Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body covering almost 2 square meters and making up around 16% of your body weight? Looking after your skin is vitally important and these tips should help keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.
Be sun smart
While some sunshine is good for your health and can help to brighten your mood, not to mention the fact that it helps the body produce vitamin D, too much sunshine can be a disaster for your skin. It can cause the skin to age prematurely triggering things like wrinkles, sagging and other signs of sun damage, as well as increasing the risk of skin cancer.
You should always try to avoid being in direct sunlight in the middle of the day when the sun is at its most powerful. Either stay in the shade or wear clothes that will protect you - long sleeves, hats, etc.
If you’re going to be outside always wear sunscreen. Even on cloudy days, you can still get sun damage. Wear at least an SPF 15, or stronger if you’re going to be out for a while. Remember to reapply regularly - every two hours or after swimming or sweating a lot.
Hydration, hydration, hydration
Water is important for your overall health and can help keep your skin glowing and beautiful. Most people should drink about 6 to 8 glasses of water a day, although this will vary depending on activity levels, climate, and other factors. Make sure you’re drinking enough that you’re going to the bathroom regularly and check your urine is a pale yellow color. If it becomes a darker yellow you should make sure to drink more water.
Remember you don’t only hydrate through water - other drinks like tea and juice will help rehydrate you, and fruit and vegetables also contain water.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
A balanced healthy diet will be good for your health in general and will help keep your skin looking its best. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Healthy fats are also vital to healthy skin, especially monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which can be found in nuts, seeds, avocados, and fish. They will help keep your skin moist, elastic and firm, giving you a healthy glow.
Stress can lead to skin problems like acne and sensitive skin, so try and manage and reduce stress. Eating well, getting regular exercise, sleeping well and spending time doing things that make you happy will all help you feel happier and less stressed. Doing 5-10 minutes of meditation a day can have a big effect on your stress levels too. If you haven’t meditated before there are plenty of apps you can download to help you get started.
Kick cigarettes to the curb
Smoking is a big contributor to skin aging as it narrows the blood vessels in the upper layers of skin which reduces blood flow, leading to less oxygen and nutrients getting to your skin. It also damages the elastin and collagen in your skin, which we all know are vital for healthy, elastic skin.
What we put on our skin makes a huge difference to our skin’s health. Try not to use strong, harsh soaps and cleansers and don’t exfoliate too frequently or roughly. While it’s great for removing dead skin cells we don’t want to do it so much that it damages the healthy live cells.
Try not to use too hot water when you bathe or shower as this can dry out your skin. Don’t spend too long in the bath or shower and use warm, or even cool water. And after bathing be gentle when you dry yourself - pat your skin dry to leave some moisture on your skin.
Don’t forget to moisturize using a product that’s suitable for your skin type. The type of moisturizer you need will probably change as you age and with the seasons. In cold weather, you’ll probably need a richer moisturizer than in summer to ensure your skin stays moist and healthy.
Your clothes and sheets are also regularly in contact with your skin so don’t forget to use gentle hypoallergenic laundry detergent and stay away from strongly fragranced fabric softeners.
If you live in a cold climate or have the air conditioning on a lot, a humidifier can be a great investment. It will keep the air from getting too dry which in turn can dry out your skin.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential for overall health but a lack of sleep can also lead to skin damage and many skin conditions like acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema get worse if you don’t have enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep your body will make more of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can lead to inflammation, damaging your skin. It can increase the breakdown of collagen reducing the elasticity of your skin.
Your body repairs itself while you sleep, so if you’re not getting enough this won’t be happening. This will mean you age faster as small problems aren’t getting regularly fixed. Sleep is also the time when your body rebalances its hydration, so if you don’t get enough sleep you can end up with bags and dark circles under your eyes and drier skin with more obvious wrinkles.
For most people 7 to 9 hours of sleep is recommended, so get an early night and think of the healthy, glowing skin your body will be creating, while you nod off.
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