8 Ways to Go on a Skin Cleanse
If you have oily skin, go with a gel or alcohol-based face wash, says Dennis Gross, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Try Garnier Clean + Shine Control Cleansing Gel ($8; ulta.com). If you have dry skin, opt for a creamy formula such as First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser ($20; sephora.com). Apply cleanser to dry skin (and with dry hands). “It will bind more effectively to dirt and oil molecules,” says Gross. And do it in the shower. “Pores are more open in the shower and the sebum [skin’s oil] is liquefied,” says Gross. Massage it on for 30 seconds. “Let the product soak in with nothing to dilute it, so it can do its job,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C. And don’t overdo it. Over-cleansing can strip skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry, dull, and inflamed. Limit washing to one or two times a day.
When regular cleansing doesn’t cut it, step up your game with a sonic skin brush. The bristles vibrate and oscillate to remove pollutants and makeup without stripping skin, says Tanzi. Bonus: It also lightly exfoliates skin. Try Clarisonic Mia 2 Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush ($150; clarisonic.com).
Peel It Away
Regularly sloughing off the top layer of dead skin cells not only uncovers brighter skin, but it also prevents pores from getting clogged. Gross suggests gentle, everyday exfoliation using a combination of alpha and beta hydroxy acids such as glycolic and salicylic. “Daily peels are like steady exercise to the skin,” he says. “It’s far better to use something every day that is not super concentrated than to use something radical all at once.” Jumpstart the process with BareMinerals 7-Day Skin Detox Mineral Brightening Peel ($75; sephora.com).
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Deep Clean with Clay
If you’re oily or acne-prone, skin pros say applying a clay mask once or twice a week will help absorb excess oil and draw out impurities. Try GlamGlow PowerMud Dualcleanse Treatment ($69; glamglowmud.com), which combines four different types of clay with cleansing oils.
Get Rid of Heavy Metal
The metals lurking in your tap water—zinc, lead, magnesium, copper, and iron—can be tough on your skin, says Gross. “These heavy metals convert the skin’s oil into a waxy, gland-blocking substance, resulting in acne, blackheads, stretched out pores, redness, and irritation,” he says. To combat this effect, add a chelating product to your daily regimen. “Chelators engulf the heavy metals on the surface of the skin, preventing them from penetrating deep into the pore,” he says. Try Dr. Dennis Gross Hydra-Pure Oil-Free Moisture with Chelating Complex ($78; sephora.com).
Clear up with Charcoal
File this under “who knew?” The stuff fueling your summer BBQs can also give you good skin. Similar to clay, activated charcoal helps pull the gunk out of your pores. It can have a slight drying effect, so it’s best for oily or acne-prone skin types, says Tanzi. Try it: Origins Clear Improvement Mask ($25; origins.com).
Make a Skin Smoothie
A diet rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory foods, and hydrating fruits and veggies nourishes skin cells from within. Whip up this smoothie from Paula Simpson, beauty nutritionist. But only drink three-quarters of the batch. Apply the rest to your face for five minutes, Simpson says.
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup pineapple
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon spirulina
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Take a Hands-on Approach
Every professional facial includes lymphatic drainage—and for good reason. “The lymphatic system helps to deliver nutrients and carry away waste from the cells,” says Joanna Vargas, a celebrity facialist. “It’s entirely responsible for how fast a breakout heals, whether or not you break out at all, and whether your skin is hydrated or dry.” To help the process along at home, massage skin in upward motions, starting at the base of your neck, working your way up the sides and toward the eyes, she says.