We all want perfect skin and most of us will stop at nothing to get it. From slathering on creams and serums to the latest and most innovative treatments that you can only get at your doctor’s office, these are the 10 best ways to put yourself on the path to virtually flawless skin.
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Microneedling With PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)
The idea of having a bunch of tiny needles rolled across your face may sound scary, but microneedling has become one of the best-kept secrets in the beauty industry. “It’s safe, improves skin texture and tone and is usually less expensive than lasers with lower risks and quicker recovery,” says Chicago plastic surgeon Irvin Wiesman, MD. Not only is microneedling an anti-aging go-to treatment because it stimulates collagen, but it can also be combined with other treatments like PRP for even better results. Dover, OH, facial plastic surgeon David Hartman, MD, says that when PRP, a procedure which uses your own blood’s growth factors to stimulate new cell and collagen growth, is done in conjunction with microneedling, the combination of the two procedures can provide optimal results for smooth, tight, glowing skin. And, it makes a world of difference for those who suffer from acne scars. “The PRP can be applied topically after microneedling and can also be injected into pitted scars to build collagen,” adds Beverly Hills, CA, facial plastic surgeon Davis Nguyen, MD.
Still considered the gold standard topical for fighting effects of aging, Encino, CA, plastic surgeon George Sanders, MD, says a good retinoid is an essential in the quest for perfect skin. “It increases skin cell turnover that yields fresh, youthful skin cells, thins the dead cell layer that produces rough spots and increases the moisture content of your skin. Even the mildest of retinoids, such as retinol, produces improvement, although a bit slower than the more powerful substance, Retin-A.”
Neuromodulators like Botox Cosmetic, Dysport and Xeomin
Wrinkles can age your appearance and make your skin look dull and weathered. But one of the easiest, and quickest, ways to get rid of them is with injections of neuromodulators. Pensacola, FL, plastic surgeon Jocelyn E. Leveque, MD, says that Botox Cosmetic is a great treatment for both wrinkle reduction and prevention. “Botox is a purified protein that is injected into facial muscles, causing relaxation of the muscle and therefore relaxes the pull on the skin, which relaxes the wrinkle. By keeping up with this procedure, wrinkles will continue to improve and will never worsen and new wrinkles will not form because the muscles are constantly relaxed.”
Pensacola, FL, plastic surgeon Peter Butler, MD, is a big proponent on fractional lasers for skin that’s practically spotless. “When used on a low setting, they help to tighten pores, diminish age spots and make skin brighter and clearer,” he says. “Patients also notice a reduction in breakouts in the weeks that follow. There might be a little peeling or flaking the next day, but that’s about it.”
Alphahydroxy acid cleansers
According to Covington, LA, dermatologist Rachel Reina, MD, regularly washing your skin with an alphahydroxy acid cleanser is an easy to keep it looking good. “I like SkinMedica AHA/BHA cleanser ($47). It gently exfoliates to decrease pore size, minimize brown spots and keeps pores clean to prevent acne breakouts,” she says.
Clear + Brilliant laser treatments
Treating your skin to a procedure like Clear + Brilliant a few times a year can really help to reset it. “In addition to the daily use of topical antioxidants and sunscreen, Clear + Brilliant laser treatments enhance neocollagenesis to minimize fine lines, improve minor skin imperfections and scars and tighten pores,” says Washington, D.C. dermatologist Tina Alster, MD.
Exfoliation is crucial for healthy skin. Without it, skin cells can build up on the surface, making the skin look dull and dry. McLean, VA, aesthetician Sandra Oulmas says that in between spa visits, you can still get that fresh-from-a-facial glow by exfoliating with an at-home microdermabrasion product. “Formulas with ruby or sapphire crystals literally put professional skin-polishing power right in the palm of your hands. The crystals help to even tone, minimize pores and smooth and prime skin beautifully for makeup application.” Exfoliate two to three times per week to reap the benefits.
There’s no second-guessing the role that proper hydration plays when it comes to your skin. Hydration, both internally and externally, are important, and without it, skin lacks plumpness and dewiness—plus, lines, wrinkles and other imperfections become amplified. Princeton, NJ, plastic surgeon Adam Hamawy, MD, says that it doesn’t make sense to be apply moisturizer over the skin if your body itself is not hydrated. “That’s why you need to drink plenty of water, too.”
If you’ve heard it once, then you’ve heard it a thousand times: The sun is your skin’s worst offender. Besides leaving skin dry and spotted and increasing your risk for skin cancers, as well as advancing the signs of aging, going a day without sun protection is like walking into oncoming traffic—the risk that something bad can happen is just too high. Clinton, MI, dermatologist Dr. Tiffany Cukrowski, MD, says that sun protection is the foundation in keeping skin evenly toned and glowing.
One of the best ways to keep skin looking fresh and youthful while hindering the damage caused by environmental factors is by wearing an antioxidant every single day. While there’s a plethora of different ones to choose from—everything from plant-based antioxidants to synthetic ones, and even those that are extracted from vitamins—it’s important to find one that’s compatible with your skin. New York facial plastic surgeon Dilip Madnani, MD, recommends his patients use a strong antioxidant serum like SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic ($163) on clean, dried skin.