10 Tips To Improve Your Skin's Health
When it comes to health, mental and physical wellness are top of mind. You work out, eat clean and keep stress in check. But, what do you do for your skin?
Read on for top tips for keeping your skin strong and healthy.
1. Drink Water
Drinking water may not directly impact your skin’s hydration levels, but it does benefit your largest organ indirectly. Your body requires proper hydration to carry out key functions that support healthy skin. When hydrated, it can move along beneficial fluids more effectively and flush unwanted toxins, helping to minimize inflammation and support your skin’s moisture barrier. Water is also essential to the production of structural proteins like collagen and elastin that keep your skin strong, plump and elastic. So, while eight glasses of water a day may not be the miracle cure you’re looking for, it does help you maintain a healthy, youthful looking complexion.
2. Load Up on Antioxidants
Antioxidants are naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that fight free radicals by donating an electron, thereby reducing their reactivity and protecting the skin from damage. Your body produces antioxidants naturally, but you can also find them in everyday foods like berries and leafy greens, as well as surprising sources like coffee and popcorn. Here are some common antioxidants that are beneficial for your skin and the foods they can be found in:
- Vitamin C: Most fruits and vegetables, especially berries, oranges and capsicums
- Vitamin A: Milk, butter and eggs
- Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds and leafy greens
- Beta-carotene: Brightly colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, mangoes and spinach
- Lycopene: Red and pink fruits and vegetables like watermelon and tomatoes
- Lutein: Leafy greens, corn, papaya and oranges
- Anthocyanin: Purple-colored foods like blueberries, pomegranates and beets
- Catechins: Green tea, dark chocolate, berries
3. Embrace Healthy Fats
Other key components of healthy skin are essential fatty acids (EFAs) like omega-3 (linolenic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid). These healthy fats serve as the building blocks of healthy cell membranes and are an integral component of the skin’s moisture barrier. In addition to helping the skin retain moisture and absorb beneficial vitamins and minerals, a healthy lipid barrier keeps out irritants that can cause dryness and inflammation.
4. Limit Sun Exposure
One of the greatest threats to healthy skin is sun exposure. UV rays are the prime cause of melanoma, which the Skin Cancer Foundation cites as the most common - and most dangerous - form of skin cancer. Sun damage can cause the skin to take on a leathery appearance, punctuated by the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles. Over time, age and liver spots also emerge due to sun damage that has accumulated over many years of exposure. In addition to protecting your skin with SPF, incorporate high quality after-care products into your routine to improve your chances of minimising damage.
5. Limit your Sugar Intake
Sugar is one of the worst offenders for ageing your skin. Remember free radicals? In a process called glycation, sugar bonds with proteins to produce those same unstable molecules. Free radicals not only destroy collagen and elastin (structural proteins that keep your skin strong and supple) but also prevent your body from producing more. Without these essential building blocks, your skin loses its strength and elasticity, and fine lines and wrinkles begin to set in.
6. Avoid Stress
From accelerating the aging process to increasing sensitivity and causing flare-ups, stress has an unfortunate way of showing up right where you don’t want it: on your skin. One way stress impacts your skin is by triggering the release of cortisol (aptly called the “stress hormone”). High cortisol levels accelerate the aging process by breaking down collagen and elastin; they also signal your skin to produce more oil, contributing to the development of acne. During times of stress, your body also releases inflammatory chemicals like interleukins as part of its fight or flight response. While inflammation is necessary to protect your health, it can exacerbate already uncomfortable skin conditions.
7. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can do wonders for maintaining and improving the health of your skin. A sweaty workout raises your heart rate and increases blood circulation, which is necessary to deliver oxygen and essential vitamins and nutrients to your cells. Exercising regularly can also counteract the ageing process by reducing cortisol levels and activating the release of healing endorphins. One thing to keep in mind: Always cleanse your skin after a workout. Sweating is your skin’s natural way of detoxing but without a proper wash, any toxins that have been released can seep back into your pores.
8. Try a Digital Detox
One of the recent top spa and wellness trends is to disconnect from your devices - especially before bed. Why? MindBodyGreen explains: “Shutting off electronics and light can help your body do what it needs to do in the evening: produce melatonin and wind down to go to sleep.” During REM sleep is the optimal time for your skin to repair and regenerate: Melatonin counteracts environmental damage, Human Growth Hormone accelerates cell regeneration and your body’s stem cells reproduce at a quicker rate.
9. Get 8 Hours of Sleep
Getting enough sleep is just as essential as disconnecting before bed. In fact, studies reveal that lack of sleep contributes to more fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone and less elasticity. By getting enough hours of sleep, you give your body enough time to perform the functions that keep your skin healthy.
10. Use Natural Skincare
One of the best things you can do for your skin is to incorporate natural ingredients and products into your skin care routine. Choosing natural skin care ensures that you are not exposing your skin to harsh chemicals that can disrupt its moisture barrier and cause irritation and dryness.