There is no one great secret to maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin. The skin is a living organ that reflects your lifestyle and general health, so years of neglect or just a few suboptimal habits will show on your skin. But it is never too late to make a change towards healthier, glowing skin.
So, what are the most important habits to adopt for your optimal skin health? Here are 15 tips for lifestyle changes that will help you achieve beautiful skin:
1. GET YOUR SLEEP
Aim for a good 8 hours of sleep every night. When we sleep our bodies produce HGH, the human growth hormone, which kick-starts cell division that is essential to skin renewal and repair. During sleep our skin cells rebuild collagen and repair damage from UV exposure, fighting back wrinkles and age spots.
Lack of sleep, on the other hand, increases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and puts your skin at a higher risk of breakouts and general irritation. Create the optimal conditions for a good night’s sleep, and your skin will thank you.
2. MANAGE YOUR STRESS
Multiple neuroinﬂammatory skin conditions can be triggered or aggravated by stress hormones, such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne, contact dermatitis, alopecia areata, itching, and erythema. Chronic stress has also been shown to have a detrimental effect on skin aging. The good news is that you have the power to reverse these effects.
“Some skin conditions that can be exacerbated by stress can show some improvement when reducing stress”, says Brian B. Adams, MD and associate professor, and director of the Sports Dermatology Clinic of the University of Cincinnati. Take time to unplug & recharge, focus on activities you genuinely enjoy, that bring peace to your mind and love in your heart.
3. DRINK WATER
Properly hydrating the body by drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day is one of the easiest and cheapest lifestyle changes you can make. It promotes skin health, good digestion, and helps maintain a healthy weight.
Getting the heart rate up will increase blood circulation, which in turn will deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the skin - thus boosting skin metabolism. Blood flow also helps remove toxins and free radicals from your cells. Finally, exercise is an effective way to combat stress and its effects on the skin.
5. DON’T JUST EAT GREEN – EAT COLORFULLY
You truly are what you eat! Nourish your skin by eating a mix of colorful fruit and vegetables - at least 5 portions a day. Fruit and vegetables contain natural antioxidants that help to protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Incorporating a variety of different colored vegetables and fruits in your diet is an easy way to make sure you get a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. For example, red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene, a powerful skin antioxidant, while orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene.
Getting 5 servings of greens every day can be challenging so try to incorporate them into your breakfast to get a head start. An effortless way is to blend a mix of veggies, fruit, and berries into a filling smoothie. And to try out new recipes to keep up a fun variety in your daily meals like e.g., like spinach and red pepper frittata, pumpkin pancakes, overnight carrot cake oats, or breakfast squash muffins.
6. INCREASE YOUR OMEGA 3 INTAKE
Focus on getting more Omega 3’s and increase your skin's hydration from within. Flax, hemp and chia seeds and walnuts are great sources, as well as fatty fish such as herring, sardines, and salmon. Just 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed in your smoothie or your morning oats is enough to make a difference.
Try a new breakfast recipe: toasted wholewheat bread with smoked salmon and avocado, with some chia seeds to top it off. Add a fresh fruit juice and you’re ready for your day.
7. GET ENOUGH VITAMINS
Your skin thrives on a mix of vitamins, but most people do not get enough vitamins through their regular diet. Vitamin C is vital for the growth, development, and repair of all body tissues and is involved in many body functions, including the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
Boost your Vitamin C intake and get more radiant and resilient skin in the process. Citrus fruits, papaya, kiwi, and broccoli are great sources of Vitamin C.
Vitamin A is also essential to our skin and body health. Vitamin A helps protect skin against UV damage, encourages the production of new skin cells, and stimulates collagen production, reducing wrinkles and slowing skin aging. Vitamin A can be found in many healthy food options, but also in the form of retinoids in natural skincare products. Finally, Vitamin E is also essential and has anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties, as well as reduces UV damage to the skin.
8. ALWAYS, ALWAYS USE SUN PROTECTION
Spending time outside in the sun is fun and important for your mental well-being. But sunlight is also the number one cause of skin aging and skin cancer. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation cause burning, skin dryness, and collagen breakdown which all lead to premature wrinkles.
UV light triggers the production of melanin, the dark pigment that protects the skin but can also lead to uneven skin pigmentation (“sunspots”). The most concerning effects of UV radiation are the structural changes it can trigger on a cellular level, leading to various forms of skin cancer.
That is why it is so important to protect your skin from UV radiation from an early age and get in the habit of applying sunscreen every single day. Find a mineral-based sunscreen that you like and make it part of your daily skincare routine. During the summer months wear a hat and stay in the shade when the sun is at its strongest. And remember, stimulating your body’s vitamin D production is no excuse for skipping sunscreen.
“There are claims that one needs to get a certain amount of sun exposure every day in order to produce enough vitamin D to be healthy. It’s just not true. The majority of people can get their vitamin D from nutritional supplements and from vitamin D-fortified foods” - says David J. Leffell, MD, Yale Medicine dermatologist and chief of Dermatologic Surgery.
9. WASH YOUR FACE TWICE DAILY
A good skincare routine begins with a clean face. Pollution, dirt, sweat, and make-up should be removed so that the skin is ready for nourishing treatments and creams. Always thoroughly clean your face with a gentle cleansing product before going to bed, and in the mornings a quick rinse with water may be enough. If your skin is sensitive, or just dryer during the colder winter months, use a facial cleanser that is formulated for distressed skin and that will reduce irritation and inflammation.
10. DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE
Keep your hands off your face and if needed, only touch skin with clean hands. It is surprisingly difficult as we tend to touch our faces a lot. Not touching your face will minimize the spread of infections, but it will also prevent blemishes and breakouts. And get in the habit of cleaning your phone daily, as touchscreens contain considerable amounts of microbes that will ultimately end up on your face.
11. CLEAN YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES
Fresh make-up should be applied with clean brushes. Brushes and sponges hold onto oils, minerals, and moisture – a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Clean your make-up tools at least twice a month - and once a week if used for liquid make-up – using a mild shampoo or face cleanser. Not only will your skin be cleaner, but your brushes will last longer, and the application will be more flawless as well.
12. HAVE A CONSISTENT SKINCARE ROUTINE
Taking good care of your skin does not necessarily mean that you must have a complex routine. Be consistent and stick to something you are likely to repeat every day. The most important steps to implement daily are cleansing with a gentle cleanser, moisturizing with facial cream, and using an SPF30 sunscreen to protect the skin from external stressors.
Once a week, it is also important to exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and deeper impurities, and an adaptable exfoliating treatment is the best way to do address your skin’s changing needs. A good skincare routine also means paying attention to how your skin is feeling at a particular time of year or month, and adapting your skincare products to suit this.
13. PAMPER YOUR SKIN OCCASIONALLY
Now and then your skin deserves some extra love. It may in the form of a weekly at-home pampering session with dedicated products, a trip to a spa or beautician, or buying that sun damage reversing serum after spending a day in the sun?
Give your skin a hydration boost with a moisturizing mask and nourish it with a facial oil so that it is deeply hydrated, supple, and does not feel tight. 3 to 4 times a year, you can also do a targeted skin treatment with highly potent products, like NUORI’s Supreme-C Serum Treatment. Nourish and pamper your skin with caring attention and you will have glowing skin to show for it.
14. MINIMIZE SKIN DAMAGING BEHAVIOR
By now we know that we should avoid excessive sunlight, alcohol, smoking, excessive sugar, and fatty foods for our skin to thrive. But it is unrealistic to think we can completely avoid all behavior and environments that damage skin.
You might live in a polluted big city, or be exposed to passive smoking, or just want to indulge once in a while. Do not fret. Our skin has an amazing ability to heal itself and using the right skincare products will support this natural healing process.
15. USE GOOD QUALITY, NATURAL SKINCARE
Skincare products can support your healthy lifestyle choices by providing an additional supply of nutrients and protection your skin needs to look and be healthy. But not all skincare products are created equal! Always choose quality over quantity.
Cheap skin care products are usually full of synthetic ingredients, mineral oil (petroleum) derivates, and cheap preservatives that do more harm than good in the long term. Instead look for all-natural skincare products that are formulated using only natural ingredients or nature-identical, clean molecules. Not only are natural beauty better for your skin health, but they are also much better for the environment.