We've gone over the ways that your skin cares for your body and how it heals itself when wounded, but there are a number of ways you can help it do its job and ensure that it continues doing its job long into your life.
- Shield yourself from the sun. The sun's rays are at their most harmful between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so try and limit your time outside during these hours. If you're going to be outside, cover up. And, of course, don't forget the sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher.
- Throw away the cigarettes (or don't pick them up in the first place). As we discussed on the previous page, smoking shortchanges your skin of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
- Get plenty of sleep. They really do call it beauty sleep for a reason. While we're asleep, our skin repairs itself from the day before. Collagen production, which limits the amount of moisture loss in our skin, kicks into high gear while we slumber.
- Clean it (gently). Your skin encounters all sorts of nasty elements throughout the day, and it has your own dead cells and sebum to deal with. Reward your hard-working organ with regular upkeep. The key is not to overdo it -- use a mild, scent-free cleanser on your face and some warm water and don't forget to pat dry instead of rubbing. Follow with moisturizer to retain the elements your skin needs to look luminous.
- Drink up. Your skin is thirstier than you realize, and it needs H20 just like the rest of your body to hydrate and get rid of impurities.
We've gone over the ins and outs of how your skin works, but now go on to the next page for more articles about your skin, from the wackiest spa services on the market to 15 ways to get rid of acne.