Healthbeat

Daily skin care in 3 simple steps

daily skin care

A widely-advertised facial moisturizer claims to be the best on the market — and sells for $225 per bottle. Should you buy it? Another brand offers a complete skin care regimen — but it comes in 10 different bottles of lotions and potions that all need to be applied daily. Is it worth your time?

Despite manufacturers' claims, many cosmetic products will remove more cash from your wallet than dirt and oils from your skin. You don't need an expensive or lengthy skin care routine — and the good news is, the most effective and reliable regimen is also quick and inexpensive.

For daily skin care, you can limit your routine to three simple steps: cleaning your skin, protecting it from the sun, and tending to any specific skin problems you may have, such as dry skin, acne, or fine lines and wrinkles. Products for all three steps are available for very little cost at your local drugstore.

1. Clean your skin. Choose your skin cleanser based on whether your skin is dry or oily. If you have dry skin, choose a mild cleaning agent (such as Dove, Cetaphil, or Aveeno soaps or cleansers) and avoid products such as toners, which contain alcohol. For oily skin, choose a soap that removes the oil and clean your skin more frequently throughout the day.

2. Protect your skin from the sun. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and wear it every day. Higher SPFs are useful if you plan to spend hours outdoors, but if you spend most of your time indoors, SPF 30 is generally sufficient. If you have sensitive skin, choose a sunscreen product designed for sensitive skin.

3. Treat your skin's particular needs. For dry skin, there are plenty of effective and inexpensive moisturizers. There are also plenty of affordable over-the-counter products that can reduce lines and wrinkles, fade brown spots, or combat acne.

For more advice on caring for your skin and keeping it healthy, buy Skin Care and Repair, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Image: Felix Mizioznikov/iStock