It can be daunting to know how to maintain healthy skin and which skin care routine to follow. There are so many celebrity endorsements out there that make it even more confusing for just about everyone. Coming from a European background, skin care has always been very important in my family. Every since I was a little girl, I remember watching my mom taking great care of her skin. Over the years I picked up an abundance of easy and simple tips for that beautiful and healthy skin at any age.
Feed Your Skin From The Inside
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat.” And it’s true because what you put in your body will reflect on your skin. It is imperative to fuel your body with the right nutrition in order to have healthy and beautiful skin.
Daily Vitamins And Nutrients
Vitamin E is one of the most essential nutrients for healthy skin. When combined with vitamin A, it’s especially effective at preventing certain skin cancers. It’s also a powerful antioxidant therefore it helps to fight free radicals caused by pollution, smoking, processed foods and sun exposure. Free radicals are the catalyst for premature skin aging resulting in wrinkles.
Foods high in vitamin E include: almonds, eggs, walnuts, avocados, asparagus, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, spinach, oatmeal, and olives.
Vitamin A & Beta-carotene
Vitamin A is critical for skin repair and maintenance. You might be deficient in this nutrient if you suffer from flaky or dry skin. The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant mostly found in brightly colored foods. This antioxidant helps to reduce free radical damage to your skin caused by sun overexposure.
Foods high in vitamin A and beta-carotene include: liver, collard greens, asparagus, peaches, beet greens, kale, spinach, eggs, sweet potato, cantaloupe, and red peppers.
Vitamin C helps your body detoxify itself from the harmful effects of free radicals and therefore it may help to lower cancer risk. It’s also involved in the production of collagen, which is an important protein that makes your skin supple. Collagen depletes over time so getting a healthy amount of vitamin C in your diet can help your skin stay looking younger for much longer.
Foods high in vitamin A include: broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, bell peppers, guava, acerola, beet greens, grapefruit, strawberries, red and green bell peppers, kale, parsley, collard greens and turnip greens.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant trace mineral that helps in maintaining skin firmness and elasticity. It’s a great aid in preventing acne as well as skin cancer. It helps your body absorb vitamin E and enhances its antioxidant function. Adding selenium to your diet will result in glowing skin and less deterioration to the skin’s collagen.
Foods high in selenium include: brazil nuts, walnuts, red snapper, tuna, liver, wheat germ, herring, onion, seafood, whole grains, brown rice and poultry.
Omega 3s are essential fatty acids (EFAs) which offer healing benefits in various inflammatory conditions including eczema. They also help your body control cortisol levels. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and having a high level can accelerate the aging process. Therefore taking Omega 3s will aid in keeping your skin supple and wrinkle-free. EFAs also help your skin repair faster, control moisture content and help with overall flexibility. Unfortunately the human body doesn’t produce these fatty acids therefore they must be obtained through your diet.
Food sources high in omega-3s include: walnuts, salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. You can also supplement with a fish or hemp oil.
This is an important trace mineral that aids in repairing damaged tissue and healing wounds. It’s also great at protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Zinc may help in preventing acne and to regulate the production of oil in the skin.
Foods high in zinc include: oysters, pecans, poultry, pumpkin seeds, ginger, legumes, seafood, mushrooms and whole grains.
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your overall wellbeing and not getting enough of it can negatively affect your skin. When you’re sleep deprived your body makes more cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol can lead to inflammation and this can elevate the severity of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis. Not getting enough sleep disrupts your skin’s natural beauty cycle. Inflammation can increase the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, important molecules that give the skin its glow, bounce, and translucency. Check out this cool info-graphic to find out how great hyaluronic acid is for your skin. Not enough sleep can result in poor water balance and you can end up with puffy bags under your eyes and under-eye circles, as well as dryness and more visible wrinkles.
The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person but on average a person needs anywhere between 7-9 hrs. of restful sleep. Only you know your body so follow its natural rhythm and make sure you get enough shut eye every night.
Protect Your Skin From The Sun
As the ozone layer gets depleted more and more harmful UV rays are reaching the earth’s surface. UV rays irreparably destroy the top layer of your skin. Therefore the sun can do much more damage than just giving you a bad sunburn. Dermatologists warn that prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause brown spots, red, scaly spots, dryness, wrinkles and, worst of all, skin cancer. It is imperative that you wear a broad spectrum sunscreen everyday all year round. You should wear sunscreen even on a cloudy day as the UV rays can penetrate through the clouds and even in the shade.
Clean Your Skin Properly
Ideally you should clean your skin twice a day, once in the morning when you wake up and in the evening before bedtime. Over-washing can have the opposite effect and can leave your skin dry. It’s best not to use hot water to wash your face as it’s a very delicate area and skin there can damage quickly. Opt for lukewarm water instead.
Also, I know this might sound harsh but going to bed wearing make-up is a big no-no. You need to give your skin some breathing room and time to recuperate from all the daily activities and harsh elements it might’ve been exposed to. Your skin deserves a good night’s sleep as much as you do so don’t deprive it of what it needs.
It’s best to use a gentle natural cleanser to clean your face in order to remove excess oil and dirt accumulated throughout the day. Excess oil can clog your pores and result in acne breakouts. Opt for all natural cleanser which will do the cleaning job without the harshness of unnecessary chemicals. If your skin feels tight, dry or sore after cleansing, your facial cleanser is too harsh for your skin.
After washing your face it is recommended to apply a natural toner. A toner is used to restore your skin’s natural pH levels after cleansing. It’s most useful for people who have oily skin. If you don’t have oily skin opt for a toner specifically formulated for sensitive skin. If you think having a toner and a cleanser is too much there are two-in-one products available as well. These will not only gently clean your skin but they will tone it at the same time by not disturbing the skin’s pH levels.
Even after cleansing and toning your skin it may feel slightly dry therefore you will need to apply a natural daily moisturizer. The most sensitive areas of your skin: the face, ears, neck, and chest loose more skin cells than other parts of your body. This daily loss of skin cells leaves these areas vulnerable to dryness and the elements. They are also at a higher risk for skin cancer. Moisturizing gives your skin the boost it needs to repair itself and stay healthy.
Just as you need a daily moisturizer you also need a separate nightly moisturizer. This moisturizer is typically a bit heavier as it helps your skin repair, restore and regenerate itself while you sleep. Therefore the function of the night cream is to moisturize and aid in recovery. As this cream is usually heavier in texture it takes several hours for it to be properly absorbed by your skin. Nighttime is a perfect time for the cream to do all its heavy lifting while you’re away in a dream land.
Weekly Scrub Or Mask
It’s a good idea to take time every week to apply a natural scrub or mask to exfoliate and get rid of dead skin cells. These can leave your complexion appearing dull, and can clog up pores causing more pimples. Another benefit of exfoliating is that removing all the buildup enhances your skin’s ability to absorb everything else such as moisturizers, acne or anti-wrinkle serums.
Avoid Make-up With Harsh Chemicals
These days it’s much easier to find all natural make-up products and many companies are investing in high quality ingredients. Unfortunately, there are no strict rules on chemical use in cosmetics so you have to do your research before you put products on your face. There are many harmful ingredients than can hide under confusing terms including anything labeled “natural.” Unless something is certified organic it may not be completely chemical-free. Also, some ingredients may or may not be listed on the list of ingredients. For a good list of harmful chemicals to avoid check out this 10 Toxic Chemicals That Might Be In Your Makeup article.
A healthy skin routine doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to follow a few simple steps and make sure you feed your body with all the essential nutrients it needs. Investing in quality natural products will pay off in the long run and your skin will thank you for it. Once you start getting loads of compliments you’ll know you’re doing something right.
Stay tuned as I’m currently working on a new article about best natural skin care companies I have discovered over the years. I will discuss some of the great products I have been fortunate to try out. If you don’t want to miss when this article is posted and get a chance to win some great products sign up for my newsletter.
In the meantime, let me know about any of your healthy skin routine tips and beauty hacks in the comments below.
Stay healthy & beautiful!!!