Ways to Reduce Wrinkles

Sleep On Your Back
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) cautions that sleeping in certain positions night after night leads to "sleep lines" -- wrinkles that become etched into the surface of the skin and don't disappear once you're up. Sleeping on your side increases wrinkles on cheeks and chin, while sleeping facedown gives you a furrowed brow. To reduce wrinkle formation, the AAD says, sleep on your back.

Eat More Fish -- Particularly Salmon
Not only is salmon (along with other cold-water fish) a great source of protein -- one of the building blocks of great skin -- it's also an awesome source of an essential fatty acid known as omega-3. Yale dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, tells WebMD that essential fatty acids nourish skin and keep it plump and youthful, helping to reduce wrinkles.

Don't Squint -- Get Reading Glasses!
The AAD says repetitive facial movement -- like squinting -- overworks facial muscles, forming a groove beneath the skin's surface. This groove eventually becomes a wrinkle. Keep those eyes wide: Wear reading glasses if you need them. And get savvy about sunglasses, which can protect skin around the eyes from sun damage and keep you from squinting.

Slather On Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
These natural fruit acids lift away the top layer of dead skin cells, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around the eyes. New evidence shows that in higher concentrations, AHAs may help stimulate collagen production.

Trade Coffee for Cocoa
In a study published in a 2006 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that cocoa containing high levels of two dietary flavonols (epicatchin and catechin) protected skin from sun damage, improved circulation to skin cells, affected hydration, and made the skin look and feel smoother. Delicious!

Don't Over-Wash Your Face
According to dermatologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center, tap water strips skin of its natural barrier oils and moisture that protect against wrinkles. Wash them off too often, and you wash away protection. And unless your soap contains skin-protecting moisturizers, use a facial cleanser instead of soap.

Try Topical Vitamin C
Studies at Tulane University, among others, have found that vitamin C can increase collagen production, protect against damage from UVA and UVB rays, correct pigmentation problems, and improve inflammatory skin conditions. The key, however, may be the type of vitamin C used. To date, most research points to L-ascorbic acid as the most potent for wrinkle relief.

Eat More Soy
Research shows that soy may help protect against or heal some of the sun's photoaging damage. One study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, reported that a soy-based supplement (whose ingredients also included vitamins, fish protein, and extracts from white tea, grapeseed, and tomato) improved the skin's structure and firmness after just six months.

Practice Good Skin Care Basics
If you really want to keep your skin looking young, start with the essentials. You've heard these recommendations before, but they bear repeating:
 -Avoid the sun
 -Wear sunscreen
 -Don't smoke
 -Use moisturizer

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Secrets for Younger Looking

Start With Primer
If you're old enough for laugh lines, a skin care makeover can give you a fresher, younger look. Our skin dries and thins with age, so products used five years ago may look quite matronly today. A better routine calls for skin primer, according to Robin Rylant, a celebrity makeup artist who's worked with Celine Dion. A high-quality primer fills in small wrinkles, making them less visible.

Forego Thick Foundation
If you still slather foundation directly over aging skin, you're likely adding years to your look. That thick top coat tends to break into deep cracks, which look far worse than the fine lines you're tried to hide. Instead, apply moisturizer, primer, then a light liquid foundation for additional skin-plumping moisture. Ryland suggests tapping it in gently with a sponge, rather than rubbing it in.

Avoid Clown Eyes
Applying flattering eye makeup requires precision. Unfortunately, eyesight tends to decline with age. "If you don't see as well, you may not get the makeup on correctly," Ryant says. The results can include clownish amounts of eye shadow or crooked eyeliner. The solution: "Get yourself a good magnifying mirror."

Enhance the Shape of the Eye
As we age, the eyelids tend to droop, so the goal is to draw attention away from the lid and toward the actual eye. Eyeliner is the key. Apply it in a thin streak along the line where the lashes begin, top and bottom. This will enhance the shape of your eye and create the illusion of thicker lashes. Use soft shades and a light touch when applying eye shadow.

Put Eyebrows Back On
"Eyebrows are extremely important because they frame the face," Ryant says. But the brows tend to grow thinner and grayer with age. To "put eyebrows back on," Ryant recommends using eyebrow pencil that complements your hair color. Placing powder over the pencil will help it stay put. Some people choose to have eyebrows permanently tattooed, but the FDA and Consumer Reports has raised safety concerns about this practice.

Don't Let the Lips "Bleed"
Few things draw attention to wrinkles like bleeding lip color. This happens because lipstick is a cream, and it tends to slip into any low spaces -- including the lines around your lips. To keep color from traveling, use moisturizer, then coat the lips with foundation before applying lipstick.

Plump Up the Lips
Ryant offers three steps for creating plumper, younger-looking lips. Begin by coating the lips with foundation. Next, line the lips and fill them in completely with pencil. Finally, use a lipstick brush to apply a lip-plumping lipstick. Ryant sees good results, though Consumer Reports suggests the plumping may be modest. Choose a color with enough pigment to enhance the lips without being over-the-top bright.

Keep Lips Moist
Even the best quality makeup will have a tough time concealing dry, flaky lips. For this reason, it's essential to moisturize often. Lip balms with shea butter, petroleum jelly, or vitamin E work well, says Ryant. Look for a product with sunscreen to protect against the sun's drying effect. If you use extended-wear lipstick, be sure to let the stain dry completely before applying lip balm.

Whiten Stained Teeth
Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains so your teeth look about one shade lighter. To go deeper, try peroxide-based whitening gels or strips. These products bleach the enamel of your teeth to change your natural tooth color. For the most dramatic results, an in-office treatment with your dentist can make the teeth visibly whiter in less than an hour. Several treatments may be needed to get the desired shade.

Rejuvenate Tired Eyes
If your eyes look tired, the most obvious solution may be to get more rest. Sleep triggers the release of hormones that help the skin remain thicker and more elastic. To reduce eye puffiness, cut back on salt and stay well hydrated. You can also try soothing swollen eyes with cool cucumber slices or moist tea bags.

Reduce Dark Circles
Getting enough sleep can also minimize dark circles under the eyes. But in some people, the discoloration comes from too much pigmentation in the skin. In that case, creams containing lightening agents such as retinol, hydroquinone, green tea, or vitamin C may help. To camouflage dark circles, use a concealer one shade lighter than your skin and yellowish in tone.

Wear Sunglasses
Sunglasses do triple-duty in the quest to look younger. A good pair will protect the delicate skin around the eyes from sun damage. It will also keep you from squinting, a motion that can create additional wrinkles over time. Finally, sunglasses may help delay cataracts, cloudy areas on the eyes' lenses that can diminish your vision. Long-term exposure to the sun's UV rays can increase the risk for cataracts.

Boost Thinning Hair
You can give thinning hair the illusion of more body with some simple styling tricks. Use a large round brush to lift the hair and add volume. To set the style, use the cool button on your hairdryer. Styling with hot rollers is another good option. If you're looking for a low-maintenance way to add body, Ryant suggests a perm.

Don't Fret Over Grays
There's currently a trend toward embracing gray hair. To make the most of this look, Ryant recommends using a good conditioner and shine enhancer to keep the gray rich. If your skin is very pale, light gray or white hair could make you look washed out. In that case, you might want to punch up your hair color. There are effective over-the-counter dyes for covering gray. Just remember that they should never be used on the eyebrows or lashes.

Exfoliation gets rid of dead, dry skin cells to reveal the fresher skin underneath. You can use a washcloth, along with an exfoliating cleanser, to gently scrub your face and body. Exfoliating regularly will help remove dull, flaky skin. But be careful not to scrub too hard or you could leave the skin raw and irritated.

Target Wrinkles With Retinoids
These chemical relatives of vitamin A can reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles for a more youthful look.  Creams that require a prescription have the best track record, including tretinoin, tarazotene, and their brand-name versions. A less potent, OTC form is available too, called retinol. The best results come from regular use over several weeks or months.  All can cause redness, irritation, peeling, and can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Fight Crow's Feet With AHAs
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are found in fruits, sugar cane, milk, and other foods. When applied topically, they exfoliate and remove the outer layer of dead skin cells, which may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The results may be most apparent in the thin skin around the eyes. Mild skin irritation and redness can occur, and your skin may be extra sensitive to the sun while using AHAs.

Fade Age Spots With Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone is the active ingredient in popular bleaching creams. It interferes with the skin's production of melanin, the pigment that gives age spots their color. Hydroquinone is available over the counter or in stronger concentrations by prescription. Kojic acid is another skin lightener available in OTC products or by prescription.

Fight Damage With Antioxidants
Antioxidants are vitamins and minerals that can counter the damage caused in your body and skin by free radicals. You can eat foods rich in antioxidants or apply antioxidant creams directly to the skin. Studies suggest that topical vitamin C maybe especially helpful to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Check with a dermatologist for products that contain enough vitamin C to be effective.

Eat Salmon for Smoother Skin
Salmon offers a treasure trove of nutrients for the skin. It's packed with protein, a critical building block of healthy skin. And, along with other fatty fish, it's rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s may help fight wrinkles by keeping the skin plump.

Pamper Your Hands
The skin on the hands has very little fatty tissue underneath and can easily become crinkled when dry. Applying moisturizer throughout the day can draw water into the skin to help hands look plumper and more youthful. Look for a moisturizer that contains glycerin, shea butter, or safflower seed oil. You can also use lightening creams to fade age spots on the hands.

Strengthen Your Nails
Prevent brittle nails by avoiding harsh soaps and moisturizing with thick creams or petroleum jelly. Vitamin B7 supplements, also called biotin, may help soften brittle, breakable nails. Ask your health care professional what amount is right for you. To avoid unsightly hangnails and ingrown nails, be sure to trim your nails correctly. Look for nippers that are shaped to follow the natural curve of the nail.

Soften Your Heels
After decades of walking, most people develop thick layers of skin on the heels and balls of the feet. While you're unlikely to regain the soft soles of your youth, you can take steps to shrink the calluses. Begin by soaking your feet in hot water. Once the dead skin is moist, you may be able to remove some of it by scrubbing with a pumice stone.

Don't Smoke
One of the surest ways to protect against skin damage is to avoid cigarettes. Studies of twins suggest smokers have skin that is more wrinkled and up to 40% thinner than nonsmokers. Researchers believe tobacco smoke releases an enzyme that breaks down collagen and elastin, compounds that are vital to the skin's structure and elasticity.

Use a Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
You probably know that sunscreen can ward off wrinkles by blocking the sun's harmful rays. But did you know that SPF refers only to protection against ultraviolet B rays? It turns out that ultraviolet A rays may play a larger role in causing wrinkles. To block both UVA and UVB rays, look for a broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum sunscreen.

For More Dramatic Results ...
If your home-care regimen doesn't give you the look you want, cosmetic procedures can yield more dramatic results. A dermatologist can plump up laugh lines with injectable fillers. Those derived from the botulinum toxin are popular for the brow area, and are not toxic, despite the name. Chemical peels and dermabrasion can soften fine lines and age spots. And laser resurfacing is effective for reducing wrinkles and discoloration.

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-Breathe deeply and count to 10. Take a relaxing soak in the tub. Call up a friend to vent. Meditate. All are ways to bust stress and perhaps help keep psoriasis flares at bay.
-Studies have shown that stress can worsen psoriasis. When you're stressed, your body reacts.
-Focus on the positive and incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine. It just may help ease your psoriasis.

-Are psoriasis and allergies linked? The immune system appears to play a key role in both.
-Researchers have found that people with psoriasis are more likely to have larger amounts of inflammatory mast cells (see left) -- the kind that trigger allergic reactions -- than people without it.
-If you also have allergies, avoid personal triggers, such as wool and dust.

-Put down your glass. Doctors say to avoid alcohol altogether to prevent psoriasis flare-ups. Although more research is needed, it's believed that heavy drinking can trigger flares in some people.
-Another reason to beware of booze? Some psoriasis medications and drinking don't mix.
-Instead, try a nonalcoholic thirst quencher, like iced tea. Or walk around the block to unwind. Getting exercise and up to 20 minutes of sunlight a day can soothe psoriasis.

Cold or Dry Weather
-Keep your skin well moisturized. Use thick, creamy lotions after showers and baths, and throughout the day.
-Look for lotions and soaps that are fragrance free and designed for sensitive skin to help reduce irritation.
-You can also use a humidifier in your home during dry months to help keep your skin moist.

-Tattoos can look cool, but to psoriatic skin the tattooing process can be a nightmare. Repeatedly piercing the skin and injecting it with dyes is a major trauma. Trauma to the skin can cause new lesions to appear, often 10 to 14 days later.
-Tattoos can also lead to infection -- another psoriasis trigger.
-Treat your skin with care. Avoid acupuncture and talk with your doctor about shots.

-Some drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders, heart disease, and arthritis can trigger psoriasis.
-Lithium, ACE-inhibitors, and beta-blockers are common offenders that can cause psoriasis flare-ups.
-Antimalarials such as Plaquenil, and hydroxychloroquine and NSAIDs, can also trigger psoriasis.
-Talk to your doctor if your medication is worsening your psoriasis.

-Common infections are doubly difficult for people with psoriasis. Yeast infections, thrush, strep throat, respiratory infections, and staph infections are all known psoriasis triggers.
-The good news? Once you treat the infection, your psoriasis flare may also calm down.

Cuts and Bruises
-Slice your hand in the kitchen or scrape a knee and -- pow! -- new lesions may appear where you were injured. This is called Koebner's phenomenon.
-Avoid skin injury and trauma when you can.
-Wear gloves while working in the garden. Prevent bug bites and sunburn. And use care when trimming nails and shaving.

-Research shows smoking is directly linked to the severity of your psoriasis. The more you smoke the worse your skin.
-Kicking the habit may also reduce the number of psoriasis flares.
-You don't have to take on the challenge alone. Ask your doctor about ways to smooth the transition to becoming smoke free.

-Psoriasis can start at any age in both men and women. But it seems to peak in people between 20 and 30 years old and between 50 to 60 years old. Because puberty and menopause seem to trigger psoriasis patches, hormones are often thought to be linked.
-Interestingly, one study found that high levels of estrogen during pregnancy seemed to improve psoriasis in some women.

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Top Tips for Clear Skin

Clear Skin: Step by Step
Blemishes or pimples often appear on your face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders, where skin has the greatest amount of oil glands. Few of us are immune to breakouts, but you can prevent or get rid of most acne. For a clear complexion, view the slides ahead to see some surprising dos and don'ts.

Don’t Overwash Your Face
Dirty skin does not lead to acne or blemishes. Frequent and vigorous washing can irritate your skin and make acne worse. So can scrubs and soaps with harsh chemicals. Instead, wash acne-prone areas twice daily with a mild soap and warm water.

Do Choose Oil-Free Soap
Oil-free soaps won’t clog your pores or cause blackheads, acne, and whiteheads. Choose products that are labeled "oil free," "nonacnegenic," or "noncomedogenic." Apply the soap and wash with your fingertips. Washcloths, mesh sponges, or other products may be too abrasive and can irritate the skin and cause breakouts.

Don't Avoid Favorite Foods
It's a myth that oily foods or chocolate cause pimples. Acne occurs when pores are blocked by oils, skin cells, and normal bacteria, causing inflammation.  If certain foods seem to cause you to break out, try to avoid them. But you don't need to shun pizza or chocolate for clear skin.

Do Drink Plenty of Water
Drink water throughout the day to keep your skin well hydrated. Also, eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A and vitamin E, two vitamins known to benefit your skin. Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are rich in vitamin E. Vitamin A is found in colorful fruits and vegetables such as carrots, cantaloupe, peaches, and peppers.

Don't Use Heavy Cosmetics
Avoid oil-based cosmetics. How can you tell? Follow this simple guideline: Creamy foundation or blush generally can clog pores. Mineral-based cosmetics, which are light and powdery, may be less likely to do so.

Do Use an Oil-Free Foundation
If you wear makeup, do use an oil-free foundation. To help close your pores, splash your face with cold water before applying your foundation. Also, no matter how tired you are, wash your makeup off before bed.

Don’t Sunbathe or Tan
It's a myth that tanning clears up your skin. It's a fact that UV rays put you at risk for skin cancer, premature aging, and wrinkles. Don't lie in the sun or use a tanning booth. Also, some commonly prescribed acne medications, including topical retinoids, can make you more sensitive to damage from the UV rays.

Do Use Oil-Free Sunscreen
Wear an oil-free sunscreen or moisturizer with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher that provides broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Look for products labeled noncomedogenic that won’t clog your pores. Reapply every two hours.

Don't Use Greasy Hair Products
Products such as pomades or gels can clog your pores when your hair brushes against your face. Keep your hair clean using an oil-free, acnegenic, or noncomedogenic shampoo. If you have oily hair, shampoo daily. Shield your face when applying any sprays or gels to your hair.

Do Keep Hair Off Your Face
Pull long hair back when you sleep so it doesn't aggravate your skin. Try to keep your hair away from your face during the day as well. Remember, hair contains oils that can block pores and cause breakouts -- even if you don’t use hair products.

Don’t Touch Your Face
Touching or rubbing your face can worsen acne. Also, don’t lean your face on your hands. And try to keep your cell phone from touching your face. Our hands and phones may carry oils and germs that can irritate blemishes. Sweat can also make acne worse. After sweating, gently wash your skin.

Do Apply Cream With Applicators
Use cotton balls, cotton swabs, or applicators when applying creams or makeup to your skin. If you use your hands, apply these products only with your fingertips. Our hands carry oils and germs that can worsen acne and blemishes. If you wear makeup, be sure to apply it on clean skin.

Do Use Oil-Free Moisturizer
Healthy skin is moist. Choose an oil-free moisturizer that says "noncomedogenic" on the label. This means it won't clog your pores. You may hesitate to apply moisturizer to acne-prone skin, but a good moisturizer can actually help calm your skin and keep acne at bay.

Don’t Pop Your Pimples
Squeezing pimples or blemishes just creates more problems. Resist the temptation. It will only delay healing and increase the risk of scarring. Squeezing pimples may also push infected material into the skin, where it can cause additional inflammation and scarring.

Do Use Acne Medicine as Directed
Acne medication doesn’t work overnight. Most treatments take up to eight weeks of daily use before you see an improvement. It may take as long as six months for your skin to totally clear up. Sometimes your doctor will recommend using the acne medicine even when your skin clears. Be sure to follow your doctor’s directions. Overuse of medicine can irritate skin, while underuse is not effective.

Look Into All Acne Treatments
Don't just live with acne, blackheads, and blemishes. If your current treatments don't seem to be working, see your doctor or dermatologist to discuss other treatments. There are many types of medicines to help clear your skin. Some are available with a doctor's prescriptionacne medicine.
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