How to Get Healthier Skin
If it seems like you’ve tried everything and your skin still looks and feels unhealthy, don’t be discouraged. Your skin is your body’s biggest organ and, just like your other vital organs, there are many scientifically identified ways you can boost its function and appearance. Monitoring the foods, fluids, and vitamins you ingest, as well as including only non-toxic beauty products in your regular skincare regimen are all essential elements of taking good care of your skin.
Choosing Safe Products
Check the label.Skincare products face much less governmental regulation than food products, so an item's availability on the market doesn’t necessarily mean it's safe. Because of this, it’s important to check the ingredient list on the labels of your current skincare products as well as any news ones you’re interested in. Look for organic, herbal ingredients such as green tea extract, Vitamin C, acai oil, olive oil, and aloe vera.Be sure to avoid chemicals such as parabens, propylene glycol, fragrances, and formaldehyde.
- There are multiple nonprofit watchdog groups that maintain useful websites to help consumers decipher long and complicated ingredient lists. Take a look at safercosmetics.org, ewg.org, and breastcancerfund.org to learn about which products and ingredients are best and which are most harmful.
Beware of false advertising!Phrases like “all natural” and “hypoallergenic” emblazoned across the label may seem promising, but they’re essentially meaningless.Opt for products with “organic” on the label instead of “natural,” as the term ‘organic’ actually denotes that the product meets stringent federal guidelines. You can also look for the European Union Compliance Seal, which means that the product contains no chemicals suspected to cause cancer or birth defects.
Purchase a moisturizer and cleanser designed specifically for your face.The skin on your face is different from the skin on your body and thus requires separate, specialized products. For example, since it's thinner than the skin on your body, your facial skin needs retinol in order to preserve elasticity. The skin on your face is also more exposed to the elements and prone to oiliness, so make sure your face products contain SPF, oil-fighting ingredients, and blemish-fighting ingredients.
- Use your facial lotion on your neck and upper chest as well, as this skin is thin and exposed to the elements just like your face is.
- Opt for organic, gentle lotions and cleansers designed specifically for sensitive skin if you find that your skin gets irritated easily. They’ll be more expensive than your run-of-the-mill drugstore brands, but the vastly reduced chemical components will make your skin a lot less prone to rashes and flare-ups.
Select a fragrance-free body lotion and soap.Unlike your facial lotion, your body lotion only has one purpose: to moisturize dry skin. Since the skin on your body is thicker and less sensitive, these lotions can use more heavy-duty moisturizers like petrolatum which, if used on your face, would clog pores and cause pimples. Similarly, body washes and soap bars can use harsher cleansers and have a higher pH, which would parch and strip the delicate skin on your face.Just make sure that your body lotion is fragrance-free, as artificial fragrances are one of the most common allergens included in skin products.
- While your body can tolerate these higher pH levels and harsh cleansers better than your face does, you might still want to go with a body soap that has a neutral pH in order to avoid drying out your skin.
- If you have a history of eczema, use a body lotion containing tea tree oil or colloidal oatmeal in order to soothe existing rashes and prevent more from developing.
Consider homemade remedies for sensitive skin.If your skin seems to react poorly to even the mildest store-bought remedies, you could consider pursuing a nontraditional approach such as the oil cleansing method. In this method, you apply a mixture of botanical oils to your face and rinse it off afterward. The cleansing oils blend with the naturally produced oils on your face and flush them out when you rinse. Using as little as two ingredients and preserving the pH balance of your skin, this method is a great and cost-efficient way to remove natural oils without irritating your skin.
- One of the most popular mixtures includes two parts castor oil and one part sunflower seed or grape seed oil, among many others. Browse recipes on holistic beauty blogs such as crunchybetty.com or wellnessmama.com and experiment in order to find out what blend works best for you.
Avoid common irritants in hygiene and household products.Many hygienic products like deodorants and hair conditioner contain parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, and ethanolamines which can irritate your skin. Even household solutions that you don’t apply directly to skin can cause allergic reactions and contact dermatitis. Check your laundry detergent and dryer sheets to make sure they are “free and clear” of all dyes and perfumes.
- Consider switching to all-natural household cleaners, or be sure to wear gloves when handling all-purpose cleaners and disinfectants.
Use oil-free, chemical-free makeup.Many of the cheapest foundations with the heaviest coverage contain oil and clog pores, ultimately putting you at risk for increased acne. Lipsticks also frequently contain mineral oil—a known carcinogen—and petrolatum, so check that your cosmetics are oil-free and contain minimal chemical additives.
- Purchase your products from a manufacturer that eschews animal testing if you also want to support ethical production.
Establishing a Consistent Skin Care Regimen
Wear sunscreen every day.Many people think that they only need to wear sunscreen when they’ll be outside for extended periods of time or when the sun looks particularly fierce. However, you should wear sunscreen any day you’ll be outside even briefly, whether it’s sunny or cloudy. The sun emits UV rays at all times, so even a dark day or a quick trip to the supermarket can do damage to your skin and contribute to your risk of developing melanoma. Pick a waterproof variety with broad-spectrum protection that has an SPF of 30 or higher.
- While you should always wear sunscreen, be particularly vigilant between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, as this is the time of day when sun rays are strongest.
- Sun exposure provides your body with essential Vitamin D, so make sure you get it from the foods you eat or the dietary supplements you take.
Moisturize every morning and night.Your skin can dry out easily if you don’t moisturize it frequently. You can preserve moisture by using a dehumidifier and keeping the thermostat down, but the best way to keep your skin hydrated is by regularly applying moisturizer.
- Also apply facial and body lotion immediately after bathing in order to lock in moisture.
Wash your face once or twice a day.Some dermatologists contend that you should wash your face in the morning and at night, while others assert that it’s only necessary at night. You can decide which routine feels best for you, but you should at least cleanse nightly in order to remove makeup and buildup from the day.
- Use warm water rather than hot water when washing in order to keep your skin from losing moisture.
Don’t pop pimples.While it can seem like your sore, pulsing whitehead is screaming to be popped, try to resist this temptation. Popping pimples can cause unsightly scabbing and push bacteria further into the skin in the short term and also permanently scar your skin.
- Instead of popping, use topical ointments such as salicylic acid or 5% benzoyl peroxide in order to dry out the pimple without force.
Avoid using steroid creams on your face.While it’s fine to use over-the-counter cortisone creams for temporary rashes and irritations on your body, you should never use them on your face. It can cause painful and chronic conditions such as perioral dermatitis, a rash that occurs around the mouth. If a rash develops on your face, consult a dermatologist before applying any topical creams or ointments.
Stop touching your face.It can be tempting to nervously touch or feel your face—especially when you have a pimple or itchy, dry patches—but try to avoid this as much as possible. The natural oils in your fingers can clog the pores on your face. Additionally, the bacteria that your hands pick up throughout the day can be transferred this way.
Adopting a Healthier Lifestyle
Drink at least 2.2 liters of water each day.Your skin gets moisture from topical moisturizers, but most of its water supply comes from internal consumption. Unfortunately, it only gets the water you ingest after all of your other internal organs do. Because of this, you should make sure you drink at least the recommended minimum of water each day. This is particularly essential when it comes to retaining epidermal moisture.While there are minimal formal studies supporting this assertion, most dermatologists argue that they’ve observed the positive effects of plentiful water consumption in their patients.
- Drinking plenty of water has numerous other health benefits, such as boosting vital organ function, flushing toxins, and inducing regular bowel movements.
Eat a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein.Recent studies have shown that a healthy, vitamin-rich diet has a significant impact on your skin’s health and appearance. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, walnuts, and beef, and those with antioxidants such as red wine, green tea, and tomatoes are particularly helpful for your complexion. Try to incorporate them into your diet as much as possible.
- Also limit your consumption of greasy and sugary foods, as these can exacerbate pre-existing oiliness and acne.
Quit smoking.If you’re a smoker, chances are that you already know how harmful this habit can be to your lungs and heart. You might not know, though, that smoking has a negative impact on your complexion. Studies have shown that smoking is linked to painful skin conditions such as psoriasis, complications in healing, and premature aging.
- You can wean yourself off of tobacco by using nicotine substitutions such as patches and e-cigarettes, but nicotine has nevertheless been linked to premature aging and delayed healing of wounds. So, if healthier skin is your objective, you should aim to eventually get off nicotine entirely.
Get eight hours of sleep a night.Many people know that insufficient sleep can lead to dark circles and bags under their eyes, but few people know how important a good sleep pattern is to overall skin health. During sleep, your body regenerates cells throughout the body, including the epidermal cells. By skipping this regenerative process, your complexion can become dehydrated and its pH level suppressed.
- Also be sure to use sheets with a high thread count. Low thread counts are rougher and produce more friction when rubbed against your skin, causing a higher likelihood of breakouts and wrinkles over time.
Stay active.Recent studies have shown that physical exercise can help preserve skin elasticity and complexion, as well as improve skin that is already sagging or aging.You'll also see improvements in mood, muscle tone, and cardiovascular health, so aim for 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise and do some resistance training repetitions two days per week.
Visit the dermatologist at least once a year.Routine care and good-quality products should do wonders for your skin’s appearance and health, but it’s a healthy choice to see a dermatologist on an annual basis whether or not you’re having problems. At your appointment, the dermatologist can look for any signs of early skin cancers, diagnose any problems you’re having, prescribe an antibiotic or strong anti-acne medication, and assist you to figure out a better skincare and product regimen for the future.
QuestionHow often should I exercise for it to have an effect on my skin?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThree times a week would be a good amount to exercise. It is important to shower afterward, especially since sweat can cause build-up of dead skin and facial blackheads.Thanks!
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