Why Gabrielle Union Opts Out of Air Conditioning

12/10/2012 at 09:00 AM ET

Gabrielle UnionDave Kotinsky/Getty

Living in Miami is a lot of fun — but it’s not necessarily agreeing with Gabrielle Union’s skin.

“The humidity in Miami is amazing for hair, skin, nails,” she tells PEOPLE. “But it’s back and forth from humidity into air conditioning and extreme cold, and that recycled air can dry you out so fast,” she explains. “So I try to stay out of air conditioning as much as possible.”

However, that can be tricky when she’s spending time with basketballer beau Dwyane Wade. “His body runs hot and he likes to keep the air on arctic in our house,” she jokes.

To combat that dryness, Union, who admits she battled adult-onset acne in her 30s, has found an easy skincare routine that centers on Neutrogena products (she’s a spokeswoman for the brand). “I love the grapefruit cleanser,” she says. “I’m not a morning person, but you can’t start off the day in a pissy mood when you smell like grapefruit.” The brand’s mild toners and Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer are in her arsenal, too, along with those ever-present celebrity staples, sleep and water.

However, the actress also says the care she gave her skin in her younger years made aging that much easier. “I think if more people started thinking about skincare and making little lifestyle tweaks earlier, they wouldn’t have to go nutso by the time they’re in their 30s or 40s, trying to experiment with like lamb placenta or whatever is $100 a jar,” she says.

But Union was extra lucky: her sensible mom helped, too. “My mom was about having a healthy lifestyle, but I think she tied that into guides for good living,” she shares. “She’d tell me not to go to sleep with makeup on my face, not so much because of skincare, but because the next morning it would be a telltale sign you’d been partying all night.” Another tip? “My mom preached water, because it was more economical than soda or juice,” she explains. “Honestly, it was all about practicality.”

It’s paid off, though. And thankfully so. “As an actress, I can’t have a week of bad skin,” Union says. “I can’t afford a day of it, actually.” Tell us: How do you keep your skin clear? 

–Kate Hogan

PHOTOS: SHOP THE 12 SKIN PRODUCTS OUR STAFF CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT

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