As we get older, keeping our skin healthy can feel like a losing battle. The damage that we sustain over the years starts to become more apparent. We might notice more sagging, creasing, and wrinkles. The decrease in elastin and collagen creates hollows and shadows that make imperfections even more pronounced. It can be frustrating, especially when we’re constantly exposed to influencers proclaiming that there are “miracle cures” and fad treatments that can give you a flawless complexion. 

In reality, no one’s skin is perfect. Even if your skin is healthy, you might still contend with scarring, pigmentation, and other concerns that leave you wondering whether you’re doing enough to keep your body’s largest organ in tip-top shape. Your dermatologist can help you reverse signs of aging with an array of expert solutions, but if your skin’s unhealthy, no amount of cosmetic rejuvenation will give you the youthful radiance you’re looking for. 

Here are some signs that your skincare routine is working and that you already have happy, healthy skin:

Consistent Tone

While it’s not uncommon to have “bad skin days,” healthy skin typically has a consistent, even tone. A sudden shift in complexion can have any number of culprits, some more serious than others. Blotchiness is a sign that your skin is irritated, possibly from exposure to an allergen or wearing a mask. This is especially common if you’ve recently added a new cosmetic or product to your lineup, but the ingredients don’t agree with your skin. Photodamage caused by harmful UV radiation can create dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Be sure that you’re applying enough sunscreen and that it’s an appropriate level of SPF. Redness may be temporary irritation or a symptom of something more serious, like rosacea. The right products and treatment options can address many of these concerns.

Smooth Texture

Healthy skin will feel smooth and supple, with tight pores and few, if any, blemishes. But that doesn’t mean that your skin has to be perfect to be healthy. Everyone has a soft layer of protective hair on their faces. These hairs grow from hair follicles which naturally cause hills and valleys between the pores. Dermaplaning can help get rid of the hair, but perfectly untextured skin just isn’t a reality.

Additionally, many people live with acne scarring, genetic predispositions for enlarged pores, or other inconsistencies in the texture of their skin. As long as you’re not experiencing new damage, major breakouts, or frequent flaking, your skin is probably just fine. Regular exfoliation can help solve many of the common causes of uneven skin texture. To help heal past damage, ask about skin rejuvenation procedures like microdermabrasion and chemical peels. 

Plumpness and Elasticity

Plump, elastic skin is a sign that you are well-hydrated from the inside out. Hydrated skin is better able to protect itself from environmental pollutants, sun damage, and bacteria that can cause breakouts. On the other hand, dehydrated skin is prone to dullness, flaking, and showing far more signs of age. Our skin cells need water to maintain their shape, which gives our skin the dewy glow that signifies good health. When they don’t get the moisture they need, our skin doesn’t reflect light the way that healthy skin does, causing hollowness and shadows that can make us look much older. Be sure that you’re drinking enough water and using products with humectants that maintain the moisture barrier, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. 

It Just Feels Good

Perhaps your best indicator that your skin is healthy is the way that it feels… Or better yet, it doesn’t feel. Whether you’re wearing products or completely barefaced, a cared-for complexion shouldn’t feel like anything at all. On the other hand, unusual sensations like itching, stretching, or burning are signs that your skin is unhappy. In most cases, it’s as simple as swapping out your cleanser for something more appropriate to your particular skin type. Using cleansers that are too harsh can strip your skin of moisture, causing discomfort. If the pain persists, though, you should chat with your dermatologist about possible causes and treatment options.