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A Skin Care Resolution For Each Skin Type, All Backed By Science

Hannah Frye
Author:
January 4, 2023
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
By Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
Image by Fleur Kaan / Unsplash
January 4, 2023
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Taking better care of your skin is like many New Year's resolutions in that it's something you can easily start on day one. However, just like with all major goals, it can be confusing to know exactly where to begin. (And like with other resolutions, it helps to break down your goal into smaller, more tangible achievements.)

So to help you out, we selected one actionable tip for each skin goal, all backed by science. These certainly aren't the only ways to tend to your skin in 2023, but they will help you achieve a running start. Let's get into it.  

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For dull skin: Start using vitamin C serums. 

"Dull" is an umbrella term for skin that lacks radiance, bounce, or the famous "dewy" glow. One easy step you can take to brighten your complexion is using a vitamin C serum. But is it right for you? 

Short answer: probably. "Vitamin C is one of the few active ingredients that can benefit all skin types," board-certified dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., says about the ingredient. What's more, a brighter complexion isn't the only benefit you'll get when you pick up this daily habit: Using vitamin C topically has been shown to help overall quality and tone by diminishing hyperpigmentation1, decreasing moisture2 loss, helping to reduce skin inflammation1, and fighting against UV-induced photodamage3

Not sure where to look? Here's our curated list of the best vitamin C serums on the market right now

For aging skin: Take a daily collagen supplement. 

Whether you're just starting to see fine lines stick around or you've had deeper wrinkles for decades, a collagen supplement can support the skin's natural aging process and appearance. And while plenty of people claim that collagen supplements are just hype, research shows that, when used in the correct form and dose, that's not necessarily the case. 

"Hydrolyzed collagen is pre-digested so it does not go through that first-pass digestion in the GI tract," board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., previously told mbg. "The collagen fragments can be absorbed as is and circulate throughout the body to exert their effects."

More specifically, studies show that these collagen peptides are able to support skin elasticity and dermal collagen density4. How? Well, hydrolyzed collagen peptides have been shown to help promote the body's natural production of collagen5 and other molecules that make up the skin, like elastin and fibrillin.

However not every collagen supplement comes in a high-quality form. And if you're going to invest in a product, you should know that it's going to, well, work—so here's a list of nine A+ options, all backed by a nutrition Ph.D., if you're ready to shop.

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For uneven texture: Consider using retinol. 

Rather than scrubbing your skin with harsh salts and sugars, you may consider adding retinol to your routine to smooth uneven texture. See, retinol works by speeding up cell turnover6, meaning fresh, smooth skin will surface at a quicker rate. 

If you've never tried retinol before, then a gentle over-the-counter (OTC) option may be your best bet. If you've experimented with OTC products and don't love your results, then a prescription-grade formula might do the trick. 

Either way, you'll reap a host of benefits from boosted collagen production7 to acne management8 and more. Want to learn more? Here's a deep dive into the countless retinol products out there to suit your skin type.

For fewer breakouts: Practice skin cycling. 

Let's be real, acne remedies are not a one-size-fits-all situation. And determining which type of acne you have will help you create a better game plan (plus, seeing a derm is always a good idea, if you're able to). 

However, there is one routine method that's safe for most skin types and will help you organize all of your acne-focused topicals into your routine: skin cycling. Coined by board-certified dermatologist and mbg Collective member Whitney Bowe, M.D., FAAD, skin cycling helps you organize your treatment products into one weekly schedule. Here's how it goes: 

  • Night 1: Exfoliation night. This means using a chemical exfoliant such as an AHA, BHA, or PHA or opting for a gentle physical cleanser or exfoliating mask. The reason exfoliation comes before the retinoid night is that these ingredients slough off dead skin cells, so your retinol product can penetrate the skin even deeper (and, thus, work better). 
  • Night 2: Retinoid night. On this evening, use any form of retinol you feel comfortable with. This could be a gentle over-the-counter product or a prescription-grade cream (if your derm gives it to you). 
  • Nights 3 & 4: Recovery nights. On the third and fourth night of your routine, don't use either of the actives listed above. These rest days are designed to let your skin recover. By scheduling these restorative treatment nights, you'll prevent over-exfoliation, retinoid reactions, and overall irritation, bumpy texture, dryness, and redness. 
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For those with acne-prone skin, you may be able to limit your recovery night to just one evening, repeating the three-day cycle instead. But if you're dealing with cystic acne, it's best to visit a dermatologist, as OTC products often won't deliver comparable results to prescription-grade products and medications. 

For dry or sensitive skin: Isolate your actives.

"The concept of placing robust actives between really non-robust products is something that I take so literally [when] taking care of my own skin, but it's something that I really base my foundation of working with everybody on," professional esthetician Sofie Pavitt once told mbg. Essentially: Sandwich your potent actives between nourishing players.

But what exactly is classified as an "active" in this context? We're talking about chemical exfoliants (think salicylic acid, lactic acid, etc.) and retinol. Feature these ingredients in just one step of your daily routine—not all five (or so). 

Translation: Skip the exfoliating cleansers and retinol creams if you're already using a concentrated formula. Instead, cushion these actives with hydrating serums like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, or panthenol, and always top it off with a moisturizer. That way, you'll be able to see results from those actives without stripping your skin barrier or causing irritation. 

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The takeaway. 

As you can tell, "taking better care of your skin" covers a ton of ground. That said, start by determining your specific skin goals for 2023. And while topical care is essential, you might want to check off one more essential ingredient for beautiful, healthy skin—beauty sleep. Here's everything you need to know about the connection between your snooze and your skin, if you're ready to learn more. 

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Hannah Frye
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.