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Complexion cures: Look your best and brightest

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Fix your face

Bad skin days are (unfortunately) a fact of life for many. Sigh. But that doesn't mean you have to hide out (or wear a bag over your head) until your complexion calms down or clears up. Beth Steenburgen, skin care expert and training esthetician for the Chella line, shares her tips for dealing with some of the most common complexion concerns. Trust us, you'll be looking fresh and fabulous in no time!

Woman looking at her face

1Ditch dry, flaky skin

If you're dealing with a flaky face, the first step is to determine if your skin is truly dry (which is a skin type) or if it's simply dehydrated, which is a condition, explains Steenburgen. Either way she suggests using products that contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) as the quickest way to add hydration.

"AHAs have proven to be the true moisturizers as they increase dermal moisture levels by stimulating hyaluronic acid deposition," she explains. This means they draw moisture to the skin and make sure it stays there.

Proper exfoliation is also critical to healthy looking, supple skin. It gently sloughs away flakes and pore-clogging dead skin cells while making sure the moisturizing products you apply get properly absorbed.

TRY THIS: For maximum exfoliation and skin-saving benefits consider an exfoliating mask like Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask ($23), which dissolves dead skin cells while softening, hydrating and revitalizing skin. Chella's Resurfacing Mask ($60) with lactic enzymes, sugar cane and apple extract encourages cell turnover and helps restore moisture to dry skin.

2Say no to uneven skin tone

Uneven skin tone, also known as hyperpigmentation, is caused by over-production of melanin. Melanin is what gives skin and hair its color, helps protect skin against UV light and absorbs heat from the sun. But too much melanin can lead to a mottled, uneven skin tone, Steenburgen explains.

When skin is repeatedly exposed to UV light, an over-production of melanin occurs to help protect skin from sun damage, but this means uneven tone -- not ideal.

Hormone-related uneven tone is called melasma and is caused by increased hormone production. Pregnancy, taking contraceptives and also a reaction to certain medications can cause the increased hormones – and in turn, uneven tone.

EXPERT ADVICE: Steenburgen advises wearing sunscreen -- always, and also using creams and lotions that lighten and brighten the skin. She suggests looking for products that contain sugar cane extract, licorice, bearberry and vitamin C just to name a few.

3Banish breakouts

Exfoliation and avoiding clogged pores are critical to treating existing breakouts as well as preventing further breakouts, Steenburgen explains. Ingredients like salicylic acid – or willowbark, the natural equivalent of salicylic acid – help sweep pores free of debris to minimize blemishes.

There are a few other breakout-busting products to have on hand to treat blemishes when they pop up. The first is an exfoliating cleanser, which works to kick pore-clogging debris to the curb. We like Aveeno Daily Exfoliating Cleanser ($8), which gently exfoliates skin with microbeads. Skin prone to breakouts will also benefit from a clay mask to tighten and refine the pores, Steenburgen says.

TRY THIS: Give Boscia's Clear Complexion Mask ($30) a shot to treat breakouts and control excess oil, a formulation that helps boost skin tone, clarity and texture.

4Rule out redness and irritation

Having red, irritated skin is no fun. A rosy glow is one thing but an overall redness is entirely another. If this sums up the current look and feel of your skin, you need some serious soothing. Switch products with a heavy fragrance for those that are fragrance-free and ideally sans chemicals. The more ingredients there are in a product, the more likely it is to irritate your skin.

EXPERT TIP: To tone down and ideally nix any future redness, opt for products that sooth and heal the skin. Dermalogica's Gentle Soothing Booster ($48), reduces redness and calms skin with skin-comforting ingredients like raspberry fruit extract and honey. Chella's Master Protocol 7 Cellular Defense Serum ($135) also contains ingredients that minimize inflammation in the skin.

Welcome to calm, clear skin for summer!

More skin care tips

Skin benefits of green tea
Acne treatment dos and don'ts
5 Natural scrubs for your skin

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