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Amp Up the Antioxidants and Healthy Oils

Antioxidants are important to great skin because they slow down and may prevent the harm done to your body by free radicals. Free radical damage is one factor behind signs of aging such as wrinkles and dry skin.

Some powerhouse antioxidants that can help skin stay healthy include vitamins C and E, selenium, and coenzyme Q10, also called CoQ10.

You can find antioxidants in all kinds of good foods, including tangerines, sweet potatoes, papayas, peppers, citrus fruits, cherries, spinach, olives, and grapes as well as in light canned tuna in oil, cooked beef, whole wheat pasta, green tea, and sardines.

Be sure to get essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s in your diet to replenish your skin's natural protective oils. Olive and canola oils, salmon, mackerel, walnuts, and flax are all good choices. These essential fatty acids encourage smoother skin and may help clear blemishes.

When looking for antioxidants in skin care creams, reach for products with green tea, caffeine, and grape seed extract, Baumann, author of The Skin Type Solution, says. The AAD suggests adding antioxidant-enriched sunscreens to your arsenal too, because antioxidants also have sun-protection properties.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

To decrease the look of fine lines and wrinkles, you want to moisturize skin well.

Jacob gives a thumbs up to moisturizers with glycolic acid, but you don't need to get too stuck on specific types of moisturizers. Many products help trap in moisture and keep skin supple. Petroleum jelly, mineral oil, aloe vera, and glycerin can do the job.

For best results, apply your preferred lotion, cream, or ointment two or three minutes after bathing. First pat skin dry with a towel (don't rub), then smooth on your moisturizer.

A word of caution: Moisturizers often contain chemicals meant to help your skin hold water, such as urea, alpha-hydroxy acids, lactic acid, or ammonium lactate, the AAD says. Some of these can cause irritation. Talk to a dermatologist before buying creams with these chemicals if you already have troubled skin.

Get Smart About How You Clean Your Skin

The bad news: Long, hot showers should be a thing of the past if you're eager to discourage dry skin.

The good news: Shorter, warm showers don't strip your skin of its natural oil barrier like piping hot showers do. Your body can retain more of the moisture your skin needs to look smooth and fresh.

Wash with non-scented, soap-free cleansers to maintain your skin’s vital oil barrier. Lather only the spots that really need cleansing, such as the armpits, groin, face, and back. A simple water-wash is all you usually need for the rest of your body.

Finally, be careful with exfoliants, which can irritate dry skin, Badreshia-Bansal says. Though they can help remove dead skin cells, exfoliants should be used sparingly if your skin is dry and during winter months. Jacob recommends exfoliators with built-in moisturizers.

Foods for Healthy, Supple Skin

Discover the nutrients that help keep skin soft and supple all year.
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