Skin Care Dos and Don’ts

Are you giving your face and body the proper TLC?

By Emily Hebert

Water 101

Photo: Retna

Don't take too many showers. Yes, it's summertime and you're working up a sweat, but taking multiple showers throughout the day can wreak havoc with your skin: Though you might think it's hydrating, topically, water can have a drying effect on your epidermis. To avoid looking like a prune, douse in small doses and always moisturize immediately after showering.

Do drink plenty of water. While topically water can hinder your skin, drinking 64 ounces of water daily is essential for a healthy complexion because it flushes out toxins and keeps your insides running efficiently. Whether you drink bottled, filtered, or tap water doesn't matter-getting your eight glasses in matters most. Remember that fruits and veggies are also good sources of H20.

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Moisturizing Musts

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Don't go overboard with rich moisturizers. While you want to keep your skin supple during summer, you can afford to lighten up-especially since thick doesn't necessarily equal better. Heavy creams can create a barrier on the surface of your face and keep your skin from absorbing moisture. And formulas that contain synthetic ingredients can trap dead cells and leave your complexion looking dull.

Do use a nighttime face lotion. There's evidence that skin-cell regeneration is slightly faster at night than during the day, so take advantage of your skin's receptiveness and don't skimp on overnight hydration.

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Double Duty

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Don't apply too many face products at once, no matter how eager you are to try them out. "Using too many products can irritate the skin," says Jeanine Downie, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.

Do nourish your skin with a nutrient-packed moisturizer-in other words, rather than use a bunch of different formulas, find a multitasking hero product that takes care of your needs in one go. Look for one that contains vitamin C, to even skin tone and minimize blotchiness, and potent antiagers like retinoic acid and niacinamide.

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Morning Joe

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Don't drink too much coffee. While a cup a day-minus whipped cream, sugar substitutes, etc.-may be beneficial, too much Starbucks can be dehydrating. (Your skin needs all the hydration it can get!).

Do lavish your face and body with coffee topically. Numerous studies point to coffee-derived caffeine's skin-tightening and redness-soothing properties, making it the perfect antidote to undereye pouches and rosacea. In addition to stocking your shelf with caffeine-laced eye and face serums, you might also consider investing in caffeinated anticellulite creams, as they've been shown to temporarily lessen the appearance of dimples.

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The Right Way to Scrub

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Don't use harsh scrubs or scrub too often. "Avoid crushed nuts that are jagged. They can cause tiny lacerations in the skin, making the skin vulnerable," says aesthetician Kate Somerville. While the general rule is to exfoliate twice a week, your skin type plays a factor. Oily skin can handle exfoliation sessions up to four times a week, whereas dry or sensitive skin should stick to once- or twice-a-week scrubs.

Do exfoliate with natural fruit enzymes. Fruit acids from pumpkin, papaya, and pineapple, for example, dissolve dead skin cells gently yet effectively. Happy with your current product but want to get fruity? Pump up your scrub by squirting a little lemon juice into it for instant brightening and buffing action.

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