What products should everyone have in their skin care routine?
Your lineup varies between morning and night. In the morning, the ideal basics of skin care are "a gentle wash, an antioxidant serum, hydrating moisturizer, and sunscreen," says Dr. Nava Greenfield, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn, NY. The antioxidant serum helps repair and defend skin against DNA damage throughout the day (read: it's anti-aging).At night, she recommends repeating your cleanse, treating skin with a topical retinol or retinoid—which speeds cell turnover and spurs collagen production—and following with moisturizer.
How often should you exfoliate?
While there's no hard and fast rule on how frequently you need to exfoliate — as it depends on the exfoliant, how powerful it is, and what else you're using — you definitely need to do it, says Dr. Deanne Robinson, a dermatologist at Modern Dermatology of Connecticut in Westport, CT. "As a general rule of thumb, I would advise one to two times per week," she says.
Do you need different products for morning and evening?
There are a few important tweaks for your evening routine. At night, "cleanser may need to include a makeup remover in it," says Greenfield. "And moisturizers should be thicker and more hydrating at night." Once a week, you should also use a face mask at night.
Can diet really affect acne?
Short answer? Sort of. "It does not in the sense that most people talk about it — for example, chocolate doesn't cause acne," says Robinson. "However, foods with a high glycemic index, such as refined sugar, can increase hormone levels in the body, leading to inflammation, and exacerbate acne." So if you break out after eating a late-night plate of fries, it's not because of the grease. It may be because potatoes are high on the glycemic index scale.