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How to Get Glowing Skin Without Spending a Fortune

By Janice Wasem / September 21, 2016
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Many people buy product after product, hoping for a skincare miracle, but to get glowing skin, it’s important to take into account your skin type and your problem areas. There is no one size fits all cure, so read on for skincare tips with special recommendations for those of us on a budget.

Food ingredients on the table

Food and good habits is important for a healthy skin, but sometimes it’s not enough

It should be said that before you start to revamp your skincare routine, you also need to start paying attention to your lifestyle. Things like drinking enough water, not smoking, wearing sunscreen, getting enough sleep, reducing stress and eating well all contribute to your skin’s health. If you’re stress-eating frozen pizzas every night and constantly breaking out, there may be a correlation.

A skincare routine is usually made up of at least three key steps: cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing. If you’re missing out on one of these steps, it could be the source of your skincare woes. The first thing you need to do is to determine what kind of skin you have and adjust your routine accordingly.

If your skin is oily

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Oily skin types benefit from extra moisture

If you already have a cleanser that works for you, there’s no need to drop a lot of money on an expensive cleanser. However, you know your cleanser isn’t working for you if it causes stinging, breakouts, tightness or dryness. Foaming cleansers are excellent for removing makeup, and can work well on oily skin. If you don’t need to take off any makeup, try a creamy cleanser.

You can try a toner specially formulated for oily skin, but avoid anything with alcohol, fragrance, or witch hazel in the ingredients.

Many find exfoliation to be very effective. For people with oily skin, a chemical exfoliator such as salicylic acid is recommended. Leave your chemical exfoliant on for a few minutes before continuing with the next product. Don’t chemically exfoliate more than two times a week — any more could make your skin quite unhappy. Also, be extra careful with sun exposure if you use a chemical exfoliant, and always use sunscreen.

The last step in your routine should be to moisturize. However, during the day, you might want to prioritize sunscreen, while focusing on moisturizing at night. You can also use moisturizing sunscreen during the day. At night, you really don’t want to skip this step. Though it may seem counter-productive to add moisturizer to oily skin, oily does not equal moisturized. Moisturizing may help reduce the oil your face produces, so don’t skip this step.

If you have dry skin

oil in a nice setting

Those with dry skin may consider adding natural oils to their skincare routine

If you suffer from dry skin, natural oils are your friends. Many people rely on oils for cleansing, make-up removal, and moisturizing. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to different oils, but the good news is that most oils won’t break the bank: you can pick up bottles of avocado oil or jojoba oil, for example, for not too much money. If using oil as a cleanser, apply, massage, and very gently wipe off with a warm washcloth or remove using a gentle cleanser, such as Simple Micellar Water.

People with dry skin can experiment with exfoliating, but be careful. Using a washcloth as an exfoliant is simply too harsh. Investing in a dry body brush may be the way forward, as it is gentle yet will help get rid of dead skin cells. If you want to chemically exfoliate, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) will be less drying on your skin than Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), so look for that when choosing a product. Additionally, when you wash your face or shower, avoid scorching hot water as this could dry out your skin even more.

The last thing you need to do to complete your routine is to moisturize. You can use any of the oils mentioned above. Alternatively, Aquaphor is a heavy duty moisturizer for the driest of skin, and could be the right product for you.

If you suffer from acne

fingers on the skin

Acne sufferers should avoid over-exfoliation and harsh cleansers

Many people of all ages suffer from acne, and it can be tough to defeat. If you want to get on track to glowing skin, here are a few tips.

First, choose a cleanser that doesn’t dry you out, but gets the job done. Foaming cleansers are commonly recommended for acne-prone skin. If foaming cleansers are too drying, try a creamy cleanser instead. CeraVe is an affordable brand that makes both foaming and creamy cleansers and can be purchased at the drug store.

If you have acne, you’ll want to take care not to over exfoliate, as this could cause further acne problems. Physical exfoliation may be too harsh, so a gentle chemical exfoliant might be better. Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid are all chemical exfoliants, but do not continue using them if you feel a burning or stinging sensation. Many people swear by Stridex pads, which contain salicylic acid. They are very reasonably priced and can be purchased online.

A lot of people make the mistake of skipping moisturizer or using cleansers that completely dry out your skin, but this is an error for people with acne-prone skin. Always be sure to moisturize after cleansing. Drying out your skin will cause your skin to overcompensate and produce even more oil, potentially clogging your pores.

Lastly, spot treat the pimples. You can buy specifically formulated products to spot treat acne containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, or dip a Q-tip into some diluted tea tree oil. If this doesn’t completely dry out the pimple, try a face mask. Be wary of applying the face mask to your entire face — unless you are oily all over, only apply the face mask to your problem areas. Clay or sulfur masks are great for drying out pimples, and can be purchased affordably.

Additionally, actively clean things that regularly touch your face, such as your sheets, pillowcase, mobile phone, glasses, towels, washcloths, headphones, or scarves.

If you’ve tried everything

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Nothing really works? Maybe it’s time to consult a dermatologist

If you’ve tried several different products and nothing seems to be working, you might save a lot of money in the long run by just going ahead and seeing a dermatologist. If covered by your insurance, a dermatologist might be able to prescribe a topical cream or a pill that will really improve your skin. If you’ve already been disappointed with your skincare purchases, don’t waste your time and money trying any more products and go right to a professional. This could be your best choice.

You can also subscribe to a monthly service like Curology, which will set you up with a dermatologist and a prescription without even having to leave your house.