13 Small Lifestyle Changes You Can Make Today for Clearer Skin

Everyone wants radiant and perfect skin. But for most of us who haven’t been blessed with naturally perfect genes, it’s hard to get there, especially when you have to battle skin conditions like acne along the way. However, not all hope is lost. Almost anyone can have great skin, and the best part? It is not always necessary for you to dedicate two months of your salary to some ambitious beauty treatment. Some skin care tips require less effort than you think to give you visible results over time, such as decreased redness, increased glow, and acne control.

We asked experts—dermatologists, estheticians, beauty experts, and even a supermodel—what their best-kept secrets to perfect skin are. While they may be a longer-term commitment, these simple lifestyle changes guarantee significant results.

How to improve skin texture, according to Derms
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Moisturize immediately after cleansing.
Renée Rouleau, an esthetician based in Austin, Texas, says one of the biggest skin care mistakes people make is waiting too long after washing to apply moisturizer. Whether it’s a face or body lotion, “you only have a short period after cleansing to apply a hydrating product before the moisture begins to evaporate,” Ella Rouleau says. “If you let your skin dry completely, the water from your skin plus the moisture from your skin will start to be carried away into the air.”

Ellen Marmur, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, also recommends speeding up in the shower. “Long showers wash away natural oils. That’s why some people get a chronic itchy back.”

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Consider your water
“Soft water doesn’t remove soap well, so it can leave residue on the skin,” says Susan H. Weinkle, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of South Florida. If the water is soft, use facial and body cleansers sparingly (no more than a nickel or quarter amount, respectively). Hard water, on the other hand, doesn’t allow washes to lather easily, forcing you to use even more cleaner, which can lead to dryness. A shower filter, which can remove contaminants and minerals, should help mitigate this problem. Gentle soap-free formulas, which aren’t meant to lather, can minimize this, says Carolyn Jacob, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicago, Illinois. To check the water quality in your area, log on to the Environmental Protection Agency website.

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Keep stress under control
It takes its toll on almost every part of the body, including the skin. In a study conducted at Stanford University, researchers found that during exam time, students who were feeling stressed had more severe acne breakouts than those who were under less pressure. That’s because stress increases the body’s production of hormones like cortisol, which can make the skin oilier and decrease its ability to fight acne-causing bacteria, says Lisa Donofrio, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine. To keep that tired feeling under control, regularly practice stress management techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, and meditation. This “can help conditions like acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and seborrhea,” says Donofrio.

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Exercise early and often
“One of the skin’s main functions is to regulate heat, so when you exercise, blood vessels in the skin dilate to bring warm blood to the surface, allowing heat to transfer out of the body and into the air. “This gives you a radiant flush,” says Dr. Marmur, who starts each day with 30 minutes of running, cycling or basketball. Increasing blood flow also ensures that the skin receives the oxygen and nutrients it needs to be healthy. “The skin is the body’s last priority. Blood goes to the brain and central organs first, so getting nutrient-dense blood to the skin first thing in the morning means the day starts off healthy too,” says Dr. Marmur.

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Reevaluate your skin care routine
Don’t put your skin care on autopilot, says Dr. Marmur, who avoids a set routine, preferring to amass a careful collection of products and then customize them day by day. “If my skin looks good and feels comfortable,” he says,

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