Getting a handle on your skin is hard. It sounds obvious, but it’s the truth—and whether the internet, drugstore, Sephora, or Ulta is your resource of choice, there are thousands of products out there swearing to solve whatever bugs you. If you luck out and find a product that works, it feels like you’re finally in control of your skin’s destiny. Alas, it’s the rare find that makes a difference, and any dermatologist will jump to explain that more often than not, you need to visit a doctor’s office to find life-changing results—which isn’t always a possibility if you don’t have the time or money to spend. Add to all the misinformation out there on the Internet, and navigating your way to clearer, healthier skin can feel like a minefield.
Our editors are by no means doctors, but we have spent our fair share of time around them, both for interviews and for our own personal skin care struggles. On any given day someone in the office always has new wisdom to share. Since it’d be a shame just to keep that knowledge confined only to the halls of Glamour HQ, we asked the team to offer up the best skin care tips they’ve ever received. Consider their advice a jumping off point to finding a routine that works for you.
“I have hyperpigmentation, so I used to worry about any sort of bump or breakout—and thought squeaky clean skin was the answer to the problem. If I don’t get a bump, I can’t get the dark spot. After visiting an aesthetician at my derm’s office, she suggested I wash my face less. She said gentle, non-foaming cleanser at night was good, and just water in the morning. Later, a different facialist recommended a toner or micellar water in the morning, but also stressed the one wash. Ultimately the squeaky clean skin was causing more damage, so my skin was dry, flaky and irritable. Thanks to that, plus a focus on hydration, my skin has far less issues. I still get dark spots on occasion, but they don’t last nearly as long.” —Christina Draper, credits editor
“The best tip I’ve ever gotten is probably ‘Go easy on the exfoliating.’ I used to use a face scrub every day, assuming my skin broke out because I wasn’t sufficiently scrubbing all the grit and grime off. But once someone suggested I only exfoliate a few times a week, alternating with a gentler face wash, it was an utter revelation.” —Melissa Haney, digital analytics manager
“Right now skin care is such a big trend, and I think people can get caught up in doing the most possible and using all of the products. I’ve gone overboard more than a few times, and it’s left my skin looking worse than when I started. I’ve scaled back a bit, making sure not to use products I don’t need and really paying attention to how many things I’m applying on my skin in one day. Once a month, I’ll also take a week where all I do is wash my face with water. It’s like a cleanse, but it honestly gives my skin a break. And ever since I started doing it, I’ve noticed that it’s kept my breakouts at bay.” —Tara Gonzalez, associate commerce editor
“Mine is basic, but it’s real: moisturize. My mom has been using Oil of Olay since she was in her twenties. She’s now 71 and legit looks like she’s 50. Unlike her, I use a few different ones based on the weather or time of day. My go-tos are It Cosmetics’ Secret Sauce in the morning, and Kopari Coconut Face Cream at night. The Secret Sauce feels like a luxury cream that should cost upwards of $100, but it isn’t.” —Jennifer Lance, assistant editor
“My family is really into the healing power of honey (a large percentage of them live in Vermont and keep bees). Growing up, I always put raw honey on cuts and scrapes, and drank it in tea to soothe a sore throat. When I started breaking out in my tweens, my grandma told me to use honey as a face mask. To this day, I’ll slather my face in it at the first sign of a breakout. Honey is a powerful antibacterial, so it fights off acne, but it’s also a humectant, so it keeps moisture in your skin instead of stripping it. A dream come true for an acne-prone, sensitive-skinned girl like me.” —Bella Cacciatore, beauty assistant
Water Isn’t B.S.
“I’ve been hearing forever that the secret to good skin is drinking a lot of water. It wasn’t until I went through a breakup recently and made it my (distraction) mission to refill my water bottle at least six times a day. All of a sudden people were commenting on how glowy my skin looked. I don’t know if it was the water or all the ice cream I was eating (OK, probably not that), but I highly recommend.” —Sarah Olin, art director
“Hydrate on the inside, and the outside. Literally: I keep a bottle of Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray with Rosewater in my bag at all times. I can dry out pretty easily, especially in the winter, which means my skin looks dull and thirsty. And it is! A spray every few hours keeps my skin supple, and makes me feel fresh when I’ve been out all day.” —Christina Coleman, news and culture director
“It’s not technically advice I was given by another person, but reading labels has changed everything for me. It sounds simple, but I used to slather on anything in a cute package or with a buzzy name and wondered why my skin was always dry and dull, despite having access to great products. Turns out, I was paying zero attention to what was actually in anything. Now I read every label and if I don’t recognize an ingredient, I either Google it or ask a derm. Knowledge is good-skin power!” —Perrie Samotin, digital deputy editor
Think Outside Your Medicine Cabinet
“It’s about as basic as you can get, but I’m a big fan of using an exfoliating sponge in the shower. It makes a huge difference—whenever I’m out of sponges or simply too lazy to put a new one in the shower, I always suffer the consequences. (Read: acne.) So I pick up a cheap pack whenever I’m at the drugstore (like these) and replace them often.” —Anna Moeslein, senior editor
“It might sound crazy, but the best piece of skin-related advice I’ve been given actually has to do with my bed. Taking off your makeup is important, but for me, the biggest thing that’s helped clear up my skin has been changing my pillowcases every week. Between leftover makeup and dead skin cells, our pillowcases collect a lot more gunk than any of us would like to think. If you’re fighting off a patch of zits, or even a bad cold, swapping your pillowcases will make all the difference. You can thank me later.” —Sarah Morse, social media manager
The Tried-and-True Favorites
“When I do get pimples, they’re usually epic and somewhere very noticeable. This device is my front line zit defense. If I so much as feel a pimple coming on, I get out my blue light and torch it. The device both eliminates bacteria (which stops pimples from forming) and reduces the size of an already formed pimple. It only takes a minute or two to use per session, and it works wonders on deep cystic acne. I finish the session off with Osmia’s spot treatment.” —Michelle Sulcov, senior photo research editor
“Lotion P50 1970, made by Biologique Recherche, is the one product that makes a huge difference for my skin. My facialist, Lori Hollingworth, swears by it for its hydrating and exfoliating properties, which rebalance your skin. That way every other product or treatment you do after that will be absorbed properly. That’s so important for me, since I’m doing a lot of on-camera appearances and going to events, and it feels like people are literally thisclose to your skin. It also helps because I’m traveling a lot, not getting enough sleep, etc., so this helps ‘rebalance’ my skin when I otherwise can’t.” —Jessica Radloff, west coast editor
All That Said… Pros Really Do Make a Difference
“One word: Accutane. After 10 years of struggling with acne, the ‘last resort’ from my dermatologist worked miracles. My skin went from shit to supermodel status in three months. Full disclosure: It’s an intense medication and isn’t for everyone—you have to have your dermatologist prescribe it, get monthly blood work done, and take an online quiz every month before a prescription refill. But the result it had on my skin overall was amazing and worth the hassle. I didn’t have any side effects, except my lips got incredibly chapped and dried out, a minor drawback that Burt’s Bees remedied. Texture, pigmentation, glow, it changed everything.” —Alex Pisauro, communications associate
“I’ve probably interviewed 100+ dermatologists and besides good daily skin maintenance (including, yes, sunscreen), they all believe in the power of a reset—a pore-clearing acid peel, a series of brightening IPL treatments or skin-tightening laser resurfacing sessions. My latest thing is Clear + Brilliant. I’ve done a few sessions recently under the recommendation of Dr. Ellen Marmur and suddenly, I no longer need to wear foundation. My pores look smaller, my brown spots are more like beige spots, and my skin is just glowier overall. I’m recommending it to everyone I know.” —Ying Chu, executive beauty director