The Key to a Better Complexion: Know Your Skin Type
Find out how to keep your face smooth, clear, and radiant, no matter what your age or skin type.
SKIN TYPE: NORMAL
Spa Fix: Maintain the good skin you already have and get a fresh glow. Kate Somerville, L.A. facialist to Jessica Alba, suggests an exfoliation treatment that combines a physical scrub and a chemical peel, followed by intense hydration. If you don’t need them, don’t let your facialist do extractions, which can lead to blotchiness or marks.
Best Regimen: Commit to a daily routine. Doing this wards off future problems. “Start simple: a gentle cleanser and sunscreen,” says New York dermatologist Amy Wechsler. Try Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($7.10) and L’Oréal Paris Active Daily Moisture Lotion SPF 15 ($17.99). At night, use a repairing moisturizer. Try Garnier Nutritioniste Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream (left, $7.99).
Star Product: Vichy Aqualia Antiox Fresh Serum ($45). Ready for an extra step? Boston dermatologist Ranella Hirsch suggests applying an antioxidant serum before your sunscreen. This one (activated with powder) helps protect stem cells from oxidative stress, which means fewer signs of aging.
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SKIN TYPE: SENSITIVE
Spa Fix: Facials can be too irritating for sensitive skin. But if you want to deal with dullness, Olga Lorencin-Northrup, founder of L.A.’s Kinara Skin Care Clinic and Spa, suggests you go for a gentle, customized, glow-boosting treatment without exfoliation. Porcelain-skinned star January Jones stops by Kinara before she hits the red carpet.
Best Regimen: New York and Miami dermatologist Fredric Brandt recommends avoiding sodium lauryl sulfates and artificial fragrances. Use a mild cleanser, like Dior Gentle Cleansing Milk (left, $32), then a physical-block sunscreen. Try Burt’s Bees Chemical-Free Sunscreen SPF 30 ($15). Moisturize A.M. and P.M. with a soothing lotion like Estée Lauder Vérité Moisture Relief Cream ($50).
Star Product: La Roche-Posay Rosaliac UV Anti-Redness Moisturizer ($34.90). Look for a lotion with calming ingredients like thermal spring water, green tea, licorice, or feverfew, which all help minimize even the most severe rosacea, swelling, and irritation.
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SKIN TYPE: DRY/AGING
Spa Fix: Opt for a facial with moisturizing masks or a hyaluronic-acid treatment. Somerville’s Dermal Quench infuses the skin with serum to give you a glow that lasts for days. New York facialist Christine Chin, who counts Rachel Weisz as a client, also recommends monthly microdermabrasion. “Your skin will look five years younger,” she promises.
Best Regimen: In the morning, use a gentle cleanser, like Dr. Brandt Time Arrest Crème Cleanser ($50), and apply an SPF with antioxidants to prevent collagen breakdown. Try Lancôme Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30 Lotion ($45). At night, use an antiwrinkle serum. Try Nude Advanced Cellular Renewal Serum (left, $92), which contains collagen-stimulating bioactive peptides.
Star Product: Neutrogena Ageless Intensives Anti-Wrinkle Deep Wrinkle Filler (left, $18.99). Retinols smooth lines, even skin tone, and fade age spots. “In six months, you’ll be amazed,” says Wechsler. Also try Christine Chin Retinol Smoothing Fluid ($79).
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SKIN TYPE: OILY/ACNE-PRONE
Spa Fix: Get a monthly facial with extractions. This can make a world of difference for acne sufferers. Getting rid of congestion before it comes to the surface can prevent future breakouts. Exfoliation is key, but consult your skin pro on what is best for you. Chin, who cares for Zoë Saldana’s complexion, warns, “Microdermabrasion can actually make acne spread.”
Best Regimen: Twice a day, use a mild cleanser. Overwashing and harsh astringents strip the skin and exacerbate “rebound oil.” During the day, apply a mattifying SPF. Try SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 ($30). At night, use a retinoid, which will stop breakouts before they happen. “[Prescription-only] Differin is the least irritating,” says Brandt.
Star Product: Skin Effects by Dr. Jeffrey Dover Glycolic Peel Kit ($24.99). Wechsler says that if used at night, glycolic acid will help control oil all day. The kit starts with a glycolic-acid-soaked pad to exfoliate, followed by a soothing pad that calms skin.