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Secrets of gorgeous healthy skin

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

More than a great wardrobe or a skilled hand with make-up, healthy glowing skin is the key to turning heads.

Some people seem to be born with it. But genes are just the starting point. Beautiful skin is also about good skin care habits, practised day in and day out.

Here are top tips from dermatologists about the secrets of stunning skin.

Smoking no, sunscreen yes

Imagine two people starting out with exactly the same DNA. One smoked and sunbathed, the other avoided both. Would that make a difference in the appearance of their skin?

Researchers have the answer to that, and it’s a resounding yes.

A team of experts led by plastic surgeon Dr Bahman Guyuron, analysed photographs of the faces of 186 pairs of identical twins taken at a twins festival in the US. The twins had also filled out detailed questionnaires about their lives and daily habits.

It turns out that siblings who smoked and spent lots of time outdoors without wearing sunscreen looked years older than the brother or sister who shunned cigarettes and tanning. They had more fine lines, more and deeper wrinkles, and their skin was more mottled.

Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of at least 15, even on cloudy days and reapply regularly whilst outdoors. Remember some healthy sun exposure is still important to produce vitamin D during the summer months.

Give products time to work

Just as using a half dozen or more products at any one time can overload your skin with too many ingredients, so can changing the products you’re using every couple of weeks.

Yes, you might want to adjust your beauty routine seasonally - swapping, say, the oil-free moisturiser you use in the summer for one that’s more emollient during the winter, when colder temperatures and indoor heating can rob your skin of moisture.

And if your skin is reacting with swelling, itching, redness, or burning to a new product you’ve tried, stop using it immediately.

A balanced life leads to your best skin

A healthy balanced diet with the NHS's recommended 5-a-day portions of fruit and veg can help feed your skin.

Regular sleep optimises the natural secretion of human growth hormone to promote cell turnover and collagen production while exercise increases circulation and the flow of nutrients to your skin.

Activities like yoga and meditation help keep stress in check, which in turn reduces the release of stress hormones that worsen conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea.

Meditating regularly may even make treatment more effective. In one study, people with psoriasis, a condition that causes itchy, scaly skin, listened to meditation tapes while they received ultraviolet light treatments. The results - they healed four times as fast as non-meditators.

The key to gorgeous skin turns out to be a mixture of science, common sense, overall good health habits, and a simple stick-to-it skincare routine.

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Reviewed on November 29, 2017

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