Get That Glow
First question: Is your skin glowy? Second question: Do you regularly use a prescription retinoid (like Retin-A) or products containing retinol or glycolic acid? If you answered "no" to both, start using a cleanser, moisturizer, or serum containing one of those ingredients. Within two weeks your skin will begin to look fresher and more evenly toned.
Choose a Sunscreen
Become religious about using sunscreen, and choose yours carefully. Be sure that it's at least SPF 15 and that it gives you broad-spectrum UVA-UVB coverage (it will say so on the label).
Defuzz Your Face
Ask your doctor for a prescription for Vaniqa, which reduces hair growth. Vaniqa is safe for all skin types; it won't make you break out, and, in fact, it can help get rid of the hair that's irritating the follicles and causing pimples. It's not always covered by insurance, but it's cheaper than laser hair removal.
Get Rid of Red
Switching detergent may eliminate some of the redness, puffiness, dryness, and scaling you see on your skin; wash your bed linens and towels in a "free and clear" detergent (like All Free Clear). (Regular laundry detergent doesn't remove dust mites, cat dander, and other potentially sensitizing residue.)
Peel, Peel Away
Due to a buildup of dead cells, skin can look dull. Use Kinerase Pro+ Therapy Advanced Radiance Facial Peel ($85) daily for five days, then take a two-week break.
Clear Up Your Health, Too
A few other ways to a brighter, clearer complexion (and conscience): Add a cream with a strong antioxidant (such as vitamin C or coffeeberry) to your skincare regimen, eat antioxidant-rich foods, quit smoking, and cut down on alcohol.
Get a Better Moisturizer
If your skin tends to be dry and dehydrated in winter, look for moisturizers and creams containing hyaluronic acid. This natural sugar absorbs up to 1,000 times its weight in water. (Try L'Oréal Skin Genesis lotion, $25, or M.D. Forte Advanced Hydrating Complex Cream, $45.)
If you have age spots, blotchy pigment, or old acne marks, start using a treatment product that contains hydroquinone, which blocks new pigment (melanin) formation in the skin. You can get a prescription from your dermatologist, but many doctors believe that 2 percent hydroquinone, available over the counter, when combined with at least 7 percent glycolic acid (found in cleansers, moisturizers, and peels), can give results as good as prescription formulations.