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12 Steps to smoother skin

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Get smooth skin, now

Do you think perfectly smooth skin is something you’ll never have? Think again! Spend some time taking care of your skin, and you’ll end up with smooth, gorgeous skin that you can’t wait to show off! These 12 steps are a great way to get started.
Woman washing face

Less is more

According to Dr. Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Art of Dermatology on 5th Avenue, as well as assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City, the first step to smoother skin is to stop doing everything you're doing now.

"Remember that sometimes less is more. With all the constant marketing of anti-aging products and systems now, sometimes we think the more we do, the younger we'll get. Sadly, sometimes that can work against you. Too many anti-aging products or procedures can actually make the skin more irritated, red, and flaky and produce the appearance of more fine lines due to deep dryness and microscopic swelling. So first, stop everything."

Wash less

You may think the key to smooth skin is a super clean face, but that's not true. In fact, too much washing will probably do more damage than good.

"It's important to gently remove makeup and actual dirt from the skin, but it's a bit of a myth that we have to scrub ourselves squeaky clean two or three times daily," said Krant. "Sometimes overwashing can produce the same overdryness and irritation that anti-aging products can create. When we wash too much and strip away the skin's natural, healthy, moisturizing oils, we create redness and flakiness, and the skin actually gets a counterproductive signal to start producing more oil to keep itself protected. This is how we can end up both dry and oily at the same time. Reduce the amount of cleansing and let the skin relax."

Don’t squeeze!

We know it's tempting to squeeze and pick at any zits that happen to show up on your face, but don't.

"Manage acne gently, with help from your dermatologist, not your fingertips," said Krant. "Anything you pick and and try to solve yourself will only last much longer and risk being permanently scarred. The right dermatologist can help you with an easy, ongoing preventive regimen that will help more."

Exfoliate

If you really want smooth skin, get rid of the dead, flaky skin on the surface.

"It's a myth that exfoliation can dry or thin the skin," says healthy skin care expert and Skin Authority CEO Celeste Hilling. "Regular exfoliation speeds up the cell turnover process, allowing the body to produce moisture-bearing properties like hyaluronic acid. Exfoliation also helps to plump the skin by churning up elastin and collagen production."

Hilling recommends using a natural resurfacing agent such as glycolic acid to gently dissolve dead surface skin cells so they can be replaced with new, plump ones.

Too much exfoliation can be overkill, though. Just once a week is enough.

Clean your brushes

How often do you clean your makeup brushes? Probably not often enough. Dirt, grime and oils left in the brushes can cause breakouts, leaving your skin far from smooth. Fortunately, it's easy enough to clean them yourself using a simple bar of soap.

Note: Steer away from scented body soaps and go for a natural soap like those offered by South of France Natural Body Care to remove the gunk without leaving anything behind. They’ve got all the steps for proper brush cleaning laid out on their blog, The Soap Dish.

Cleaning makeup brush with soap

Eat right

The food we put into our bodies affects how we look in more ways than our belt size. According to Dr. Michelle Yagoda, NYC facial plastic surgeon, aesthetic integrative beauty expert and co-creator of BeautyScoop, "Foods rich in lean proteins and omega-3 fatty acids are especially effective at delivering smoother skin. They aid the skin in retaining moisture and fortify the skin's natural moisture barrier."

Yagoda says a diet with ample beauty super foods can enhance skin texture, hydration, firmness and smoothness. She suggests a diet of foods rich in...

  1. Lean protein (salmon, tofu, soy, sardines)
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids (almonds, salmon, sardines, walnuts, flax seed)
  3. Antioxidants for rapid skin repair like vitamins A, C and E (carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, berries)
  4. Minerals like magnesium and zinc, which facilitate hyaluronic acid production to provide unsurpassed skin hydration (soy, kale, carrots, pumpkin seeds, whole grains)

Hydrate

There are a million reasons you should reach for that glass of water, and smoother skin is one.

"To have smooth, soft skin, it's really important to drink enough water or other nondiuretic fluids during the day. When you are well hydrated, skin is smoother and more elastic," said Stephanie White, founder and president of Become International.

Use sunblock

We all know it's important to use sunblock for health reasons, but it'll go a long way toward keeping your skin smooth, too.

"Use sunblock religiously," said White. "Sun damage creates wrinkles and coarsens the skin. Find a sunblock you like that is made for the face, preferably with natural ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide."

Moisturize

We can't say this enough: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research for the Department of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, agrees.

"Moisturize twice daily," he said. "It will improve skin hydration and seal in cracks between dry cells on the surface of the skin."

Go natural

The solution to smoother skin isn't always to be found on a drugstore shelf. Sometimes, the simplest, most natural products have the power to make you glow. Alexis Wolfer, founding editor in chief of TheBeautyBean.com, has some suggestions for natural ways to get smoother skin.

"Make a yogurt mask," she suggests. "Apply a thin layer of full-fat Greek yogurt to your face and let it dry for about 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. The lactic acid helps break down dead skin cells while the fat deeply moisturizes."

She also recommends mixing a drop or two of honey in with your night cream each evening before application.

"Honey acts as a humectant, bringing the hydrating benefits of your night cream deeper into the skin."

Shave

One of the easiest ways to get smooth skin is to get rid of the hair on its surface. Get smooth skin on your legs, armpits and anywhere else hair grows with a quick shave. For the best results, use a razor meant to hydrate as it shaves, like Schick Hydro 5 Disposables.

Take extra care at night

Your skin needs extra care at night, so don't use your daytime moisturizer before you go to bed. According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, you should look for a moisturizer that includes a retinoid.

"It stimulates collagen growth and normalizes skin cell turnover," he said.

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