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Younger, Clearer, Fresher Skin: 10 Insider Secrets

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Clearer Skin: Tips 5-7

5. Try complexion perfection combination therapy.

The newest prescription drug, Ziana, combines an exfoliating Retin-A derivative with the topical antibiotic clindamycin. The two ingredients work synergistically to deliver the most powerful skin-clearing treatment, says David E. Bank, MD, director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York. This double-whammy way of thinking has trickled down to drugstore products, too. Acne treatments like L'Oreal's AcneResponse Adult Acne Peel ($25, at drugstores) rely on "salicylic acid for its antibacterial effect and glycolic acid for its exfoliating effect," says Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas. "Peels don't work as well when you use only one type of acid."

6. Heal cystic acne.

Although sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid can work wonders on superficial acne, big, red bumps buried deep in the skin are immune to their powers. "A warm compress is the best solution for underground pimples," says Dr. Bank. "This stimulates blood flow, which will either bring the zit to a head, allowing it to open, or speed the body's ability to heal it and reabsorb it."

7. Take skin supplements.

"I like to call beta-carotene the everyman's Accutane, since both are high in vitamin A, a super exfoliator and antioxidant that turns skin cells over rapidly," says Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas. She often prescribes 6-milligram supplements of beta-carotene to her patients who either have mild acne or who have opted out of Accutane. (Accutane isn't prescribed for women who are planning to get pregnant, or who are pregnant, because it can cause birth defects.)

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