Most young adults don’t think about how their lifestyle can affect their skin in later years. It is not always a priority in our young adult lives as our skin looks generally healthy, but the habits that we start early on effect the longevity, elasticity, and youthful appearance of our skin.
Even if you are not in your young adulthood, there are habits you can start TODAY that can help your skin current and future health. Read on for our 5 favorite life habits for healthy skin.
1. Drink Water
This one seems like it should be obvious, and it is our favorite place to start. I remember once that a colleague of mine told me how his girlfriend always drinks a tall glass of water before applying her makeup every morning. I remember this vividly for a few reasons: first being, how cool it was that he paid so much attention to his partner and was proud to share her healthy habits with others (so sweet!). The second reason this stood out is I immediately started questioning my own morning habits- should I be drinking water before I apply MY makeup?
While drinking water can fully hydrate your body within 45 minutes, you likely won’t see a difference in your skin right away. If your skin is dry, dehydrated or flaky, it is best to treat it externally with an ultra hydrating skincare product. This is because when you consume water, it has to be digested and absorbed the intestines, enter your blood stream, and be filtered by your kidneys before it has a chance to access your skin cells. External moisturizers can give you a chance to address your dry skin and give it a protective barrier from additional drying factors – like cold/dry air, excessive hot water (short warm/cool showers please!) or low atmospheric humidity. Other factors that can impact your skin are harsh chemicals in perfumes, swimming pools, or conventional soaps.
This being said, if you’re not drinking enough water, it will show in your skin as well, so the advice to drink a glass of water before applying makeup can establish a healthy habit to keep your skin hydrated. Staying properly hydrated has a number of benefits for your skin, including fewer wrinkles, improved complexion, reduced puffiness/acne, faster healing, tighter skin, and it helps balance your skin’s PH.
I love this tip because it’s simple and easy to incorporate. You can also add some lemon to your water too for additional flavor and benefits for your skin, hair, and overall health.
2. Get Better Sleep
This could be considered another obvious one, but not always easy to add into our lives. I struggle personally with getting proper sleep, often “burning the candle at both ends” like most working moms. I want to have time to do it all – work, spend time with my kids, enjoy my partner, keep my body healthy, and enjoy my passionate hobbies and favorite activities. Oh, and keep the house clean too!
I can’t ignore the benefits of proper sleep though (or the bags under my eyes of puffiness when I don’t get it!), and so I do try to make sure I am not idling before bed on my phone and am productive with my time so I can add in more ZzZ’s. I even will skip a morning workout if I wasn’t able to get to bed or if my sleep was interrupted.
Sleep is very important for your body to recover and rejuvenate. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep is linked to diminished skin barrier function, increased signs of aging, and lower satisfaction with appearance. When your skin barrier function is decreased, this reduces the recovery of the skin from exposure to ultraviolet rays. Your body also makes more of the stress hormone, cortisol, when you are not getting enough sleep, leading to increased inflammation which can exacerbate acne and skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis while also breaking down collagen. When you sleep, your damaged cells can repair. Without these deep phases of sleep, daily small breakdowns of cells will accumulate instead of fix themselves. It also can lead to weight gain! All good reasons to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep are:
- Reduce screen time before bed
- Don’t eat a few hours before bedtime
- Drink plenty of water (hey!) during the day (avoid a lot at night so you don’t have to get up to use the restroom, interrupting precious sleep)
- Wash your cotton bed sheets regularly, so you are not bothered by breathing in accumulated dust
- Use fragrance free soaps for your sheets.
- Enjoy a nightly routine to help relax your body. Scents like lavender can be relaxing, or a nice good night tea with chamomile can help settle your body for slumber.
Try this one for yourself. Aim for just 30 minutes extra of sleep a night and see how you feel (and how your skin looks!)
Exercise has many health benefits, which you probably have heard before. It boosts your mood, improves your heart, and increases circulation. Did you know that this increase of circulation also improves your skin?
Your blood carries a host of body essentials – nutrients and oxygen – as well as working as a waste system carrying waste from working cells. Exercise also decreases stress, which is great for any skin condition in which stress can increase symptoms, like acne or eczema.
And, on a side note, exercise tones your muscles, which isn’t exactly helping skin health but it does make it look better with a firmer foundation!
When you exercise, it’s important to wear sunscreen or clothes that protect your skin when you are outside. Sweating can decrease your sunscreen protection, so be sure to reapply regularly, or try to work out in the shade. Avoid wearing makeup also when you exercise, and wash and moisturize your skin after your workouts.
If you have rosacea, try finding a cool environment to work out in to prevent heat from making conditions worse. A swimming pool can do the trick, or an air conditioned building. Evening times can be ideal as well as they are generally cooler.
For skin conditions which salty sweat can impact, use a moisturizer before you exercise to protect your skin. Pay particular attentions to the parts of your body that have creases – like elbows, knees, or armpits.
Regardless of your skin, exercise always poses a benefit, so if you have any skin conditions don’t let it stop you – you will find benefits with a workout regiment, just take practical precautions while you exercise to keep the skin protected.
4. Eat a Whole Food Healthy Diet
This option is a delicious one. For every indulgent, mouth watering unhealthy option of calorie consumption, there is an equally delicious tasting and better alternative. Seriously! Your taste buds may be so overpowered by sugar, salt, and fat that you may need to take some time to allow yourself to adjust, but I promise you – everyone I have worked with to help with diet changes has been incredibly satisfied once they adjusted to their new food lifestyle – AND they are happier, mentally and physically.
It’s easy to get swept into an unhealthy food lifestyle – our bodies are designed to crave fat for biological survival, salt is absolutely exciting on our pallet, and sugar is our first biological attachment as we are designed to crave it to keep us feeding on breast milk from our mothers that contains natural sugar (and therefore protects our survival as infants). Once you are weaned off of mother’s milk, and able to shop for food in a grocery store or local market, you have more choices on how you obtain your body’s fuel.
Eating a diet of whole foods, with varying sources of protein and fresh vegetables and fruits, does wonders for our skin. The nutrients we eat turn into sources of nutrition for our skin – for example, protein breaks down into amino acids that help our skin create collagen and elastic tissue. Another example is tomatoes - they are high in the antioxidant lycopene, which helps fight free radicals that cause sun damage on skin. Dark leafy greens fight free radicals that break down collagen, which is especially important for our delicate skin around our eyes. Avocados provide healthy fats and phytonutrients that have numerous health benefits. There are too many examples of superfood rock stars that help our skin – Just know that choosing a varying diet of greens, colorful vegetables (eat all your colors) and fruits have amazing skin benefits. The deeper the color, the more nutrients they provide.
Cow milk consumption may cause excess sebum production in skin, which can cause pores to clog resulting in acne, consider dairy alternatives when you can. Ditch sugar and high glycemic protein bars for nuts and fresh fruit for a recharging snack. Sugar causes inflammation in your body – this inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Excess salt dehydrates skin and can cause bloating or puffy eyes, as well deplete your collagene levels (aging skin) and cause the skin to react by overproducing oils which can clog pores.
Overall, being careful about your eating habits will go a long way in promoting healthy, beautiful skin!
5. Keep Your Skin Clean, Moisturized, and Nourished
I am sure you saw this coming, after all, this IS a beauty blog! Cleansing dirt, makeup, sweat, and other impurities from your skin at night is an essential habit for healthy skin. Be sure to choose a gentle cleanser, and moisturize your face within minutes of rinsing to lock in moisture.
These are OUR favorite five life habits for healthy skin, and the best part is they all complement each other! Being properly hydrated and eating good food helps give you fuel to exercise, exercise and eating healthy eating helps you sleep, excercising helps you crave hydration and proper food, and the cycle continues! when you add on a good skin care routine you are on the route to success!
What healthy habits do YOU have for healthy skin?