5 Quick and easy beauty musts for flawless skin

Jun 20, 2011 at 10:32 a.m. ET

Achieving flawless-looking skin is not as difficult as you may think. With these super-easy tips from beauty experts, you'll be on your way to putting your most beautiful face forward.

Woman washing face

1Out with the old and in with the new

Exfoliation is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the look and feel of your skin. "Our skin is constantly shedding," say Kate Duff and Alexi Mintz, founders of 3floz.com, "and it will clog pores and make skin look dull if it's not removed."

"Exfoliation is the key to revealing a radiant and healthy glow," says Amos Lavian, founder of Dermelect Cosmeceuticals. Lavian encourages women to "steer clear of the overly rough, feel-like-sandpaper formulas" and instead opt for a gentle at-home exfoliant two or three times a week.

Try this at home:  Jen Watkins, news anchor for FOX News 1450, loves her homemade (and cheap!) exfoliating mask: 1 tsp yogurt, 1 tsp oatmeal, 1 tsp sour cream and a dash of lemon juice. "It's incredible!"

2Defend your skin against the sun's harsh rays

"When it comes to healthy, beautiful skin, the top three products to use are sun block, sun block and sun block," says plastic surgeon Robert T Grant, author of Cosmetic Surgery. "Use a broad-spectrum product, such as zinc or titanium oxide, that protects against both UVA and UVB rays."

So do not leave the house -- ever -- without first applying sunscreen to your face. "SPF 30+ EVERY DAY," is the mantra of Duff and Mintz. "Even on cloudy days, the sun's rays can damage our skin, causing blemishes and accelerating the aging process."

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3Drink yourself pretty

Hydrated skin is beautiful skin, says Kristen Arnett founder and editor-in-chief of GreenTeamBeauty.com, and drinking water throughout the day will keep skin hydrated, plump and radiant. "The more water you drink, the better you skin will look," say Duff and Mintz. Add even more hydration with occasional spritzes of hydrating mist.

And avoid foods and beverages that dehydrate the skin, cautions Herbalife Outer Nutrition expert Jacquie Carter. "Both caffeine and alcohol accelerate the loss of water from your body, the skin in particular. Excess caffeine and alcohol can be very dehydrating, diminishing the loss of color, smoothness and softness of the skin," says Carter. "And extreme amounts of alcohol can cause broken capillaries under the skin that result in ugly red patches."

Water is so good for your skin, but stop drinking fluids at least two hours before going to bed, says nutrition expert Jacquie Carter. When you consume too much fluid prior to bedtime, you run the risk of waking up puffy, especially under the eyes.

4Take it off and clean it up

"Always, always wash your face before bed," advise Duff and Mintz. "NO EXCUSES!"

Arnett strongly agrees. "Make sure that you wash off all your makeup as well as any environmental dirt before going to bed to allow skin to repair itself without interference from bacteria," says Arnett. "Be gentle. Don't pull, tug, rub or scrub hard at your skin, and avoid using cleansers with harsh detergents that strip the skin of its natural moisture.

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5Never, never, never smoke

Smoking has serious negative effects on the skin, warns Carter: 

  • Smoking robs the skin of much-needed oxygen, producing fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Smoking interferes with the skin's collagen and elastin fibers, causing wrinkling and premature sagging.
  • Repetitive pursing of the lips while inhaling creates lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth.
  • And since nicotine is a diuretic, smoking dries out the skin.

Bottom line: smoking is a major no-no for the skin.

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