November is National Healthy Skin Month, but skin care is a life-long, year-round process that takes research, patience, and a bit of trial-and-error. Everyone’s skin is different and some things that might work for you might not work for someone else.
Even though skin types are different and body chemistry varies from person to person, there are a few tips we can share with you that are universally backed by science to help survive the chaotic external and internal environments that our skin has to endure.
Despite popular belief, proper skin care doesn’t have to be a tedious, time-consuming practice either. In fact, you can use the time you spend taking care of your skin as a feel-good method of self-care, too. And most of the natural skin care tips we have for you are applicable across many facets of your health and well-being.
Keeping your skin moisturized helps ensure that dryness doesn’t lead to the breakdown of collagen and accelerate skin aging. Skincare companies will try to convince you that their specific product is better than all the other moisturizers on the market. But do moisturizers work?
The truth is, you can get the same basic level of protection from moisturizer at the supermarket as you can from a lotion you buy at a high-end boutique. Sure, we all have our preferences about scent and level of “greasy feeling” that we want on our skin, but moisturizers work because they add a little bit of hydration to your skin from the outside-in.
Collagen, in simple terms, is the glue of the human body. It is naturally found in muscles, joints, hair, nails and skin. Taking collagen supplements for skin is a good idea because of thegrowing body of science backing its efficacy. But there’s a pretty significant obstacle to overcome when it comes to most collagen supplements: absorption. As we age, our bodies slow their collagen production and it becomes more important to find ways to recover and restore lost collagen. But it is important to findcollagen with good bioavailability (easy absorption in the body) so that it can work its magic. Eating collagen powder raw is appealing to exactly nobody, but organic collagen peptides powder can be blended with coffee, smoothies, shakes and pretty much anything else.
If you look at skin care as a time-consuming chore, it will feel tedious and frustrating, especially when you’re short on time and already stressed out. If it’s something you don’t look forward to, there’s a greater chance you’ll skip a few days here and there (kinda like the gym), and that will leave your skin dry, blemished, and more prone to the effects of aging.
Instead, skin care can force you into stepping outside of your busy routine and taking some time for yourself. If you have a facial regimen at home or use a peel-off mask, you can use 10 minutes to relax, take some deep breaths and/or meditate. Just10 minutes of guided breathing can actually help reduce your blood pressure. If you go get a spa treatment, whatever it is--LED light therapy, european facial, oxygen facial, microdermabrasion, chemical peel--you’re not just scheduling some important skincare time, you’re giving yourself a forced window of time during which have no choice but to sit and relax.
Bonus: Even though the vast majority ofphotoaging occurs as a result of sun exposure, 10% of it comes from the blue light from our TVs, computer screens and mobile devices. So taking a break for some skin treatment, especially if it takes you away from your phone for a bit, can compound the benefits.
We wouldn’t exactly file this under “skin care secrets” as it seems pretty obvious (especially if you wear makeup). But even if you don’t wear makeup, it’s important to wash your face at least once every day (and definitely before bed). Natural oils and sweat build up on your face throughout the day, so even if you’re not getting off layers of makeup, a regular routine of facial cleansing is a cornerstone of healthy skin.
LIke a lot of the tips for skincare we’re exploring, the way food affects your skin can vary greatly from person to person, especially when considering allergies and overall body chemistry. However,most of the research covering skin health and diet consistently concludes that sugary foods can increase instances of acne and other skin-related flare-ups. Diets full of sugar don’t include sweets exclusively; eating a diet that is light on processed food, sugar and refined carbohydrates (like what you usually find in fast food and junk food)can help your skin as well.
Bonus: Eating a healthier diet will also benefit you if you’re trying to manage your weight, control your blood sugar, lower your cholesterol or just feel better in general. Diet is a huge part of your body’s well-being in addition to having an impact on your skin. If you incorporate turmeric into your diet, or take aneffective turmeric supplement, there is alsosome promising (but limited) research that shows turmeric (curcumin) can be good for skin as well.
Of course, the health benefits of exercise, apart from skincare, have been well-documented. Having healthier, younger-looking skin is just an awesome perk of taking care of the rest of your body and mind. But be sure to rinse off as soon as possible as leaving sweat on your skin can have an opposite and negative effect on your skin.
If you’re not entirely sure what biotin is, you’re not alone. It’s a B vitamin (B7, specifically) that is important for several functions in the body, especially those that help the production of glucose and fatty acids. While it’s rare for someone to have a biotin deficiency, taking an effectivepure biotin supplementcan help rejuvenate dry, cracked or irritated skin naturally by promoting cell growth. It also helps to reduce the occurenceof dermatitis.
Bonus: Biotin is really good for your hair and nails, too! One of the reasons it’s useful for healthy skin is that it helps improve the structure of the protein, keratin, which is important for rebuilding and replenishing the cellsyou need to thicken up thinning hair and strengthen up fragile nails.
It’s probably easier to remember sunscreen if you have fair skin, or if you’ve ever been burnt really, really bad. Trying to sleep in the midst of a serious sunburn is pretty much impossible, even if you dunk yourself in a bathtub full of aloe beforehand. Sunburns also cause premature skin damage, speed up the skin aging process, and most seriously, can lead to skin cancer.
Yes, the sun will still find you underwater in a swimming pool. Yes, you can still get a sunburn in February. Yes, you should wear sunscreen even if the weather looks cloudy. If you’re going to a high-altitude environment, you’ll want to be double sure to bring along the high-SPF sunscreen. And no, it’s not because you’ll be “closer to the sun” (a few thousand feet doesn’t make that much difference in the scheme of things when the sun’s 93,000,000 miles away). It’s because the atmosphere is much thinner at high altitudes, so there’s less natural protection from UV rays.
Can you use probiotics for skin care? Yes. Yes you can. While probiotics are typically used for digestive health, there is anemerging body of research that indicates probiotics are also good for your skin! If you’re already takinga great probiotic for digestive health, you might also be getting some nice skincare help as well.
So while you’re practicing self-care and taking care of your body in other ways, adding probiotics to your diet can helpkeep your skin clear,free of inflammation, and help slow the skin aging process overall.
Taking care of your skin can (and should) be more than just about your skin. Taking care of the largest organ in/on the human body requires a good bit of effort and time, so multi-task and stack your skin care routine with some rest and relaxation. Most of the things that you can do to ensure your skin looks great for years to come are also beneficial for other parts of your body. If you haven’t thought of skin care as whole-body self-care before now, hopefully you’ve got some tips to make your life easier, live better, feel great and be happier every day.
Apart from protecting your organs from harmful bacteria, your skin also plays a role in healing and sensation. The hairs that grow out of your skin follicles are responsible for warmth, yes, but also as messengers of stimulus. For example, your eyelashes can sense something like debris, dust or dirt before it hits your cornea, sending a message to the brain to close the eyelid immediately.
Collagen, biotin and probiotics all offer support for skin health in different ways. But the base of the research is generally the same: by using a highly bioavailable supplement, you are more likely to provide your cells with the elements they need to thrive. A lot of supplements have biotin, collagen or probiotics in them. But if they’re not able to be absorbed by the body, they will be ineffective.
With collagen, we’re helping to support the body’s natural cellular replenishing process. Biotin helps the body with the protein keratin, and probiotics help reduce inflammation and can help protect against some of the bacteria that cause skin conditions and blemishes. Our bodies lose their ability to replenish as quickly as we age, so it is particularly helpful to consider taking supplements as we mature.
Seth Garland - Content Writer, Physician's Choice