Your skin is one of the biggest indicators into your overall health and how you feel. Did you get a breakout after your last stressful week? It’s not a coincidence. There are tons of products that you can buy to spot-treat different skin problems, but the only way to completely prevent these from coming up in the first place is to really step your skin care game up. The good news is that the best things you can do for your skin are free. You just have to commit to taking control of your skin care with the little things. Don’t be fooled though, the little things you do every day have a big impact on your skin. Read on for our 5 top tips to up your skin care that you can start TODAY.
Skin Care Tip #1:
Every day, no exception.
Many people feel that they only need to protect themselves on a sunny day. The UV exposure we face every day – inside and outside – contributes to our skin’s visible signs of aging. To bring your best skin out, you need to protect it every day even while you are working inside, driving your car, or staying home. Sun protection isn’t something to do once in the morning – applying every 4 hours or so is the only way to ensure your skin will stay protected from the sun and lookin good.
What kind of sunscreen is the best addition to a skin care habit? Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum UV protection and an SPF of at least 20. This isn’t something you’ll see a benefit from tomorrow, but when your friends start complaining about wrinkles, bags, and crow eyes, your skin should look like it did when you decided to take care of it. If you only commit to doing one thing on this list, make it this one; over the long-term, the sun can heavily contribute to the visible signs of aging on the skin.
Skin Care Tip #2:
You may think you drink enough water right now, but the truth is you likely don’t.
Depending on what study you look at, the average American drinks between 15 and 35 ounces of water a day. Which, on the high end, is a bit over 4 cups a day, just HALF of what every grandparent will tell you: “Drink 8 glasses of water a day”. Although there’s no real science to back up the claim, they’re on the right track. We need water to have the healthiest skin we can; and LOTS of it! The fact is that our skin is an organ, and needs water to function at peak efficiency; just like our liver or heart.
If you are not getting enough water, your skin will turn dry, tight, and flaky, as well as be extra prone to wrinkling and sun damage (the real long-term killer). Adequate water intake helps prevent breakouts by decreasing the concentration of oil on your skin. Too much oil compared to water on your skin can lead to clogged pores, breakouts, and blemishes. Many of the skin’s functions that support collagen also require a certain amount of water to function at their best. If you don’t help your body out and supply enough water, you can be left looking dull with natural wrinkles and pores more prominent.
The good news is that this is SO easy to fix: Just drink lots of water! In order to drink the amount of water that can help clear your skin and have it looking at its best, you really have to make it a priority. We like to follow the “60% rule”. If you are drinking .6 ounces of water for every pound you weigh, you will have really stepped up your skin care game.
And yes, that sounds like a lot of water, but we’ve become accustomed to not drinking enough water. You have to break that habit in order to bring out your best skin.
Skin Care Tip #3:
I can sleep more and get better skin? YES!
The things your skin misses out on when you don’t sleep enough is worth its own post, but some of the highlights would be: lower collagen levels, low surface blood flow, lower moisture levels, and increased cortisol levels. If those don’t sound scary, read on.
You probably already know that your body recovers from the day and repairs itself while you sleep. But did you know that your skin actually makes new collagen while you sleep? Getting less than 6 hours of sleep can cause lower new collagen levels which contributes to visible wrinkles and dry skin. While you sleep, your body also boosts blood flow to the skin, creating that glow you get after a good nights sleep. Missing out on this can make your skin look dull and ashen. Your moisture and pH levels are also controlled while you sleep. No enough zzz’s will dry out your skin and lower its pH; both of which contribute to visible signs of aging, dry skin, and blemishes.
Perhaps most important of all, cortisol levels naturally decrease during sleep. Cortisol is that pesky “stress hormone” that, in the right quantity, is important for regular bodily functions. However, when too much cortisol is present in your body, your skin does not heal itself as well and is more prone to breakouts. With a double whammy, cortisol levels that are too high will also breakdown your skin’s collagen that is so important to a healthy, youthful complexion.
So put the phone down a little earlier, and get some zzz’s (it’s free).
Skin Care Tip #4:
Turn down the heat.
If it stings a little, it’s too hot.
While warm baths and showers can help you clean your skin and get ready for (or unwind from) your day, making these too hot can actually hurt your skin. Hot water softens your skin’s natural oil barrier, add in some soap and that oil barrier is in for a tough fight. This isn’t all bad; your oil barrier traps dirt, sweat, and odor. But with a diminished oil barrier, your skin’s moisture can easily escape leading to dry, itchy, unhealthy, and ashen looking skin. No amount of hydrating body wash will be able to counteract a shower that’s just too hot; in many cases, that body was is actually washing away your skin’s oil as well.
A sure sign you’ve turned up the heat too much: when you step out of your shower or bath, the parts of your skin in contact with the water have turned red, itchy, or have a scaly feeling. You don’t throw scalding water on your face when you was it, right? So it shouldn’t be OK to sit or stand in that temperature for an extended period of time. A good rule is not to bathe or shower in water too hot to wash your face in.
Skin Care Tip #5:
Take a minute (or 10).
“Stop, wait a minute” – Bruno Mars
You may have noticed the recent trend that’s bringing meditation to mainstream life; it’s not just for the gluten-free Santa Monica dwellers anymore, and for good reason. You don’t need to be a Buddhist monk to take advantage of the many benefits meditation can bring to skin care (and the rest of your life). A growing body of evidence shows that meditation has profound effects on your body’s functions. Regular meditation practice has been shown to significantly reduce feelings of stress, cortisol levels, reduce overall negative feelings, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and a whole host of other awesome benefits. Some studies are now even suggesting that you’ll remember more with even irregular practice.
Lowering your stress level is important to the skin because when your body is stressed, the chemical balance triggers things like acne, puffiness, and dryness. Your skins oil barrier goes through a particularly rough time when your body is stressed. The higher amounts of cortisol break down collagen and the oil barrier, allowing moisture to escape through the skin with the nutrients that keep it healthy. There is no cream or serum that can fix a chronic stress problem’s effect on the skin.
For your healthiest skin, a daily meditation practice is a must. And don’t say you’re too busy; even just 10 minutes a day has been shown to have profound effects. There’s no better time to start your regular meditation practice than now – there’s so many tools out there to help you. We like Headspace; they have an awesome 10 minutes for 10 days series to get your habit started.