Secrets to Perfect Skin
Perfect Skin Secrets Revealed!Skin Concern: Sunspots
"I run outside year-round and didn't use sunscreen when I was younger. I do now, but still, I have sunspots."
-- Robin Barton, 44
Why It Happens
When UV light hits skin, it triggers an increase in melanin, the skin's pigment molecules that help shield cells from damage. Eventually, after repeated sun exposure, melanin goes into overdrive, creating discoloration.
Take cover: Apply antioxidants at night to give them time to penetrate. "They act like sponges and neutralize free radicals," says Neal Schultz, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and the founder of BeautyRx skin care. In the morning, use sunscreen, the number one anti-ager, with broad-spectrum coverage, which protects against UVA and UVB rays. Opt for one that has physical blockers such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, because it's less likely to slip off skin as you sweat. Try SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 ($32, skinceuticals.com).
Get buff: Remove dead skin cells daily with an exfoliating treatment morning and night. One with lactic acid and a natural fruit enzyme like pineapple tends to be the gentlest, and it won't interfere with another anti-ager. Try Colbert MD Intensify Facial Discs ($58 for 20, colbertmd.com).
Erase dark spots: When you have distinct blotches, you've got to pull out the big guns: concentrated erasers such as vitamin C, niacinamide, kombucha extract, or SepiWhite, a patented brightening blend. Try Olay Professional Pro-X Even Skin Tone Tone-Correcting Protocol, which includes a cream, a sunscreen, and a spot treatment ($45, drugstores).
Protect from the inside out: Pack your diet with brightly colored water-rich fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, tomatoes, and broccoli. They're full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, which help your skin heal.Skin Concern: Acne from Workouts
Why It Happens
The culprit behind all breakouts: clogged pores. "When sweat becomes trapped on skin -- under tight-fitting workout clothes, for instance -- it creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria," explains Howard Murad, MD, a dermatologist in El Segundo, California, and the founder of Murad skin care.
Unplug: Chemical exfoliators are your pores' BFFs. Salicylic, glycolic, and alpha-hydroxy acids dissolve dead skin cells and sweat. Apply a thin layer of a gel laced with them before you reapply your makeup. If you work out at night, put the gel on before bed to make sure skin is bacteria-free while you sleep, Dr. Murad says. Opt for Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel, ($48, peterthomasroth.com).
Bring sexy back: Ever notice how the pimples that pop up on your chest and back are way bigger than those on your cheeks? "These areas have larger oil glands than the face has, plus they're usually covered by clothing, which can push sweat and oil deeper into pores," Dr. Murad notes. Towel off frequently during your workout to keep skin clean. When you shower afterward, saturate a loofah with an exfoliating cleanser (look for the same pore-clearing acids mentioned above) or an antibacterial formula with benzoyl peroxide. Squeeze the suds over your shoulders and let them drip down your back. We like BeautyRx High Potency Active Cleanser ($35, beautyrx.com). If you aren't rinsing ASAP, strip off your sweaty clothes and wipe down with a towelette; use one that has an antibacterial ingredient -- witch hazel, for instance -- such as Murad Clarifying Wipes ($18, murad.com ). Or spritz a cotton pad with an antiseptic spray, such as Control Corrective Skin Care Systems ExfoTonic ($24, controlcorrective.com), and use it to cleanse your chest and back. Buh-bye, breakouts.
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