When you’re stressed or sleep-deprived, it shows in your skin. Unfortunately, that’s also when you’re least likely to have time to see your dermatologist for advice.
Well, ladies, no appointment necessary—we’ve nailed a few down for you and picked their brains on all of your skin issues, from keeping blemishes at bay to reducing those under-eye circles.
Whether it’s end-of-the-year pressures at work or holiday planning that’s keeping you busy, here are the best (and most budget-friendly) doctor-recommended tips to keep your skin smooth, clear, and looking great for all of your engagements and gatherings.
I know—you expected the acne to end once you graduated high school. Unfortunately, the occasional zit still gets to most of us, especially when we’re under stress. To get rid of pimples naturally, try Nature’s Alchemy Neem Seed Oil ($8.99, vitaminshoppe.com), the pick of Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Made of neem oil (a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem, an evergreen tree), this topical anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ointment calms, soothes, and treats acne without irritation. Apply it every night to your troubled areas, and you’ll wake up to clearer skin—without having to resort to harsh, skin-irritating chemicals.
Two of the most important components of a good skin care routine are peptides and antioxidants. Peptides help build collagen to keep skin firm and youthful, while antioxidants combat free-radical damage that not only ages skin, but can also lead to skin cancer.
If you’re looking for one product that can deliver both, Dr. Fran Cook-Bolden, Director of Skin Specialty Dermatology and the Ethnic Skin Specialty Group in New York City, recommends Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum ($23.49, drugstore.com).
While it’s admittedly a bit pricier than the other products on our list, consider it a two-in-one deal. It also contains vitamin C and green tea to prevent and fade pigmentation, making it especially beneficial for skin that suffers from acne scarring or sun damage. Plus, being a serum (rather than a cream), the ingredients are more concentrated, and thus can work harder.
Even our derms get too busy sometimes to get a good night’s sleep. That’s why Dr. Jessica Wu, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at USC and author of Feed Your Face, keeps a carton of soy milk in her fridge at all times.
Soy milk for your skin? That’s right. Make soothing, de-puffing compresses by pouring a small amount of soy milk in a bowl, dunking two cotton balls in, and squeezing out the excess. Hold the cotton balls over your eyes for five minutes while lying down to let the natural anti-inflammatory reduce swelling on the eyes. The cold temperature will shrink swelling and constrict veins to make your eyes look less bloodshot, and the soy proteins will hydrate your skin to soften the look of crows’ feet.
Lock in Moisture
The winter’s cold air (and our heating efforts indoors) can sap moisture from even the most radiant skin. So, as the temperature drops, give your skin a protective barrier with Aquafor Healing Ointment ($5.99, drugstore.com), a favorite of Macrene Alexiades, Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale University School of Medicine.
The petrolatum-based ointment promotes healing of dry, irritated elbows, heels, and hands—anywhere skin is rough or cracking. Alexiades recommends applying as soon as you get out of the shower to prevent the chapping that can occur from water. (And she also loves it as a lip balm.)
Try out these dermatologist recommendations as this winter sets in and keep your skin glowing year-round. And best of all, you’ll still be able to afford gifts for everyone on your list.