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See How Your Life Affects Your Skin

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A young woman applying lotion to her face

How to Keep Your Skin Beautiful

Your skin protects your body, but that's not all. It's the face you present to the world. When healthy, it's a source of beauty. The choices you make every day -- what you eat, where you go, how you feel -- affect how your skin looks. Use this visual guide to keep your skin youthful, healthy, and wrinkle-free.

 

Young woman eating strand of spaghetti

You've Got Food on Your Face

Want good skin? Watch your diet. Higher intakes of vitamin C and a lower intake of fats and carbohydrates are associated with better appearance as your skin ages. Changing your diet will help your looks. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as fish, fruits, and vegetables, seem to help Read More

Close-up of a young woman eating an orange

Eat Your Vitamins

Your anti-aging cream may contain vitamin C or E. Put these antioxidants to work from the inside, too. Eating foods rich in these vitamins, plus the mineral selenium, can help protect your skin against sun damage. They may even help reverse signs of aging, like wrinkles and skin Read More

Woman taking a break while jogging

Run Away From Aging Skin

Exercise benefits every part of your body -- including your largest organ, the skin. Working out improves circulation, helping nourish the skin. Better blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients and may help your skin produce collagen, which staves off wrinkles. Don't fret about Read More

Woman sleeping

Get Your Beauty Rest

Burn the candle at both ends for a few nights, and you may see it reflected in your face: Dark circles under the eyes, pale skin, and puffy eyes. Getting 7-8 hours a night will keep your body and skin in top shape. It matters how you sleep, too -- rest your face on the pillow in the same position Read More

Pregnant woman bathing

How Pregnancy Changes Your Skin

Stretch marks -- 90% of pregnant women get them. They may fade after delivery. Moisturizers can slightly improve the appearance of stretch marks. Prescription vitamin A creams or laser therapy can help, too. Acne is another common skin problem, caused by the extra hormones in your Read More

Melasma (pregnancy mask) on cheek

Avoiding Melasma

Some women develop dark patches -- melasma -- on their faces when they're pregnant or taking birth control pills. An increase in melanin, the substance that gives skin its color, is responsible for these dark patches. Melasma usually fades after delivery or when you stop taking the Read More

woman with shadows across her face

Keep Harmful Rays Off Skin

Whether or not you were a sun worshipper, chances are your skin has sun damage. About 90% of all skin damage is due to the sun. As your time in the sun goes up, so does your risk of skin cancer. Protect skin by always wearing broad-spectrum sunblock. Look for products that contain zinc oxide, Read More

Mature woman smiling, studio shot

How to Care for Aging Skin

As you age, your skin changes. Your body doesn't produce as much collagen, and the elastin that allows skin to spring back into place gets weaker. You also don't create or lose skin cells as fast. To boost aging skin, exfoliate to remove dead skin, use a nondrying soap, and moisturize Read More

young woman holding a mug

Should You Drink Coffee or Wear It?

Caffeine in coffee and tea is dehydrating, so it may cause your skin to dry out. But a study found that when applied topically to skin, caffeine may help reverse sun damage and lower risk of some skin cancers -- in mice, at least. Researchers are now trying to see if topical caffeine Read More

young woman holding full glass of red wine

Cut Yourself Off

Too much alcohol is bad for your skin as well as your body. Alcohol is a diuretic; it causes the body to lose water. That can contribute to dry skin. It also dilates blood vessels. That's why drinkers often have red, flushed faces. Over time, these blood vessels can become permanently Read More

Woman Smoking

Quit, Already!

Simply put, smoking is bad for your skin: It's second only to the sun in causing premature wrinkles and dry skin. In fact, under a microscope you can see wrinkles in smokers as young as 20. Smoking reduces blood flow to the skin and contributes to the breakdown of collagen. Less collagen Read More

Young woman removing makeup with a cotton pad

Wash the Day Away

Every day, your skin comes in contact with pollution -- cigarette smoke, car exhaust, or smoggy air. Keep skin healthy by keeping it clean. Depending on the needs of your skin, you can cleanse your face with a gentle soap or wash, or exfoliate nightly with gentle scrubs and toners to remove dead skin cells, and then apply a retinoid cream and moisturizer. (Oily skin still needs moisturizer; look for oil-free products.)  

Hands pumping lotion dispenser

Inside and Out in Winter

Cold weather and wind bring on dry, flaky skin and can make eczema and rosacea worse. It's not just the weather outside -- dry heat indoors is harsh on skin, too. Fight back by using a humidifier at home, drinking lots of water, and applying moisturizer throughout the day. Remember the sunscreen when you go out. 

Woman Applying Suntan Lotion to Her Face

Skin Care in Summer

Want a tan? Get a safe one: use a bronzer or sunless self-tanner. (But most don't contain sunscreen, so they don't offer any protection from the sun.) Remember to use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen on all exposed skin and to reapply every two hours or more frequently if Read More

Woman sandwiched between passengers on plane

Tips for Skin Care in the Air

It doesn't take long on a plane for skin to start feeling dry and tight, thanks to low humidity in the recirculated air. Have a travel plan for your skin that includes drinking water -- not coffee or alcohol -- and moisturizing before, during, and after your flight. Don't wear makeup on the Read More

Woman applying lipstick in lit mirror

Get Ready for Your Close-up

Hollywood lives by it: Changing the lighting can change the way you look. Fluorescent lighting can make skin tone appear more red or yellow, while incandescent lighting softens colors and imperfections. Use mirrors with varied lighting to view your skin and makeup under different conditions. That way you won't look overdone or sallow as lighting changes. Go more dramatic at night, when lighting is lower.

 

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on April 11, 2014

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