Your Prettiest Skin Ever
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Your Prettiest Skin Ever

What you don't know may be holding you back from a radiant complexion. Here, get the glow down on how you can put your best face forward.

5 Skincare Secrets

Your skin can get bored.

If your once glowing complexion suddenly looks dull even though you're still using the same products, it's no fluke. "Skin can get acclimated to ingredients and become less responsive to them," says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a dermatologist in Boston. She suggests adding a moisturizer with antioxidants, such as lycopene, pomegranate, and vitamin C, to your regimen. "Antioxidants are a great way to rev up your existing skincare regimen," Dr. Hirsch explains. Try vitamin C-laced Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Sun-Damage Daily Moisture Lotion with SPF 28 ($12.99, drugstores).

Your sleeping position can make you look older.

Stomach- and side-sleepers, beware: A good night's snooze will leave you refreshed, rejuvenated -- and potentially wrinkled. "Resting your face on a pillow the same way every night for several years leads to sleep lines, which can become etched on the skin over time," says Howard Sobel, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. If you can't train yourself to sleep on your back (the most face-friendly option), use a satin pillowcase: Its slippery smoothness is less likely to cause creases than cotton is.

Your skin doesn't need to be squeaky clean.

"Women way overwash their faces, which can strip skin of its natural oils and lead to dryness, eczema, and even allergic reactions," says Chrysalyne Schmults, MD, a dermatologist in Boston. In fact, you shouldn't suds up more than once a day, she adds: "If you wear makeup, wash your face in the evening with a mild cleanser and then splash with lukewarm water in the morning." The same goes for your body. If you're sweaty after a p.m. workout, just rinse off quickly. If you tend to break out, the combination of sweat and tight clothing can aggravate acne. Dr. Hirsch suggests using an antibacterial cleanser -- we like Dial Antibacterial Body Wash in Spring Water ($4.29, drugstores) -- on pimple-prone areas after exercising.

A high-protein diet can lead to puffiness.

Noshing on energy bars and protein drinks may help you sail through Spinning class or a cardio session, but it can also result in bags underneath your eyes. "Proteins carry fluids into the body, so if you eat a diet that's high in protein, you may retain water, which can translate to undereye puffiness," according to Dr. Hirsch. The best way to deflate any swelling? "Cucumber slices or cooling packs really do work," Dr. Schmults says. She also recommends propping up your head with a few extra pillows at bedtime to help drain excess water overnight.

Your mani could be upping your skin cancer risk.

If you're diligent about slathering on sunscreen but don't think twice about plopping your hands under the UV nail dryer at the end of a manicure, consider this: Researchers at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston recently found a possible link between these lights and an increased risk for skin cancers on hands. Though experts say the theory needs further study, most agree that you can't be too careful. "The UV rays are the same dangerous ones we try to avoid outside, so skip these drying devices," Dr. Sobel says. Instead, air-dry nails and protect your hands daily with an SPF body lotion. Try Yes to Carrots Hydrating Body Lotion with SPF 30 ($14.99, drugstores).

Skin-Perfecting Primers

For a pretty look that lasts all day, consider applying a primer before your makeup. The newest double-duty versions keep your face flawless while also treating your skin.

CoverGirl & Olay Simply Ageless Serum Primer ($13.99, drugstores) contains glycerin to hydrate dry skin as well as anti-aging peptides to smooth it.

Murad Hybrids Skin Perfecting Primer Dewy Finish ($35, curbs dullness and evens out your tone.

ClearPrep FX Matte Foundation Primer and Anti-Acne Treatment ($39, heals and prevents breakouts with soothing willow-bark extract.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2010.