Americans make an average of 70 decisions in a typical day. At least some of those choices will arguably impact a person's skin health. Whether it's deciding when to wake up or what to eat for breakfast, our daily habits can be directly reflected in the complexion. The skin is our body's largest organ, and lifestyle choices affect it much like other organ systems such as the heart, lungs or liver. Unfortunately, plenty of people make poor decisions that can lead to all sorts of issues, from premature wrinkles and hyperpigmentation to acne and irritation.
The good news? You can move your lifestyle in a skin-saving direction by following a few of these tips and complexion-boosting behaviors.
Slay Your Stress
Breakouts tend to be the biggest concern for chronically stressed people. Stress induces the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, a steroid that causes the sebaceous glands to release more oil. During these times, people experience an increase in acne which is usually more inflamed, pus-filled papules rather than whiteheads or blackheads. More anxious folks may also struggle with eczema, hyperpigmentation and rosacea.
To help squelch stress outside of the spa, channel your energy into activities such as yoga, Pilates or meditation. When we work on our breath and do calming exercises, we tap into our parasympathetic nervous system-the part of the autonomic nervous system that's associated with rest and relaxation. A clearer complexion naturally follows from this calmer state of mind.
For more information on supplements to reduce your stress and anxiety, visit our Good Mood Guide.
Watch What You Eat
Everyone knows that diet and health are connected, but what we may not know or realize is that consistently poor eating and drinking habits, as well as vitamin deficiencies, can exacerbate acne, dullness, hyperpigmentation and inflammation.
Too many sweets in particular can result in glycation, a process in which sugar attaches to other molecules in the skin and contributes to premature aging. Also, drinking alcohol leads to dry, puffy, compromise complexions. Alcohol inflames the tissue and causes a histamine response. The blood vessels in the face can become enlarged, and they can constricts, creating a back-and-forth movement that result in broken capillaries and loss of elasticity. Consuming too much caffeine can leave the skin dehydrated and dull looking.
Dairy can trigger an increase in oil production, leading to clog pores and breakouts.
How To Fix?
Feed your skin. Vitamin rich produce such as citrus, berries and leafy greens are especially good for defending against skin damage. Healthy fats like those found in olives, nuts, avocados and salmon minimize dehydration. Lean proteins such as fish and chicken help encourage collagen and elastin productions. Drinking plenty of water (at least 9 cups a day for women and 13 for men) will reduce sensitivity and signs of aging. And of course cut back on sugar if necessary.
Get Defensive with SPF
Although it’s fall, the sun can still be bright especially in the southern regions of the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, and estimated one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Despite the shocking statistics, many individuals fail to apply SPF daily. Most of us (trust us. we've been guilty before) only use sun protection when we’re at the beach or pool side. But, the unfortunate reality is that UV rays always pose a risk, rain or shine. As if the prospect of melanoma isn’t enough, regular sun exposure can cause redness and premature signs of aging. UV rays break down collagen, resulting in wrinkles and sunspots. Try to apply SPF daily, ideally 30 or higher. And, stay out of the sun during peak hours from 10AM to 4PM. Avoid tanning beds at all cost!!
Clear The Air
Whether it’s secondhand, think diesel exhaust, or self-inflicted environmental toxins...any can irritate the skin. Resulting in clogged pores, dark spots and wrinkles. Much like rest of the body, the complexion requires some oxygen for proper cell function. Typically, your skin absorbs less than 10% of oxygen from the air, but skin in a toxic environment retains even less. High levels of pollution and smog can generate free radical, which attack all areas of our cells from deformed DNA, destroying the moisture barrier, and can lead to acne and redness.
We advise anyone who smokes to kick the habit. Unfortunately, escaping others forms of pollution isn’t that easy especially for people living in urban areas. You can topically apply vitamin C cream which keeps the skin looking fresh and bright plus it slows down environmental damage. Hyaluronic acid is great for restoring moisture. And, reduce any internal pollution in your house by using chemical free cleaning products. Always, always use paraffin and sulfate free products on your skin, hair and nails.
If you are still experiencing side effects of environmental toxins, think about doing our Signature Enviro Cleanse. You can find out more about the detox here.
There’s a reason it's called beauty sleep. The more shut eye people get, the better the skins looks. Sleep is essential for tissue repair, cell regeneration and strong immune function. Any lack of sleep can put stress on the body, triggering cortisol production and causes breakouts and clog pores. Rest deprived folks may have other issues including dark under eye circles, eczema and loss of elasticity.
The Best Part?
Hit the sack! Ideally we should be getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. The National Sleep Foundation also recommends keeping consistent bedtime and wake up time. Getting to feel the first light of the day, first thing in the morning and limiting light exposure before bed is best. Also, try to scale back on food, drink or other stimulates as bed time approaches. All these help to regulate the body’s internal clock making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up refreshed. Quick getaways or spa days are always beneficial. Have you ever noticed how flawless people look after returning from vacation or a day of relaxation? That’s because they are relaxed and they have been taking care of themselves for a few days.
There’s no quick fix beautiful skin. It must start from the inside out and getting enough rest is absolutely essential.