As many of you know, your skin is the largest organ on your body. It’s also the most exposed organ, serving to protect you from the elements, toxins, and other threats present in our modern environments. Your skin is also a key indicator of your internal health. If you’re stressed, not eating well, or skipping out on sleep, it shows through acne, dark circles or baggy eyes, dry and dull skin, and even through rashes and other inflammatory responses. Thus, to truly be effective, you should take a comprehensive and holistic approach to your skin care regimen.
Skin Care From The Inside
Unfortunately, not many people think about the internal mechanisms that impact their skin, but skin care truly starts on the inside. Here are a few things you can do to ensure a solid foundation for healthy skin.
Focus On Nutrition
You truly are what you eat. Studies continue to show the link between diet and a host of diseases. Increasingly, the link between diet and the appearance of your skin is also becoming clear. A number of studies have linked the nutrients naturally found in a variety of plants and fish to healthy skin. A diet that consists of whole, plant-based foods is full of antioxidants and other key vitamins and minerals shown to promote healthy skin, fight free radicals, prevent skin cancer, and even slow aging. Now I am not saying you can’t indulge in your favorite snacks or enjoy yourself, but if your diet consists primarily of processed food, sodas, and other “junk” foods, your skin will show it. It’s better to build a diet that consists primarily of whole, un-processed foods and plants and keep the “bad” stuff to a minimum.
Get Quality Sleep
We all have felt the effects of poor sleep. We feel groggy, our body aches, we aren’t motivated, and worst of all the lack of sleep is written all over our face. Sleep is vital to overall health. Our body uses that time to eliminate waste and toxins and restore every system and organ in our body – including our skin. Not only does the volume and quality of your sleep impact your skin, how you sleep and what you do before you turn in can seriously impact your skin’s health and appearance. Having a bedtime ritual, washing your face, and getting a good night’s rest all contribute to a glowing appearance come morning.
Stress has become the chronic ailment of the 21st century. Stress had its place in ancient times, when it needed to protect us from threats from bears, tigers, and other life or death situations. Unfortunately, our bodies can’t tell the difference between a life-threatening attack from an angry bear and the deadline driven demands of modern life. Chronic stress can impact all areas of the body, including the skin. It can show up as rashes, acne, and other skin imperfections. Not to mention stress can impact the quality of your sleep and the diet choices you make throughout the day. Which is why stress management is another key element of a solid skin care routine.
Skin Care On The Outside
This is traditionally what we think of when we think of skin care and includes the external applications and routines to protect, cleanse, and nourish our skin.
Use Quality Skin Care Products
External skin care begins with quality products. Use products made with plant-based ingredients that avoid toxins and other pore clogging preservatives. Be sure to wash your face in the evening, to remove make up and grime that builds up during the day. It’s also important to wash your face in the morning as we often sweat and release toxins while we sleep. This ensures you start the day with a fresh, clean slate.
Adjust Your Routine Seasonally
Your skin care regimen isn’t a set it and forget thing. Different seasons bring different conditions. Dry, cooler air in the winter often leads to dry, irritated skin. While hot and humid conditions in the summer can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. On the other hand, spring is a time of renewal in nature and for your skin. Observe how your skin responds to seasonal changes and environmental conditions and adjust accordingly. You will also need to adjust your skin care as you go through different seasons of life. Our needs change as we get older, as well as with the demands on our time and bodies that fluctuate throughout the year. Pay attention to what is happening around you and how your skin is reacting and change your routine as needed.
Protect Your Skin From UV and Environmental Toxins
Most people know the importance of applying sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Not only can unprotected sun exposure lead to skin cancer, but it also promotes aging—and nobody wants to age faster! In addition to sun exposure, our modern, urban environments are riddled with pollution and other environmental toxins that are assaulting our skin. Air pollution and blue light from electronics have been found to speed up aging as well. Limit your time outside on high pollution days, apply blue light filters on screens, and follow a quality skin care regimen designed to wash away the toxins.
We all want to put our best face forward to the world. Taking care of your body and your skin from the inside out is the key to looking and feeling your best.