I'm not a pro, like most of guys here are, but I'd say it's the same thing that ppl do to face retouch - just a surface blur filter, and then play with the light to make it look like it has an ambient glow.
I might be wrong tho
Chuckarelei wrote: That's not what op was asking, not skin softener. The skin on the two images are not even close.
I find it interesting that you have time to try correcting others, but don't take the time to answer the original question.. You are no doubt a talented artist, so take a moment to explain how you would achieve this effect, that's why these forums are here.
As for my previous post, I never said the skin in the two images were the same.. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but last I heard, "Polished Skin" meant flawless, smooth, exfoliated, without blemish, Porcelain-like, etc... Aside from a difference in lighting and levels, both images have that effect. Now, if I wanted my models to look like a vampire, Id post something like this
*this image was taken with a cell phone and was only posted for its comical nature... still, it was edited with the same skin softener
Back to the topic, I only suggest a plug in to save a little time. Nothing beats PS' cloning and healing tools, along with playing with the curves and levels to achieve the desired effect. It helps a lot if the model has been airbrushed and if you have your lighting correct during the shoot...