Many different factors can wreak havoc on our skin – everything from cold weather, hot weather, hormones, genes, the products we use and the make-up we wear.
While you can't always predict when that next unwanted spot might arrive (usually the day before a date/job interview, of course), you can give your skin a fighting chance by taking the best care possible to look after it.
Here are our six steps to great skin – these are the habits you should swear by!
1. Keep it clean, clean, clean
A strict cleansing routine is key for maintaining clear skin. Wash your face with water or a gentle cleanser in the morning, cleanse again after a workout, and NEVER go to bed without completely taking your make-up off. Not only will you feel awful if you wake up covered in eyeliner and mascara, but your skin won't be able to breathe and recover overnight.
2. Don't squeeze your spots
Urgh, whiteheads. The worst. It can be SO tempting to pop spots for a quick fix but in the long run you're far more likely to be left with a scar or a red mark that won't fade. Also, the chances of a spot returning in the exact same place are much higher if you squeeze. Apply an anti-bacterial cream like Savlon overnight instead. If you MUST pop that spot, do it after a hot shower when your pores are open and ensure your hands are completely clean.
3. Apply cleanser and make-up smartly
Cleanser should be applied in upward motions, according to the experts, to allow it to really penetrate the skin's surface. Foundation should be applied in a downward motion to stop it from getting too deep into your pores.
4. Don't forget to exfoliate
Buffing away dead skin on the regular is so important if you want to keep your skin clear and blemish-free. If you have sensitive-skin, go for an alcohol-free exfoliant (avoid ones with terms like "clarifying" in the name) that won't leave your face feeling tight and irritated.
5. Say yes to H2O
Avoid dull skin by staying hydrated – keep a glass or bottle of water by your bed and drink it first thing in the morning, as well as carrying a reusable bottle around and refilling it a few times a day.
6. Allow your skin to breathe
Aim to go at least one day a week without wearing make-up for a full 24 hours. Your skin won't know what's hit it! If that's really not an option for you, then aim to take off your make-up early in the evening rather than waiting until you go to bed.