Great skin is not simply a matter of DNA. Your daily habits have a big impact on what you see in the mirror. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay natural aging and prevent various skin problems. The key is consistency. The basics are simple.
Protect yourself from the sun
One of the most important ways to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. If skin cancer and sun damage aren’t enough to convince you, UV exposure is also the number one cause of wrinkles, uneven skin tone, loss of firmness and aging signs. Sunscreen is the most crucial skin-care product. More importantly, daily sunscreen use can help to prevent the formation of certain skin cancers. Apply sunscreen every day, even when it’s gray or cold, and even when you’re covered up. Make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
If you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow and makes skin paler. This also depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin, the fibers that give your skin strength and elasticity. Smoking can also increase your risk of squamous cell skin cancer.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Some research suggests that a diet rich in fish oil or fish oil supplements and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger-looking skin. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated.
Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin and a healthy state of mind, take steps to manage your stress. Get enough sleep, set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy.
Washing your face is the most basic and essential step of any routine. Our skin comes in contact with environmental pollutants, dirt and other factors each day that should be gently removed. Wash twice a day, morning and night, to avoid clogged pores, dullness and acne.
The goal of any skin-care routine is to tune up your complexion so it’s functioning at its best. Think of your skin-care routine as consisting of three main steps that become your daily ritual that fortifies your skin and grounds your day.
- Cleansing — Washing your face. Cleanser is what you use to wash your face and it’s important to use a product intended for your face. Finding the right cleanser may be a process of trial and error. Wash your face gently and take care not to scrub too hard. Rinse with warm water, because hot water removes natural oils and causes your skin to become dehydrated. Regardless of the time of day, you should always wash your face after working out or working up a sweat, as sweat can clog pores. And resist picking at your skin.
- Toning — Balancing the skin. Toner is applied after washing your face and can smooth, soften and calm skin. Toners often contain ingredients that replenish and restore nutrients to your skin and can diminish redness and dry patches.
- Moisturizing — Hydrating and softening the skin. Moisturizers should be used every time you wash your face. Moisturizers prevent your skin from drying out, leaving your skin hydrated and smooth. They are most effective when applied while your skin is slightly damp to seal in moisture. Use a moisturizer that fits your skin type. Experts recommend using a daily moisturizer with a built-in broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30.
The easiest way to remember when you should be doing what for your skin is to think of it like this, morning skin care should focus on prevention and protection for the day and your nighttime routine should focus on cleansing and repair.
Good skin care is essential at any age. Many factors can affect your skin and, as your largest organ as well as the first line of health defense, it deserves to be protected. A dermatologist is a great resource if you struggle to get a handle on your skin care. Need a provider? Find one here.