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7 Secrets to Gorgeous, Healthy Skin

A healthy, radiant complexion can instantly kick up your confidence. These surprising strategies from top dermatologists will get you glowing both inside and out.

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woman with rosy cheeks
Ericka McConnell
Peter Ardito
Peter Ardito
Ericka McConnell
Peter Ardito
Peter Ardito
Peter Ardito
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Get Your Beauty Sleep

Skimp on zzz's and chances are you'll wake up to dull skin. However, not getting eight hours can affect you in many ways. "When you're tired, you're likely to skip workouts and eat junk foods that make skin look lifeless," says Amy Wechsler, MD, a dermatologist and psychiatrist in New York City. If you have trouble nodding off, count backward by threes from 300, suggests Michael Breus, PhD, a sleep psychologist in Scottsdale, Arizona. And take advantage of nighttime for skin pampering. When you snooze, your body can better absorb such healing ingredients as the antioxidants in Aveeno Positively Ageless Night Cream ($17.99, drugstores).

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Smooth Things Out

After you use a scrub, your skin looks rosier and younger and you feel refreshed and happy. That's because brightening up your complexion gives you an emotional lift. "When your skin looks energized, you feel energized," says David E. Bank, MD, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. So how often do you need to slough to get glowing? Aim for once a week, and let your face tell you if that's enough. "If your skin looks lackluster, that's a sign that too many dead cells are piling up at the surface and it's time to use a scrub," Dr. Bank says. When choosing a formula, look for one that has microbeads, such as Clean & Clear Morning Burst Detoxifying Facial Scrub ($6.49, drugstores). Unlike rougher-edged natural grains or crushed nutshells, the beads' rounded shape won't scratch or irritate your skin.

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Feed Your Face

Move over, apples! An orange a day may help keep the doctor -- and your fine lines -- away. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women with a lower intake of vitamin C were more likely to have wrinkles. The reason is that the vitamin is crucial for the production of collagen, your skin's support structure, Dr. Bank says. Dig into a one-cup serving of C-rich foods (oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, red peppers) two to three times a day. And complement your diet morning and night by using a serum that's chock-full of vitamin C, like Grassroots Research Labs Vitamin C Brightening Serum ($32.50, kohls.com). Applied topically, C lightens dark spots and evens out your skin tone. Other important foods to pile on your plate: Wild salmon and walnuts, both of which are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which help lessen any inflammation of the skin, Dr. Wechsler says.

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Make a Move

Ever notice how much your complexion glows post-exercise? That's because working out sends extra oxygen to your skin. But there's a bigger reason: Endorphins, the runner's-high hormones your body produces during cardio sessions, help ward off cell damage head to toe, Dr. Wechsler explains. Plus, she notes that breaking a sweat consistently (about four times a week) decreases your level of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to dryness, acne, and wrinkles. Don't have time to hit the gym? Fake a healthy glow with a hydrating mask; a good one is Avon Anew Rejuvenate Mineral Facial Treatment ($25, avon.com for info).

Find a cardio workout for you

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Time It Right

If you're religiously slathering on cream but not seeing results, consider this: "Patience pays off," says Mary P. Lupo, MD, a dermatologist in New Orleans. She recommends sticking with any treatment program, whether it's a zit zapper for acne -- we like Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment ($9.99, burtsbees.com) -- or a serum to target rosacea or wrinkles, for about three months. "Your skin needs roughly 90 days to rewire itself in terms of oil control, collagen renewal, and pigmentation balance," Dr. Lupo says. While you're waiting, use a high-coverage cream concealer to mask any complexion conundrums.

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Kick Some Butts

In addition to increasing your risk of lung cancer, smoking can lead to skin cancer, plus suck the life out of your complexion. "Inhaling tobacco constricts the blood vessels that deliver oxygen to the skin," explains Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD, a dermatologist in Miami. The habit also destroys proteins in skin that make it supple. In fact, a study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery showed that the longer a woman smokes, the older she looks. Nix the cigs and restore radiance with a mask with hyaluronic acid, like Olay Professional Pro-X Intensive Firming Treatment ($62 for five treatments, drugstores).

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Go Undercover

Sun exposure is the number-one cause of skin cancer and premature skin aging. Yet a poll by Neutrogena shows that only 27 percent of adults apply enough sunscreen to reach the SPF level of protection listed on the bottle. "You need a full teaspoon for the face and neck," says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a dermatologist in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And it's crucial to make using SPF as regular as brushing your teeth, says Dr. Hirsch, who estimates that 85 percent of UV exposure comes from daily activities like driving to work and running outside. Enjoy rays the healthy way: Layer on a lotion with an SPF of at least 30, such as Biore Dual Fusion Moisturizer + SPF 30 ($15, cvs.com).

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2010.

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daisy2986 wrote:

yeah it was soo cute!! also do you know where you can find her red hat?

3/5/2010 02:08:50 AM Report Abuse
Kristen_EDITOR wrote:

@meyerines: Such a cute sweater! It's a brand called Nobis, from their Fall '09 collection: http://www.nobis.ca/nobis/f09/ (click on "Product Gallery")

3/2/2010 12:18:53 PM Report Abuse
meyerines wrote:

In the March issue this article has a model wearing a white sweater (page 50 & 52). I cannot find the brand anywhere and I love this sweater! Can you please let me know? Hope so

2/26/2010 07:47:24 AM Report Abuse

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