How to Get Better Skin with Less Effort, According to Experts

The only guide to skin care you need

We know more about how to care for our skin than ever before, but with a dizzying array of science-based options out there all vying for a spot on our bathroom counter, things can get overwhelming fast.

If you’ve ever bailed out on a shopping cart full of serums, moisturizers, exfoliants, and creams in a state of skin care routine overload, this guide is for you.

Pro-tip: Keep it simple — and smart. Skip trying to maintain a 10-step routine every day and break down your regimen into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

What to do every day

1. Cleanse every night

Your skin may be fine with skipping an AM wash, or sticking to just water or a very quick wipe with cleansing (aka micellar) water. But when it comes to your PM routine, cleaning off the slurry of makeup, sunscreen, dirt, oil, and bacteria teeming in your pores is a must.

Cleansing tip: David Lortscher, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Curology, is in favor of micellar water: “It cleanses, removes makeup, and moisturizes in one step by using tiny molecules — micelles — that pull the dirt and oil out of your skin.” Follow that step up with a gentle cleanser.

If you rather double-cleanse (without micellar water), use an oil-based cleanser to break down makeup and sunscreen, followed by a foaming cleanser. If your skin does not tolerate foaming cleansers, then use a gentle non-foaming product. This is a thorough but super gentle way to cleanse everything off your skin without stripping it.

Popular everyday cleansers

  • Gentle soap cleansers: Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser or Cosrx Low PH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
  • Micellar water: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water or La Roche-Posay Micellar Cleansing Water for Sensitive Skin
  • Oil cleanser: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

2. Wear sunscreen

Yes, we’ve all heard the warnings and are still tempted to zip out for errands sans sunscreen, or to dodge that familiar greasy, heavy feeling — but sun damage goes far beyond just a tan: UV radiation is behind photoaging, inflammation, and skin cancer.

Lortscher estimates that damage from UV is responsible for “up to 80 percent of skin aging” and recommends a minimum of SPF 30 UVA and UVB protection daily.

SPF tip: Use a stand-alone sunscreen. Even if your daily moisturizer or makeup has a stated SPF, keep in mind that SPF rating is based off a volume of sunscreen that’s far more than people thinkTrusted Source — 2 milligrams (mg) per square centimeter (cm) of skinTrusted Source to be exact. That’s 1/4 teaspoon on average.

Imagine using up an entire bottle of foundation in less than four weeks — that’s how much you’d need to be protected!


Keep in mind that even if you’re wearing multiple products with SPF, you can’t “add up” the SPFs to equal 30. You need to make sure that one of the products is SPF 30 on its own.

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