Real Talk: Actually Better Skin in 5 Steps

I’d like to confess to being a subway starer. I’ll be scrolling on my phone or sipping an iced coffee and WHAM! some glamour goddess will enter my subway car and before I know it I have to tell myself to look away because it’s been a few seconds of focused observation. While a good pair of shoes or impressive mani will always catch my eye (sometimes I will literally make a note to try some new trend when I get home), mostly it’s make-up-less ladies with glowing skin that I most publicly envy. We all know the ones I’m talking about. I immediately start thinking of what I can do to acquire their effortless, hydrated skin. Nothing is more gorgeous than a healthy, natural (ie: no fake n’bake, no cancer-enhancers, no blue light bath, no tanning beds!) glow, and Summer is the sexiest season for a reason. Here are a few ways to keep your body’s largest organ in check and to start looking like the glowy lady on the train in no time.

1. Wash away dehydration

I am not good at remembering to drink water. I’ll gulp it down at brunch when I’m served an icy glass alongside a Bloody Mary, but I need to get better at bringing some water along to idly sip as I type or watch TV. Drinking water, every day, is one of those cure-all things that only some of us do. If you bring up the subject of good hydration at the water (sorry) cooler, you’ll get a variety of claims that h2o solves all. For relief from migraines or intestinal issues to mental clarity and achy limbs, water is what our body craves more than anything else. It makes sense that a lack of it would show up on our skin, and by flushing out impurities and keeping our bodies hydrated on the inside, it just makes sense that it would reflect on the outside.

2. Wear sunscreen

Don’t skip this one! I know mentioning sunscreen is like mentioning to sleep if you’re tired (oh, by the way– sleep if you’re tired!), but it really, really does need repeating. I’m willing to bet we all read about the dangers of the sun on our naked skin close to once a week before we go out SPF-less just the same. Not wearing sunscreen will become like smoking in that, in a few years, our children will regard it as a rotten habit that can give us all sorts of life-shortening diseases. With so many BB and CC creams as well as countless oil-free colorless sticks that you can throw in your tote or clip to your keychain, there’s no excuse not to screen up. You will still tan! Here, have a Coppertone coupon.

3. Neutralize free radicals

Ah, one of those terms we hear and nod at vaguely. Anne Chapas, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine, explains that a free radical is a molecule “whose naturally paired electrons have been split up.” The unpaired electron will then angrily try to pair up again, but “the electron it steals might come from a healthy cell in your body, leaving it damaged.” Doctors say that these free radicals are responsible for the breakdown and weakening of healthy skin, most notably on our face and exposed areas as everything from pollution to sunlight can kick free radicals into overdrive. “If a cell is damaged by free radicals, it wants to repair itself,” says Chapas. To outrun the damage, incorporate lots and lots of antioxidants into your diet (more red wine and iced green tea? Uh, done.), which neutralize free rads. Loading up on Vitamin E is essential as well.

4. Don’t be mean!

So many products tout lavish exfoliating properties, yet some are just plain mean to our most delicate skin. If you’re using a scrub to slough off your daily grime, make sure it says “for face” on it (or check the ingredients for the following). A lot of scrubs that are designed for our bodies, backs, legs, etc. include apricot seeds or walnut shells, ie: particles with jagged edges and will micro-tear our faces. Scrubs with “moisture beads” (tiny soap orbs), sugar or sea salt will melt and dissolve into water and, when buffed onto the face in circular motions, will effectively remove dead skin without irritation. Your bright, tight face will thank you.

5. Goodnight, Clean Prince

In college I vowed to never, ever go to bed with make-up on or teeth unbrushed, with absolutely no, not any, exceptions. This has meant a lot of face wash quickies and speed-brushes, but I am proud to say I have adhered 100% faithfully. So when I found traces of mascara and bronzer on my pillowcase, I was perplexed and sad. It turns out my popular name brand face wash was lying to me, and that there most definitely remained some product on my bedtime-ready face. Afraid of overwashing and drying out my skin, I looked for products that included super dissolver witch hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana if you’re looking at labels) or gunk-lifting aloe vera. I switched my products out and wake up to pillowcase raccoon eyes no longer.

There’s our real-talk skincare round up! Comment below and let me know what your daily practice is for keeping your healthy glow intact. See you on the subway!