Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 3/13/2021
Search online and you’ll have no difficulty finding Top 10 lists of skin care products, techniques and the latest and greatest ingredients and technologies.
Unfortunately, while skin care tips usually aren’t hard to find, a large amount of the advice you’ll come across online, in magazines and in other media is intended more to market the latest skin care products than to actually help you fight aging, acne and other skin issues.
When it comes to unbiased skin care information, your best bet is to get your tips straight from the most reliable source around: board-certified dermatologists.
Below, we’ve shared 14 dermatologist recommended skin care tips, covering everything from budget skin care essentials to science-based medications and techniques for preventing acne breakouts, wrinkles and more.
Great looking skin starts with good general skin care habits. Keep your skin in optimal condition by implementing the following tips and techniques.
One of the first steps in taking care of your skin is identifying and understanding the type of skin you have.
Most dermatologists categorize skin using five distinct types:
Normal skin, which is clear and not overly sensitive to skin care products
Sensitive skin, which can sting or burn after products are applied to it
Oily skin, which has a shiny appearance and may feel greasy to the touch
Dry skin, which may feel itchy, flaky and have rough, uneven texture
Combination skin, which may have distinct dry and oily patches
Identifying and understanding your skin type makes it easier to pick the right skin care products for issues such as acne and the signs of aging.
One of the easiest, most effective things you can do to prevent your skin from suffering damage is to protect it from the sun.
When you spend time outside on a sunny day without any protection, your skin is exposed to an incredible amount of UV radiation. Over time, the cumulative skin damage that’s caused by UV radiation can age your skin and increase your risk of developing certain skin diseases.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, as much as 90 percent of visible changes to your skin that occur as you age are the result of photoaging caused by sun exposure.
Sunburn from excessive sun exposure is also a leading cause of potentially deadly types of skin cancer, including melanoma.
By protecting your skin from the sun, you can lower your cancer risk and slow down some of the effects of aging on your appearance.
Protecting your skin from the sun is simple. When you’re out and about, apply sunscreen to any skin that’s exposed to the sun. For best results, choose a broad-spectrum, SPF 30+ sunscreen that’s water resistant.
For extra protection, cover up with a hat, long-sleeved clothing and a pair of sunglasses with UV protection to shield your face from sunlight.
When it comes to general skin care, one helpful principle to remember is that a healthy lifestyle usually means healthy skin.
Many of the same things that damage your body as a whole, such as smoking or eating a poor diet, can also damage your skin. To keep your skin looking its best, focus on developing habits that are good for your general health. Try to:
Eat a balanced diet. A balanced diet that’s light on refined carbohydrates and rich in fruits and vegetables may help to reduce the effects of aging on your skin.
Limit your alcohol consumption. Drinking large amounts of alcohol can dehydrate and damage your skin, worsening the effects of aging.
Don’t smoke. The chemicals found in tobacco smoke can age your skin and make you look older than you really are.
Get enough sleep. Poor sleep habits are associated with several common signs of skin aging, including fine lines, reduced elasticity and uneven pigmentation.
Contrary to what advertising, influencers and popular media may tell you, your skin care routine doesn’t need to include all of the latest and greatest products in order to be effective, nor does it need to cost a fortune.
The reality of skin care is that the products you really need to have are more likely to be found in a drugstore than a high-end department store.
There’s also no correlation between the size of a product’s price tag and how effective it really is at treating things like wrinkles, sagging skin or acne.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one easy way to keep your skin healthy at a low cost is to adopt a three-step approach that involves cleansing, moisturizing and protecting your skin.
You can do this using a cleanser, a moisturizer and a simple but effective sun protection routine like the one we shared above.
If you ever find yourself in your local drugstore comparing skin care products, you’ll usually find the best information on the back of the packaging rather than the front.
When you’re comparing skin care products, check the ingredients list for active ingredients such as retinoids, peeling agents, antibiotics and others. These ingredients have the largest effect on the way your skin looks and feels.
Petroleum jelly is an inexpensive, do-it-all skin care product that’s worth keeping in your makeup bag for a variety of situations.
If you don’t have your regular moisturizer on hand, petroleum jelly can work as a moisturizer for your skin and nails. It’s also great for improving dry or chapped lips and treating minor cuts and other skin injuries.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your skin hydrated and healthy is to apply your moisturizer when your skin is damp. This helps to trap moisture in your skin and give it a more youthful, healthier appearance.
If your skin usually feels a little too dry, try applying moisturizer within a few minutes of washing your face or getting out of the shower.
Taking care of your skin can make wrinkles, age spots and other common signs of aging slower to develop. Use the tips below to take care of your skin as you get older.
Although not all anti-aging products are effective, some products and medications are proven to reduce certain signs of the aging process.
However, it’s important to understand that you can’t stop all skin aging. The process of aging, at least as it relates to your skin, is intrinsic and extrinsic, with some factors inside your control and others very much outside it.
For example, while you can limit the effects of aging by using the right products and limiting the effects of sunlight on your skin, there’s also an inevitable, genetic side to the aging process.
Put simply, no matter how perfect your anti-aging and skin care routine might be, you’ll probably still get a few wrinkles as you get older. As such, it’s best to own them and accept them as signs that no skin care routine is quite as powerful as nature.
As we explained above, exposure to UV radiation from sunlight is responsible for as much as 90 percent of the visual changes in your skin that occur as you get older.
Before you look at anti-aging medications or treatments like Botox®, dermal fillers or resurfacing procedures, make sure that you’re making an active effort to protect your skin from the effects of sun exposure.
While this might not produce the obvious, immediate improvement of cosmetic treatments, it’s a helpful, inexpensive insurance policy that can keep your skin looking its best as you age.
Many of the wrinkles that develop on your forehead and around your eyes are caused, at least in part, by repetitive facial expressions that force your skin to fold into small, fine lines.
Over time, these lines can become more noticeable, particularly as the effects of intrinsic aging make your skin thinner and less elastic.
While it’s impossible to totally avoid using your facial muscles, try to stop yourself from making the same facial expressions again and again. Simple habits like wearing sunglasses to reduce your need to squint in bright weather can make this process easier.
Treating acne doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. In fact, the following techniques can help you to prevent breakouts and get rid of your existing acne without any need to use acne treatments.
If you have acne that doesn’t seem to go away on its own, one of the best things that you can do is to talk to a licensed healthcare provider about using medication to treat it.
Contrary to popular belief, acne medication isn’t only for severe acne. Whether you’re prone to mild whiteheads and blackheads or breakouts of inflamed acne, the right acne medication can clear up your skin and prevent acne from coming back.
Science-based acne medications include tretinoin, clindamycin and others. Many of these are active ingredients in our Customized Rx Acne Cream.
Once you start an acne treatment, stick with it and try to avoid switching from one treatment to another too frequently.
Acne medications such as tretinoin, clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide and others require time to clear your skin.
For example, one study from 2015 monitored the effects of tretinoin and clindamycin on acne over a period of 12 weeks. While both medications started working quickly, it took the full 12 weeks for the treatment to produce the most significant reduction in acne lesions.
When you switch medications often, not only do you risk not getting the full results from each treatment — you may also cause your skin to become irritated.
As tempted as you might feel, popping your pimples isn’t a good idea. When you pop a pimple at home, not only can you accidentally push its contents deeper into your skin — you may also increase your risk of developing an infection and long-lasting acne scars.
If you have blackheads, whiteheads or other types of acne that you’d like to pop, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to have them removed safely using sterile equipment.
If you’re prone to acne breakouts, try to look for makeup and skin care products that are labeled “non-comedogenic” or “oil free.”
Unlike regular makeup, these products are made using fewer oils and other ingredients that can clog your pores and cause acne breakouts.
No matter what type of makeup you use, make sure to thoroughly wash off your makeup before you go to sleep. Even oil-free makeup can affect your skin if it’s left on for too long. As well as protecting your skin, this helps to prevent makeup from sticking to your pillow case.
Treating and preventing acne breakouts, wrinkles and other common skin issues doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated.
In fact, from moisturizing regularly to avoiding the sun, most of the proven, science-based skin care advice given by dermatologists is both affordable and remarkably simple.
Your skin will be with you for your entire life, making it important to give it the care and attention it needs. Use the tips above and you’ll find it easier to keep your skin blemish-free, youthful and healthy in any situation you find yourself in.