While some factors contributing to our skin’s health are out of our control, there are a number of basic things you can change in your daily life to achieve healthier, younger-looking skin.
Let’s face it… we’re all busy. Maintaining a rigorous and time-consuming skin care regimen is sometimes just not possible. Fortunately, there are a number of easy lifestyle changes you can make that will help delay the aging process and prevent many common skin problems.
Following these seven simple tips will get you well on your way to clearer, radiant, more beautiful skin.
1. Minimize Exposure to the Sun and Harmful UV Rays
Protecting your skin from the sun is one of the simplest, but most important, things you can do to minimize the natural effects of aging.
Sun exposure is one of the primary reasons for skin problems and premature aging. In fact, exposure to harmful UV rays accumulated over a lifetime causes most of the unwanted changes associated with aging, such as wrinkles, age spots, freckles, and rough, dry skin. But the negative effects of sun exposure go beyond purely cosmetic issues. These harsh UV rays found in natural sunlight and tanning beds often cause much more serious health problems, such as skin cancer.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays?
Use protection as part of your daily facial skin care regime. Plenty of moisturizers and makeup on the market offer SPF 15 or SPF 30 factor sun protection. Try to incorporate these products into your daily skin care regime, making a habit of healthy skin protection year-round. Remember—even on a cloudy day, the sun can still damage your skin.
Minimize exposure to the sun during prime hours. The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to stay inside or avoid the sun during these hours, when the most damage can be done to the skin.
Cover yourself. No one can completely avoid the sun during its strongest hours. But you can still protect yourself from direct exposure to the sun by staying in the shade, and covering your skin as much as possible with tightly woven clothing and hats. In fact, special clothing has been specifically designed to block harmful UV rays while keeping wearers cool and comfortable.
Use sunscreen. Make a habit of applying generous amounts of sunscreen at least thirty minutes prior to sun exposure, no matter how long or short you plan to be out. While in the sun, you should reapply your sunscreen every two hours, or after sweating or being exposed to water.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
We’ve all heard them say it—“you are what you eat.” When it comes to taking good care of your skin, this is no exception! There are countless reasons for maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Eating right and drinking plenty of water are crucial steps to give your skin a clear, healthy, and youthful appearance.
It’s important to eat a well-balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, such as tofu and sunflower seeds. Research suggests that maintaining a diet low in fats and carbohydrates and rich in vitamin C contributes to healthy skin. You can even take a daily multi vitamin to ensure your skin is getting all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and beautiful.
Hydrating your skin is just as important as ensuring it receives necessary nutrients from a well-balanced diet. You should drink six to eight glasses of water every day to ensure your skin remains moist, invigorated, soft, and supple. Good skin hydration also fights off developing blemishes and wrinkles by maintaining the skin’s elasticity.
3. Exercise Regularly
Our skin is the largest and most versatile organ of the body. Exercising regularly helps cleans the skin of harmful toxins, and maintains the skin’s elasticity, preventing wrinkles. Exercise is also good for your body in general, contributing to a low amount of body fat and less oil in the skin, reducing the presence of acne and blemishes.
4. Control Stress
Stress is a normal part of life. But too much stress in your daily life can make the skin more sensitive, triggering breakouts of acne, psoriasis, and other skin problems. In fact, stress has been directly linked to acne. When you’re stressed, the skin’s barrier and your immune system are weakened. This decreases the skin’s ability to fend off harmful irritants and bacteria, causing breakouts. The more stressed you are, the more likely you are to have skin problems, especially if you’re prone to them.
Research has proven that reducing tension and anxiety in your daily life can help to control breakouts. Clearing up your skin can be as easy as making a few little lifestyle changes! Control stress in your life by determining what your top priorities really are, managing your time well, and making sure to always save time to relax and do the things you really enjoy. Many people also find taking up a hobby such as Tai Chi or Yoga helps reduce stress and lead to a clearer complexion!
Taking steps to manage your stress will promote a healthy state of mind and, in turn, healthy skin.
During busy times, it may seem that sleep is the easiest part of your daily routine to cut, freeing up more time for other things. But they don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing. Getting enough sleep is even more important for your health than you may think! Depriving yourself of sleep has a direct effect on the appearance of your body and skin. Maintaining a consistent, healthy sleep pattern is crucial for a healthy body and mind.
During sleep is the body’s time to restore itself and re-energize. If you don’t allow enough time for your body to recharge, you can wind up with dark circles and bags under your eyes and, in the long run, dull skin and limp, lifeless hair.
Our bodies need seven to eight hours of sleep every night. While it can sometimes be difficult to set aside the necessary amount of time with a busy schedule, never underestimate the benefits of a good, old-fashioned power nap! Research has shown that taking a fifteen to thirty minute nap approximately eight hours after waking up is even more beneficial for the body and skin than an extra hour of sleep in the morning.
By maintaining a regular sleep pattern, you will feel more energized, your mind will remain sharper and more alert, and your skin will become healthy and fresher looking.
6. Avoid Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products
Smoking rapidly accelerates the effects of aging on the skin. Inhaling smoke decreases blood flow, depriving skin of oxygen and important nutrients, such as vitamin A, that are essential for healthy skin. In fact, even second-hand exposure to smoke contributes to wrinkles, loss of elasticity, decreased strength, and discoloration of the skin. Once the collagen and elastins in your skin are damaged, there’s no getting them back.
So what’s the best way to protect yourself from the harmful effects of smoke on the skin? If you’re a smoker, you can ask your doctor for tips and treatments to help you quit smoking. If you find yourself regularly surrounded by friends or family members that smoke, you should encourage them to drop the unhealthy habit and, in the mean time, avoid being in confined areas with people that are smoking,
7. Be Kind to Your Skin!
The most basic rule you can follow for healthy skin is just to be nice! We tend to abuse our skin with such things as excess sun exposure, tanning beds, pore-clogging makeup, junk food, cigarettes, daily shaving, and sleep deprivation.
While some things are unavoidable, here are some simple things you can change in your daily life that will have a drastic impact on your skin’s health!
Use an oil-free or essential oil-based moisturizer. Applying a moisturizer after a warm face wash or shower is one of the best things you can do to restore natural moisture to the skin and maintain a healthy, radiant complexion. There are plenty of moisturizers on the market, so just find the one that fits your skin type! Just be sure to always use an oil-free or essential oil-based moisturizer, particularly on the face, to prevent greasy skin and breakouts.
Cleans skin regularly. Cleansing your face daily, in the morning, and again before bed, clears your face of any accumulated dirt and dust. Nighttime is when your skin rejuvenates itself, so cleansing before bed is a crucial part of a healthy skin care regime to avoid congestion and built-up toxins in the pores.
Choose the right cleanser. While cleansing several times a day is important, just any cleanser won’t do. When you choose a cleanser, make sure it’s not too drying, especially in the winter, or carries too much oil, especially in the summer. Soaps and other stringent cleansers can suck the healthy oils out of your skin, actually causing your skin to produce even more oil than normal to compensate. Avoid these at all costs, and choose a milder alternative. Try to find good oil-free or essential oil-based products that will leave your face clean and refreshed, not tight, dry, or with an oily residue.
Exfoliate. Regardless of your skin type, it’s important to exfoliate at least one or two times per week. This aids the skin renewal process, and improves the elasticity of the skin, in turn making the skin appear younger, clearer, and healthier. Exfoliating is key to maintaining that “youthful glow” in your skin!
Limit shower time. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin, drying it out and stripping it of collagen and elastins. Limit your bath and shower time and always use warm, not hot, water. When drying off following a shower, it’s important to gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel, never rub, to ensure that some moisture remains on your skin.
Shave carefully. When shaving, always apply a shaving cream, lotion, or gel to lubricate the skin. It’s important to use a clean, sharp razor for the closest shave, and to shave in the direction that hair grows, and not against it.
Incorporating these simple steps into your daily routine can have drastic effects. Just give them a try—your skin will thank you!