The first step to beautiful skin is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Even if you don't sweat as much as Rafael Nadal during 2009's Australia Open, your body craves water, which hydrates your cells and gets rid of impurities.
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And speaking of exercise, you need to keep a few things in mind: Wear breathable fabrics, don't wear makeup while you work out and take a shower after you've been sweating. Here, a woman lifts dumbbells during a Warrior Fitness boot camp class in New York City. Exercise increases blood flow to your skin and reduces stress, which is good for the body and great for the skin.
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When you're in the shower, don't just reach for the soap to clean your face. Your facial skin is more delicate than the skin on the rest of your body. Instead, find a facial cleanser that matches your skin type. Oily skin might do well with a gel cleanser, while sensitive skin needs something fragrance-free. Cleanse gently -- you're not trying to get squeaky clean, you're just trying to remove bacteria and other grime you've collected during the day.
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Something a lot of people don't know is that even oily skin needs a moisturizer -- in fact, we all need a moisturizer. Your skin needs a barrier between itself and the world, and it also needs something to replenish the moisture lost during cleansing. There's no such thing as an "anti-aging" skin care regimen, but skin that's well taken care of shows it.
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It's good to exfoliate to keep your pores clear, but, again, be even more gentle with your face than you are with the rest of your body. Your face doesn't need anything harsh or to be exfoliated too often -- it just strips the skin of moisture and will leave you red and flaky.
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When you're shaving, ingrown hairs are a common and irritating hazard. If you can, avoid shaving the area for a few days. If that's not possible, you might be able to take a (clean) pair of tweezers and pull the hair out of the skin. To avoid ingrown hairs in the first place, remember to change your razor blade often and shave in the direction hair is growing.
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It's easy to forget parts of the body that you don't think about often, like elbows and feet, but they want love, too. When you suddenly notice in mid-winter that your heels are covered in dead skin, you'll want to do some polishing. A pumice stone in the shower while your skin is soft can do wonders.
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You knew this one was coming -- wear sunscreen. We can't say it enough. You're protecting yourself from painful skin cancer surgery as well as that lovely leathery look that tanned skin gets in old age. Here, English bowler Graeme Swann applies sunscreen to wicketkeeper Matt Prior's hard-to-reach places in Sri Lanka. Don't forget the tops of your feet, your scalp and your ears!
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If you don't feel attractive without a tan, go for the spray kind instead. Here, a competitor in the annual Mr. Afghanistan body building competition in Kabul does just that.
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If you're a makeup wearer with skin troubles, take a look at what you're putting on your face. You might be able to get away with a tinted moisturizer with SPF, but if you need more coverage, look for something that's appropriate for your skin type. People with acne-prone skin don't need makeup with oils in it, for example. Ask a salesperson at a department or specialty store for help if you need it.
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Like you would glance at the label on anything you eat, check the labels of what you use on your body. Certain chemicals, like phthalates, are terrible for the environment, while others can irritate skin and make certain conditions worse.
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Is your skin still lacking the vibrancy you want? It's time to hit the pillow. Just like the rest of your body, your skin (which is your largest organ, after all) craves sleep. Another tip: Make sure you're washing your pillowcase often, so you're not putting your face in the same oils every night.
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When you have a pimple, avoid the urge to pick at it. It's nearly impossible not to, but try to remember that you could be forcing everything back under the surface of your skin and making it worse -- you may even be creating a scar that will last for life, versus a zit that will last for a few days.
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When all else fails and you're having trouble with your skin that you just can't seem to fix, go see a dermatologist. Remember that sometimes it takes time to cure problems like acne -- you may try several different treatments and medicines before you find one that works for you.
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A dermatologist might prescribe oral antibiotics or birth control pills for the treatment of acne along with a topical treatment, especially if you tend to break out on other parts of your body besides your face.
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