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6 Secrets to Gorgeous Skin

No. 3: Consider Retinoids

Retinoids unplug pores, help clear up acne, reduce fine lines, boost collagen production, lighten brown spots and freckles, and improve skin texture. They can even help treat precancerous lesions.

Retinoids are sold by prescription only under names that include Renova, Retin-A, and the generic Tretinoin.

"A retinoid should be the foundation of any topical anti-aging regimen," says dermatologist Paul M. Friedman, MD, co-author of Beautiful Skin Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Better Skin.

He recommends that men and women make a retinoid part of their evening regimen beginning in their 20s.

The downside is that retinoids can cause dryness, flaking, and redness at first.

Starting out slowly by applying a pea-sized amount of retinoid every second or third night can help your skin adjust to the powerful ingredient.

Or consider an over-the-counter cream, gel, or serum containing retinol. This nonprescription version of a retinoid works more gradually and gently but is still effective in rejuvenating your skin.

No. 4: Keep Skincare Simple

Overuse of products is the biggest mistake people make in their skincare regimens, says Jeanie Leddon, MD, PhD, a dermatologist in Boulder, Colo.

"Some patients come in with a grocery bag full of products and wonder why their skin doesn’t look or feel great," Leddon says.

Using a lot of different ingredients can be irritating, and some ingredients cancel out each other's benefits.

For example, the acid in salicylic or glycolic acid breaks down ingredients like retinol, hydroquinone, or vitamin C. "More," Leddon says, "is not necessarily better."

Friedman agrees. He says the products needed for beautiful skin are "a simple cleanser, sunscreen, moisturizer, and a retinoid or retinol."

The simpler your skincare regimen, the more likely you are to stick with it.

Brush up on Beauty

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