Believe it or not, our skin reflects a lot of things about us. Whether we like it or not, good and bad habits are often mirrored by our skin for everyone to see.
Not sleeping well? Dark circles under our eyes.
Smoking? Uneven skin tones and redness.
Drinking alcohol? Skin cuts and fissures caused by dehydrated skin.
A lot of people spend a ton of money on cosmetics and skincare products that promise healthy-looking and younger-looking skin. However, what these people fail to realize is that healthy skin starts from within. Now that sounds like something you hear in every beauty product ad or commercial out there but the truth is, nothing is more effective for your skin than changing bad habits.
We’re firm believers of the saying “to each his/her own” but if you really want clear skin, then there really is no way around it. Certain habits need to change.
Sugar? Say no
In a previous post, we explained how bad sugars are for your skin. Sugars are essentially inflammatory substances that may cause acne. Sugars have also been linked to worsening existing skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
We’re not saying that you should give up sugars entirely (but if you can, that’d be better!). We just want you to take it in moderation. Apart from developing acne and aggravating skin conditions, eating too many sugars will contribute to the development of diabetes.
So the next time you’re thinking of eating that whole bar of chocolate, maybe you should think again.
A balanced diet is your skin’s best friend
Taking care of your skin on the outside isn’t enough. You also have to be mindful of what you put inside your body. Your diet matters as much, if not more, to your skin as the skincare measures you take. Overall, a balanced diet that is rich in antioxidants will ensure healthy and younger-looking skin.
What to eat: fish, fruits high in healthy fats and vitamin C, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes
What to avoid: sugar, alcohol, dairy, nuts, and gluten
Get plenty of sleep
Probably the best advice that we can give is that you get plenty of sleep. When you’re sleeping, your body releases a growth hormone that aids collagen production. Collagen provides structure to our skin and ensures healthy and supple skin.
Don’t forget to wash your face
Got home at 4 in the morning after a night out and forgot to wash your face? We’ve all been there. It’s such an easy thing to shrug off but, in reality, sleeping without washing your face (especially after going outside or putting make-up on) means you’re essentially allowing your skin to marinate with free radicals and bacteria while you sleep.
Free radicals are, put simply, molecules that damage cells. Due to their reactive nature, free radicals can lead to skin aging, wrinkles, and even leave you with uneven skin tone. The best way to combat this is by washing your face on a regular basis.
Facial cleansers that are rich in antioxidants neutralize free radicals and washes away dirt, dust, and excess oil. Make sure that you use facial cleansers that are gentle to your skin and pH-neutral.
And don’t forget to exfoliate too!
Scrub away those dead skin cells to get smoother and more radiant skin. Think of exfoliating as the most tedious thing you ever have to do in your skincare journey. Everything else is a piece of cake.
To properly exfoliate your skin, you would need a loofah or a washcloth. Start by applying soap or body wash or any other exfoliator you’re using and gently scrub in small circular motions. Do this from your neck to your toes. Rinse with lukewarm water to ensure that the dead skin cells you just scrubbed off are washed away. Remember to avoid areas with sunburn, wounds, or cuts to avoid further irritation.
The frequency with which you need to exfoliate your skin depends on your skin type and your level of daily activity. You may have to exfoliate regularly if you’re frequently exposed to pollution, dust, and sweat.
Moisturizer and sunscreen go a long way
Moisturizing your skin goes hand-in-hand with exfoliation. After exfoliating, your skin tends to redden and become sensitive because natural oils can also be scrubbed off in the exfoliation process. The best way to replenish those oils is by applying moisturizer after drying off your skin. One of the most common ingredients in moisturizers are humectants which hydrate the skin by attracting water molecules and then trapping them in.
Moisturizer is for all skin types. Don’t let the common misconception that if you have oily skin, you don’t need to apply moisturizer. The best moisturizers to use are the ones that contain hyaluronic acid, glycerin, antioxidants, and emollients among others.
Always remember, moisturizer is for everyone and it’s a vital part of your skincare regimen.
Know your beauty products
Apart from familiarizing yourself with ingredients that might trigger your allergies, it’s also important to know which ingredients are just generally harmful to your skin. Some of these harmful ingredients are:
- Parabens – A 2017 study by the University of California, Berkeley, has found that parabens are used in approximately 85% of health, beauty, and personal care products. Parabens are popular preservatives and have the capacity to interact with growth factors in the body and increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde, in strong concentrations, is known to trigger dermatitis. It’s also a chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledges as a possible carcinogen.
- Triclosan and Triclocarban – Found in most beauty products in the mainstream market, Triclosan has been found to contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs. According to the EPA, these chemicals can also be harmful as it weakens the immune system.
- “Added Fragrance” – Usually, fragrances are made from a mix of aromatic extracts and synthetic ingredients. However, the problem lies in improper labeling. Synthetic ingredients can contain a variety of unknown ingredients that can irritate your skin and can trigger allergies.