When it comes to looking good, skincare regimens and little black books holding the names of preferred dermatologists are often well-guarded secrets. But ELLE knows that when women help one another, everyone wins.

At the inaugural Pro Talks panel, moderated by award-winning journalist and women’s rights advocate Tamron Hall, top skin experts discussed what really works—and no one’s holding back. Scientist and vice president of skin biology & bioactives at Estée Lauder Dr. Nadine Pernodet, renowned dermatologist Dr. Joely Kaufman, and celebrity facialist Gina Mari share the five rules for looking like your best self.

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Rule #1: An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
Is it cliché? Yes. Is it true? Absolutely. All three experts agreed that you can never wear enough sunscreen, but prevention doesn’t stop at SPF. Smoke, pollution, and infrared radiation are all around us and can cause free radical damage that’s visible on the skin, says Kaufman. She recommends a topical antioxidant, which acts as a protective barrier and helps to prevent environmental damage.

Rule #2: Less Is More
Gina Mari’s biggest pet peeve is asking what skincare items her clients are using, and getting a laundry list of products. The experts agree: Half or more of what is being used is either unnecessary, not meant for that person’s skin type, or is being rendered totally unless by other products that counteract its benefits. According to Kaufman, if you’re not using your products in the correct order, they can’t properly penetrate your skin. Her advice: Tell your derm exactly what you’re using. Take a picture of the products lined up in the order that you use them (both morning and night routines) to show at your appointment.

Rule #3: Use Products with Real Research Behind Them
There are so many beauty products to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start. Consider science to be your North Star. Pernodet’s life’s work is discovering cool new ways to make our skin look insanely gorgeous. Estée Lauder’s team has pinpointed numerous interconnected “pathways” that promote the skin’s natural proteins, lipids, moisturization and plumping, and skin cell turnover. Sounds complicated, but it boils down to a way to create visibly firmer and more lifted-looking skin: Estée Lauder’s new product, Perfectionist Pro Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment Acetyl Hexapeptide-8. When you’re skincare shopping, use your gut. If a claim doesn’t sound like it’s backed by research, science, and bad-ass women like Pernodet, it’s probably not a game-changer.

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Rule #4: Turn Your Bedroom into a Bat Cave
“I have learned how to sleep in full darkness,” says Pernodet. “Lights disrupt your natural circadian rhythm, meaning you don’t get a restful night of sleep.” Plus, the more you sleep, the better you’ll look when you wake up. “Your skin is very busy at night,” says Gina Mari, referring to the process of cell regeneration and repair.

Rule #5: Time Is on Your Favorite Product’s Side
Do you assume that your body gets “used” to products and that they eventually become ineffective? That’s a total myth. “We do the research to make sure your skincare product would always work,” says Pernodet. “For us to discredit this myth, we had to do a one-year study to educate women and show that as you use this product over and over, your skin gets better and better.”

For more top tips and advice from our pros, watch the panel about the future of skincare and the scientific innovations changing the way we think about our complexions.



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