Everyone wants to have healthy and clear skin, but often our busy schedules prevent us from doing what is best for our skin. This article will provide three quick and easy steps that are sure to get your skin looking and feeling healthier.
Undoubtedly, one of the most noticeable things about a person is their physical appearance, and skin is a large part of that first impression. However, skin serves a purpose far beyond pure aesthetics. As the body’s largest organ, skin is the the first line of defense for your body’s immune system. Skin is also crucial for regulating the body’s temperature.
Despite its importance and functionality, many people take their skin for granted and do not realize that their habits may be damaging their skin’s health and appearance–and, by large extension, their overall health and appearance. Skin is tough and can withstand fairly rough treatment, but over time, damaged skin can be life threatening. Just like brushing your teeth or flossing, taking care of your skin should become an automatic part of your hygiene routine. With just a few moments of your time each day and your favorite skin care products, your skin will be healthy in no time.
The biggest step in skin care is commitment. Like anything else, a real impact is only possible if you stick to a plan and follow through. We all know how quickly the day can fill up between work, school and family duties. Regardless of your schedule, it’s important to realize that good skin hygiene really only takes a few moments of each day.
Here are three basic tips you can incorporate into your day to ensure healthier skin:
Wash Your Face Daily
Even if you don’t have acne or oily skin, everyone can benefit from washing their face daily. Skin has natural oils that build up over the course of the day and can clog your pores over time, thus damaging the health of your skin. Keeping the skin around your mouth, nose, and eyes clean is particularly important for maintaining overall health. Germs that linger on your face make you susceptible to colds and other illness.
Many people do not wash their faces on a daily basis due to laziness or simply forgetfulness. An easy fix is to put your face wash in the shower next to your shampoo and conditioner. Every time you shower (which is hopefully regularly), your fash wash will remind you to take an extra 30 seconds to wash your face and ensure it is free from damaging germs and oils.
Face washes, especially acne-treating brands, strip your face of oils. Therefore, it is important to gently moisturize your skin in order to prevent dryness and cracking. Without an added moisturizer, your body will overproduce its natural oils to compensate. Although these oils serve a purpose, they can create an unwanted shine and block pores. If you normally have oily skin, try an ultra-gentle moisturizer.
Wear Sunscreen (More Often Than You Think)
Sunscreen isn’t just for direct sunlight. Any time you are performing an activity that causes you to be outdoors for over an hour, you should apply sunscreen. Studies show that ultraviolet (UV) rays are actually stronger on cloudy days, making your skin susceptible to uncomfortable burns.
People often think that only fair skinned individuals are prone to sunburns or skin cancer, but this is a myth. Skin pigment, also called melanin, protects the skin from sunburns and damage from UV rays. Although it is true that darker pigments contain more melanin and are therefore slightly more protected from the sun, there is no amount of pigment that will make your skin immune to sun damage.
Wearing sunscreen is a central part of protecting your health. Recently, concerns surrounding the proper use and application of sunscreen have been making headlines as new sunscreen labeling legislation is being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Previous claims by sunscreen companies such as “sweatproof” or “waterproof” are being implicated as misleading. New sunscreen labels will be required to state the duration of effectiveness, such as 40 or 80 minutes, before reapplication is necessary.
People with sensitive skin should use gentler brands such as Neutrogena or Anthelios. Less expensive mainstream brands also have kids’ sunscreen variants, which are designed to be gentler on the skin. If you have a tendency to break out, try non comedogenic sunscreens that do not clog your pores.
If you are allergic to certain components in sunscreen, try wearing protective sun clothing instead. Specially designed fabrics block UV rays from hitting your skin and doing damage. Hats are also a big help when protecting your face, even if you are wearing sunscreen.
Drink Enough Water
Drinking water has an endless number of positive health benefits ranging from helping digestion to relieving headaches. Water is also crucial to healthy skin. Drinking at least 9 cups of water a day (13 cups for men) will help replenish skin tissues that are inevitably damaged by environmental factors such as the sun or air quality.
Water helps your body to flush harmful toxins from your system. If your body is dehydrated, these toxins will remain in your system and be forced to escape through your pores. This can cause acne and other unpleasant imperfections in your skin. Drinking large amounts of water can especially help people who suffer from eczema and/or psoriasis. The better hydrated you are, the less dry and irritated your skin will be.
Finally, drinking water is also often credited with enhancing the appearance of your skin. If you are dehydrated, your skill will lose its elasticity and plumpness, giving the appearance of wrinkled or loose skin. Ensuring a healthy intake of water will help your skin look younger and healthier. As a test, gently pinch the skin on the top of your hand. If it snaps back into place when you release it, you are properly hydrated. If it takes a moment to flatten back to normal, you need to drink more water!
And there you have it: three simple, inexpensive ways to keep your skin–and your body–healthy for years to come.