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7 Skin Habits of Natural Beauties

By January 14, 2013health + fitness

Women with great skin aren’t just lucky; they’re also diligent about caring for it. Watch the ingredients they put on their faces, and know that it all starts on the inside. We asked seven skin-care experts about their own age-defying routines — and offer their remarkably similar answers.

1. They Look for (Natural) Active Ingredients

People used to think that natural products wouldn’t help with aging skin, but so much has changed, says Barbara Close, herbalist and founder of Naturopathica Skincare. Now potent extracts from plants make it possible to create natural products that really work.

“Look for advanced ingredients like peptides, liposomes, and glycosides,” says Suki Kramer, founder of Suki Skincare. These ingredients can brighten skin, even tone, and prevent wrinkles, all of which are early signs of aging from oxidation and environmental influences.

2. They Use Sunscreen … Usually

The No.1 antiaging weapon is sunblock, Close says. “The best natural sunscreens are zinc and titanium dioxide, which are nonirritating natural blocks that reflect the sun’s rays and help prevent damage.” But you also need about 10 minutes of unblocked sun every day to produce vitamin D, Kramer explains. “I try to get outside for 10 minutes, before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.,” says Josie Maran, model and founder of Josie Maran Cosmetics.

3. They Love Antioxidants of All Types

Everything you’ve heard about the health benefits of red wine also applies to your skin, Kramer says. Just as antioxidants prevent free-radical damage from the sun and pollution in the body, they do the same for the skin. Look for ingredients like resveratrol, acai, blueberry extract, white tea, green tea, and vitamin E, advises Macrene Alexiades, M.D., a New York City dermatologist.

4. They Embrace Oil

“I first discovered oils when I was on a modeling trip in the south of France,” Maran says. “I saw an older French woman with beautiful skin and asked her what she used.” (It was argan oil.)

“Think about the seed of a plant, where the oil comes from,” Close says. “It contains the whole life force and genetic imprint of the plant.” Oils such as evening primrose, rose hip, and argan contain omega-3s and -6s that protect cells and improve barrier function. “Basically, they hydrate your skin,” Close says. And unlike mineral oils, they’re absorbed into the skin — instead of just sitting on top of the surface, blocking pores and causing breakouts.

“I use coconut oil for everything, without fail,” says Karyn Calabrese, a holistic health expert. it works as a makeup remover and as an intensive moisturizer. Jojoba oil is even lighter and keeps oily skin in balance.

5. They Eat Fat, Fruits, and Veggies

Good fats and oils, like olive oil and fish-oil supplements, are important for keeping the skin lubricated, our experts say. “You should not be avoiding healthy fat if you want to maintain young-looking skin,” Kramer says. Studies show that fats and oils help improve the skin’s barrier function, reduce water loss, and actually decrease inflammation. Getting antioxidants through your diet is also important, says Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Choose fruits, leafy vegetables, and green tea. Your skin cells completely turn over every 28 days — and those new cells incorporate whatever raw materials you’re putting into your body.

6. They Exercise

Working out releases anti-inflammatory endorphins, which help the skin heal and promote circulation, Wechsler says. They also increase microcirculation, which brings blood to skin cells. And studies show that healthy behavior in one part of your life carries into other areas, making your skin — and you — healthier as a result

7. They Practice Yoga, Get Massages, and Reduce Stress

Even when it comes to skin care, the mind-body connection is key, says Amy Wechsler, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Stress and emotional upheavals can make your skin look many years older than it actually is. When you’re stressed, cortisol molecules are at a higher concentration than anti-inflammatory molecules; cortisol breaks down collagen, promotes wrinkles, and causes dry skin.

Source: Whole Living (Olessa Pindak)