Every day, it feels like there’s a new ingredient, technique, or product on the scene with a bevy of skincare tips to go along with it. Don’t get me wrong—I love innovation. Learning about skincare is one of my absolute favorite things to do. But there’s something to be said about the skincare tips that have become classics over the years. I reached out to a slew of top dermatologists and estheticians about the most effective, time-tested information they’ve learned throughout their careers.
What are the best skincare tips of all time? Well, you’ll just have to keep reading to find out.
“Avoid the sun, and when you can’t avoid it, wear sunscreen and a hat. I swear by Coolibar sun protective clothing and Colorescience Sunforgettable Loose Mineral Sunscreen Powder ($64).” — Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care
“One of my best skincare tips is to use a sunscreen containing anti-inflammatory and barrier-repairing ingredients. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection of at least SPF 30 is best. I recommend Epionce Active Shield Lotion SPF 30+ ($20) or Ultra Shield Lotion SPF 50 ($25) every day—even during non-summer months.” — Carl Thornfeldt, MD
“You have to get a full-body skin exam by a dermatologist by the time you turn 30. It’s important to have expert eyes take a look at any moles you may have and be able to follow them for changes in the future. Also, the dermatologist can teach you how to do a proper skin check on yourself. This is very important because melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, is almost 100% curable if caught in its earliest stages. If women are armed with information on what to look for, it may save their lives.” — Elizabeth Tanzi, MD
“We consider treatment steps to be anything between toning and moisturizing. Layering your serums and essences from thinnest to thickest helps the skin to absorb each layer most efficiently! Try it with an ultra-lightweight essence like the Earth’s Recipe Dual Hydrating Liposome ($48), following up with the Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum ($49).” — Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, founders of Glow Recipe
“Ginseng applied topically is one of my favorite skincare tips—it works to stimulate blood flow in the capillaries, promoting a healthy, firmed, glowing-from-within visage. Bonus points if you layer a product containing plumping hyaluronic acid with your ginseng! Try it with Soyedodam’s Ginseng Hydrogel Sheet Mask ($9).” — Sarah Lee and Christine Chang
“When applying a sheet mask, maximize adherence by snipping from the side of the nose fold to the eye hole. This will allow you to wiggle the mask just so, getting it closer to the under-eye area and preventing any tenting. If necessary, make a snip below the cheekbone and layer the mask over itself to maximize the fit further. Try it with an aloe vera–based mask like Whamisa’s Organic Hydrogel Sheet Masks ($40).” — Sarah Lee and Christine Chang
“AHAs and BHAs are popular in dermatology clinics but are also formulated to be used in at-home exfoliating treatments to reveal brighter and more even-toned skin. Simply put, AHAs help to ‘unglue’ stubborn surface skin cells that cause dullness and clog pores, while BHAs enter pores to dissolve sebum and fight dormant acne.” — Sarah Lee and Christine Chang
“It’s been said a million and one times, but effectively removing makeup is the gateway to clearer, healthier skin. When makeup is removed, the skin becomes a clean canvas ready to absorb product. An easy tip is to clean your face as soon as you get in the door instead of waiting right before you go to bed. Just as you are dying to get out of your constricting work clothes, skin desperately wants to rid itself of pore-clogging debris and pollution! We like to use a gentle cleansing oil as a first step.” — Sarah Lee and Christine Chang
“Use a skincare product that optimizes the skin barrier and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients. This will also help reduce chronic inflammation, induced by ultraviolet light and airborne pollution. Barrier-damaging skincare and cleansing should be avoided.” — Carl Thornfeldt, MD
“Moisturizers help our skin barrier by providing lipids, protecting from external chemicals, and providing water to our sometimes parched skin. My all-time favorite moisturizer is of course virgin coconut oil.” — Vermén Verallo-Rowell, MD, of VMV Hypoallergenics
“Your skin acts as an excretory system to get rid of substances that don’t agree with your body. In the case of dairy, it is mucus-forming and can be difficult for the body digest—which is why many people are lactose intolerant. So when you get too much dairy for your body to digest, it may come out in the form of cystic acne (hard, painful bumps under the skin) on the chin and jawline area. The consumption of milk, cheese, and yogurt may become factors that influence endogenous hormones and mimic the hormones that trigger oil production in the skin to ignite the acne process. As soon as a cyst forms, dab on my cult-favorite Anti-Cyst Treatment ($43). It will dramatically reduce the infection and cut the healing time, at least by half. When used twice a week on areas prone to cysts, you may find they won’t show up at all! It’s one of my best skincare tips.” — Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician