The cosmetic industry would love to sell you thousands of products that make the vague promise to “restore youth and vitality to your skin”. If you are like the rest of us, your bathroom is probably full of different creams, masks and treatments aimed at reducing wrinkles, and improving the glow that is associated with healthy skin.
Did you know that there are seven, easy and affordable ways you can start improving your skin and appearance naturally, and nutritionally? We share some not-so-secret strategies you can try at home.
1. Exfoliate Skin Regularly
One of the easiest and healthiest ways to showcase glowing, youthful skin, requires very little effort or cost. The surface level of your skin is full of dry, dead skin cells that can hang around for a long time, dulling your natural complexion.
Use a natural exfoliate daily. We prefer biodegradable nutshells for an eco-friendly alternative to plastic microbeads, which are bad for the environment. Slough off dead skin cells and stimulate the production of the new dermis. Improve the circulation and oxygenation of your skin for a noticeable change in your appearance, and the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.
2. Moisturize Ritually
By the time your skin is dried, itchy or flaking, you’ve already damaged your skin. Habitually, consumers are taught to moisturize when they notice a dry spot on their skin, but using a high-quality cream for your body (and a lighter one with UV protection for your face) should happen regularly, to retain healthy skin.
Much like brushing your teeth daily, keep it on the counter and use a deep penetrating skin moisturizer after every shower and bath (when natural oils have been stripped from the skin). Use hand cream in transit, or on dry spots like the back of the hands, elbows and shin areas as required throughout the day. Don’t forget to look for freebies online, to explore better quality moisturizers that are designed for your skin type.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
When your mom told you that fruits and vegetables were good for you, she may have forgotten to mention they can help you stay looking long too. While leafy vegetables are loaded with antioxidants that help your body remove free radicals, that internal benefit is shared with skin cells. Nutrition is an underestimated beauty secret, and with some food choices offering value, when it comes to the appearance of skin, and the strength of nails and hair.
Which foods have the most beauty benefit? Add some of these choices to your plate on a weekly basis:
- Carrots with beta-carotene is a known wrinkle fighter.
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice in salad dressings, or in hot water or tea, is loaded with vitamin C, which is a requirement for the synthesis of collagen in the skin.
- Find another reason to buy and snack on dried pumpkin seeds any time of the year. They are loaded with the mineral zinc, which is needed to help your body create new skin cells.
- Mediterranean diets rich in raw or cooked tomatoes, provide the body with ample amounts of an important antioxidant called lycopene. Eaten regularly, it helps the skin produce a natural sunscreen to resist sun damage. It can also be used as an effective facial to help tighten pores and reduce pimples and acne.
People who have healthy skin also know that the avocado is a miracle vegetable, with powerful minerals and vitamins for internal and external wellness. The avocado can be used daily in a smoothie to treat skin conditions and nourish healthy skin from the inside out. It is also an effective facial and body mask, or scalp treatment to help reduce irritation and dryness.
4. Stay Hydrated!
There are so many beverage options in a busy day; from juice to energy drinks, coffee and tea, that sometimes plain, natural water falls by the wayside. Water is the healthiest change you can make to your daily regimen by ensuring that you are meeting your minimal requirements every day. Dry skin, or flaking dry scalp, brittle hair and nails are all signs of dehydration. Chronic dehydration can also impact the quality of sleep you get.
5. Destress and Detoxify
Into everyone’s professional and personal life, a little stress may fall. It’s important to understand stress from an emotional and physiological perspective, as it is a condition that can cause negative impacts to our health, and our appearance.
Give yourself permission to do nothing. That’s right. Carve some time into your week or weekend to do absolutely nothing, and indulge in some holistic stress relief therapies. Natural oils and aromatherapy are highly effective at turning bath time into a relaxing, stress relieving experience. Botanic Universe recommends lavender, or oils with pinene, which can reduce inflammation and improve alertness and focus. Check out this article from Mind Body Green about the use of essential oils as a treatment for stress, and organically unwind with natural scents.
6. Keep Cosmetics Light and Natural
Unless you use 100% organic cosmetics, there are chemicals in foundations, powder, eye shadows and lip products that can dramatically dry and damage skin. Few women are comfortable leaving the house without even a light brush of cosmetics, but when you are at home, do you take a vacation from makeup? There are several reasons why you should go ‘bare faced’ more often.
- Oil-based creams and foundations clog pores and can lead to blackheads, blemishes and scars.
- Some makeup brands still contain formaldehyde, a chemical used in embalming. Some people experience allergic symptoms with nose, throat and eye irritability, wheezing and even nausea. Researchers believe there is a link between formaldehyde and cancer.
- Parabens are used as a preservative in most cosmetics, but did you know that they can also cause drying, allergic reactions and skin damage? Parabens are also suspected of being linked to certain types of cancer, after prolonged exposure.
Because your skin is being exposed to chemicals from cosmetics, as well as many free radicals (such as air pollution) daily, give your body a chance to breathe. If you are staying home, make a date with your skin by showering, and applying no cosmetics or scented products. And never go to sleep with your makeup on; not only is it messy, it creates abrasions in the skin, as cosmetics can be absorbed more deeply through friction with your pillow.
7. Get Plenty of Sleep
Speaking of pillow time, the average person requires a minimum of seven to 9 hours sleep per day, according to medical experts. The doesn’t mean that you must sleep in one long seven-hour duration, to gain the beauty benefits of sleeping well, but think of beauty sleep as essential to maintaining a healthy, youthful glow.
Skin collagen cells (responsible for preventing wrinkles and sagging skin) is produced in greater quantity, while you sleep. The impact of sleep deprivation on the skin is so profound, that a routine of 5 hours of sleep per night can dry the skin, and contribute up to twice the amount of fine lines and wrinkles, due to collagen reduction.
So, when was the last time you took a nap? We know what you are thinking, that scheduling nap time for adults can be virtually impossible with busy daily schedules. But consider that there are plenty of opportunities when you are at home, to “check out” for a healthy short snooze of thirty minutes to an hour. Of all the ways that you invest in to accentuate your appearance, getting enough sleep should be the easiest and most affordable beauty secret.
Rather than looking for the next ‘big fix’ in cosmetic products (the same ones that can actually damage your skin significantly over time), look to daily personal lifestyle habits that you can tweak, to preserve or restore a youthful appearance. Beauty truly does start from within, with small, manageable changes that you can implement to feel and look your best.