Amazing Tricks for Healthy, Glowing Skin

Beauty is only skin-deep, but the importance of healthy skin goes a lot deeper. Here are easy ways to let your skin shine (in a good way).

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What to eat:

What to eat:
Take 160 milligrams of soy isoflavones per day or pour soy milk over your cereal. Soy consumption may support skin health by supplying high-quality protein needed for building and maintaining collagen, the material essential to connective tissues, says Aaron Tabor, M.D., CEO and medical research director at Revival Soy in Kernersville, North Carolina. Soy isoflavones may also act as antioxidants to protect collagen from damage caused by free radicals, highly reactive molecules that can weaken or destroy cell membranes. Free radicals can also damage DNA, create age spots and wrinkles, and depress the immune system, increasing the risk of skin cancer. Good sources of soy isoflavones include soy milk (20-35 mg soy isoflavones per serving) and tofu (20-30 mg soy isoflavones per serving).

Grill salmon brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with toasted, crushed walnuts. There, you've just gotten a skin-healthy dose of poly- and monounsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, which studies suggest may affect the amount of sun and aging damage your skin experiences. By extension, make sure olive oil is the primary source of fat in your cooking each and every day, and try to have salmon twice a week or more.

Cook with garlic every day. A 1996 Danish study found that skin cells grown in a culture dish and treated with garlic had seven times the life span of cells grown in a standard culture. They also tended to look healthier and more youthful than untreated cells. Plus, garlic extract dramatically inhibited the growth of cancerous skin cells.

What to drink:

What to drink:
Brew a pot of tea, chill, then store in the fridge and drink throughout the day. Tea, as you probably know, is a great source of antioxidants, molecules that fight the free-radical damage caused by sun exposure and cigarette smoking. One Arizona study, for instance, found that the more tea people drank (particularly tea with lemon) the less likely they were to develop squamous cell skin cancer.

Stop with one glass of wine or one alcoholic drink. Overdoing it enlarges the blood vessels near the surface of your facial skin.

What to add to your daily diet:

What to add to your daily diet:
Pop a high-potency multivitamin every day. Many nutrients are vital to healthy skin, including vitamins C, A, and B. The most reliable way to get them all every day is to eat well, as well as take a daily supplement.

Take rose hips every morning to help build collagen. Rich in vitamin C, rose hips (available at drugstores) can help keep skin smooth and youthful. Follow label directions.

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What to do outdoors:

What to do outdoors:
If you're gearing up for a day in the sun, steer clear of scented lotions and perfumes. Scented products can lead to blotchy skin when exposed to the sun, says Galvez.

Go for a run, ride your bike, work out in the garden on a hot day—anything that gets you sweating. Sweating is nature's way of eliminating toxic chemicals that can build up under skin. Plus, regular exercise maintains healthy circulation and blood flow throughout your body, including your skin. If you're exercising outdoors, though, remember to wear a sunscreen on your face that protects against UVA and UVB rays, or a moisturizer with sunscreen protection.

For double protection, apply a cream containing vitamin C to your face over your sunblock. The cream helps prevent facial skin damage, dehydration, and wrinkles, says Galvez. Also try creams containing vitamin E or beta-carotene.

The right way to moisturize:

The right way to moisturize:
Switch moisturizers every time the seasons change. Your skin needs more moisture in the winter than in the summer. So the same day you bring those sweaters down from the attic for the winter, buy a heavier moisturizer. When you trade in the sweaters for shorts, switch to a lighter one.

Select a moisturizer that contains skin-repairing humectants. Is that a new word for you? Humectants attract water when applied to your skin and improve its hydration. Good ones include glycerin, propylene glycol, and urea. Also look for skin products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), compounds that help reduce wrinkles and improve dry skin, acne, and age spots. AHAs, which naturally occur in grapes, apples, citrus, and sour milk (think buttermilk or yogurt), work by speeding up the turnover of old skin cells, making skin look younger.

Here's one for men: Recognize that skin-preserving products like cleansers and moisturizers aren't just for women. Men need skin care just as much as their wives and sisters. To prevent wrinkles and skin cancer, use a moisturizer containing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 daily. Also use a gentle exfoliant weekly and a nighttime moisturizer that contains alpha-hydroxy acids to encourage skin regeneration.

What to buy:

What to buy:
Use a single family of skin-care products. If you buy and use lots of different skin-care products, there's a good chance some contain the same ingredients, thus making them redundant, says Cara DeCenso, an aesthetician at Ajune in Manhattan. And some brands just aren't very compatible with others, though you'd have no way of knowing that until you already paid for and opened them. You'll get much better results if you use products that are designed and formulated to work together, such as Clinique, Mary Kay, Albolene, or Neutrogena. You may have to shell out a little more cash, but experts agree you'll get better results.

Use unscented baby powder to keep areas where skin meets skin—like the inner thighs, underarms, beneath large breasts—clean and dry. This is important to prevent a common skin condition called intertrigo, which occurs when such areas remain moist, fostering the growth of bacteria or fungi.

Keep your beauty products clean and simple, particularly if you have sensitive skin. Stay away from products with color, fragrance, or those that produce bubbles or have "antibacterial" on the label, says Dr. Cambio. These can all irritate skin.

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A model's tip for toner:

A model's tip for toner:
Add a teaspoon of grapeseed oil to your toner. The oil acts as an anti-aging serum by helping your skin cells repair and rejuvenate themselves, suggests Gina Michele Bisignano, a model and beauty expert in Los Angeles.

Tone your skin with a sage, peppermint, and witch hazel combination. Sage helps to control oil, peppermint creates a cool tingle, and witch hazel helps restore the skin's protective layer. Combine 4 ounces of witch hazel with 1 teaspoon each of sage and peppermint leaves and steep for one to three days before applying to your skin.

The healthy way to take a shower:

The healthy way to take a shower:
Skip the long, steamy showers and opt for shorter, cooler sprays. Long, hot showers strip skin of its moisture and wash away protective oils, says Andrea Lynn Cambio, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. So limit showers to 10 minutes and keep the water cool.

Switch from a deodorant soap to one with added fat, like Dove, Oilatum, or Neutrogena. Deodorant soaps can be drying, whereas added-fat soaps leave an oily, yet beneficial, film on your skin.

Use a loofah daily to keep ingrown hairs and scaly skin under control. While in the shower, gently scrub bumpy or scaly skin with a circular motion to remove dead cells. For extra-smooth skin, sprinkle a few drops of an alpha-hydroxy product on the loofah before scrubbing.

6 cures for dry skin:

6 cures for dry skin:
Treat dry, rough, itchy skin with these bath add-ins:

• Half a pound of sea salt and one pound baking soda. Soak until the water is cool to detoxify your skin and soothe the itch.
• Two cups Epsom salt. In addition to soaking in it, while your skin is still wet, rub handfuls of Epsom salt on the rough areas to exfoliate skin.
• A few bags of your favorite tea. The tea provides antioxidants as well as a delicious scent.
• One cup uncooked oatmeal tied into an old stocking or muslin bag. Oats are not only wonderful for your inner health, says Galvez, but provide a healthy glow on the outside as well, leaving a film on your skin that seals in water.
• Equal parts of apple cider vinegar, wheat germ, and sesame oil. Apple cider vinegar is both antibacterial and alkalinizing (meaning it helps maintain the proper acid balance), while sesame oil and wheat germ add moisture.
• One cup powdered milk with one tablespoon grapeseed oil. The lactic acid in the milk will exfoliate your skin, and the grapeseed oil will give your skin a powerful dose of antioxidants.

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How to repair skin while you sleep:

How to repair skin while you sleep:
For soft, young-looking hands and feet, slather on moisturizing cream and then slip on thin-fabric socks and gloves while you sleep.

Run a humidifier every night in the winter to moisturize the air in your bedroom. Not only will it ease itchy, dry skin, you'll be able to breathe the moist air more easily.

Hang room-darkening shades in your bedroom. They help avoid sleep disturbances or insomnia caused by ambient light. Sleep is critical to your skin's health because most cell repair and regeneration occurs while you're getting your z's; if you're not getting enough rest, your skin cannot renew itself.

5 things you should never do:

5 things you should never do:
Avoid these three skin destroyers: Smoking, tanning salons, and sunbathing. Most doctors agree that all three will age your skin prematurely.

Never, ever rub your eyes—apply compresses instead. The skin on your face is extremely delicate, especially under your eyes. So use a very light touch on your face at all times, says Dianne M. Daniels, image consultant and color analyst at Image & Color Services in Norwich, Connecticut. If your eyes itch, apply a cold compress or washcloth to the area, or try a cotton pad moistened with toner or witch hazel.

Keep your hands off your face! Because your hands touch so many surfaces, they are a magnet for dirt and germs. Rub your eyes, stroke your chin, cup your cheek, and you've transferred everything on your hands to your face. As an extension of this, use headphones or a headset when talking on the phone. This, too, keeps hands and germs away from your face.

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