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The 2016 Woman's Guide to Great Skin

A radiant, blemish-free look begins with the right regimen. Here, your essential, expert-approved daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly plan

By Alexis Rhiannon

This is it. This is the year you finally make a commitment to be good to the most important person in your life: you. And more specifically, your skin. You've heard all the facts, but bad habits (like going to bed with your makeup on and running out the door without sunscreen) are still hard to break. By replacing them with new positive habits—daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly—you can can make a huge difference in your complexion. With the help of top skincare pros, we've created the easiest, most effective plan for your most radiant skin ever.

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1. Develop a regimen. Wash your face twice daily: once in the morning, and once at night. There's a reason for this, says dermatologist Dr. Melanie Palm, M.D., director of Art of Skin MD in Solana Beach, California. In the morning, you're prepping your skin to receive topical products like antioxidants, moisturizers, and sunscreens. In the evening, you're washing away all the impurities that built up through the day, like dirt and environmental toxins.

So you guessed it — this means cleaning off your makeup every night. No exceptions! Makeup not only clogs your pores, but also traps dirt and pollution on your skin, blocking it from essential repair while you sleep, says dermatologist Annie Chiu, M.D. of The Derm Institute.

When your face is clean, apply a hyaluronic acid-based moisturizer like Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Moisturizer. You'll wake up looking even more refreshed than you feel.

2. Turn down the heat. There's temptation in the colder months to soak under a hot stream every chance you get, but according to Daniel Abouhim, M.D., founder of Refined Aesthetics, your skin will be healthier and less dry when you keep the water temperature warm rather than hot. (Use the same principle when washing your hands to avoid scaling and flaking skin.) In addition, Dr. Abouhim recommends limiting the length of your shower and patting the moisture from your skin with a soft towel instead of rubbing it.

3. Slather up! In addition to using moisturizer on your face, pay special attention to your eyes, which have the thinnest skin on your body, says Dr. Chiu. Treat the area with an eye cream that contains growth factors, retinols, and Vitamin C to boost collagen production and skin thickness. Other vulnerable areas include the neck, decolletage, hands, and arms, which all show signs of sun damage and age before other parts of the body. The best time to apply moisturizer is right after your shower when your skin is most primed to absorb it. A body oil will lock in moisture all over without leaving you greasy.

4. Always wear sunscreen. If you only follow one piece of advice, apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, whether or not the sun is shining. Sunscreens not only protect against skin cancer, says Dr. Chiu, but also decrease the development of wrinkles, keep pigment even and help your skin barrier stay healthy. Look for a broad-spectrum formula — that means UVA and UVB blockers — that has a physical ingredient such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, says Dr. Palm.

5. Give your body what it needs. You know the drill. Drink water, get plenty of sleep (ideally eight hours) and eat clean to avoid breakouts. Debbie Palmer, M.D., dermatologist and creator of Replere skincare, recommends antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, while Dr. Abouhim swears by a low-sodium diet to prevent puffiness.

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