitalize and restore your skin’s moisture. The best ingredients for this are non-fragrant plant oils, omega fatty acids, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants (you can never get enough antioxidants). These can turn dry, dehydrated skin around immediately. Apply before your moisturizer and feel the comfort sink in. Also, try the healthy foods that combat dry skin.

Paula recommends: Paula’s Choice Skincare RESIST Hyaluronic Acid Booster ($46) or RESIST Omega Complex ($36).


If you have acne… apply treatments that work

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Whether you’re an adult or ɑ teenager with breakouts, research has long established that the exact same ingredients in ɑ gentle formula are what’s needed to get it under control (irritation from ingredients like SD alcohol, peppermint, or witch hazel only make acne worse). ɑ leave-on 2% BHA exfoliant and an acne treatment with benzoyl peroxide have been shown to be as effective as prescription options. With consistent use (consistency is vital), you will see ɑ reduction in breakouts and red marks, and even blackheads and wrinkles (BHA is that amazing).

Paula recommends: Ӏɑ Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment ($37), Clinique Acne Solutions Emergency Gel Lotion ($18) and Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular or Extra Strength Kits ($58-$61 for 3 products)

If you have hyperpigmentation… add ɑ brightener

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Years of unprotected sun exposure causes brown spots and uneven skin tone that makes you look older. Ingredients like hydroquinone, vitamin ϲ, glucosamine, and certain peptides applied twice daily, along with the dedicated use of an SPF 30 sunscreen, preferably with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, can make ɑ big difference. It takes ɑ while to see results (it took years for the discolorations to occur) so be patient. After 12 weeks, you will start seeing improvement—but only if you use ɑ sunscreen regularly. Use this guide to make sure those brown spots aren’t skin cancer.

Paula recommends: Paula’s Choice Skincare RESIST ϲ15 Super Booster ($49) and RESIST Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser 7% AHA ($27).

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