Learn everything you need to know to get your skin looking its absolute best.
If you mist, then moisturize too—it's two steps, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Francesca Fusco. When you just spritz, the water evaporates on the skin, creating dryness. Can't do both steps? Look for a mister with an emollient like glycerin, such as the Body Shop's Vitamin E face mist ($16; at thebodyshop.com).
Jasmine extract is a soothing oil rich with antioxidants. Many clients of N.Y.C. dermatologist David Colbert treat their faces with Rodin Olio Lusso ($140; at oliolusso.com), which contains jasmine to condition the skin and give it a healthy look. Molly Sims is a fan.
When you want deep exfoliation, do it longer, not harder, as you cleanse your skin. "Don't think scrub when you're using one," since too much force is harmful, says Kenneth Milstead of Bliss Hollywood spa.
More than one drink a day can cause increased oil production and enlarged pores, says Beverly Hills dermatologist Susan Evans. Lack of sleep can have the same effect, so be sure to get your z's—aim for at least seven hours a night.
Wear a lot of makeup? Wash your face in two steps for the best results, says Milstead. First, remove makeup and sunscreen with a gentle cleanser that's designed to break down cosmetics—try Shu Uemura's Skin Purifier ($72; at shuuemura-usa.com). Next, use a formula with soothing, rejuvenating effects, like CeraVe's hydrating cleanser ($11; at drugstore.com). Rub it in with upward motions from neck to forehead.
If your favorite day cream doesn't contain sunscreen, mix it with a lightweight SPF lotion like Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF 30 ($43; at dermalogica.com). Look for micronized zinc, Avobenzone, or Helioplex, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Rosemarie Ingleton. They offer broad-spectrum protection without leaving a purple or whitish cast.
To give a favorite shirt or casual sundress extra sun protection, N.Y.C. dermatologist Jody Levine suggests laundering with Sunguard Laundry Aid ($2; sunguardsunprotection.com) for a Universal Protection Factor of 30, compared to a UPF 5 for a plain T-shirt. Like SPF in sunscreen, UPF measures the sun protection in clothing. Or wear a rash guard like Nicole Kidman. The ones from Athleta have a UPF of 50.
Boost your sunscreen by popping a pomegranate-extract supplement (up to 60 mg; at health-food stores). It can enhance skin's sun-protective properties by 25 percent, says L.A. dermatologist Howard Murad.
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If you have acne-prone skin, use an oil-free spray sunscreen like Clarins Oil-Free spray SPF 15 ($30; at clarinsusa.com). Since it goes on as a fine mist, you'll avoid spreading pore-clogging bacteria from your hands. Prone to ruddiness? Store products in a cooler when outside in the sun: Cold ingredients will constrict blood vessels and make your face look less flushed, says Dr. Evans.
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Remember this home remedy the next time you get a big pimple: Do several cycles of hot compresses, then apply a glob of 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, like Aveeno hydrocortisone anti-itch cream ($6; at drugstore.com, and let it sit for two hours. "It's very similar to getting a shot of hydrocortisone to deflate the bump," says Dr. Fusco.
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For optimum results—and maximum penetration—apply products in the right order, says Doris Day, a dermatologist in N.Y.C. First use the lightest product (usually a serum), followed by heavier formulas. For instance, in the morning apply an antioxidant serum, then a moisturizer, and cap it off with sunscreen.
STEP 1: SMOOTH ON SERUM
Lancôme Génifique Youth Activating serum ($84; at lancome-usa.com).
STEP 2: APPLY MOISTURIZER
Estée Lauder Hydrationist Moisture Crème ($38; at esteelauder.com).
STEP 3: FINISH WITH SUNSCREEN
Anthelios 15 sunscreen ($30; at CVS).
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Moisture in the air helps skin look dewy, so keep hydrated year-round with a humidifier, says Dr. Colbert. Air-o-Swiss's office-friendly Cool Mist Travel Ultrasonic ($50; airoswiss.net) attaches to a half-liter water bottle.
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No time for a post-gym shower? Pack a stash of wipes, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Heidi Waldorf. Almay's Oil-Free makeup-remover towelettes ($6; at drugstores) cleanse away the dirt that triggers breakouts.
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When it comes to maintenance, proximity and convenience are key: Keep a little case with lip balm, cuticle oil, and hand and foot cream in your bedside table, and make a ritual of applying each one before going to sleep.
L'Occitane shea butter foot cream ($26; at beauty.com).
Fresh Sugar lip treatment ($22; at sephora.com).
Creative Nail Design SolarOil cuticle treatment ($11; at ulta.com).
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Prevent blisters with a silicone-based lubricant, says Ji Baek, founder of Rescue Beauty Lounge in N.Y.C. For strappy shoes like Leighton Meester's, swipe on Band Aid's Friction Stick (8; at drugstore.com) if you feel chafing.
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Wrinkle creams with retinol or glycolic acid can leave skin scaly. Dr. Day recommends reaching for a facial scrubber once a week to remove dead skin cells: "I like the Clarisonic brush ($149; at ulta.com) because it only removes the cells that are ready to go. It doesn't strip the top level, which is important for maintaining moisture and sun protection."
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Formulas that claim to be unscented can still contain aromatic essential oils, which may upset sensitive skin, says spa owner March. If perfumes tend to irritate your skin, check for labels that say "fragrance free." First Aid Beauty Gentle body wash ($14; at firstaidbeauty.com) is mild and still ultra-moisturizing.
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What to do if your strapless bridesmaid dress shows off your body art—and you don't have the attitude to flaunt it like Angelina Jolie? Hide a tattoo with a highly pigmented oil-free foundation like Cover FX Total Coverage cream ($42; sephora.com). After drying the area and hands, use a synthetic brush and short strokes to pat on the foundation. Set the area with a translucent powder, then ensure that it lasts all night (through dancing and photo-ops) with a makeup fixative spray—a favorite of professional clowns like Kryolan Dermacolor Fixier spray ($20; at naimies.com).
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When washing skin, avoid abrasive puffs and just use your fingertips. If your routine includes a washcloth, get the gentler, low-loop terry ones made for newborns, says Wendy Allred, education manager at N.Y.C.'s Bliss spa.
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A cool remedy for too much sun: L.A. spa owner Ole Henriksen suggests a calming bath of warm water, half a gallon of milk, and 15 drops of lavender oil. Watermelon is also an anti-inflammatory; Dr. Shamban likes to purée the fruit and slather it on tingly skin.
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Smoking has been shown to make acne worse since it diminishes the delivery of oxygen to the skin and robs it of nutrients, thereby inhibiting scars from healing, Dr. Bank says. Not enough reason to quit? Smoke depletes moisture, making skin lose its luster and look wrinkly.
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Housecleaning takes its toll on sensitive skin, since the chemicals in sprays and wipes can trigger irritation, says Julia March. Don't throw in the towel (or call a cleaning lady), just concoct this all-purpose cleaner: Mix ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda into 2 quarts water. For laundry, try dye-free detergents.