Think improving your skin needs to be expensive or complicated? Think again.
It’s no secret we love a good mask treatment around here. But did you know that in addition to a consistent skin care routine, some of the best things you can do for your skin involve no product at all, but rather a few quick and easy lifestyle changes?
Read on for our top tips to transform your skin. Bonus: they’re free to do and you can start today.
Splash with cold water in the A.M.
Starting your day with a blast of cold H20 to the face, feels about as pleasant as it sounds. However, a quick minute of discomfort actually packs some serious benefits for the skin by waking up the circulatory and immune systems.
Your lymphatic immune system has a lot to do with skin health as it sits below the skin. The lymph is responsible for providing nourishment to the skin cells as well as removing toxins and cellular waste. In other words, we want to keep things moving. Similarly, blood supplies nutrients and oxygen to the skin.The cold water signals the skin to jumpstart blood flow, creating a bit of instant rejuvenation.
Sugar affects your skin not just your waistline
Most of us know that eating sugar isn’t great for our health, but what many people don’t realise is that a sugar habit can have some pretty direct consequences for your skin. Because sugar triggers insulin production, excess consumption can interfere with production of proteins, amino acids and other skin building blocks like collagen. When this happens, the skin can start to look depleted and lose elasticity.
According to dermatologists, sugar can also increase acne by weakening the immune system and contributing to hormonal imbalances. A compromised immune system is less able to fight off acne-causing bacteria while hormonal changes can cause the skin to produce excess oil, creating a perfect storm for breakouts to occur.
Another factor to consider is that sugar can dehydrate the body and with it, its largest organ - the skin. Skin that lacks hydration has a tendency to look dull and show more signs of ageing. It also produces more oil to compensate for lack of moisture. With all this in mind, consider cutting back on sugar or ditching it altogether. You might be surprised at how quickly your skin begins to look brighter and more youthful.
Don't soak up too much sun
The sun and exposure to its UV radiation has the ultimate impact on how your skin ages. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, radiation from ultraviolet light can alter DNA and cause skin cancer.
Additionally, studies show that 80 to 85 percent of our ageing is caused by sun exposure. Over time, cumulative sun damage shows up on the skin in the form of wrinkles, rough texture, dark spots and sagging skin.
We can’t avoid the sun altogether and who would want to? But what you can do is practice prevention by limiting time spent in direct sun and always wearing proper sun protection every day, year round. When shopping for a sunscreen look for SPF 30 or higher and always re-apply if you will be outside for extended periods of time.
Good news: Technology continues to evolve with more and more forms of sun protection hitting the market. Some of the latest innovations even include clothing with a built-in SPF factor. Bad news: With so many options now, you’ve really got no excuses.
Get plenty of good sleep
When it comes to sleep and the skin, it turns out we all need our beauty rest. That’s because sleep is the state required for the body to fully rejuvenate and repair on a cellular level. When we are asleep, we are in a deep state of recovery or healing. Tissues repair, hormone levels rebalance and digestive processes reset the body. Without sleep, all of this can quickly become backed up or imbalanced.
Our skin is quick to reflect imbalances in the body. So, if you’ve been skimping on sleep your skin will show it. Tired skin can look dull or blotchy due to a lack of blood flow and oxygenation, which also causes dark circles to appear under the eyes. It can also manifest as dry skin due to a pH imbalance which affects the skin’s ability to moisturise itself.
Chronic lack of sleep over time will age the skin faster, as it needs rest to generate collagen and maintain the structural integrity of our skin. To prevent this from happening, a consistent bedtime is key. Strive to get about eight hours of uninterrupted rest every night.
By now, most of us know that stress impacts the body on many levels, and your skin is one of them. For starters, excess cortisol caused by stress can lead to break down of muscle tissue, thinning skin as well as elevated blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar then causes inflammation to the cells and tissues.
What does this all mean for the skin? Well, inflammation is a condition that can trigger or exacerbate existing conditions like acne, sensitivity, reactivity, redness and uneven skin tone. Less stress is an important key to keeping inflammation levels down and keeping skin irritation at bay.
Stress is inevitable but by regularly incorporating practices like fitness, meditation or really anything that helps you find inner peace, you can better manage stress and keep cortisol levels low. Even a few minutes of deep breathing can make big difference. So go ahead and relax. Your skin will thank you.