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There's something irresistible about smooth, beautiful skin, which is why most ladies take great pains to get even complexions. The trick to getting a smooth complexion is keeping your skin clean and exfoliated but saying "no" to products and skin treatments that are overly harsh with the potential to make you wince. Getting clear skin also means you have to be more critical of what you eat and drink.
Step up your intake of water, fish, fruits, nuts and veggies. Your skin is mostly water, so your skin will be dry, rough and develop fine lines if you aren't properly hydrated. Nuts and fish such as salmon are awesome sources of good omega fatty acids, which are important in forming cell membranes and overall cell function. Fruits and veggies contain nutrients and vitamins crucial to a glowing complexion, such as vitamins E, A and C. They have antioxidant properties, meaning they encourage healthy cell development and fight off elements that cause cell damage. Stay away from alcohol, smoking and too much sugar.
Move your booty and get your groove on at the gym. Exercise is good for you overall, but is fabulous for your skin because it improves circulation. Improved circulation translates to your skin getting more oxygen and nutrients. Even shakin' it on the dance floor can get your heart rate up, so no excuses!
Go through all your hygiene products such as shampoos and facial scrubs. Kick any ones that contain harsh detergents to the curb, as these tend to be ultra-drying. Anything that ends in "ate" generally is a no-no, particularly sodium laureth sulfate, the cleanser that gives you suds -- a cleanser does not need to lather to get you clean. Take a pass on anything with added perfumes or dyes, too. Choose all-natural, mild herbal products instead.
Wash your skin with a good cleanser no more than twice a day. It's important to stay clean and keep pores free from oil and dirt, but cleansing more often can strip your skin of its natural protective oil and make it dry out. Use oil-absorbing papers through the day instead, if you need a little extra help controlling shine.
Rinse your face in the morning with 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice diluted in a bowl of water. Lemon juice is a natural source of salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates. It helps control acne because it penetrates well into the skin and has antibacterial properties. Rinse in the evening with plain milk. Milk contains lactic acid, an exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid that also exfoliates but which doesn't fight acne as well.
Exfoliate your skin more in depth at least once or twice a week. Exfoliating means you slough off the dead top layers of your skin, along with yucky oils, product residue and dirt that can make your skin dull. You can do this chemically, such as with salicylic acid in a wash or face mask, but you also can do it manually with your fingers or a clean washcloth. Professional-grade chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing are more drastic methods you should use only as a last resort. Stick with the gentlest products and methods possible, as harshness often translates to irritated skin.
Nix the urge to pick at your blemishes or pop out whiteheads and blackheads. Picking and scratching can further damage your skin and, in the worst case scenario, spread infection and make your complexion even less appealing.
Apply a good hydrating lotion -- ones with aloe vera are top-notch -- any time you feel like your skin is dry. Recognize there is a difference between hydrating and moisturizing: Hydrating is water-based and means you're putting water back in the skin, while moisturizing is oil-based and means you're sealing it in and thereby regulating water loss. Use a moisturizing lotion -- ones with shea butter or almond oil are good -- after you shower or once the hydrating lotion has soaked in, to preserve the water your skin has absorbed.
Rock the beach scene, but watch out for the sun. Protect your skin with a sunscreen with at least 25 SPF, reapplying it regularly. Wear fun hats, scarves, wraps and flowy, open shirts for added protection.
Make your pillow your best friend. Lack of sleep can throw off your hormones and immune system, which in turn can mess with your skin. Experts recommend getting at least six to eight hours of Z's a night.
If you want to use a good exfoliating mask, check your fridge and pantry. Lots of what you munch is as good for your skin applied topically as it is when it's part of your meal. Try mixing up foods like bananas, strawberries, honey, yogurt, egg and avocado.