Let’s be completely honest: we all fight with our skin, using weapons that range from expensive beauty products to time-consuming nightly regimens. But when it comes to getting naturally beautiful skin, the most important and effective steps you can take are easy, and they’re all part of your day-to-day life. Here are the top five things you can do to make your skin love you:
Photo Credit: Imma_Thai (http://morguefile.com/creative/Imma_Thai)
- 1. Stay Hydrated
Make sure that you’re drinking water regularly throughout the day, and that you’re drinking it every single day. If your body is thirsty, your skin is too, and you’re more likely to develop wrinkles and a dull complexion. Highly sweetened juices and soda won’t cut it. In fact, they can have the opposite effect and leave your body even thirstier than when you decided you needed a drink. If you get bored easily, spice things up by adding sliced fresh cucumber, lemon juice, or even crushed fresh ginger to your glass of water. They not only add flavour, but have health benefits as well.
Photo Credit: Edumigue (http://morguefile.com/creative/Edumigue)
- 2. Exercise Regularly
What does exercising your muscles do for your face? When you work out, you sweat out lots of toxins that would otherwise be sitting in your pores, clogging them and leading to breakouts. Exercise also improves your blood flow and circulation, which moves more oxygen through your blood to your skin. More oxygen means more nutrients, which will improve the overall look of your skin. If you need further convincing that regular exercise will make your skin sing, consider the stress relief (fewer breakouts!) and the natural oil production (healthy glow!) that also result from your workouts.
Photo Credit: Alvimann (http://morguefile.com/creative/alvimann)
- 3. Eat Well
There’s no question about it—your internal health is reflected in your external appearance. Not only will eating well make you feel better, but your skin will thank you for it too. Research has proven that foods rich in vitamin C and E (think broccoli, mangoes, almonds, flax, and oranges) can protect the skin from both sun damage and aging. Beyond that, foods with high levels of vitamin A (carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers) can help repair and heal skin cells. Whatever you do, make sure you stay away from refined, sugary foods and drinks. On top of having a bad effect on overall health, sugar diminishes skin’s elasticity, as well as hindering the body’s capability to absorb important nutrients like the ones listed above.
Photo Credit: kconnors (http://morguefile.com/creative/kconnors)
- 4. Quit Smoking
If you’re not a smoker, congratulations! We guarantee that your skin loves you a little more than average. If you do smoke, here’s yet another reason you should quit: smoking ages the skin at an alarming rate. How does it do this? Smoking (and more specifically, nicotine) constricts your blood vessels, significantly decreasing the level of oxygen being delivered to your skin. Remember the “more oxygen, more nutrients” benefits of regular exercise? Smoking has the opposite effect on your skin, and then some. You’ll find yourself feeling dried out, and will be much more susceptible to wrinkling and deep-forming lines, as well as a dull, sometimes yellow complexion. And remember, this dryness and wrinkling won’t only happen on your face—so do your whole body a favour and kick the habit!
Photo Credit: cohdra (http://morguefile.com/creative/cohdra)
- 5. Protect Yourself from the Sun
The sun is an amazing thing, and it’s true, we often don’t see enough of it in our colder climate. But as much as you may want to spend your entire summer sitting out under the sun’s hot rays, soaking up as much as you can, try to refrain unless you’re taking all necessary precautions. Apart from the frightening threat of skin cancer, the sun’s UV rays can cause things like freckling, skin discolouration, painful sunburns, and premature wrinkling. So make sure that you always wear sunscreen (don’t forget your face!) and that you don’t spend too much time under the sun when its rays are most powerful, from about 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
What are your secrets for drinking lots of water every day? Have you recently quit smoking? What method did you use? Share your thoughts—we want to know what works for you!
NewBeauty magazine, Spring 2011