Top 4 enemies to complexion perfection

Oct 3, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. ET

Fall runways were full of models boasting clear, glowing skin. The trend this season has moved towards a fresh-faced, natural look -- meaning minimal makeup. To get your face in shape for this fall's complexion perfection, we want to make sure you avoid anything that works against you. With that in mind, here are four of the worst enemies of smooth, youthful skin.

Tired woman rubbing eyes

1Lack of sleep

When you don't get enough sleep in the first place, it shows up on your face. Long nights equal pale skin and dark circles, not to mention how cranky you'll feel when the guy down the hall (or your mom or the guy who makes your latte) points out how tired you look. If you have to skimp on sleep to get something done or soothe a crying baby, there are ways to perk up your complexion, but nothing works quite like a full night of sleep. Aim for six to eight hours every night. Failing that, here's what you need:

A really good night cream: A potent product that works to repair skin while you snooze is your first line of defense against looking as tired as you feel. Try Bobbi Brown Hydrating Intense Night Cream ($58), which helps boost skin's ability to recharge overnight.

Highlighter: Fake a full night's sleep with a highlighter, which can give the illusion of a healthy, well- rested glow. Try Benefit Watt's Up! ($30), an easy-to-apply cream-to-powder formula that gives skin a luminous sheen.

Under eye concealer: Keep your dark circles a secret with a good under-eye concealer that can make it look like you're much more awake than you really are. Try Laura Mercier Secret Concealer ($22), a moisturizing formula that covers your sleepless nights naturally.

2Poor diet

When your mom told you to eat your vegetables, she may not have known that their benefits extended beyond just general health and wellness (but either way she was onto something). Making sure you eat a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables will greatly improve your complexion. On the contrary, loading up on salty snacks, sugary treats, saturated fats and pre- packaged food filled with preservatives can leave skin looking seriously sallow and lackluster. Here's what you need to stock up on for complexion perfection:

  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Good fats (olive oil, avocado)
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dark, leafy greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach)
  • Brightly colored veggies
  • Water (no soda, please)


No one likes being stressed out, but did you know that all that anxiety can mess with your complexion? That's right, the more stressed out you are, the more likely you'll be to end up with blemishes and other skin irritations, along with skin that looks less-than-glowing. The only way to combat stress's effects on your face is to do whatever you can to dial down your anxiety.

  • Go for a walk to burn off nervous energy
  • Hit the gym
  • Phone a friend to talk through the problem
  • Head to a yoga class
  • Take a hot bath
  • Give yourself tech-free time (no Blackberries before bed)

4Too much sun

The biggest enemy to smooth, youthful skin is getting too much sun and not protecting yourself with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen. The more sun exposure you've had in the past, the more likely it is to show up on your face in the form of fine lines, full-on wrinkles, brown spots and uneven tone. Stave off any further damage by staying out of the sun or at least finding shade during peak hours (usually between noon and 4 p.m.). Always wear sunscreen even if it's cloudy and be sure to invest in a stylish wide-brimmed hat to keep sun off your face.

More beauty & skin care tips

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3 Skin saving tips for a flawless complexion
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