Move over, makeup. No amount of product can cover up skin that isn't in the pink of health. Having healthy skin is the key to looking younger and more vibrant. Our pores actually get older day-by-day as dirt as dead skin cells and other nasties accumulate in them, expanding them and causing the early signs of aging. If we want to stop this aging process, we can actually start by applying some simple steps.
1. Cut back on sugar.
Check what you eat. Did you know that as soon as sugar enters your bloodstream, it bonds with collagen and elastin [the fibers that support skin], causing these to deteriorate? The result: wrinkles early on. Turn this around by (1) avoiding the common sugar triggers, like white bread, white rice and refined sugar found in all desserts and pastries. Increase your intake of Vitamin C by consuming more fruits and vegetables that are potent sources of this nutrient, and also take a vitamin C supplement.
2. Stop stressing!
Stress increases our cortisol levels, which cause damage to collagen and elastin (which we know results in early wrinkles and signs of wear & tear). Every time we frown, for instance, we increase the likelihood of permanent lines on our facial features (yikes!). The solution is simply to reduce our stressors by taking time to quiet our system. The simplest way is to deliberately set aside time for a meditative practice like yoga, and for some easy exercises, like light walking.
...And sleep more! It sounds so simple, but it's a habit we often take for granted. Our skin repairs itself as we sleep, ideally in a 7 to 8 hour cycle. So when we lose sleep over stressful activities and long nights on Netflix binges, our skin suffers the effects of UV damage and from sleep deprivation. Set yourself up for sleep success by turning off your electronic devices an hour before you hit the sack, so that you kill that source of mental stimulation. Go even further by setting the mood for sleep, like dimming the lights, steeping some chamomile tea and playing some relaxing instrumental music that calms you down.
4. Avoid too many outdoor workouts.
While exercise reduces stress, those regular jogs or bicycle routes expose your skin to the elements on a regular basis, making it prone to UV damage, free radicals and pollution. All these factors kill the support structure of the skin, so if you're particularly fond of working out outdoors, then make sure you use sunscreen and moisturize regularly. (Yes, moisturize even when you're going on a workout!)
Now that you know these four simple strategies, which area can you improve on?