TOP TEN HEALTHY SKIN HABITS YOU SHOULD KNOW
1. PROTECT YOUR SKIN FROM THE SUN
Your skin is a terrific historian. Many of the lasting undesirable changes that occur have a common ingredient in the mix: the SUN. It’s easy to see what the sun has done to your skin over time. Compare the skin on the inside of your arm with that on the outside of your arm. If you’re like most people, the skin on the inside is smooth, clear, firm, and unmarked, while the skin on the outside is freckled, dry, finely lined, and possibly dotted with brown spots. And those are just the cosmetic effects.
Years of advertising have taught us to love the look of a tan. What you may not realise, is that the colour you see as a tan is the body’s reaction to this injury. There’s nothing “healthy” or pretty about damaged skin. The most important thing you can do to keep your skin looking young and healthy, is to always protect your skin from the sun. Slather your skin with a broad- spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen and apply it often. It’s the ultimate wrinkle cream.
2. DON’T SMOKE
Smoking literally affects the structure of the skin. Into the body by way of the bloodstream, smoking delivers thousands of toxins including carbon monoxide, nicotine, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, and tar. It causes skin’s blood vessels to constrict, impairing circulation and the delivery of oxygen to skin tissue. It reduces skin’s ability to form collagen and causes elastin to thicken and break apart.
Smoking generates a tremendous number of free radicals while simultaneously interfering with the skin’s ability to protect itself from free radicals. The result: dryness, cracking, wrinkles, and sagging skin. On top of that, the squinting and puckering associated with inhaling have been proven to increase wrinkling around the eyes and lips. Not only does smoking delay wound healing but also smokers are two to three times as likely to develop psoriasis as non smokers. Most alarmingly, research has shown a link between cigarette smoking and squamous cell cancer of the lips, as well as an increased death rate from melanoma.
3. GET YOUR BEAUTY SLEEP—ON YOUR BACK
Have you ever woken up in the morning and dragged yourself to the bathroom only to glance in the mirror and realize that you look like your passport photo? If this happens more often than you’d like, the simple cause may be lack of sleep. This sleep deficit quickly takes a toll on you emotionally and physically, and your face is no exception. We’re all too familiar with the look. Dark circles show up under your eyes, and your complexion looks dull and grey. When your body is tired, skin pales and you run the risk of permanent dark shadows around your eyes.
Skin “rests” at night. When you sleep, the cells undergo repair and turn over slightly faster, helping your face look bright and refreshed. Therefore, if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t look your best. Just as important as getting a good night’s sleep is the position in which you sleep. If you sleep facedown on a pillow or primarily on one side, the weight of your body and compression from the bedding will cause sleep creases. We call these diagonal lines across the forehead, from the lower eyelid to the bottom of the nose and through the lip and chin, “sleep crush.” In addition to the formation of these specific lines, your sleep position can also deepen the natural lines of facial expression.
Morning eyelid puffiness is another good reason to get into the habit of sleeping on your back. Sleeping position can lead to fluid retention in the tissue around the eyes, particularly if you are prone to these conditions. As skin ages and becomes slack, puffiness becomes even more pronounced. Sleeping on your back, particularly with your head elevated, can help alleviate these under-eye bags.
4. DON’T STRESS
When our bodies are responding to stress, blood, nutrients, and oxygen are directed to the vital areas such as our legs and away from the non vital organs such as the skin. The signs are obvious: an ashen or sallow appearance, flushed cheeks, dark under-eye circles, dull and limp hair, and more pronounced lines and wrinkles. Studies have shown that stress-induced cortisol inhibits the body’s repair processes, decreases the rate of wound healing, increases the risk of infection, and triggers conditions such as acne, hives, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, warts, and herpes. Today we seem to live in a constant state of internal and external stress. In fact, psychologists estimate that the amount of stress an average adult undergoes in one day surpasses the amount of stress our cave-dwelling ancestors experienced in an entire year.
Unfortunately, whether good or bad, stress shows up the same unwanted way—on your face. Not only is stress a fact of life but also its effects are cumulative. You may have successfully handled a large, stressful event only to be bombarded by many small stressors, which add up and eventually take their toll. As we’ve witnessed all too often, stress can make the skin on your face drop —seemingly overnight. At times it may seem almost impossible, but it is important to take control of the stress in your life, relax and take time out for yourself.
5. EAT RIGHT
Contrary to popular belief, eating chocolate and fatty foods won’t give you acne, but eating a well-balanced, healthy diet will help your skin look its best. Research suggests that certain foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and fish slow the ageing process. Other foods, in particular refined carbohydrates such as flour, sugar, and milk, accelerate it.
Since your skin is a reflection of what is going on inside your body, we recommend that you eat a balanced, healthy diet. Stay away from processed and fast foods and, whenever possible, choose fresh, organic products. In essence, any diet deemed good for your overall health is going to be good for your skin.
- Get enough essential fatty acids: omega 3 and omega 6, which are responsible for boosting the skin’s barrier and keeping moisture in and irritants out. Good sources include salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flax seed.
- Incorporate foods rich in vitamin A (such as dark green and dark orange vegetables) and vitamin E (such as almonds and sunflower oil) into your diet for their antioxidant benefits.
- Eat lots of the “super” antioxidant foods such as blueberries and blackberries to help protect your skin from free radicals.
6. EXERCISE REGULARLY
Regular exercise should be an important part of every anti ageing skincare program because it increases circulation, which ensures that vital nutrients are delivered to skin cells. Consistent exercise has also been shown to reduce stress, which of course is beneficial to the skin. Ideally, incorporate both weight training and aerobic activities such as biking, swimming or walking.
If your skin has a tendency to flush during aerobic exercise, keep a cold, wet towel handy and apply it to your face during exercise. With age, stretching and including exercise forms such as yoga and Pilates into your routine become even more important to preserve balance and avoid injury. With this type of cross-training program, you’ll see results in a firmer, healthier body, a glowing, younger-looking face, and a more relaxed attitude.
7. DRINK ALCOHOL ONLY IN MODERATION
While one glass of cabernet with dinner is probably harmless, in larger quantities, alcohol can damage your skin’s appearance. Alcohol causes small blood vessels to dilate and increases blood flow near the surface of the skin, resulting in facial redness. Over time, the vessels can become permanently damaged, resulting in “broken capillaries” and a permanent flushed appearance of the nose and cheeks and can trigger flare-ups of rosacea. Alcohol also dehydrates your skin, disrupts your sleep cycle, and destroys your body’s supply of vitamin A, weakening the skin’s ability to fight off damage caused by free radicals.
To keep your skin looking fresh, limit your alcohol consumption to no more than one drink a day. When you do have a drink, you may want to choose a glass of red wine. Researchers have found that resveratrol, a polyphenol prevalent in the skin of red grapes, has powerful antioxidant benefits that are good for your skin.
8. FIND THE RIGHT SKINCARE ROUTINE AND STICK WITH IT
Everyone has different skincare concerns and needs, which vary depending upon the climate, your lifestyle, and your age. It’s important to understand what factors influence your skin before deciding on a specific course of action. Firstly, identify and prioritise your main problem areas—acne, hyper pigmentation, sensitivity or ageing. Secondly, choose a skincare regimen that will best treat these issues. Choose products that contain specific active ingredients that address your concern and feel good to use. We learned a long time ago that compliance with a skincare program is key to achieving great results. At Skincare.aus we can help you find the best answers and products for your skin.
9. DON’T BE PICKY
While we understand the perverse pleasure in picking and squeezing pimples…don’t do it! Popping pimples forces bacteria deeper into the skin, causing greater inflammation. It can also lead to infections, temporary discolouration of the area, delay in healing, and, worse yet, leave you with scars. It’s best to treat your skin gently and use the right products for your skin.
10. ADAPT YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE TO YOUR CLIMATE
The climate: temperature, wind, humidity, and even altitude—affects your skin, nails, and hair and impacts the efficacy of your skincare products. Since skin is hydrated primarily from the outside rather than the inside, climate plays an important role. In regions of low humidity, the skin is dehydrated, dull, and flaky. Dry, windy climates suck moisture from the epidermis, magnifying the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
High altitude cities filter less UV radiation, generating more free radicals to prematurely age skin. Cold weather chaps the skin, while hot weather creates a microclimate where acne thrives because of increased oil production. Always evaluate your environment and adapt your skincare routine accordingly. If you live in a dry climate, apply extra moisture to your skin, especially at night when skin is receptive. If you’re in a hot, humid area, using a heavy moisturiser used on acne-prone skin might make you break out.