So many products out there promise to be the next great thing in skincare, and if you look long enough you’ll likely lose your mind with all the contradicting opinions. One moment people will be shouting in their blogs “You don’t bath in artisanal Himalayan goat milk, are you crazy? ” the next “Are you crazy? artisanal Himalayan goat milk contains [DiHydrogen Monoxide], you have to try [insert next fad]”. Luckily for all our sanities, there isn’t some hidden secret and the road to healthier skin is not soo–complicated.
1) Wear Sunscreen
As the adage goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. No amount of expensive anti-aging serum is going to reverse decades of cellular damage from chronic sun exposure. Anytime I’m going to be outside for more than an hour I dab on some sunscreen. Sunscreen has the reputation of being pretty oily but there are a lot of good option now a days. The one I use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-touch soaks in pretty quickly and doesn’t leave my skin oily.
For those who wear makeup regularly, you can wear sunscreen under your makeup. or you can find foundations with UVA/UVB protection built in like AmorePacific’s Color Control Broad Spectrum, SPF 50+ or Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF 30 Powder Brush.Don’t pay too much attention to SPF. The important thing to look out for is that it provides protection for both UVA and UVB. And that you re-apply
2) Get a Consistent 7-9 Hours of sleep
No less and no more. Your body operates on a circadian cycle. It needs consistent and regular sleep to continue functioning properly. Sleep is when your cells–your brain especially--process the metabolic waste that accumulates throughout the day. This goes beyond simply the dark circles under your eyes. Even after a single night of sleep deprivation, your immune system starts misfunctioning and inflammation builds. And people pick up on those changes. Study after study shows people consistently rate people lacking sleep as less-healthy looking than when they were well-rested.
So if you do find the circles under your eyes getting darker each morning, you might be better served by a nightly dose of chamomile tea and setting a bed time for yourself than an under eye concealer. Quick tip for those of attached to our phones: Do not take it to bed with you. Blue light suppresses melatonin and is a giant signal to your body that it’s time to wake up. So when you get tired, get into bed, check your phone and wonder why you’re still awake hours later. This is why. There are apps that change your laptop or phone screen to red light(signals your body to go to sleep) when it’s night time. I use
Quick tip for those of attached to our phones: Do not take it to bed with you. Blue light suppresses melatonin and is a giant signal to your body that it’s time to wake up. So when you get tired, get into bed, check your phone and wonder why you’re still awake hours later–This is why. There are also apps that change your laptop or phone screen to red light(signals your body to go to sleep) when it’s night time. I use f.lux on my laptop and it helps a lot. But the best thing for your sleep is to just turn off your phone an hour before you get into bed. Not to worry, all those of you protesting that you use your phone as an alarm clock. there are lots of other options. 😉
3) Drink Water
Moisturizers help your skin retain water and you should use a moisturizer, but no amount of moisturizer is going to help if you’re chronically dehydrated. You don’t need anything fancy either, simple still or if you prefer, sparkling water is all you need. Don’t be afraid to drink water from your tap either. In a lot of cases(with a few terrible exceptions, looking at you Flint), tap water is just as or cleaner than bottled water. Not to mention, it doesn’t produce plastic waste. Heck, 25% of the time bottled water is tap water.
If you don’t like the flavor, you can always adjust it by using natural charcoal filters like the ones from KOR Nava or Black+Blum. You might also be surprised where your tap water comes from, I was when I found out mine comes straight from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir(pictured above) in Yosemite Valley National Park!!! I’m sure there’s a joke there about how even San Francisco’s tap water is artisanally sourced.
Marketing Warning: Steer clear of anything with words like “added electrolytes or minerals”, “pH balanced or alkaline”, or the absolute worst one “oxygen enhanced”. For that last one, you are literally paying for air! If you eat a balanced diet with enough fruit and veggies, you are getting more than enough vitamins and minerals. And as for making sure your water is a certain pH, anything you drink will pass through the highly acidic environment of your stomach before it reaches the intestine, where the body will naturally neutralize content passing through it by secreting enzymes.
4) Cut Back on the Sugars
If you persistently eat a diet high in sugars, it’s hard to overstate the serious damage it doest to your skin. The most direct cause is through a process called glycation in which sugar attaches itself to proteins in the body. Glycation of collagen and elastin in your skin causes it to become more rigid and brittle. Which makes it easier for wrinkles to form and your skin to look less. It also makes your skin more susceptible to the damaging environment effects like UV rays.
Seriously, if you take one thing away from reading this post, let this be it. Sugar destroys your skin*.
*a high sugar diet also leads to serious health problems like diabetes, strokes and Alzheimer’s.
5) Do Less!
Even a plant will die if you water it too much.
Your skin is a dynamic living ecosystem of not only your own cells but also thousands of different bacteria, fungi and viruses. It’s an organ that evolved over millennia. It is not a piece of marble. If something is wrong with your skin like a breakout or redness, that is not a blemish. It’s a symptom. There are a lot of products that will provide short-term fixes but do nothing to solve the underlying cause. This isn’t saying don’t use them — cause nobody likes going to meetings with a giant zit on their cheek. This is saying before you reach for those quick fixes, think about what your skin is telling you. Did you recently add a product to your routine? Did you eat or drink something you shouldn’t have? Did you overwash your face? If you don’t know the cause, you can’t be certain any fix will work–or not make it worse.
What are some simple things you do each day to keep your skin healthy?