When it comes to your skin, there are some things that we all universally desire, right? We want it to be clear, bright and healthy. A little smoother wouldn't hurt either. And if we can keep breakouts, fine lines and redness at bay, then we’d be golden. The good news is that such a holy grail wish list isn’t impossible. You simply need to reassess your regular morning and nighttime routine and make sure you’re stocking your medicine cabinet with the right products.
We’re talking about the tried and true products that have been proven to deliver results. It almost seems too good to be true. For example, niacinamide—a water-soluble derivative of niacin or vitamin B3. It smoothes out the texture of your skin and shrinks pores, it repairs sun damage and fights breakouts while soothing inflammation and minimizing redness. Board-certified dermatologist Brendan Camp, M.D., says B vitamins are “essential” vitamins, meaning the body doesn't make them or does not make enough to be sufficient. So an outside source of vitamin B is needed.
If you want a simple shot of niacinamide added to your routine, The Dewy Dudes say this Niacinamide + Zinc serum ($6 by The Ordinary) is a great place to start and we agree. You can use it as the first layer of your routine or just add a drop orEvan Cincotta two to your daily moisturizer. You really can't beat the price and quality of The Ordinary's products and this one will deliver noticeably smaller pores and smoother skin in about a week.
And while the immune-boosting vitamin C will serve your body well when ingested via foods or supplements, it won't benefit your skin all that much. Multiple studies have shown that vitamin C is extremely effective at restoring skin's health and even treating or preventing ultraviolet-induced photo-damage. Unfortunately, very little of the vitamin ever actually makes it to your skin, says board-certified dermatologist Laurel Naversen Geraghty, M.D. This is why you want to look for topical products with a high concentration of Vitamin C.
Kiehl's best-selling serum ($58.50 by Kiehl’s) combines the skin-improving vitamin C with ultra-moisturizing hyaluronic acid for a concentrate that's been clinically proven to reduce lines and smooth skin's texture. We also found it does a bang-up job of reducing the appearance of pores and hyperpigmentation over time. If you want to see immediate results, let this sheet mask ($9, by Dr. Jart) infuse your skin with naturally derived Vitamin C that's supported by other brightening and hydrating ingredients such as niacinamide and glutathione.
If you want further brightening of a dull complexion, you need to turn to an acid. They’re popping up more and more in skin care these days. And for good reason. They work by helping you get new, healthy skin quicker through a process dermatologists call “turnover.” After all, fresh new skin will always be better than old, dead skin, right? But acids can be intimidating. Especially when so many of us associate the stuff with bubbling chemical burns. But in reality, these highly effective acids are safe but you should know how to use them.
By far, the most popular glycolic acid. This is an alpha hydroxy acid that’s often recommended by dermatologists because it's so well-received and shows the quickest results. This is because it's the smallest acid in terms of size—meaning the molecules can get deep into the skin. Derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid is very effective in breaking down skin cells and removing dead particles. The removal of waste and dead skin naturally boosts collagen and elastin production, resulting in smoother skin texture and a brighter complexion. Look for a glycolic toner ($25 by Anthony) which is applied to the skin right after cleansing, allowing it to sink in and get to work.
The final item in our arsenal of highly-effective products is a night cream. You probably know by now that getting ample sleep is good for your skin. Your body boosts blood flow to the skin and regenerates cells while you snooze. So why not use those hours in bed to supercharge your skincare? After all, it's likely the longest stretch of time that a product can stay on your face uninterrupted. Plus, the slight increase in body temperature that occurs while we sleep can actually help with product absorption.
Which means nighttime is the right time to invest in those active ingredients that really make a difference. You're never too young to start taking care of your skin and it's never too late to invest in yourself. Dr. Dennis Gross makes a rich cream ($77 by Dr. Dennis Gross) that’s both powerful yet gentle on skin. It absorbs fast and leaves a silky matte finish—meaning no greasiness to stain your pillow. Powered by the brand's signature “Phyto-Retinol Blend,” retinol, bakuchiol and ferulic acid work together to visibly firm skin while decreasing troubling lines in about two weeks. Additional antioxidants help replenish skin's natural moisture barrier for lasting hydration and brighter skin.
Do you need all these products at once? Of course not. But any or all of them will help transform your skin and leave the man looking back at you in the mirror feeling a whole lot happier and handsome.