Seven Best Habits For Beautiful Skin
When it comes to habits, if you do something once, it's a mistake. If you do something twice, it's a pattern. They say if you do something three times, you've set a habit. Sometimes getting into the swing of things can be difficult, but when it comes to taking care of your skin, following through with a planned course of action can have maximum impact on a healthy outcome.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Water hydrates your body and provides nourishment to your skin. Skin that is well-hydrated appears firmer and tighter. Water helps our body flush all those toxins out of your system, so drink a large glass when you first wake up. It sounds counterintuitive, but you should also drink eight ounces before you go to bed at night to kick-start that process while you sleep.
2. Speaking of Sleep
Beauty sleep isn't just an old wives' tale. Your skin goes through the process of healing and regenerating while you sleep. A special growth hormone is secreted while you're sawing logs that helps your body to replenish, replace, and rebuild tissue like the collagen that gives skin its youthful lift. Research shows that a lack of sleep contributes to periorbital hyperpigmentation. That's the dark circles you get when you wake up tired and look like you have raccoon eyes. One study concluded that sleep deprived people appear less healthy, less attractive, and more tired compared with when they are well rested. Not getting enough sleep will exacerbate whatever stress you have, and no one wants to encourage worry lines!
3. Limit Your Sun Exposure
No one can blame you for wanting to soak up those rays. Afterall, vitamin D is necessary, right? It is, but you don't need very much sun to get a sufficient amount. Experts recommend about 10 minutes a day in the midday sun if you're fair-skinned. That is all you need to meet your daily D requirements. Any more than that and you're looking to cause trouble for your skin. Too much time in the sun drastically increases your chances of skin cancer. It also can age the skin far beyond its years. Over time, the sun's ultraviolet light damages the elastin fibers (responsible for the skin's ability to maintain its shape), causing the skin to stretch and sag. Sun damage can also cause the skin to bruise and tear more easily. And who wants to talk about age spots? Those are the dark patches that occur on areas that take the biggest hit of sunlight. They're the result of melanin, which is produced as a defense mechanism, clumping together as we get older. You don't need to become a vampire, just be smart about your time outside. Try to avoid being in direct sun between the "high noon" hours of 10am and 12pm. Lather on a generous portion of a broad-spectrum sunblock (which protects against UVB and UVA light) with an SPF of 30 or more. Apply it 30 minutes before going outside to give it time to soak in, and then re-apply it every two hours - more if you're swimming or sweating. Some cosmetics contain some form of SPF, but usually in a concentration not effective enough to provide the right amount of protection. More and more clothing companies have offerings with an ultraviolet protection factor built in, usually in materials that are fashionable, comfortable, and cool. Don't rely just on sunglasses alone, they'll only go so far. You'll want to wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover both your face and the back of your neck.
4. Follow a Good, Solid Routine
The products that you choose as your allies in your skin care battle are almost as important as the foods that you eat, but there are a lot of differing opinions out there and a dizzying number of products. To start, choose products designed for your particular skin type. If you're unsure of what that may be, or where to even begin looking, consult your dermatologist. There's no reason to overcomplicate things. There really are three main steps to a solid skin care program: cleansing, toning (which balances), and moisturizing. Moisturizers slow down water loss through the top layers of skin and help to strengthen the skin barrier. Follow your skin care regimen religiously both day and night, giving the products time before you decide they're not working for you. It can take a month or two before you start to see positive results, and sometimes your skin will go through an acclimation period before it settles in with the program.
5. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
The foods we eat nourish our skin from the inside out. Paying attention to your diet is one of the most important things you can do to show your skin you care. Good foods will help to hydrate your skin and give it the building blocks it needs to glow. Antioxidants (vitamins and minerals that help to combat free radicals) are the best resources your skin has to fight aging, as they reduce cellular damage and inflammation. You can ensure you're getting all the antioxidants you need by eating a variety of foods of all colors. Avoid toxins in the foods that you eat by choosing organic. Stay away from processed sugars and carbohydrates, as well as unhealthy fats. Those foods are associated with cellular damage and promote skin aging.
6. Limit Your Intake
"It may make us feel good, but alcohol is a hepatotoxin," Dr. David Colbert, founder of New York Dermatology Group told Huffpost. A hepatotoxin is something that damages the liver. "It's a toxin to the cells that detoxify your body," he explains. What does that mean for your skin? "One way to look at it," Dr. Colbert said, "is to ask what does someone look like who is dying of liver failure? They're sallow, they're pasty, they're cold, their pores are huge." On top of that, alcohol is hugely dehydrating, giving your skin a sad, not-so-fresh appearance the next day.