For as long as acne, rosacea, random red spots and blotches have been around, there have been a billion “miracle” products, tricks, and hacks that people swear by for treating them. And, guess what? Most of them suck. No, toothpaste won’t get rid of your zits; no, scrubbing your face with hot water and foaming cleansers won’t fix oily skin; and no, that miracle all-in-one face cream for $230 will absolutely not make you look five years younger (sorry).
So what does work? Well, that’s the golden question, isn’t it? And it’s the question that one woman set out to answer when she asked the skin-care-obsessed community on Reddit’s Skincare Addiction thread (note: The word “obsessed” doesn’t do this community justice; each of these users is practically a dermatologist) what was the biggest, most game-changing and eye-opening skin-care tip they had ever learned. Within three days, 400 tricks and comments had formed, each one more brain-meltingly awesome than the last.
So we sifted through every top-rated comment with a fine-tooth comb and our “are these tips fact or fiction” glasses, and we pulled out the eleven best skin-care tips guaranteed to leave your complexion calmer, brighter, and straight-up happier than ever before. We’ve tried them all, and we can vouch for their efficacy, too. Keep reading and get enlightened; your skin (and toothpaste) will thank you for it.
Don’t strip down.
“[The fact that your face isn’t supposed to feel tight after cleansing] would probably be my big a-ha moment. I knew that if my face was super tight, like, split-in-two-if-you-smile tight, was a bad thing, but a little bit tight was a given, right? Just the way any cleanser makes your face feel until you moisturize it? Nope. Wrong. Any tightness, dryness, or “squeakiness” at all is a bad sign, and will lead to trouble, because moisturizers don’t make up for over-stripping. So [switching to a creamy cleanser], using cool water to rinse, and letting the cleanser come in contact with my skin for the least amount of time possible have all changed my cleansing game.” –EvangelineG
“Most wipes have irritating ingredients in them, and, in general, they don’t remove makeup unless you scrub at your face much harder than you should. It’s much better to use a cleansing oil or a cleansing balm, like Clinique Take the Day Off Balm, to remove your makeup, and then cleanse again with a gentle cleanser, like Glossier Milky Jelly.” –shilljoy
Believe in sunscreen’s magic.
“I have dark skin and never burn, so I never thought I had a reason to apply sunscreen. But after wearing it daily for the past five months, sunscreen has done more for fixing my dark spots than any cream or serum.” –littlechichend
Embrace the oils.
“I have sensitive, red, and sometimes combination skin. Someone suggested that I stop using foaming cleansers and oil-free moisturizers to fix the grease, so I switched to a moisturizing cream and cleanser—Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream and CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser—and it has saved my skin. I thought they would make me greasier, but who knew MORE moisture is what you need to combat the grease!” –jessicadiamonds
Ditch your allergies.
“I found out I am allergic to SLS, sodium laurel sulfate, and it has completely changed my life. I used to practically soak my whole body in steroid creams and ointments for the eczema, always had backne, and face and scalp acne, constantly had angular cheilitis—cracked and reddened corners of mouth—and just thought I was a delicate creature with sensitive skin. Guess what! SLS is in toothpaste, face wash, shampoo, dishwashing liquid, body soap…like, EVERYTHING! So I took all of it out, and my acne and eczema and cracked dry lips are gone. It’s been truly life-changing.” –eatingissometal
Don’t get lazy.
“The biggest, definitive difference in my skin was consistency: finding something basic that worked and doing it every day. I was never able to tell how different produces worked for me in the past—now, I have a much better idea, so I can actually add things to my basic routine and, you know, tell if they’re doing something.” –imjustpeachie
Layer the right way.
“Learning the difference between humectant and occlusive moisturizer was huge. Humectants are ingredients, like water, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, that add moisture to your skin, whereas occlusives, like mineral oil, are thicker ingredients that stay on the skin like a barrier. They’re job isn’t to hydrate, but to prevent moisture from evaporating, thus keeping your skin moisturized. The biggest benefit from this is that you learn to layer on hydrating humectants underneath occlusive, which has been a moisturizing solution that actually works for my Sahara-dry skin.” –metalola
Trust in beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).
“I started using Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, thanks to everyone’s recommendation, and it has completely changed my skin in the past two months. I used to have 10 pimples at a time—deep ones that took forever to become whiteheads—but somehow, the BHA penetrates my skin, and now I only get 1-2 pimples at a time, and they’re just surface ones, probably caused by touching with my hands or phone.” –lpurrlow
Understand beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).
“Most ‘actives,’ like AHAs and BHAs, work by altering the pH of your skin, but you need to give them some time to work, or else they won’t accomplish anything. So after applying BHAs and AHAs, give them 20-30 mins to play with your pH and really have any effect before you put on any other products.” –maroomaroo
“For the longest time I thought hot water = cleaner skin. I was using the hottest water possible to wash my face. I now use lukewarm water, along with a very simple routine, and my skin has never looked better.” –littlesmokies
Wash everything. Everything.
“Use it once, then clean it up! Your hairbrush, phone, pillowcases, sheets, earphones, phone, glasses, hands and face before and after you break the no-picking rule, your head scarves, hats, bras, shirts, and basically anything that comes into contact with those acne-prone areas. Also, no random face touching. Serious game changer.” –GirlGainz