Never skip this step in your skincare routine if you want glowing skin, according to Derms

Even though there is an endless supply of skincare products on the market, many experts will tell you that keeping it simple in your skincare routine is key to a healthy complexion. A ten-step routine is definitely not necessary, but there are some steps you should never skip, especially if you want to maintain a youthful glow.

To learn more about the most essential skincare steps for those who want glowing skin, we spoke to beauty experts Dr. Yoram Harth, board-certified dermatologist, medical director of MDacne and Mina-Jacquelin Au, Specialist in Integrative and Complementary Well-being and co-founder of Vivre Skinlabs. Along with cleansing and moisturizing, they told us there’s another vital step that many people make the mistake of skipping: applying SPF.

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Always apply sunscreen

You’ve probably heard time and time again that you should always wear sunscreen, and it’s true! This skincare step is essential every day, not just in the summer or when the sun is out. “Don’t be lazy about SPF,” Au urges.

“Applying sunscreen is a must for everyone, including people with acne and oily skin,” Dr. Harth agrees.

Some skincare and beauty products have a certain level of SPF built in, but it turns out that this won’t reduce it. “Many of my patients don’t use sunscreen on a daily basis and for those who do, some think that just because it has sunscreen built in, their foundation would be enough. It’s not enough; you’ll always have need a good physical sunscreen every morning to end your morning routine,” she says.

So what happens if you don’t wear sunscreen? Au says that a lack of adequate UV protection could worsen the signs of aging. “If you care about anti-aging, know that UV rays (even when it rains) will accelerate the aging process, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation,” she warns.

Dr. Harth notes that you’re also setting yourself up for another skin problem if you skip the SPF: clogged pores. “The UV light emitted by the sun makes the epidermis thicker and increases the risk of clogged pores,” he says. “UV rays also cause post-acne dark spots to darken and, of course, premature aging of the skin.” Ouch! Nobody wants that.

Choose the right sunscreen

While we can all agree that applying sunscreen is an extremely important skincare step, Dr. Harth points out that using the wrong type can make your acne worse in the summer. “The wrong sunscreen can clog your pores and cause more acne breakouts,” he says.

For this reason, it’s important to be careful about the type of sunscreen you put on your face. “People with acne or acne-prone skin should use only clearly labeled oil-free sunscreens,” recommends Dr. Harth. He also suggests avoiding sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium oxides. “These sunscreens are thicker, leave a white cast on the skin, and tend to clog pores.” Instead, Dr. Harth says you should opt for “invisible” chemical sunscreens.

Additionally, Dr. Harth notes that people with acne-prone skin should choose a water-resistant sunscreen because “it won’t be diluted by sweat and will stay on the skin longer.” Perfect!

Ultimately, however, what really matters is protecting your skin. When you skip this essential part of your skincare routine, not only are you putting yourself at risk for dark spots and other signs of aging, but you’re also putting your health on the line. “Skin cancer is the most common and life-threatening cancer in the United States,” Au reminds us. “Why risk your health? She makes an excellent point: Skip the sunscreen, please!

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