Glowing Skin How-To: Gorgeous Skin Guaranteed
Guy? Check. Gown? Check. Glow? If your skin lacks luster, you can whip it into shape fast. It won't happen overnight, but with a little effort, you can be luminous in time for your trip down the aisle. "It takes 30 days for your skin cells to completely turn over," says Howard Murad, M.D., associate clinical professor of medicine at UCLA and founder of Murad Inc. "So if you nourish your body properly and take good care of your skin as new cells are being formed, you'll look bridal beautiful in just four weeks."
Feed your face
For your skin to be healthy, dermatologists agree you should aim to include the following in your diet daily.
Whole grains (four to eight servings; one serving equals one slice of bread or half a cup of cereal or grains): Unlike processed, refined carbs (like white flour), whole grains (such as brown rice, millet, quinoa, and whole wheat) have the shell of the grain intact. And in that shell are nutrients that help the body produce glycosaminoglycans, substances necessary for the skin to build firming collagen and elastin fibers.
Protein (four to six servings; one serving equals one egg, 3 ounces of fish or meat, or half a cup of tofu or beans): Eating protein-rich foods is also critical to collagen production.
Fruits (three or more servings; one serving equals a whole, medium fruit, 1 cup of berries, or half a cup of cut fruit) and vegetables (five or more servings; one serving equals half a cup of chopped veggies or 1 cup of greens): They're loaded with skin-protective antioxidants and help keep your skin's outer layer hydrated.
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Fats (three to four servings; one serving equals 1 teaspoon of oil, six nuts, or 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed): Get adequate amounts of healthy unsaturated fats to keep your skin from getting dry and dull.
Water (at least eight 8-ounce glasses): "Hydrating the body from the inside plumps and erases wrinkles on the outside," says Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., a clinical associate professor of dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine.
The right supplements: Even women who generally eat a well-balanced diet can fall short sometimes. "I'm a firm believer in taking a multivitamin as a backup," says David Bank, M.D., director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York. We love GNC WellBeing Be-Beautiful Hair, Skin & Nails Formula ($20; gnc.com), with antioxidants and nourishing amino acids.
Perfect your skin tone
The trick to minimizing brown spots and maximizing your glow is to use products that increase cellular turnover, says Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, M.D., Ph.D., a New York City dermatologist. Sloughing every morning with a gentle granular scrub or a glycolic acid lotion-or at night with a retinoid (a vitamin A derivative)-is a good way to expedite exfoliation and expose newer, healthier skin. Try Neutrogena 14 Day Skin Rescue ($26; at drugstores), with retinol.
Pick the right products
Another key to healthy-looking skin is a proper morning and evening regimen. Here's what you should be using daily:
Cleanser: A gentle formula, such as Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizing Cream Cleanser ($7; at drugstores), is appropriate for most skin types, a.m. and p.m.
Sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher daily. We like Shiseido Future Solution LX Daytime Protective Cream SPF 15 ($240; macys.com), with hyaluronic acid.
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Antioxidants: "Having anti-oxidants on your skin provides an extra level of protection against free radicals," says Bank. So be sure to layer an antioxidant serum, such as RoC Multi Correxion Skin Renewing Serum ($25; at drug-stores), with vitamins C and E, underneath your sunscreen.
Night cream: Slather on a rich cream, such as Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Ultra Firming Night Cream ($165; chanel.com), before bed and you'll look refreshed when you wake up.
Eye cream: If you're 30 or older, you'll need to add a formula specifically for this area, such as Estée Lauder Time Zone Anti-Line/Wrinkle Eye Creme ($44; esteelauder.com) or Origins Youthtopia Firming Eye Cream With Rhodiola ($40; origins.com), to your routine in the morning and the evening.
Surprisingly, some of the latest cures for fine lines come in bottle-not syringe-form and can be used in the morning and at night in place of your moisturizer or cream. "Many women can't afford wrinkle-erasing injections-or are squeamish about just the thought of needles," says Loretta Ciraldo, M.D., a dermatologist in Miami. "That's why some companies are offering what I call surgical substitutes."
These are topical solutions that mimic the effects of injectables, albeit not as dramatically. Dr. Brandt Crease Release ($150; drbrandtskincare.com) contains a gamma-aminobutyric acid complex that has the power to relax your facial muscles so they can't contract and form creases; Olay Regenerist Filling + Sealing Wrinkle Treatment ($19; at drugstores) has silicone to fill in, and camouflage, lines on contact; and Dr. Loretta Youth Fill Deep Wrinkle Filler ($45; drloretta.com) has potent hydrators like hyaluronic acid and urea that draw moisture deep into skin, helping to plump it up.