Most people would likely tell you that at some point in their lives they have struggled with bad skin. Due to various reasons – some most definitely in our control – we can experience unsettling breakouts and flare-ups of skin conditions. But when you notice the first signs of aging, what are you prepared to do to tackle your skincare head-on?
- Manage stress
Stress is a huge underestimated factor linked to premature aging, and also connected to accelerated aging of the skin. We have understood for decades that psychological stress aggravates the skin through inflammatory factors and increases key stress hormones, such as cortisol.
Controlling our stress levels can be done in many ways, here are some management suggestions:
- Daily exercise – even a walk will help!
- Breathwork, mindfulness, or meditation
- Prioritizing sleep – minimum 7 hours
- Improving your mental health
According to Harvard Health, the relationship between the skin and stress is much more complex than previously thought. It has now been found that if your skin experiences environmental stress, through increased temperatures or ultraviolet light, it sends additional signals to your body in response to this stress! Likely not what you expected to hear… One of the ways this compounding effect can be managed, then, is by staying out of direct sunlight.
- Avoid unprotected time in the sun
Spending time in the exposed sun is a very quick way to see premature aging, cause skin damage, and promote wrinkling. If it seems like an easy tip, that’s because it is! Avoid the tanning trend and cover your face with a hat (the wider the better) when you’re in the sun. If you’ll be spending more hours walking, hiking, working or adventuring outdoors, wear a long-sleeve shirt and other clothing items that will provide a protective layer for your skin.
- Wash your face daily
At the end of the day, especially after sweating and exercising, it is crucial that you wash your face. By removing dirt and oil with a gentle cleanser, your skin will not have to fight off dirty bacteria bound to disturb your skin health. Plus, investing in a cleanser with natural extracts and antioxidants can help restore some essential nutrients and vitamins to your facial skin. Do this daily to avoid build-up and stressed skin!
- Eat well
Introducing skin-friendly foods into your daily diet is a fantastic way to ensure that you’re nourishing your skin with nutrients that are going to be making a difference! Antioxidant-rich foods are great, as well as fruits and vegetables. Specifically, yellow and orange foods are considered to promote healthy skin, as well as tomatoes, berries, beans and legumes, and nuts.
At the same time, it is also important to reduce your consumption of foods that are harmful to the body. Processed foods and items high in refined sugars should be avoided, as well as dairy which is inflammatory.
- Consider chemicals you’re putting into your body
This next tip might have you questioning a lot, but it is around challenging your daily use of chemicals. Thinking about your cigarette use and consumption of alcohol might not be on your list of priorities. But if you’re concerned about preserving your skin and preventing aging as best you can, thinking about your ingestion of chemicals is vital.
We know that cigarettes are bad for us, but just not how terrible… The same is true for alcohol, as both of these chemicals wreak havoc on our organs – including our largest one: our skin. Increased inflammation, dehydration on a molecular level, worsened outbreaks, skin pigmentation, and impaired wound healing are just some of the nasty side effects of unmanaged alcohol and cigarette use.
- Drink more water
This has got to be the easiest way to improve skin health – how simple! Did you know that in the U.S., 75% of adults are chronically dehydrated? Ensuring that you drink enough water is key to maintaining the elasticity and blood flow of your skin, impacting circulation, skin vibrancy, color, and cell generation. Not only are you more likely to experience clogged pores and dry skin from a lack of water, but unfortunately, this also leads to sagging skin and fine wrinkles.
- Sleep well
Improving your sleeping habits is one way to ensure that your body is working as efficiently as possible to remove toxins and unwanted elements within your cell structures. There are great resources and sleep experts, such as Matthew Walker’s excellent TedTalk, to aid sleep health. There are many small tweaks you can make to improve your sleep, such as choosing thinner, cooler sleeping clothes, adjusting the darkness of your bedroom, reducing distractions, and minimizing your screen time a couple of hours before bed. If sleep is not your friend – be sure to do some research. The essential takeaway is to recognize the critical restorative nature that sleep provides – your next best beauty tip!