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The Ultimate Skin Care Guide

11 Steps to Better Skin

Experts share tips and recommend facial products to improve your complexion.

By Stacy Colino
Headshot of model with eyes closed Plamen Petkov

4. Improve Your Air Quality

Avoiding smoky environments is smart, since “just being around smoke can lead to the release of free radicals that damage skin and hasten aging,” says Diane S. Berson, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, in New York City. Other indoor pollutants can adversely affect skin, too. Change the air filter in your furnace regularly, and if you cook with oil, use the fan over your range. Also keep in mind that dry indoor air can dehydrate skin and make fine lines more noticeable. Run a humidifier in your bedroom to minimize these problems.

 

5. Switch to Plain Toothpaste

Those with tartar-control ingredients or added flavors, like cinnamon, may contribute to a common skin condition called perioral dermatitis. It looks like pimples, redness, and scaling around the mouth, says Donofrio. Use a basic paste instead, like Crest Cavity Protection Toothpaste ($4 at drugstores). Note: If you suffer from this problem, see a dermatologist for antibiotics to clear it up.

 

6. Watch Sun Exposure Indoors

Yes, you read it right: UV rays (in particular UVA rays) can penetrate the windows in your home and office and cause wrinkling and brown spots. The same goes for car windows: Studies have found higher rates of skin cancers on the left side of the face and upper body than on the right, since that side is more exposed when you’re driving. Cancers aside, “many people have more wrinkles and sun damage on the left side of their faces, too,” notes Donofrio. Make protection a no-brainer by always wearing a moisturizer with SPF. Try La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizing Cream With Mexoryl ($34, drugstore.com).

 

7. Monitor Your Dairy Intake (If You Have Acne)

Research from the Harvard School of Public Health found that teenage girls who consume a lot of milk are almost 30 percent more likely to have acne than those who drink less, and experts believe the same holds true for adult women prone to serious breakouts. Surprisingly, skim milk seems to be a worse offender than whole milk. Scientists don’t understand exactly why milk products can lead to acne, but some surmise that the natural hormones present in dairy may be to blame, says Leslie Baumann, a dermatologist in Miami Beach, Florida, who notes that even organic milk can cause breakouts. Cottage cheese, instant breakfast drinks, and sherbet are also linked to acne. While cutting back on dairy won’t solve a pimple problem single-handedly, it may make a difference for those who suffer severe breakouts, say experts. (If you go this route, be sure you’re getting enough calcium from other food sources, such as leafy greens, or consider taking a supplement.)

 
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