27 Tricks for Naturally Glowing Skin (No Makeup or Expensive Products Required!)
Beauty is only skin-deep, but the importance of healthy skin goes a lot deeper. Here are easy ways to let your skin shine (in a good way).
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Know what to eat
Take 160 milligrams of soy isoflavones per day or pour soy milk over your cereal. Soy consumption may keep glowing skin healthy by supplying high-quality protein needed for building and maintaining collagen, the material essential to connective tissues, says Aaron Tabor, MD, CEO and medical research director at Revival Soy in Kernersville, North Carolina. Soy isoflavones may also act as antioxidants to protect collagen from damage caused by free radicals, highly reactive molecules that can weaken or destroy cell membranes. Free radicals can also damage DNA, create age spots and wrinkles, and depress the immune system, increasing the risk of skin cancer. Good sources of soy isoflavones include soy milk (20-35 mg soy isoflavones per serving) and tofu (20-30 mg soy isoflavones per serving). Don't miss these other foods that fight wrinkles.
Grill salmon brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with toasted, crushed walnuts
There, you've just gotten a skin-healthy dose of poly- and monounsaturated fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, which studies suggest may affect the amount of sun and aging damage your skin experiences. Without them, you'll also show the signs you aren't eating enough healthy fats, such as dry skin. By extension, make sure olive oil is the primary source of fat in your cooking each and every day, and try to have salmon twice a week or more to support glowing skin.
Cook with garlic every day
Because garlic contains antibacterial properties, it may help clear up P. acnes, or the acne-causing bacteria that lurks on your skin. Avoid rubbing the garlic directly onto your acne, as Jeremy A. Brauer, MD, a New York-based dermatologist, warns that it may result in an irritant or allergic contact dermatitis.
Give cheers for glowing skin
Brew a pot of tea, chill, then store in the fridge and drink throughout the day. Tea, as you probably know, is a great source of antioxidants, molecules that fight the free-radical damage caused by sun exposure and cigarette smoking, which ruins glowing skin. One study published in the journal Photodermatology, Photoimmunology and Photomedicine found that the polyphenols in tea were helpful in preventing UVB-induced skin cancer.
Stop with one glass of wine or one alcoholic drink
Alcohol, including wine, can act as a vasodilator, meaning it dilates blood vessels, explains Dr. Brauer. "This may be most noticeable in facial skin, resulting in a flushed or ruddy appearance," he says. "Rosacea, however, while not caused by alcohol, can certainly be made worse or flare due to alcohol intake."
Learn the worst skincare advice dermatologists have ever heard.
Pop a high-potency multivitamin every day (with your doctor's okay). Many nutrients are vital to glowing skin, including vitamins C, A, and B. The most reliable way to get them all every day is to eat well, as well as take a daily supplement. Here are 6 vitamin myths you should stop believing.
Take rose hips every morning to help build collagen
Rich in vitamin C, rose hips (available at drugstores) can help keep skin smooth, youthful, and glowing. "Rose hip contains the seed of the rose plant, and fresh rose hip is a good source of vitamin C," says Dr. Brauer. "Vitamin C is routinely used in topical products for its antioxidant benefits, as well as improvement in skin tone and texture."
Follow label directions. Here are some detoxifying ingredients you need to add to your skincare routine.
Prepare for the outdoors
If you're gearing up for a day in the sun, steer clear of scented lotions and perfumes. Scented products can lead to blotchy skin when exposed to the sun. "We regularly suggest that patients who are prone to the development of allergies and atopic dermatitis avoid fragrances/opt for fragrance-free detergents, soaps, lotions, etc.," says Dr. Brauer. "Specifically, citrus-based products can result in a condition known as phytophotodermatitis (more commonly seen after being sprayed by lemon or lime juice while out in the sun)."
Go for a run, ride your bike, or work out in the garden on a hot day
Anything that gets you sweating is good news for your skin. Sweating is nature's way of eliminating toxic chemicals that can build up under the skin. Plus, regular exercise maintains healthy circulation and blood flow throughout your body, including your skin. If you're exercising outdoors, though, remember to wear a sunscreen on your face that protects against UVA and UVB rays or a moisturizer with sunscreen protection. Make sure you know about these sneaky places you can get skin cancer that aren't your skin.
Apply a cream containing vitamin C to your face over your sunblock
This will provide double protection. The cream helps prevent facial skin damage, dehydration, and wrinkles. Also, try creams containing vitamin E or beta-carotene. Learn more ways dermatologists change up their beauty routines in the summer.
Switch moisturizers every time the seasons change. Your skin needs more moisture in the winter than in the summer. So the same day you bring those sweaters down from the attic for the winter, buy a heavier moisturizer. When you trade in the sweaters for shorts, switch to a lighter one.
Select a moisturizer that contains skin-repairing humectants
Is that a new word for you? Humectants attract water when applied to your skin and improve its hydration. Good ones include glycerin, propylene glycol, and urea. Also look for skin products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), compounds that help reduce wrinkles and improve dry skin, acne, and age spots. AHAs, which naturally occur in grapes, apples, citrus, and sour milk (think buttermilk or yogurt), work by speeding up the turnover of old skin cells, making skin look younger. Check out these tips for looking younger, straight from dermatologists.
Men, recognize that skin-preserving products aren't just for women
Men need skin care just as much as their wives and sisters, so they should be using cleansers and moisturizers too. To prevent wrinkles and skin cancer, use a moisturizer containing a sunscreen with an SPF 50 that protects against UVA and UVB rays daily. Also, use a gentle exfoliant weekly and a nighttime moisturizer that contains alpha-hydroxy acids to encourage skin regeneration. Learn more about what moisturizer ingredients really do.
Buy the right products
Use a single family of skin-care products. If you buy and use lots of different skin-care products, there's a good chance some contain the same ingredients, thus making them redundant, says Cara DeCenso, an aesthetician at Ajune in Manhattan. And some brands just aren't very compatible with others, though you'd have no way of knowing that until you already paid for and opened them. You're more likely to achieve glowing skin if you use products that are designed and formulated to work together, such as Clinique, Mary Kay, Albolene, or Neutrogena. You may have to shell out a little more cash, but experts agree you'll get better results.
Keep your beauty products clean and simple...
...particularly if you have sensitive skin. Stay away from products with color, fragrance, or those that produce bubbles or have "antibacterial" on the label, says Andrea Lynn Cambio, MD, a Florida dermatologist. These can all irritate your skin. Steal more of dermatologists' best skin-care tips.
Use toner tricks
Add a teaspoon of grapeseed oil to your toner. The oil is a source of antioxidants (vitamin C, E) and omega-3 fatty acids, explains Dr. Brauer. "While there is not much research or data on the benefits of grapeseed oil itself, we know the benefits of these vitamins and fatty acids in maintaining skin health."
Tone your skin with a sage, peppermint, and witch hazel combination
Sage helps to control oil, peppermint creates a cool tingle, and witch hazel helps restore the skin's protective layer. Combine 4 ounces of witch hazel with 1 teaspoon each of sage and peppermint leaves and steep for one to three days before applying to your skin. Add it to this morning routine that leaves your skin glowing.
Shower the healthy way
Skip the long, steamy showers and opt for shorter, cooler sprays. Long, hot showers strip skin of its moisture and wash away protective oils, says Dr. Cambio. So limit showers to ten minutes and keep the water cool. Here are some smart things to do in the shower besides wash yourself.
Switch from a deodorant soap to one with added fat
Some good choices are Dove, Oilatum, or Neutrogena. Deodorant soaps can be drying, whereas added-fat soaps leave an oily, yet beneficial, film on your skin. Learn some more unusual things that can give you healthy, glowing skin.
Use a loofah daily to keep ingrown hairs and scaly skin under control
While in the shower, gently scrub bumpy or scaly skin with a circular motion to remove dead cells. For extra-smooth skin, sprinkle a few drops of an alpha-hydroxy product on the loofah before scrubbing. Are you showering wrong in the winter?
Upgrade your bath
Treat dry, rough, itchy skin with these bath add-ins:
• Half a pound of sea salt and one pound baking soda. Soak until the water is cool to detoxify your skin and soothe the itch.
• Two cups Epsom salt. In addition to soaking in it, while your skin is still wet, rub handfuls of Epsom salt on the rough areas to exfoliate skin.
• A few bags of your favorite tea. The tea provides antioxidants as well as a delicious scent.
• One cup uncooked oatmeal tied into an old stocking or muslin bag. Oats are not only wonderful for your inner health, but provide a healthy glow on the outside as well, leaving a film on your skin that seals in water.
• Equal parts of apple cider vinegar, wheat germ, and sesame oil. Apple cider vinegar is both antibacterial and alkalinizing (meaning it helps maintain the proper acid balance), while sesame oil and wheat germ add moisture.
• One cup powdered milk with one tablespoon grapeseed oil. The lactic acid in the milk will exfoliate your skin, and the grapeseed oil will give your skin a powerful dose of antioxidants.
Repair skin while you sleep
For soft, young-looking hands and feet, slather on moisturizing cream and then slip on thin fabric socks and gloves while you sleep. Don't miss these other nighttime habits of people with great skin.
Run a humidifier every night in the winter
"A humidifier will provide additional moisture to the indoor air, especially in winter months when heating systems are running, resulting in hot dry air inside in addition to the cold dry air outside," says Dr. Brauer. Providing this moisture will not only ease itchy, dry skin, but you'll be able to breathe the moist air more easily.
Hang room-darkening shades in your bedroom
They help avoid sleep disturbances or insomnia caused by ambient light. Sleep is critical to your skin's health because most cell repair and regeneration occurs while you're getting your Z's; if you're not getting enough rest, your skin cannot renew itself.
Know what to avoid
Avoid these three skin destroyers: Smoking, tanning salons, and sunbathing. Most doctors agree that all three will age your skin prematurely. Instead of tanning, use these tricks to get a glow without the sun.
Never, ever rub your eyes
"Repetitive rubbing can cause irritation or inflammation that results in post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or dark patches around your eyes," says Dr. Brauer. "The skin may also become thickened, or lichenified, with increased skin markings." Apply compresses instead. The skin on your face is extremely delicate, especially under your eyes. If your eyes itch, apply a cold compress or washcloth to the area, or try a cotton pad moistened with toner or witch hazel.
Keep your hands off your face
Because your hands touch so many surfaces, they are a magnet for dirt and germs. Rub your eyes, stroke your chin, cup your cheek, and you've transferred everything on your hands to your face—bad news if you want glowing skin. Use headphones or a headset when talking on the phone to keep hands and germs away from your face, too. Next, learn the surprising secrets your skin would tell you if it could.
- Aaron Tabor, MD, CEO and medical research director at Revival Soy in Kernersville, North Carolina.
- Jeremy Brauer, MD, a New York City dermatologist.
- Photodermatology, Photoimmunology and Photomedicine: Tea polyphenols for the prevention of UVB‐induced skin cancer
- Cara DeCenso, an aesthetician at Ajune in Manhattan
- Andrea Lynn Cambio, MD, a Florida dermatologist