5 Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW to Improve Skin

by Carmen Kubista

5 Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW to Improve Skin

Let’s be real… Healthy skin feels like the elusive Holy Grail sometimes. I am often asked, “What can I do to improve my skin?”

The answer, of course, is not one silver bullet. It’s not a magical potion or pill. It’s a combination of common sense, realistic ideas that, done consistently, can make a major impact on your skin.

Here are 5 real-life tips to help you improve your skin, starting right now:

1.  Change your pillowcase.

Laundry is not necessarily top of mind when we think about skin. (Actually, laundry is never really top of mind for me.) A quick and easy change to your pillowcase strategy – yes, that’s a thing – can make a huge impact on your skin health.

Change your pillowcase every 2 to 3 days.

Hair products, hair oil, skin oils, dust, dirt, sweat, make-up, bacteria, and more are transferred to your pillowcase every night. And you rub your face in that gunk all night long (ew!). The gunk then fills and stretches pores and robs your skin of critical oxygen that it needs to repair and replenish during the overnight hours.

My advice? Next time you’re on a #targetrun, pick up some extra pillowcases and throw a clean one on whenever you think of it (yes, even if it doesn’t match).

Caution: Skip the fabric softener for sheets and pillowcases. The softening agents can clog pores.

2.  Wash your face every morning and every night.

Yeah, I know…this seems like a no-brainer. But I haven’t met a single person that doesn’t need this reminder, especially when life gets chaotic.

Cleanse morning and night, without exception.

Don’t be tempted into thinking that a morning cleanse isn’t necessary because you washed your face last night (see point #1).

Regardless of how much you indulged in Wine Wednesday, make sure you swing by the sink for a quick wash before you lay down your sweet head. Your skin’s best time for healing and regeneration is while you sleep.

Note: For those of you who have got this one down, the next challenge is to make sure your kiddos are learning this habit young.

3.  Don’t over-cleanse or scrub.

A caveat to point #2: I fundamentally disagree with the idea of being “squeaky clean.”

Dry, tight, squeaky skin is OVER-cleansed. Many cleansers wash away too much of your skin’s natural oils, creating an acute moisture imbalance. And when skin is dry, it essentially panics and over-produces oil in an effort to correct itself. This excess oil can cause a myriad of problems like acne, oiliness, stretched pores, and – gasp – accelerated aging.

Use a gentle cleanser that leaves your skin feeling clean but not dry.

I’m sorry to tell you that your expensive facial cleansing brush may be part of the problem, not the solution. It can be tempting, when we’re mad at our skin, to scrub the living daylights out of it. But paybacks are… you know.

Our skin (especially the face and neck) is very tender. It never – ever – needs a harsh scrub punishment. Instead, gently massage cleanser onto your face, neck, chest and back with your bare hands, just long enough to remove make-up and oils.

Harsh scrubs and tools only exacerbate the problem.

Cleansing brushes or other supposed deep-cleansing tools can irritate your skin further and spread bacteria, making the problem worse. Even a wash cloth can be too harsh at times. When your skin is broken, oily, sunburnt, or irritated, that’s your signal to be extra gentle.

4. Exfoliate, with caution.

Speaking of scrubbing… It’s best to take the Goldilocks approach with exfoliation…use trial and error to find what works just right for you.

Over-exfoliation is a common mistake. If your exfoliant is too harsh, or you scrub too hard or too often, your skin will let you know via break-outs, dryness, irritation and redness. If you’re not exfoliating enough, your skin may seem dull, flaky and unbalanced. But when you get it just right, your skin will look healthy and radiant.

Exfoliating one to two times a week is plenty.

I love an exfoliant that combines immediate results (hello, date night!) with ongoing effects. Lactic acid + a very mild, fine physical exfoliant make a great combination. I never recommend using a scrub with seeds, nuts, husks or pits.

Note: If you’ve over-exfoliated, stop altogether and give your skin TLC and time to recover. Use gentle, calming skin care with healing and anti-inflammatory properties to heal and repair your skin. (Obviously, we have our faves…)

Clean skin care  gluten free skin care  natural skin care

5.  Moisturize.

If your skin is dry, moisturize. If your skin is oily, moisturize. Combo skin? Moisturize.

The goal is balance. Believe it or not, your skin is smart (probably gets that from the brain). Skin prefers balance and works to restore it. If you nourish your skin with hydrating skin care, it will use as much or as little as it needs to find balance. On the other hand, if you starve your skin of moisture, it has no choice but to create its own, on overdrive (see point #3).

Need a visual? Think raisins. 

Hydrated skin is simply healthier and more radiant — smoother, firmer, clearer, more consistent in tone, less oily, and pores are smaller.

Apply serum, then moisturizer immediately after your bath or shower, when your skin is more porous and able to absorb better. The moisturizer will lock in your serum and the extra moisture.

The best thing for your skin is consistency.

Start with one of these tactics, or all five if you’re up to it, and be consistent for the next two weeks. I bet you’ll notice a difference in your skin.

And more importantly, give yourself grace. Nobody’s skin is perfect. You’re going to have breakouts, dry spells, and oily patches. And yes, we are all going to get wrinkles someday. To pretend otherwise is simply not being real.

You accept and appreciate others for who they are, regardless of whether or not they’re having a great skin day. So please, my friend, give yourself that same grace and acceptance.

Be well.



(photo by @jillianlenses at @studioapparatusmn)

Carmen Kubista
Carmen Kubista


founder of story skin care, wife & mom

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