The Healthy Skin Lifestyle
Getting the Most from Your Skin Care Routine
As the largest organ in your body, your skin has a total area of about 20 square feet. Your skin, especially on your face, is constantly exposed to elements like the sun’s UV rays, pollution, and other hazards that leave it vulnerable to damage, causing premature aging and even skin cancer. Protecting your skin from the inside out is essential to your health.
A consistent skin care regimen using top-quality products is an important step to protect your skin from the harmful effects of everyday life. You can optimize the results you get from your skin care products if you follow a skin-healthy lifestyle. We’ll share steps you should take that will help to keep your complexion glowing and vibrant, as well as what you should avoid to keep your complexion in tip-top shape.
Nourishing Your Skin from the Inside Out
You’ve probably heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” The foods you include (and don’t include) in your diet do impact your skin. But nourishing your skin goes far beyond the foods on your plate.
To encourage a healthy glowing complexion, you should complement your skin care regimen with the following steps.
Stay hydrated. Use a moisturizer and skin care products with hydrating ingredients. Be sure to drink enough water. The amount will vary, according to your age, activity level, even the weather. For women, this averages about 9 glasses of water or other liquids each day.1
Feed your skin. Including monounsaturated fats like avocado or olive oil and Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts in your diet boosts the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Antioxidant-rich foods with vitamin A, C, and E help by limiting free radical damage from the sun’s UV rays. Top sources of vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin, winter squash, cantaloupe, and greens such as kale and spinach. For vitamin C, fill your plate with citrus fruit, strawberries, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Include vitamin E from nuts, seeds, and olives.2
Give your skin vitamins. Food isn’t the only source of vitamins for your skin. Use skin care products formulated with antioxidant-rich components like retinol, aloe vera, chamomile and green tea extracts to help repair damage from the sun.3
Slather on sunscreen. Protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15-50. Reapply every 2 hours and make this part of your everyday routine, not only when you’re headed to the beach.4
Decompress the stress. An excess of the stress hormone cortisol can exacerbate conditions including acne, psoriasis, and eczema. High levels of cortisol also accelerate the skin’s aging process, increasing signs of aging such as wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and skin dullness. Incorporate relaxation techniques like yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation a few times a week.5
Exercise. In addition to easing stress, working out will boost oxygenated blood flow, helping to nourish skin cells. Exercise also stimulates collagen production, keeping the skin supple, firm, and elastic. If you exercise outdoors, remember to apply sunscreen.
Remove Makeup. When you don’t remove cosmetics, your skin is unable to repair itself from the effects of free radicals and oxidative stress as you sleep. Over time, these free radicals cause collagen breakdown, which results in the development of fine lines and premature aging.
Get your beauty sleep. Your skin repairs itself as you rest. Try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. When you get to bed too late, blood vessels dilate under your eyes, causing the appearance of undereye circles. Get to sleep more easily by avoiding the TV, computer, and phone at least a half hour before bed. Keep a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends.6
Take care of your skin. Remember to monitor any changes in your skin and to get a yearly skin check. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Americans. Skin cancers can usually be treated and cured if caught early.
The Worst Habits for Your Skin
You know what to do to protect your skin from the extensive damage caused by free radicals and oxidative skin. But do you know what you should avoid to protect your skin and to avoid disrupting the results you get from your skin care regimen?
Skip the afternoon coffee pick-me-up. Caffeine causes constriction of the blood vessels, preventing the blood vessels at the surface of your skin from delivering as many antioxidants and nutrients to the skin, which boost collagen production. Stick to 1 or 2 cups a day.
Step away from the donut! Eating too much sugar, whether in sweets or processed foods, can cause wrinkles. When your body metabolizes sugar, a molecule called advanced glycation end products (AGE) develops. As these molecules increase, they damage adjacent proteins, especially collagen and elastin, the protein fibers that keep your skin firm and resilient. AGEs also deactivate the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes so you’re more vulnerable to sun damage.7
Say no to mayo. Avoid omega-6 oils found in soybean, corn, and safflower oils, as well as mayonnaise or some prepared salad dressings. An excess of omega-6 fatty acids can stimulate the inflammatory process, especially without enough omega-3 fatty acids. To restore balance, be sure to include inflammation-fighting foods like salmon or tuna.8
Drink alcohol in moderation. If you choose to imbibe, limit drinks to one a day. Alcohol disrupts the production of vasopressin, a hormone that helps your body reabsorb water, dehydrating the skin. Hard liquor, wine, and beer also decrease vitamin A, an antioxidant crucial for cell renewal and turnover, as well as to fight free radicals.9
Don’t smoke. Tobacco smoke, even secondhand, causes premature aging and wrinkling, as well as increases your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, a skin cancer that can spread if not caught early.10
Avoid tanning. Even the slightest tan is a sign of skin damage. Repeated unprotected exposure to UV rays causes skin cells to mutate, which can cause skin cancer. Chronic exposure can also accelerate signs of skin aging, such as wrinkles, sagging, spots, and uneven skin tone. Tanning indoors is not safer than tanning outdoors. Indoor tanning is designed to expose your skin to high levels of radiation in a short time.11
The Bottom Line
Following a healthy skin lifestyle is just as important to optimize the effects of your skin care products. Feeding your body (and your skin) unprocessed foods with plenty of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, getting enough sleep, exercising, and applying sunscreen are all key to protecting your skin.
Simple Beauty has created a series of skin care products formulated with antioxidants and botanicals from nature, complemented with cutting edge science. Combining consistent use with a healthy lifestyle will keep your skin glowing and vibrant.
1 Palma, L., Marques, L. T., Bujan, J., & Rodrigues, L. M. (2015). Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 8, 413–421. http://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S86822
2 Lademann J, Patzelt A, Schanzer S, Richter H, Meinke MC, Sterry W, Zastrow L, Doucet O, Vergou T, Darvin ME.(2011). Uptake of antioxidants by natural nutrition and supplementation: pros and cons from the dermatological point of view. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2011;24(5):269-73. doi: 10.1159/000328725. Epub 2011 Jun 1.
3 Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A. I., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-Endocrinology, 4(3), 308–319. http://doi.org/10.4161/derm.22804
4 Latha, M. S., Martis, J., Shobha, V., Sham Shinde, R., Bangera, S., Krishnankutty, B., … Naveen Kumar, B. R. (2013). Sunscreening Agents: A Review. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 6(1), 16–26.
5 Chen, Y., & Lyga, J. (2014). Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging. Inflammation & Allergy Drug Targets, 13(3), 177–190. http://doi.org/10.2174/1871528113666140522104422
6 University Hospitals Case Medical Center. (2013, July 23). Sleep deprivation linked to aging skin, study suggests. ScienceDaily.
7 Pageon H, Zucchi H, Rousset F, Monnier VM, Asselineau D. (2014). Skin aging by glycation: lessons from the reconstructed skin model.Clin Chem Lab Med. 2014 Jan 1;52(1):169-74. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2013-0091.
8 Wallingford, S. C., van As, J. A., Hughes, M. C., Ibiebele, T. I., Green, A. C., & van der Pols, J. C. (2012). Intake of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids and Risk of Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinomas of the Skin: A Longitudinal Community-Based Study in Australian Adults. Nutrition and Cancer, 64(7), 982–990.
9 Poljšak, B., & Dahmane, R. (2012). Free Radicals and Extrinsic Skin Aging. Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012, 135206. http://doi.org/10.1155/2012/135206
10 Morita A1, Torii K, Maeda A, Yamaguchi Y. (2009). Molecular basis of tobacco smoke-induced premature skin aging. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2009 Aug;14(1):53-5. doi: 10.1038/jidsymp.2009.13.
11 Zhang, M., Qureshi, A. A., Geller, A. C., Frazier, L., Hunter, D. J., & Han, J. (2012). Use of Tanning Beds and Incidence of Skin Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 30(14), 1588–1593. http://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2011.39.3655.