Clear, perfect, glowy skin is pretty much a magical unicorn we’ve been chasing since we hit puberty. We love to believe it exists, but for most of us it’s a myth that only exists in fairy tales. And, honestly, the internet doesn’t help much. There are so many supposedly “natural” DIYs floating around the World Wide Web, it’s hard to tell what treatments and tips are real—and what’s a bunch of BS.
For that reason, we’ve compiled the 101 best tips for clear skin below—so you don’t have to spend all of your free time scouring articles trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not. And trust us, with a little TLC, the skin of your dreams can be very real.
101. For bad acne marks, a chemical peel can help to reduce or eliminate the discoloration of skin.
100. If you struggle with hormonal breakouts every month, reduce your alcohol and dairy intake and you’ll see an improvement in your skin.
99. The biggest mistake you can make is leaving your makeup on overnight. Keep makeup remover wipes at your bedside table to avoid acne in the morning.
98. Berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, plus they have a low glycemic index so they won’t raise your blood sugar. Because sugar can stimulate a breakout, eating berries will reduce the risk of pimples.
97. Exercise is important to staying healthy and keeping your skin clear, and Dr. Ava Shamban suggests exercising for about 15 minutes a day to keep toxins in your body at bay and maintain clear skin.
96. Using SPF every day will prevent wrinkles and dark spots, while dark spot correctors can reduce the appearance of marks over time.
95. When you work out, be sure to wash your face both before and after you exercise. Leaving makeup on your face while you exercise means that it will mix with your sweat and clog pores, so be sure to start and end with clean skin.
94. Hydration is key to clear skin. Dehydration causes breakouts, because the skin overcompensates and produces more oil than necessary when it’s dry, which in turn causes you to break out. Drink more water!
93. When a pimple comes along and you need to get rid of it ASAP, try a spot treatment like Clinique Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel. It helps to zap pimples in as little as 12 hours.
92. Grapefruit is packed with antioxidants, so using skin care products containing grapefruit will help to wake up your skin and leave it feeling clean and fresh.
91. To get rid of any body acne, make sure you don’t “stew in your own sweat;” shower with salicylic acid wash immediately after you workout to avoid clogging your pores.
90. If you’re going to pop a pimple at home, do it the right way. Sterilize your hands and a small needle with rubbing alcohol, then gently puncture the whitehead of the pimple, just enough to break the skin. Using a clean cotton swab, press on either side of the pimple until it’s drained. Cover with a bandage to keep the area clean while it’s healing.
89. Oil from your hair will get onto your pillowcase as you sleep, so change your pillowcases once a week to avoid sleeping on oil all night long.
88. Rosewater is both balancing and soothing, making it great for all skin types to even out redness and calm any irritation that may be happening.
87. Smoking not only dulls your skin and causes blotchiness, it will also give you wrinkles. Ditch the habit (you’ll thank us later).
86. When you get acne, try your best not to pick at it. The dirt and oil on your fingers can make things worse with bacteria and you’ll risk infection, which can lead to scarring.
85. If you can find a tube of moisturizer instead of a jar, use that. The bacteria from your fingers that touches the lotion each time you go to apply it stays in the jar and goes onto your face. If you must use a jar, use a cotton swab to apply product.
84. Benzoyl peroxide products that reduce acne are only good for up to three months after they’ve been opened, then the ingredients become inactive. If you’ve got an old tube, toss it in favor of a new one.
83. If you’re stressed, your skin shows it. Try Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer to even out redness and reduce signs of aging.
82. When booking an appointment for a facial, be sure to stay out of the sun for a few days beforehand so that you don’t irritate your skin.
81. An overnight facial that works while you sleep is key, and Korres Wild Rose and Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial lets you wake up looking refreshed.
80. For a seriously awful pimple, head to the dermatologist for a shot of cortisone.
79. If you’ve got dry skin, opt for a face oil instead of a lightweight lotion. The all day hydration will change your skin for the better.
78. Be sure to exfoliate your skin at least twice a week, if not every day. For sensitive skin, look for a more gentle exfoliator to use it more frequently without harsh effects.
77. If you’ve got irritable skin, try to find skin care products containing goat’s milk. Because of the stabilized pH level in goat’s milk, it’s not acidic and won’t irritate skin, giving you an even complexion.
76. Contrary to popular belief, putting Vaseline on your face nightly will not prevent wrinkles. However, if you put a thin layer of Vaseline over damp skin, moisture will be sealed in and your skin will be much smoother in the morning.
75. Eating too much chocolate could be the cause of breakouts, but the acne is likely just from the sugar in the chocolate or the fact that you’re eating chocolate before your period, so your acne could actually be hormonal.
74. Botox is proven to help with acne, improving sebum production and reducing the size of your pores.
73. While stress can cause flare ups in your skin, working out can reduce stress and acne. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine will combat stress and keep your skin clear.
72. You should always be avoiding skin care products containing alcohol, but take special note if you’ve got dry skin. Alcohol will only dry out your skin even more, making for a dry, flaky situation.
71. You should also avoid skin care products with a fragrance, whether it be a face or a body wash. Fragrances can irritate skin, causing redness and allergic reactions.
70. Don’t let greasy sunscreen be an excuse for not wearing any at all! Instead, find a lightweight, non-greasy SPF formula like Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream SPF 30 and stop dangerous UV rays in their tracks.
69. If you’re a DIY beauty queen, use the milk in your fridge to get clear, smooth skin. Dampen a washcloth with milk and gently pat it over your face, leaving it on your face for about 10 minutes before rinsing. For the effect all over, add a cup of milk to your bath water.
68. Sunscreen is not just for the beach – the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that even being exposed to sunlight through glass (like the windows in your office) can have damaging effects on your skin.
67. For a procedure that will minimize and tighten pores while moisturizing skin, try a microdermabrasion treatment at the spa.
66. For pale-skinned girls everywhere, St. Tropez Skin Illuminator makes your skin luminescent and clear.
65. During your morning beauty routine, it’s best to style your hair before doing your makeup. If you’ve got makeup on your face before you start using a blow dryer, the heat begins to melt your makeup, sealing it into your pores and making your skin much more susceptible to breakouts.
64. If you’ve got an ingrown hair on your face, use a hot compress on the area to open up pores for about 10 minutes, softening the hair. Then, use a slanted tweezer to pluck the hair, followed by washing the area to avoid infection.
63. Stop touching your face throughout the day! You pick up bacteria from every surface you touch from your keyboard to your cell phone to elevator buttons to menus at a restaurant, and all of that bacteria floods your face once you start touching your skin. Hands off, and you’ll see less breakouts.
62. Adding coconut oil to your diet will help to moisturize and smooth your skin, and Miranda Kerr swears by this trick.
61. Speaking of coconut oil, mix it with baking soda for a killer facial scrub that will help with eczema.
60. Wine (in moderation) is proven to help shield your skin cells from harmful UV rays, so feel free to drink up.
59. Green tea is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, fighting off bacteria and free radicals that can harm your skin. Try to drink at least one cup of green tea a day.
58. To minimize breakouts during the summer, cut the number of products you use by opting for a tinted moisturizer with SPF, one of our favorite triple-duty products.
57. Vitamin E oil heals scars, but be sure to use it sparingly on your face as too much will overdo it. Dab some over a scar at bedtime to let the vitamin work overnight.
56. As the seasons change, so should your skin care. The heavy cream you use in the winter should become a lightweight moisturizer in the summer so that your skin isn’t taking on more product than it needs during warmer months.
55. Make washing your face in the morning and nighttime a routine by setting a reminder for yourself for three weeks. Once you do it for three weeks straight, it will become habit, and it’ll be integrated into your daily routine.
54. Using retinoids at night helps to prevent acne and fade spots, treating the areas overnight.
53. Try taking up yoga or another relaxing activity to de-stress yourself on a regular basis. Because stress is a huge cause of acne, combating it in any way will reduce breakouts.
52. Can’t find a spot treatment for acne? Try using 100-percent tea tree oil on the area before bedtime, and you’ll wake up with a much happier complexion.
51. Clean your glasses and sunglasses with rubbing alcohol to kill any bacteria that may be living on them, causing breakouts while they sit on your face.
50. If you’ve got bangs, you may experience breakouts more frequently on your forehead than any other part of your face because of the excess oil from your hair. Be sure to wash your bangs every day if you’re used to going two days without washing your hair, or pin your bangs up while they’re especially in need of a shampoo.
49. By learning which skin type you have, you can also learn how to treat it. Whether it’s dry, normal, oily or combination, there’s a specific type of product you should be looking for that will work best for you.
48. Clean your makeup brushes every two weeks or so. The amount of product and bacteria build up that happens within two weeks is frightening, and the longer you wait to clean the brushes the longer you’re putting the bacteria right on your skin, causing breakouts. Use warm water and a mild anti-bacterial soap to clean your brushes, laying flat to dry to avoid any warping that can happen.
47. Don’t over-wash your face. Though clean skin leads to clear skin, washing too vigorously or too often can irritate skin and do more harm than good.
46. Avoid oil-based foundations and other cosmetic products, as the oil will clog pores and certainly cause breakouts.
45. In addition to face wash, use a toner if you’ve got oily skin. Any excess makeup and bacteria will be removed and you’ll have fresh skin.
44. Try to cut back on fast food or anything fried. The excess grease may not immediately cause acne, but over time it can build up and your skin will be showing the effects.
43. Similarly to fast food, avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice in favor of water. A sugar surplus will not do anything to help your skin.
42. If you’re skipping a day of shampoo, sleep with your hair in a ponytail to keep your face away from any grease that may be in your strands.
41. For irritated skin, rubbing an ice cube over your face for a few minutes a day will help to alleviate any burning or redness happening.
40. Don’t just wash and moisturize your face—take care of every inch of skin on your body for clear skin overall.
39. One cause of body acne on your shoulders may be that your bra straps are too tight. By loosening the straps just a pinch, your skin will be able to breathe and will be less prone to breaking out in that area. Plus, make sure you’re not allergic to the fabric in the bra.
38. Products containing almonds can help to moisturize your skin and lighten dark circles, so look for almonds on the ingredients label on your next skin care purchase.
37. If you’ve got sensitive skin, try to buy hypoallergenic products to reduce any allergic reactions that may happen in the future.
36. Treat yourself to a spa day once in a while. Relax, rest and get a seriously awesome skin treatment that will make you feel like a new person.
35. Make sure you’re getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. A lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your skin, but resting for enough time each night lets your body rejuvenate and restore itself, leading to clearer skin.
34. Your cell phone contains more bacteria than a toilet seat, so putting it against your face when you’re talking on the phone can cause massive breakouts. Be sure to use anti-bacterial wipes to clean your phone, plus use speaker phone or your headphones as much as possible when calling your friends to avoid acne.
33. Using mineral makeup that contains zinc oxide will help to fight acne as you cover it, instead of other makeup that will simply clog pores. Look for this ingredient the next time you’re due for a new foundation.
32. If you’re someone who struggles with not drinking enough water throughout the day, place a full glass of water on your bedside table at night and drink it as soon as you wake up in the morning to kickstart hydration. Hydrated skin is clearer skin.
31. Carry a pack of oil blotting sheets in your purse wherever you go for touch ups throughout the day. By getting rid of oil and shine throughout the day, it won’t be building up on your face for hours before you wash it off.
30. Don’t be afraid of moisturizer, even if you’ve got oily skin. Applying makeup on top of dry, flaky skin will only make your skin look even more dry and flaky, so opt for a lightweight moisturizer to keep things smooth and clear.
29. Steam and hot water will open pores while cold water and air will help to close them. Never apply your makeup directly after a hot shower because when your pores are open, they’ll instantly absorb more of the makeup, clogging pores. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes before applying makeup so that your pores will close up first.
28. Try going without makeup for one day a week over the weekend to let your skin breathe.
27. Ditch your makeup products after they’ve been around for six months. Once they hit the six month mark, they’ve got enough bacteria in them to cause a breakout.
26. Don’t use your hand towel as your face towel. The dirt that is left behind on a hand towel should not be used to rub against your face, so be sure to use separate towels.
25. Cut back on the candy. Sugar in candy builds up in your body and manifests in the form of acne, so try reaching for a healthier snack instead.
24. Even when you’re inside, you should be wearing an SPF on your face. The lightbulbs and screens that shine on your face all day can actually cause damage that’s completely prevented with sunscreen.
23. Try a face mask about once a week, but don’t overuse it (like every day).
22. Sitting close to your laptop and letting your hair fall in your face can cause breakouts, so be sure to sit a bit farther from your computer and pull your hair into a ponytail while you’re at the screen.
21. Crush up aspirin and mix it into water to form a paste, put it on your face and let it dry as a face mask, then rinse it off. It dries up acne, healing it at the source.
20. Apple cider vinegar works as a toner to help clear your skin by balancing your pH level. Try drinking a tablespoon of it a day to cure acne from the inside out.
19. Crush up garlic and mix it with water, then take a washcloth and dampen part of it, washing the areas of your face that usually break out. It works as a great antibacterial solution.
18. Honey is also a natural antibacterial agent. Try placing a dab of honey on a problem pimple at night, and the issue will be much smaller when you wake up in the morning.
17. Mint is an anti-inflammatory, so using mint oil or crushed mint leaves on a red, irritated area of skin will help to soothe the situation.
16. Beefing up your fiber intake will help with digestion, meaning your body will be able to process foods better and in turn, your skin will reap the benefits. Foods rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
15. Limit the dairy products you consume, like milk and cheese. These days, animals are fed hormones so that their food products are super charged, but it means that the milk you’re drinking and the cheese you’re eating could contain hormones, which can throw off your own hormonal balance (like when you get your period).
14. Lavender oil and aloe vera juice can help minimize acne scars.
13. Plain yogurt makes a fantastic hydrating face mask. Apply a layer to your skin and wash it off after about 15 minutes.
12. Taking a biotin supplement will help your body regenerate skin cells faster, so your skin will be clearer faster. Added bonus: it also helps with hair and nail growth.
11. If it seems like a certain beauty product is making you break out, talk to your doctor to test if you’re allergic to gluten or another ingredient that may be irritating your skin.
10. Slice up a tomato and lay it over your face, allowing the juice to act as astringent to break up oil and dirt.
9. If your favorite baseball cap is causing pimples on your forehead, the best way to wash the hat is to put it in the dishwasher. Plus, while it’s washing your forehead will be able to breathe.
8. Wash your hands before you wash your face. Going straight into washing your face with dirt and oil on your hands will defeat the purpose of cleaning your face.
7. Dark spots can take up to four months to heal, so continue to treat with dark spot corrector religiously until you see results. Don’t be discouraged!
6. If you’re prone to hormonal acne, try to avoid spot treating and instead, use a salicylic acid cleanser over your entire face.
5. Unfortunately, caffeine can trigger acne, so cutting back on your coffee intake (especially if you add tons of sugar) will help to clear things up.
4. Look for non-comedogenic makeup and moisturizer to avoid breakouts.
3. Lowering your alcohol intake will also help to clear skin, as drinking alcohol (especially mixed drinks) is the same as drinking sugar.
2. If you’re taking a hot shower, try not to linger. The heat can dry out your skin, leaving it dehydrated and flaky.
1. After you’ve tried every tip and trick out there, if your skin still isn’t clear, make an appointment with the dermatologist for a more personalized plan of attack.
Originally published March 2016. Updated October 2017.