Steps to Healthy Skin: 7 Tips from an Esthetician
Healthy, glowing skin, it's what we all strive for, but it can be a tricky balance. Social media, tv, movies all have airbrushed models and ads, as well as photoshop. These unrealistic beauty standards can make us feel like no matter what we do; we can't achieve the same pore-less glowing skin we see every day. The truth is everyone has pores; 20,000 on our face alone is the average for most adults. There are ways to shrink pores and make them less noticeable and improve overall skin texture. The most important thing we can do to achieve skin health is to make sure our bodies and minds are healthy, as stress is one of the number one reasons we show signs of aging. I know it may sound easy, wash your face, and de-stress, but there is so much more when we talk about our skin. Let's take a look at these seven skincare tips to help you achieve healthy skin.
It all starts with our water intake, but how much water is sufficient when staying hydrated. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have determined the appropriate amount of water for men is 3.7 liters and 2.7 liters for women. I know we've all heard the phrase eight glasses of water a day, but of course, some people may need more or less depending on a few lifestyle choices such as exercise, health, and the environment they reside in. You may need even more water if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It's essential to note approximately 20% of your recommended water intake can come from other drinks or food. How exactly does our water intake affect our skin? When our skin is adequately hydrated, it will plump the skin up and improve elasticity. While our skin is dehydrated, it can worsen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; it may also make the skin appear duller. When we are hydrated, our skin will begin to glow. It is important to note that our H2O intake is the most critical step in achieving flawless skin. Without enough water in our daily lives, it will affect the rest of our skincare steps to follow.
2. Proper Cleansing
Cleansing our face in the morning or before bed can be crucial to overall skin health. I know we've all been there after a long night out or a long day of work, and starting our skincare routine can seem like the last thing we want to do. I am here to tell you it is so important! Sleeping with makeup can cause breakouts and even inflammation; the makeup will settle into the pores as we sleep and create future problems like more blackheads and even acne. A quick rinse or makeup wipe may not do the trick either, depending on the amount of makeup or product we already have on the skin. It is important to thoroughly wash our face when we have SPF, makeup, or even some products before bed. Some tend to prefer a gentle wash in the morning, which is fine if you have appropriately cleansed the night before. It is generally overnight when we have to worry about remaining makeup, dirt, and oil sitting in our pores. Over time this can make the appearance of the skin dull and even lead to more frequent breakouts.
Exfoliation plays an integral part in our overall skin health; as we age, our cell turnover decreases; this means we need to assist our skin in shedding dry, dead skin cells. Depending on skin type, exfoliating is usually recommended between 2-3 times a week for best results. If you notice that your skin appears dull and an increase in blackheads, it may be time to increase the amount you are exfoliating. On the other hand, if your skin is sensitive or inflamed, you may want to reduce your exfoliation. Sometimes, all our skin needs is a good exfoliation and serum and moisturizer; think of it as a skin reset. Make sure to give the rest of your body the same love as your face. Exfoliation is essential for the rest of your skin as well. You can use a product designed for body exfoliation, or you can apply your body wash with a loofah for gentle daily exfoliation. When exfoliating on either the face or body, don't forget to follow up with a moisturizer.
4. Sun Protection
SPF or any sun protection may be the most crucial step to healthy skin, along with staying hydrated. All of your other efforts won't matter or make a difference if you aren't consistently protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. If you are anything like me, as much as I hate to admit it, there was a time many years ago when I loved nothing better than laying in the sun, with tanning oil, just dreaming of the beach bronze glow. Oh, how the tables have turned! Most of the clients I see, and I have the same thing to say, If only we protected our skin sooner. Look, I'm not here to scold you on sun protection, but the truth is no matter what you do at home for a skincare routine or how many times you head to the spa, sun damage will remain and only worsen if you don't use a daily SPF. But alas, there is good news! If you take the appropriate steps now, you can reverse signs of aging like dark spots and fine lines. You can use many great serums to reverse signs of aging, but please don't add them to your cart unless you also have an SPF. With so many options now for SPF, there is no excuse for not protecting your skin. Mineral sunscreen, physical sunscreen, sunscreen in your makeup, waterproof, whatever you choose it will add to the overall health of your skin. Don't be afraid to wear a hat out in the sun as well; a hat can cover your ears and scalp, often missed when applying sunscreen, your future skin will thank you.
5. Gut Health
Do you mean eating a box of donuts for breakfast isn't beneficial for our skin? Kidding aside, gut health and skin issues can be incredibly complex, but it is important to note that a healthy gut will go hand in hand with healthy skin. Can our skin let us in on what's going on inside our bodies? The short answer is yes! If our microbiome is unbalanced with things like inflammation or digestion issues, our skin is usually the first place to show signs of this internal stress. For example, breakouts and acne can show up in the chin area, which is generally a hormonal issue, while breakouts in the cheek area can often be a stomach issue. One of the most significant skin factors that we see gut health impact is acne, rosacea, and eczema. People who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome likely have skin issues manifest when they have stomach issue flair-ups. The good thing about this is our skin can sometimes let us know what is off balance internally. Improving your gut issues or staying away from foods you may be sensitive to should help to improve your skin's appearance. Don't worry; one sweet treat shouldn't throw off your good skin day; however, excess sugar can irritate acne and eczema that is already present.
Have you ever heard the term "sweat it out"? When we talk about what happens to our pores during exercise, this is quite literally the phrase and meaning. Still, aside from a mini sauna for our pores, there are also many great benefits for your skin when you work out regularly. I know we are all familiar with the positive effects of exercise on our bodies internally, such as our cardiovascular system but what if I told you exercise is key to keeping skin vibrant. When we increase our blood flow during a workout, it aids in nourishing our skin cells. Think of working out as cleansing your skin from the inside out; an exercise regimen will help to rid your system of debris. There are so many options for healthy workouts; some you can even perform outdoors. If you decide to exercise outside, wear your sunscreen and drink lots of water to stay hydrated (Do we see a pattern here). One last pro-tip after you are done working out, showering directly after or using a wipe to rid excess sweat can decrease the chance of breakouts; a quick cleanse of the skin will remove any bacteria released by your pores. Exercise will help to improve skin, but another great benefit is less stress, which brings us to our last and final step to healthy skin.
Ah yes, my favorite step. I can't say it loud enough, you deserve time to relax, and if anything, your skin needs a break from stress, pollutants, everyday wear, and tear. Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives, and whether you lead a stressful job and home routine, or maybe you don't think you have a lot of stress, the truth is everyone can benefit from relaxation. Some may say they don't have extra time to go to the spa, a massage, a yoga class, etc., but by taking a few minutes each morning or night to meditate, you can de-stress quickly at home. When we feel stressed, our nervous system can release adrenaline or cortisol, better known as stress hormones, which can often show up on our skin in new breakouts. Conditions such as anxiety and depression can wreak havoc on our skin, so it is vital to note when these conditions may feel out of hand, that is the time to take some extra me-time. Stress can also upset the balance of our gut health; all of these steps work together to give us the perfect balanced skin; one little upset in any of them can impact our everyday lives.
Maybe you knew some of the steps, all of them or none at all. Whatever the case may be, I hope some of this info today has set you off on a healthy skin journey. If we can proactively change at least one thing in our daily routine, we can day by day achieve healthier skin. I'm not saying you need to change everything in your routine (But if you do, that's awesome); healthy skin starts with small steps. Start by finding the one thing that would be an easy change; before you know it, your skin will be glowing, healthy, and hydrated.
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