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    34 Skincare Basics You'll Probably Wish You Had Learned Sooner

    Because sometimes it's not as easy as just washing your face.

    1. First things first: Be sure to regularly REAPPLY sunscreen. When spending the day indoors (like the office), you only need to apply in the morning and before you leave work. But if you'll mainly be outside, you should reapply every two to three hours. Luckily, La Roche Posay oil-free sunscreen is great for both oily *and* sensitive skin, a whopping SPF 60, and designed to prevent breakouts.

    If you're *extra* worried about sunscreen disagreeing with your skin (or makeup), Tatcha SPF 35 sunscreen is your splurge-worthy pick. It doubles as a primer to blur pores and uneven skin tones and leaves your skin super soft thanks to Japanese wild rose and loquat leaf extract. Need proof for how well this bb works? Just see the difference below:

    2. Heal breakouts *without* picking and causing scarring by simply slapping on acne patches. They're gentler than acne cream, speed up recovery to practically overnight, and do all the ~heavy lifting~ for you. Plus! They're designed to be clear enough to discreetly wear all day.

    3. Apply eye cream with your ring finger in small dots from the inner corner of your under-eyes to your brow bone to avoid putting too much pressure on delicate skin. When shopping for eye creams, look for one that has a combination of exfoliating properties (retinol is an easy find) and moisturizing ingredients so your skin is actually nourished, not irritated.

    4. Know your different types of acne — they're like snowflakes, except so much more unwelcome. Whether yours is more of a whitehead (which needs salicylic acid) or the hormonal type (usually a cyst which needs sulfur-based products), the first step to treating acne is knowing what the heck they are!

    5. Discover the benefits of your three basic acid groups: alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta hydroxy acid (BHA), and polyhydroxy acid (PHA). Glossier Solution uses all three to clear dead skin cells and leave your complexion soft and glowing. Reviewers l-o-v-e this for fading acne scars and treating breakouts.

    Want to study up more on acids? Here's a full breakdown:

    6. Combine apple cider vinegar with this wildly popular Aztec Secret clay mask if you have consistent cystic acne, aka the toughest of underground pimples. So. Many. People. swear by this for bringing the deepest acne to a head so you can finally stop picking (which only irritates your skin and causes more breakouts).

    7. Be patient when it comes to skincare products — some are going to take time to work (like salicylic acne face washes), and that's OK! But there are other times when it's just not doing the trick, and it's important to know the difference. For example, Dr. Jart's ceramide cream only needs a few minutes to ~sink in~.

    8. Try retinol, a fancy name for vitamin A, to balance your complexion, stimulate collagen, and fade hyper-pigmentation. If you've ever so much as sat in a dermatologist's chair you've probably heard of this — but there are a lot of topical over-the-counter options for a light treatment.

    9. Study up on beauty ingredient definitions so you can accurately pick and choose which products are best for you. The sooner you understand the label, the sooner you'll find things that truly WORK for your skin.

    10. Target surprise pimples with ~pinpoint~ accuracy by using an e.l.f. spot gel stick. It uses a powerful formula of salicylic acid, witch hazel, camphor, tea tree, green tea, and aloe to not only nourish irritated skin, but dramatically reduce swelling and redness.

    11. Pick your toner based on your skin type — it's not a one-fits-all situation! For example, Kiehls calendula herbal extract toner treats oily complexions ~head on~ by balancing your pH levels and providing the level of hydration your skin needs. But! Mario Badescu's aloe vera toner works wonders for dry skin by soothing irritated complexions with its mild formula.

    12. Or! Incorporate the ever so popular Thayers witch hazel into your routine to brighten and even your skin tone by regularly removing dead skin cells. It's alcohol-free so it's gentle enough for all skin types to use every night, as long as you moisturize, and is an easy way to get ~glowing skin~.

    13. Know the difference between if your skin is *dry* or *dehydrated*. If your skin is flaky, red, and sensitive, you have dry skin (which you can treat with skin-soothing creams). If your skin is more on the dull side, it's most likely dehydrated (which you can help by layering moisturizing products).

    An easy dry vs. dehydrated test: pull at the back of your hand. If it bounces back right away, your skin is hydrated. If it takes a few seconds to settle back, your skin is probably dehydrated!

    14. Use an exfoliating face wash, like this Bliss peel exfoliator that uses papaya and pineapple enzymes, two to three times a week. The simple but important process helps with your skin's ~turnover cycle~, aka clearing away dead skin cells, treating clogged pores, and promoting a healthy, glowing complexion.

    15. Decrease excess oil and shiny T-zones with an affordable exfoliant, like The Ordinary peeling solution. Its combo of glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid need only ten minutes to treat acne, smooth your skin tone, and diminish oily complexions.

    16. Take your usual routine up a level by using a jade roller at the end of the day. When combined with a serum, it essentially accelerates the product's usual benefits to exfoliate, brighten, and repair irritated skin so that you're left with a dewy glow. Plus, you get to end the day with a soothing yet effective ritual.

    17. Stop going to bed with makeup on! It's a *super* avoidable cause for breakouts. Use a makeup-removing cloth as a lazy solution for getting every last drop of foundation and mascara off before hitting the sheets. All you need is this and water to remove a ~full face~!

    18. Plan out your routine by product — there's a proper order for everything (your face can tell, even if you can't). For example, applying toner *after* your face wash but *before* moisturizing is the only way your complexion can benefit from that step.

    19. Soothe chapped lips with tried-and-true Lanolips — a super simple ointment that uses lanolin, aka a holy grail ingredient for hydrating the heck out of dry areas like lips, cuticles, and cheeks. Throw coconut oil and vitamin E into the mix, and flaking doesn't stand a chance.

    20. Understand whether your skin is breaking out or "purging" when trying new products. Purging means retinoid or acid is causing accelerated skin cell turnover, which can bring up dormant pimples that were underneath your skin surface and lead to breakouts that last a few weeks. It's usually in the form of small, red, tender bumps on the skin, so if you have cystic bumps, it's probably a regular breakout.

    21. Take your skincare on-the-go if your face feels tight and dry midday. A toning mist will hydrate and refresh tired skin *and* help control excess oil and redness throughout the day.

    22. Understand that not every mask is for you. In fact, most are designed with a very specific skin type in mind (i.e. dry, acne-prone, etc.). Take our quiz to match your concerns and complexion with the best mask for you!

    23. Speaking of! Take a skin-identity quiz to learn what works best for your skin and nix any risky trial-and-error. It'll take things like your age, typical routine, stress levels, and even diet to figure out what your complexion will actually benefit from using.

    24. Adjust your routine to the season — your skin needs it! When summer and spring approaches, regularly cleanse with an exfoliating face wash (there's more sweat in your life, sorry). As colder weather hits, moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize by using a hydrating serum *before* your face cream.

    25. Regularly clean your makeup brushes (those things pick up acne-causing bacteria faster than you can say zit) with a finger scrubber board. Try to do this once a week — any longer and grime really starts to build up.

    26. Research how you can benefit from facial oils — each one helps you achieve different goals, like brightening, clearing, or hydrating. There are even helpful options for oily skin — yes, it might sound weird to give your complexion *more* oil, but the right formula helps your skin rebalance!

    27. Learn the ever-popular Korean skincare routine to address e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g from healing tough breakouts (hello, clarifying toner) to brightening skin (and bonjour, illuminating sheet mask). It may seem like a lot of steps, but each one brings *results* that just face wash + moisturizer simply do not.

    28. Cleanse your skin immediately post-workout (or if it's just impossibly hot outside) to easily prevent body acne. A quick session with ShowerPill hygiene wipes packed with aloe vera, vitamin E, and witch hazel will kill sweat-caused bacteria to keep backne away for GOOD.

    29. Drink 👏 water 👏. Aim for eight glasses a day. Sure, you're peeing more (like....a lot more), but you're also flushing out daily toxins, increasing your skin's elasticity, and brightening your overall complexion.

    Don't worry, this extra-large water bottle is here to help. Its design will keep you on track by marking your progress throughout the day so it doesn't feel like Mission: Impossible to stay properly hydrated.

    30. Increase the effects of your usual face wash by deep-cleansing AND exfoliating your entire face in only ~60 seconds~ thanks to the Foreo Luna Mini 2. It gently vibrates (you can pick from eight speeds) so even those of us who wear a full layer of makeup are squeaky clean and fresh-faced after just a minute.

    31. Conquer the scars of backne-past with an exfoliating towel. This basically removes layers and layers of dead skin, aka what's keeping your scars present. It's also great for anyone who just wants smoother-looking skin!

    32. Don't get mad at me — but you can't pop your zits. I KNOW. So satisfying. But it leaves scars that last for weeks! Instead, gently bring out the whitehead by holding down a warm washcloth while bingeing Netflix. In a few minutes you'll be able to slide the whitehead off with the cloth. No energy. No scabbing.

    33. Take little (and very manageable, I promise) steps to improve your overall skincare routine. It doesn't have to take over your life obviously, but even small changes will make a big difference for your overall clarity and health. An easy start: using a lavender spray that kills acne-causing pillow bacteria *and* helps to lull you to sleep.

    34. Consider a professional facial, especially when your skin is looking a little stressed. Experts say you should shoot for once a month, but realistically every *few* months will still serve as a welcome fresh start for your face.

    Your pimples when you finally learn how to fight back:

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    Need more for your skin? Check out Korean skincare products you need to know, cheap skincare products that are even better than luxury brands, products for an even skin tone or to deal with acne scars, or check out all of our beauty content for even more great stuff for your hair, skin, and more.