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10 Great Skin Habits

1. Cleanse: Clean skin is beautiful skin. It's important to keep your skin cleansed of sweat, dirt, and oil to prevent clogged pores and a dull appearance. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser every morning and night, followed by a quick sweep with toner on a cotton pad. Also, wash your face after activities such as exercising, cleaning the house, gardening, or any other dirty or physically exerting activity, or one that requires the use of sunscreen.

2. Exfoliate: Exfoliation, which is done with a mild scrub or by using a cream containing fruit acids, is a good way to get that glow back to the surface by revealing the fresh, new skin underneath. If you choose a scrub, try not to scrub too hard or your skin will look ruddy. Gentle pressure is all you need to help the scrubbing granules in an exfoliant do their work. If you use a fruit-acid cream or gel, don't overdo it. Follow the product instructions to prevent skin irritation.

3. Refresh: If you don't have time to wash your face, or just want to get rid of that "tired" look, use an astringent to refresh and clean your skin. Try witch hazel on a cotton pad. Or fill a spray bottle with one part alcohol to six parts water, and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Close your eyes and lightly spritz your face. You'll feel invigorated and your face will show it!

4. Moisturize: Keeping your skin moisturized is very important. Even if your skin is oilier than usual because of the summer heat and pregnancy hormones, you should use an oil-free moisturizer to replace the moisture that's stripped when you cleanse your face. Also, you'll need a moisturizer to even out your skin tone if you have "combination skin" -- skin that's oily in some parts and drier in others. Apply moisturizer to your face after each cleansing.

5. Soothe: If you've overdone your exposure to the sun, soothe your skin with aloe vera gel or cocoa butter cream. These ingredients coat the skin with soothing moisture and are very gentle. Opt for fragrance-free formulations to minimize the possibility of further skin irritation.

6. Change your pillowcase every week: Regardless of the position you sleep in, your pillowcase is going to collect dirt and oil from your face and hair during the night, especially if you toss and turn, and that will then be what you put your face on each night. Switch out your pillowcase every week to prevent sleeping in build up. 7. Hands off your face: The amount of bacteria on your hands at any given time is almost uncomfortable to think about (between the keyboards, elevator buttons, doorknobs, etc. that you touch), and touching your face just means you’re putting that bacteria on your skin. Should you need something to distract your hands, hold something you can move around (like a pen or stress ball) when your hands are free so that you won’t touch your face. 8. Exercise at least twice a week: Besides also reducing stress, exercise helps to increase blood flow to the body, which means that more oxygen can get to your skin, therefore keeping it fresh and clean. You’ll work to flush out bacteria and toxins from your skin, which will prevent acne from happening.

9. Maintain a healthy diet: Flax seeds on your salad or even walnuts will be an instant boost to your omega-3, thus increasing your skin's ability to hold onto moisture. And be sure to eat a diet low in foods with a high glycemic index (simple and complex carbohydrates).

10. Hydrate: Last and certainly not least, drink around eight glasses of water a day.

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