Six Easy Steps to Healthier Skin

shutterstock_220704328-1As the body’s largest and most visible organ, our skin also serves as a barrier to the damaging effects of environmental influences.  As it defends against UV exposure, pollution, chemicals etc., our skin takes a beating which shows up in the form of wrinkles, cracks and spots.  Left unchecked, this process can result in health problems and premature aging as well.  While this may sound discouraging, good skincare and healthy lifestyle choices provide a way for us to fight back.  Get started today with these simple, straight forward tips for maintaining healthy skin.

  1. Protect Yourself From The Sun … We have all been told how important this is, which makes it a mystery why so many of us fail to practice this simple tip. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US with well over 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year.  To protect ourselves from the damaging effects of sun exposure, most experts recommend daily use of sunscreen.  Opinions on SPF rating vary, with minimum recommendations ranging from SPF 15-30.  It is also recommended that you choose a sunscreen that says “Broad Spectrum” on the label.  A sunscreen that is Broad Spectrum protects against both UVA & UVB rays, both of which contribute to skin damage and cancer.In addition to using sunscreen, consider wearing hats and protective clothing.  Many outdoor clothing manufacturers offer lightweight, comfortable clothing designed specifically to protect against UV exposure.  Such clothing will be labeled with a UV rating.
  2. Don’t Smoke … In addition to all of its other harmful effects, smoking wreaks havoc on your skin, causing it to wrinkle and look older than it should. It does this by narrowing blood vessels in the outer layers of skin, decreasing blood flow and depriving it of oxygen and nutrients important to health and rejuvenation.  Smoking also damages Collagen and Elastin fibers that give skin elasticity and strength.  If that’s not enough, consider that the repetitive facial expressions used while smoking can contribute to wrinkles and creases.
  3. Get Enough Sleep … It is called “Beauty Rest” for a reason friends. Our sleep time is our body’s opportunity to rejuvenate and refresh.  Ever wonder why your skin looks pale and washed out after a few days with very little sleep?  Lack of sleep lowers circulation and deprives our skin of blood flow and oxygen.  Experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for adults aged 26-64.  Equally as important as getting enough sleep is getting quality sleep.  Stimulants such as caffeine, electronic gadgets and external lights can interfere with the quality of our sleep, diminishing its benefits.  Avoid caffeine late in the day and create a quiet, comfortable environment that allows you to get the most of your precious “Beauty Rest”.
  4. Eat Healthy … A good, balanced diet rich in vitamins and low in unhealthy fats and processed/ refined carbohydrates is thought to promote younger, heathier skin. Additionally it will make you feel better.  When we feel better, we tend to do a better job of taking care of ourselves.  Conversely, when we don’t feel very good we tend to get lazy and overlook important practices that will help break the cycle and make us feel better.  The health of our skin and that of our body’s is closely related, so if it is good for your body you can assume it is good for your skin as well.
  5. Cleanse … Cleansing the skin is one of the least expensive yet most effective ways of keeping it healthy. Proper cleansing acts as the building block for a sound skincare routine by removing oily residue that clogs pores.  It leaves the skin fresh, clean and ready to absorb other skincare products more effectively.  Avoid all-purpose soaps, as most are too harsh for delicate facial skin and will leave it dry and irritated.  Instead, use a professional facial cleanser specifically designed to be gentle on the skin while still able to effectively address the task of cleaning clogged pores.  To take things a step further, consider immediately following cleansing with a toning product.  A good Toner will remove any remaining bits of dirt and oil and help restore the skins delicate PH balance.  Cleansing and toning is quick and easy and the products are normally inexpensive.  Tip … Look for a package deal that includes both a cleanser and toner at a discounted price.
  6. Moisturize … Dry skin heals less effectively and forms small cracks that make it more susceptible to the damaging effects of sun exposure and environmental irritants. A good moisturizer will limit such issues and make your skin look and feel more healthy and vibrant.  There are daily moisturizers available that also include sunscreen and other beneficial ingredients, allowing you to address multiple skincare basics with a single product.

In addition to the tips outlined in this article, there are a number of other things you can do to promote healthy skin and help delay the signs of aging.  Our goal here was to present the important basics and hopefully help get you started on a path toward healthier skin.  If you would like to learn more about how to take control of your skins health, we invite you to browse through some of our other articles.  If there is a topic you would like to see us cover in a future article or if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.