For most of us, our faces are exposed to the elements more than any other parts of our bodies. Regardless of whether or not you wear makeup on a daily basis, your face suffers from the “daily grime.” There is natural oil build-up, the dirt and pollutants that penetrate into your pores, and finally, the makeup you apply to your face. On top of everything else, your face is also what everyone else looks at on a daily basis! We communicate, interact, and express ourselves through our faces. To keep your face looking picture perfect, try the following tips:

Wash your hands! Before you handle your face (to apply makeup, cleanse, moisturize, etc.) make sure your hands are clean! This way, you do not transfer any bacteria or dirt that is on your hands to your face.

Use a facial cleanser. Pick a facial cleanser that is specifically formulated for your skin. Don’t wash your face with body wash or a bar of soap! It may be effective in cleansing your skin, but the gentle skin on your face has different needs than the rest of your body. For example, if you have a lot of blackheads, you want to use a gentle daily exfoliating cleanser to get rid of blackheads. If you have acne or occasional breakouts, you want to use a cleanser that contains acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzyl peroxide to keep it under control. If you have combination skin, you would probably want to rotate the use of an acne-fighting cleanser and an exfoliating cleanser (which is what I do).

Wash around the hairline. Don’t just focus on troublesome spots on your face (like the t-zone, or chin area). Wash your entire face to prevent future breakouts. Another important tip is to wash around the hairline. All the hair products you apply can also cause grime to build up in your pores. As the day wears on, makeup that you apply can also travel into the hairline.

Change cleansers. Does your skin change during the seasons? Does it get more prone to redness or dryness during certain months? Change your cleanser when your skin changes needs. If your skin is dryer during winter months, use a more moisturizing cleanser.

Cleansing your face is definitely one of the most important parts in maintaining flawless skin. Beauty is work, and to look beautiful, we all (except for a lucky few) need to work it at. Also, don’t forget to moisturize and wear sunscreen!