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7 Must-Follow Skin Care Tips for Brighter, Clearer Skin

Glowing skin is closer than you think. Here's how to get — and maintain — radiance.
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Skin looking a little dull these days? Having trouble keeping breakouts under control? It's high time you made some changes to your skin care routine. Certain products and ingredients are super effective at brightening up lackluster skin and unclogging pores for a blemish-free, smooth finish. Here, top dermatologists share their best advice for getting, and maintaining, clear, glowing skin. 

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Wash Your Face Twice a Day

A healthy glow starts with consistent cleansing. "Your face is exposed to many environmental factors every day," explains Howard Sobel, MD, New York City dermatologist and founder of Sobel Skin. These factors include everything from applying makeup to touching your face to fluctuating temperatures. "Cleansing twice a day to remove the dirt and dead skill cells is the most important first step in any skin care routine," says Sobel. If you don't cleanse morning and night, your pores could become clogged with all the stuff that's accumulated on your face, and that can lead to whiteheads and blackheads forming, adds Debra Jaliman, MD, dermatologist and author of "Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist."

A gentle facial cleanser is key, as you don't want to be left with overly dry skin. The EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser fits the bill perfectly. Formulated to be safe for all skin types to use twice a day, it contains bromelain, an enyzme found in pineapples that helps to curb inflammation and remove makeup, oil, and impurities from the surface of your skin. 

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Regular exfoliation is key to maintaining glowing skin. "Exfoliating is important because it helps clear up dead skin cells, unclog pores, and even out pigmentation on the skin," says Tiffany Jow Libby, MD, dermatologist in New York City. Libby suggests exfoliating once or twice a week with a chemical exfoliant, like glycolic, salicylic, or lactic acid. You may want to limit exfoliation to just once a week during the winter to avoid irritation. Sobel says alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic and lactic) are best for sensitive, dry, or redness-prone skin types, while beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid) are a good option for anyone with acne or oily skin. "They're anti-inflammatory and work to treat blackheads, whiteheads, and stubborn zits," he says. 

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Say Hello to Serums

One of the best skin care products to use for brighter, clearer skin? Serum. This skin care essential has a lightweight texture that absorbs quickly into the skin for major benefits. Los Angeles-based dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, likes antioxidant serums, as they can prevent and undo free radical damage caused by UV light and pollution. Her favorite antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin B, ferulic acid, and resveratrol. "Vitamin C also helps fade hyperpigmentation, which will help skin appear brighter and more even-toned over time," Shainhouse says. She is also a fan of hyaluronic acid. "This humectant ingredient can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water," she says. "It pulls moisture from the deeper skin layers and the environment into the top layers of the skin to temporarily hydrate, moisturize, smooth, and plump the texture, so that it reflects light more evenly and provides a dewy glow."

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Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

If your skin is on the oily side or you frequently deal with pimples, you may think you can get away without moisturizing. But if you want brighter, clearer skin, then this should be a go-to step in your skin care routine (twice a day!) regardless of your skin type. "Day or night, you need a moisturizer, Sobel says. Jaliman adds that hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin, and squalene are ingredients that are good for all skin types. For oily skin, look for a lightweight moisturizer, suggests Jaliman. For dry skin, a thicker cream can help seal in hydration. 

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