5 Experts on the *One* Thing You Should Do for Better Skin

The one thing other than "wear sunscreen," we mean.

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Like a winter bod, pretty skin isn't made in a day. But with constant barrage of recommendations for retinols and AHAs and tissuing off the thermal water you've sprayed delicately on your lymphatic-massaged face, it might be even more difficult to achieve a bright, even complexion than to get back in fighting shape. (If the former is even possible...)

But life is just a struggle until you die, so make it worthwhile and pick a better goal than Gatsby. (That green light thing was kinda weird, you have to admit.) To help you on your way, we've collected five experts' one top tip to cut through all the noise.

"The number-one mistake most women tend to make is they skip exfoliation. I encourage women to make exfoliation a priority twice a week. It's like a mini facial at home and will help products penetrate better throughout the day." —Joanna Vargas, Celebrity Facialist and Founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection

2. But Don't Go Overboard (Don't Hate Us, Here's Some More Guidance)

"Many women are using cleansing brushes with harsh cleansers *and* facial scrubs a few times a week. Overly aggressive exfoliation leads to stripping the skin of its natural oils and inflammation. All that inflammation can increase acne, worsen rosacea, and accelerate the aging process. Stop the madness! Be gentle with your skin." —Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and assistant clinical professor, department of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center

3. Get Your Vitamin A

"As we age, our skin's natural stores of vitamin A are depleted, leading to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol stimulates collagen and elastic production, increases skin thickness, and decreases collagen and elastic breakdown caused by environmental damage. This is the one ingredient everyone needs. It has the most convincing clinical studies of any product." —Dr. Melissa Doft, Park Avenue plastic surgeon

4. Focus on Anti-Inflammation

"Use products that will repair the skin barrier (or at the bare minimum, not damage it) and have anti-inflammatory properties. When the skin barrier is damaged, the body reacts by trying to protect itself. One of those protective mechanisms is inflammation. Often we see this as redness in the skin. Inflammation in the short term is good, but over time, if the inflammation doesn't stop, it becomes harmful. This long-term inflammation has been linked to many diseases in the body." —Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, dermatologist and founder of Epionce Skincare

5. Stop with the Misinformed DIY-ing

"I really, really wish my patients would stop looking online for do-it-yourself skincare ideas! A lot of (irreparable) damage can be done to skin using kitchen supplies and ingredients. Lemon juice burns, sugar-scrub scars, even vinegar ulcers are all things I've seen and treated in my office. Tried-and-true products will rarely cause a problem for most skin types—there's a reason they've been around for so long. Stick to the experts in skincare when it comes to the products you use." —Dr. Rachel Nazarian at Schweiger Dermatology Group

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.