Healthy Living, Hydration, Skin Care, Sun Care

Skin Care Essentials Part 2: Overall Skin Health

Do you know how much of the visible ageing process is genetic? A shockingly low 20%.

That means that 80% of the visible aging process is at least under your influence, if not under your control. It means that 80% of the visible aging process can indicate how healthy or unhealthy your skin is. So how do you make the most of that 80%? Here are seven keys to improving or maintaining the overall health of your skin.

Drink Water

Using a moisturizer on your skin is important, but it can’t make up for your skin not being hydrated from the inside. The old general rule is 8×8, eight cups of eight ounces of fluids daily. This works out to 64 oz, or approximately 2lt or a half gallon. If that seems intimidating it is good to know that most fluids count–juice, milk, de-caf tea or coffee. If you have poor hydration habits this is a good place to start.

If you really want to boost your fluid intact benefits, stick with water and up your intake even more. Take your weight in pounds and divide by two, that’s how many ounces of water you should aim for. So, if you weigh 170 lbs your goal should be to drink 85 oz of water daily.

The best thing about this tip is that it is something you can control. It’s not necessarily easy, but you have the power. Try keeping a water bottle at your bedside or setting alarms throughout the day to remind you to drink water. It takes 21 days to create a new habit, so keep at it and it will become natural in about three weeks.

Healthy Diet

Here is another tip that is totally in your control, even though it can be hard. But a healthy skin diet it is not about limiting calories, its about getting nutrients.

Some things to really boost in your diet:

  • Vitamin A: found in diary products and fruits and vegetable high in beta-carotene. Retinol is vitamin A, it helps disrupt the process that breaks down collagen in the skin.
  • Vitamin C: found in many fruits & vegetables. Vitamin C is necessary for creating collagen which keeps skin firm and strong.
  • Vitamin E: found in almonds, peanuts, and many fruits & vegetables. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which even provides limited UV protection to your skin (but don’t skip the sun screen).
  • Fatty Acids: especially Omega-3 fatty acids like those found in fatty fish or walnuts. Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation.
  • Selenium: found in whole grains and nuts. Like Vitamin E, Selenium provides limited UV protection. It also helps fight inflammation and helps your skin fight inflection
  • Zinc: found in oysters, lobster, crab and lean meats. Zinc helps your skin to heal, wards off infection and inflammation, and may help keep acne in check. Zinc also offers UV protection.

Rest

In our busy world, getting enough rest can seem like a pipe dream, but it is essential. Most adults need 8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is key to healthy skin because that is when your skin rebuilds its reserves of all the vitamins and antioxidants it has used up during the day. Tips on getting more/better sleep could easily make up a post by itself, but here’s a few.

  • Set a routine: go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Keep electronics out of the bedroom: blue light from all those screens keeps your brain awake even after you’ve turned them off. Try to keep electronics out of your bedroom or at least limit their use before bed.
  • Stay cool: It is easiest to fall asleep when your body is cool, so skip the hot shower or workout right before bed and lower the thermostat in the evening.

Manage Stress

This item on the list is the hardest one to control yourself. We all have stressors we can’t control. Maybe it is a Luke very adventurous toddler, maybe it is a job you hate, maybe it is more to do than hours to do it.

But managing stress will help you with get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and drink enough water. Just like getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and drinking enough water will help to manage stress. Its kind of a hard cycle to break into.

It is also one of the most personal things to figure out on this list. For some people a daily trip to the gym will help, for some it is prayer and meditation. One of the key things for me to manage my stress is to be creative. I find scrap booking and knitting very soothing.

Take baby steps to find small things that can help YOU specifically and work from there.

Protect your skin from the elements

The air is full of yucky stuff. If you wear glasses then you know how much is on your lenses at the end of the day, and all of that gunk is also on your face. Wearing a foundation, or even just a foundation primer, provides a physical barrier between your skin and the world. It helps to ensure that more of the pollution you come into on a daily basis gets washed down the skin at night instead of absorbed by your skin.

Check your sun exposure

Sun exposure is an element worth mentioning all by itself. While getting enough vitamin E, selenium, and zinc will help give you a little boost of protection if you forget to reapply, it is essential to use a UVA/UVB broad spectrum sun screen daily. Did you know that nearly 53% of skin cancers in the US occur on the left side of the body? That may be because that is the side exposed to the most sunlight when you are driving. Forget the anti-aging benefits of protecting your skin from the sun and think about the anti-cancer benefits.

Proper Hygiene

So we have three more posts to discuss skin hygiene. Using the right products to wash, moisturize and protect your skin will all help keep it healthy. And not all skin areas are created equal. The skin on your face has different needs than the skin on your arms. Stay tuned for more information on how to choose the right products for your skin.

Explore the whole series:

In my research I pulled information from many, many sources all offering the same advice, including WebMD, Healthline, the Mayo Clinic and more. But one of the most useful sites I found was CanyonRanch and I would be remiss in not sharing this excellent resource for detailed, but easy to understand, health and wellness advice.

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