We all know a warm shower strips skin of oils. Face creams and body lotions are excellent substitutes, as long as you apply them correctly. But how tedious. One easy fix: Keep body lotion right in the shower. Seeing it will remind you to apply it when your skin is damp, within ten minutes of turning off the water. If you wait, skin starts losing water vapor. 

Doctors have long advised wearing sunscreen daily (at least SPF 30) and reapplying it often. The challenge is finding a cream that offers enough protection and doesn't feel like a lead blanket. Look for "nongreasy" or "sheer" on the label.

You've known since middle school that makeup can mix with skin oils and dirt to cause zits. Cosmetics can also trap skin-damaging free radicals that float in the air (think: bus exhaust) against your skin. But you've had a long day, and the bathroom sink is 20 feet away....

• Avoid the situation entirely by washing your face as soon as you get home. At the very least, remove your mascara.

Don't let your skin take a hit just because you've discovered an amazing new workout. A lot of women are switching from big gyms to studios that focus on Spinning, boot camps, yoga, or Pilates, and often they don't have showers. As a result, most people aren't washing right away—and have the acne (and bacne) to show for it. It's advised to wear moisture-wicking clothes (Nike and Lululemon make them) and to pack salicylic acid Stridex pads in their gym bag. Swipe the face, back, and chest after class, and change into a clean, dry T-shirt. Back home, hop into the shower as soon as possible.

Having a dermatologist survey your body once a year is crucial, even if you're diligent about monthly self-exams. They look in more nooks and crannies than you ever will. For convenience, group your annual appointments (physical, mammogram, dermatologist) at a time of (relative) quiet—after the holidays, or when the kids go back to school. Before you leave the doctor's office, make an appointment for next year, put a reminder in your phone, and ask the receptionist to follow up.

A baby's skin replenishes itself completely every 14 days, but by age 30, an adult takes a full 28 days to replenish. With all that extra time, skin cells have a chance to dry out and lose luster—unless you jump-start the renewal process by exfoliating. Use a gentle face scrub, once or twice a week, and a chemical exfoliant which dissolves the glue that holds dead skin cells in place—on two other days of the week. After using a pad for your face, don't let it go to waste: Massage it on your arms.

For starters, stop treating your nails like tools. Tearing open boxes leads to chips and peeling.

• Keep SPF hand cream throughout your house. Like the face, hands are exposed and need coverage. Even with UV-protective auto glass, damaging rays penetrate, and they will age your hands.

Unless you won the school science fair, you probably don't realize what can happen when good brushes go bad: Makeup and skin oils build up, creating a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause irritation. In an ideal world, you would clean your brushes once a week, but most of us don't. Instead, wash your tools monthly with a liquid hand soap or baby shampoo and lukewarm water (hot water can cause bristles to fall out), then rinse well, squeeze out the excess water, reshape, and allow the brushes to dry thoroughly by balancing them over the sink.

Yes, it's tempting to squeeze a pimple, but just the act of touching your face with your fingers brings pore-clogging oil and dirt to the skin. How not to pop? Get rid of magnifying mirrors, put "Don't touch" Post-it notes around the house, and grab a squeeze toy to keep your hands busy, especially if certain times of day (morning drive?) trigger the urge. When you do give in, applying over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream right away can help calm inflammation and prevent long-lasting marks.

Waiting for a new skin treatment to show results can be a test of patience. A good anti-aging cream can take six weeks, so don't give up. That goes for skin lighteners and acne products, too. But if nothing has changed by week six, the product will never work for you. Time to move on.