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We all want clear skin: that’s a fact. Unfortunately, certain skin conditions make getting there a tough journey. From acne to eczema, to dark spots and wrinkles, everyone has some sort of concern they’re trying to treat. In an effort to achieve your clearest skin yet, we’ve created five skincare tips to help guide you toward a healthier complexion in 2021. 1. Pare down your skincare routine It might be tempting to hop on the bandwagon when it comes to popular skincare trends (like the 12-step K-beauty routine), but piling on multiple ingredients at once isn’t ideal for every skin type. Those experiencing specific skin concerns (like eczema or acne) might want to pare down their routine to just a few products for day and night. In fact, using too many ingredients at a time could actually make your eczema, acne or dry skin worse, rather than fix the issue. Plus, some ingredients don’t mix well together and might cancel each other out (including niacinamide and vitamin C), so it’s best to keep it simple, not excessive. By paring down your routine this year, you’ll be able to identify which products and ingredients might be making your specific skin concern worse—a helpful way to avoid a flare-up in the future. 2. Be cautious about “natural” products Just because a skincare product is natural, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. Especially for those suffering from eczema, natural skincare products might not be your best option when treating inflammation. Not only are they not very effective in treating eczema-symptoms, but they also might actually cause a worse flare-up — natural products bring with them the risk of allergies and irritation. It may help to think about “natural” in a new way. Rather than reaching for a 100 percent natural skincare product, look for products that work with the nature of your skin itself — especially formulations that help your skin’s microbiome thrive. Just like your gut, your skin needs a balance of good and bad bacteria in order to be healthy. And science has proven over and over again that an imbalance of the bacteria that live on your skin is an invisible trigger for eczema flare-ups. That’s why it’s so important to seek out products with ingredients found in mother nature. For example, Peter Lio, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Scientific Advisory Committee Member for the National Eczema Association describes a product that he feels meets this criteria: “Gladskin is really interesting to me because of its scientific approach in working with the nature of the skin. Their eczema cream is formulated with Micreobalance™, a smart protein that is clinically proven to reduce eczema itch and redness, while working to rebalance the skin bacteria and bring users harmony once and for all.” 3. Prioritize one skincare concern at a time Although many skincare products might advertise themselves as the perfect multitasker, ready to treat wrinkles, acne, and eczema all while offering a gorgeous glow, the reality is that one product can’t fix it all. The key to getting clear skin is to focus on the one skin concern that bothers you the most. If you’re someone who has eczema, you don’t need to be applying a trendy vitamin C serum formulated to treat dark spots. That pick might be the next cool thing, but it’s not made to treat your main skin issue. In 2021, look for products that were specifically created to help tackle your biggest skin concern and invest in those. 4. Consider topical treatments before antibiotics Whether you’re dealing with acne, eczema, or another skin concern, antibiotics might seem like the easy way out, but they’re not always the best option for your health in the long-run. The more antibiotics we take for these skin conditions, the more we are risking that those medicines won’t work for us when we really need them. If you’re dealing with dry, itchy, eczema-prone skin, look for skincare products that specifically target an imbalanced skin microbiome. 5. Think prevention The key to achieving your clear skin goals lies in action steps toward prevention. If you’re someone who constantly deals with sunspots or melasma, don’t wait until the summer to apply sunscreen—make sure to apply a minimum of 30 SPF every single day, regardless of whether the sun is out or not. If you know the season when your eczema always flares up, don’t wait until that time of the year rolls around to actually treat your skin. Begin applying topical products before your skin starts to become inflamed. For those with acne, consider eliminating dairy from your diet to prevent future breakouts, and keep treating the areas where you’re usually prone to breakouts to prevent them from returning. Written by the Gladskin team. Gladskin was born from a discovery about the role of endolysin proteins in maintaining a balanced and healthy skin microbiome. This breakthrough was made by Professor Dr. Martin Loessner’s Department of Health Sciences and Technology Laboratory at the ETH Zurich University in Switzerland.