You know the saying “beauty is only skin deep”? Well, that may well be when referring to personalities…but when it comes to actual skin…it goes much deeper. Studies have shown that 80% of skin aging is a result of external influences such as diet, lifestyle, pollutants and exposure to sunlight which lead to damage to skin cells. Just like our heart and our lungs…our skin is a major organ of our body and we need to take care of it to ensure it performs at it’s peak.
When your skin is healthy, you feel better and look younger. I have been trying SO hard lately to be better about caring for my skin, because let’s face it….I ain’t gettin’ any younger! :-)
Here are 9 of my favorite tips gleaned from around the web that will help you improve your skin and keep it healthy no matter if you are six, sixteen or sixty-six! And by the way, these aren’t just for women, so men, pay attention too! :-)
#1 Protect Your Skin From The Sun!
One of the most important ways to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems — as well as increase the risk of skin cancer.
For the most complete sun protection:
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. When you’re outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or perspiring.
- Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats.
#2 Don’t Smoke!
Smoking causes premature aging and yellowing of the teeth and skin. The tobacco that is released into the air dries out your skin, while the smoke you inhale constricts the flow of blood to blood vessels, therefore depriving your skin of essential nutrients that your body supplies.
There are also more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, and many of them trigger the destruction of collagen and elastin. These are the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. Smoking or even being around secondhand smoke degrades the building blocks of the skin. The consequences include sagging skin and deeper wrinkles.
#3 Wash and Moisturize REGULARLY.
Recently the good folks at Mary Kay were kind enough to send me a whole box of goodies to try out which THANKFULLY included their TimeWise® Microdermabrasion Set. This couldn’t have come at a better time because like I said above…I’ve really been making a concerted effort to treat my skin better. Since I barely can make time to take my makeup off at night, I especially liked that the TimeWise is Set is such a simple system. Just two steps.
Step 1 is an exfoliator that uses the key exfoliating ingredients which are used by dermatologists, to slough off dead skin and reveal more healthy-looking skin. Step 2 is a serum, containing vitamins, antioxidants and anti-irritants that helps nourish the skin revealed by Step 1! Makes sense!
Result: Reduces the appearance of fine lines, and refines pores. NICE! I just love how gentle it was on my face. Does anyone remember that horrible Apricot Scrub we used to use as teenagers? It was literally apricot pits ground up (and not too finely I might add) that we would then scrub our faces with! Yikes. The exfoliator was so gentle I didn’t even feel anything “abrasive” at all when I rubbed it in. When I rinsed it off I could feel some of it…enough to let me know there was something there working to get that dead skin off.
I also tried the TimeWise Repair™ Volu-Firm™ Eye Renewal Cream which is designed to “reawaken tired eyes and give them a lifted look.” It also targets lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, undereye bags, dark circles, crepiness and dry skin. It’s like they made it exclusively for me! :-) I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and, believe it or not, I have seen a difference…which thrills me…because this is one of the areas I obsess about the most. The eyes are the windows to the soul after all. :-)
Oh…and I can’t forget to mention the really cool built-in applicator! You don’t even have to use your fingers to spread it on. You just squeeze a little out and swipe it on. I’m all for hands-free application!
#4 Get enough sleep.
While you rest, your body is hard at work repairing your skin. Without enough sleep, your skin is unable to repair daily damage. The most important thing you can do for your skin may be getting a great night’s sleep. The ideal amount ranges from six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, time enough to move through the five phases of sleep.
By maintaining a regular sleep pattern, you will feel more energized and your skin will become more healthy and fresher looking.
I really need to take my own advice on this one!!
#5 Eat a Well-Balanced Diet.
You are what you eat. A diet of sugary foods and soda enters your blood stream and binds with protein molecules, which degrades collagen and elastic and can make your skin look wrinkled and saggy. Cut down on simple carbohydrates, increase your vitamin C intake, and when you’re craving something sweet, a small square of dark chocolate will satisfy your sweet tooth and it includes antioxidants that can fight fine lines. WIN-WIN! :-)
Other foods high in anti-oxidants:
- Carrots, apricots, and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables
- Spinach and other green leafy vegetables
- Beans, peas and lentils
- Salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish
#6 Drink lots of water (or at least enough).
Skin cells, like any other cell in the body, are made up of water. Without water, the cells won’t function properly or at their best.
If your skin is not getting a sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will present itself by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky. Dry skin has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling. Drinking at least 8 glasses a day will also help rid the body and skin of toxins
I have been working REALLY HARD at this! And I’m happy to report I am up to 8 glasses a day! :-) Yay me!
#7 Exercise regularly. Even just a little helps!
By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin. In addition to providing oxygen, blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals, from working cells.
Exercise has also been shown to ease stress, and by decreasing stress, some conditions that can be exacerbated by stress can show improvement, including acne and eczema. (See Tip #9 below!)
Regular exercise helps maintain skin elasticity which prevents wrinkles. Even short 30-minute walks during lunch or taking the stairs can improve the look of your skin.
#8 Take Your Vitamins
The ideal way to get the nutrients you need for a radiant complexion is eating a healthy, balanced diet. But taking an over-the-counter daily multivitamin with minerals can also help boost your nutrient intake. It’s also a good idea if you spend a lot of time outdoors or are exposed to high levels of air pollution and secondhand smoke.
#9 Stop Stressing!
HA! This is like asking me to stop BREATHING…but I’m willing to try anything!
A lot of nerve endings are connected to the skin, which wraps around the organs, so emotions can be expressed through the skin just as stress can be expressed through gastrointestinal symptoms, increased anxiety, or hypertension. Plus….when you’re under constant pressure, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which is extremely damaging to the collagen and elastin that keeps your skin looking youthful, and decreases your skin’s ability to repair itself.
Yoga anyone?? :-)