We’re all in a constant battle to keep our skin, hair and nails looking healthy. Even the skin care industry is taking advantage of this fact and launching new products day by day. Their clever marketing persuades people to buy the products, but often without any results to show for their money.
Fulfilling the desire for younger-looking skin does not mean having to spend a fortune on expensive products and treatments.
Remember, the skin is the body’s largest organ. Healthy and youthful skin is a sign of optimal well-being. From eating right to your exercise routine, from your skin care regimen to your sleeping style, everything affects your skin quality.
Maintaining healthy and younger-looking skin can be accomplished with the right approach.
Here are 10 proven ways to keep your skin young and beautiful.
1. Protect Your Skin from the Sun
One of the most important things you can do to keep your skin beautiful is protect it from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems.
The American Academy of Dermatology says that the sun plays a major role in premature aging of the skin. This is why it’s important to protect your skin from the sun every day, even on rainy and winter days.
You can protect your skin by seeking shade, wearing clothes that cover up all your body and applying sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, SPF 30 (or higher) and water-resistant on all exposed skin.
Even tomato paste consumption can provide protection from sun damage. A 2012 study published in Nutrition Research reports that tomato paste supplementation improves endothelial dynamics and reduces plasma total oxidative status in healthy subjects. This is important for healthy skin.
Sun exposure is also linked to skin cancer, one of the leading causes of deaths due to cancer.
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology reports that ultraviolet (UV) radiation induces skin cancer. Researchers emphasized raising awareness of the harmful effects of UV exposure for prevention of skin cancer.
A recent 2015 study published in Genome Biology also found that aging and sun exposure are the leading causes of skin cancer. Sun exposure causes epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation, which are well established mechanisms for cancer.
Sun exposure is even damaging for the hair. A 2008 study published in Collegium Antropologicum says that absorption of radiation in photosensitive amino acids of the hair and their photochemical degradation produces free radicals. This has adverse impacts on hair proteins, especially keratin, leading to structural impairment of the hair shafts.
2. Wash Your Face Just Once a Day
Unless you have a skin condition like acne, dermatologists say you only need to wash your face once a day, in the evening right before going to bed. Always use a mild cleanser.
Nighttime cleansing helps remove makeup, pollutants and other particles that have collected on the skin throughout the day.
If you like washing your face to feel fresh in the morning, skip the cleanser and just rinse with lukewarm water. Cleansing your face twice a day or more can cause dryness, especially if you have dry and sensitive skin.
That squeaky-clean feeling you get after washing your face is actually not good as it indicates that your skin is overly dry.
A 2012 article by the American Academy of Dermatology reports that how you wash your face can make a difference in your appearance. Experts offer several suggestions in the article, including:
- Use a gentle, nonabrasive cleanser that does not contain alcohol.
- Wet your face with lukewarm water first, then apply cleanser using your fingertips.
- Never scrub your skin, as scrubbing irritates the skin.
- Rinse with lukewarm water, and pat dry with a soft towel.
Also, make sure to wash your face after sweating as it can irritate your skin, especially when you have been wearing a hat or helmet. If you have excessively oily and acne-prone skin then you can wash it twice daily, in the morning and night.
There is no need to wash your face with hot or cold water. In fact, hot water can cause redness and irritation in people with sensitive skin, and cold water can lead to shock. Most dermatologists recommend using lukewarm water.
Aways use your common sense to decipher your face-washing routine particular to your case, depending on your skin type and the climate you are living in.
3. Moisturize within 3 Minutes after Bathing
Moisturizing is important for healthy and beautiful skin, as it protects the skin from the weather and from drying out and looking dull. It even helps maintain your skin’s natural moisture levels by sealing in the water already in the skin or slowly releasing moisture into the skin.
But to enjoy these benefits of moisturizers, it is important to apply the moisturizer at the right time.
To capture the most amount of moisture from your bath or shower, apply a moisturizer within three minutes of bathing. This is suggested by the American Academy of Dermatology.
When you come out of the shower or bath and pat dry your skin, the skin pores are still open. So, applying moisturizer at this time helps it penetrate deep inside the skin. It even traps water in the skin by preventing it from evaporating.
To hydrate the skin, it is also important to drink enough water throughout the day. Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day to keep your skin firm, toned and glowing – from head to toe.
4. Eat 5 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables Daily
A diet with more fruits and vegetables can improve your skin tone. In fact, you must try to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that can help protect your skin from damage. Vitamin C is one antioxidant that helps tissue repair itself and regrow. Another antioxidant, vitamin A, supports cell growth and even helps guard cells from damage.
Try to munch more on carrots and tomatoes to enjoy a brighter skin color. Carrots and tomatoes contain carotenoids, which are antioxidants that help soak up damaging free radicals produced by the stresses and strains of everyday living, especially when the body is combating disease.
A 2011 study published in Evolution and Human Behavior showed that eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables gives your skin a more healthy golden glow than getting a suntan.
A 2012 study published in PLOS ONE found that increased fruit and vegetable consumption confers measurable and perceptibly beneficial effects on Caucasian skin appearance within six weeks.
5. Don’t Smoke and Avoid Secondhand Smoke
It has been long established that smoking has deleterious effects on skin. Smoking can damage the outer layer of the skin, leading to a dull, wasted appearance.
The smoke released into the environment from smoking tobacco dries the skin’s surface. In addition, smoking reduces the amount of blood flowing to the skin by constricting blood vessels, which in turn depletes the skin of oxygen and essential nutrients.
Smoking even leads to an increased production of an enzyme that breaks down collagen in the skin and causes it to sag.
A 2002 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology shows a strong correlation between cigarette smoking and skin wrinkling. In addition, microscopic superficial wrinkling was noted in current smokers in the younger age group, between 20 and 39 years.
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science analyzed several studies and found that smoking tobacco leads to accelerated aging of the skin.
In an interesting 2013 study at the Department of Plastic Surgery at Case Western Reserve University, researchers looked at 79 sets of twins between the ages of 18 and 78 and found that among a pair of twins, the one who smoked had signs of premature aging as compared to the one who did not smoke. This study was published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
6. Sleep on Your Back
Sleep is essential for healthy skin. If you’re short on sleep even for a single day, it can lead to bags under the eyes. So, just imagine how multiple sleepless nights affect your skin appearance.
In a 2013 study by the University Hospitals Case Medical Center, physician-scientists found that sleep quality impacts skin function and aging. The study found that poor sleepers had increased signs of skin aging and slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or UV radiation.
A 2015 study published in Clinical Experiments in Dermatology indicates that chronic poor sleep quality is associated with increased signs of intrinsic aging, diminished skin barrier function and lower satisfaction with appearance. The study also points out that good sleepers have a significantly better perception of their appearance and physical attractiveness than poor sleepers.
While quantity of sleep is important for skin health, even the way you sleep can have a huge effect on your skin appearance. Sleeping on your stomach with your face buried into your pillow can cause dark circles and puffiness around your eyes. This sleeping posture can cause the blood vessels to become constricted and result in poor blood circulation.
To maintain your skin’s overall health, train yourself to sleep on your back and keep your head raised well above your body by using two pillows. Also, try to sleep for at least seven hours a day.
7. Add Coconut Oil to Your Beauty Routine
Whether it’s healthy skin or hair that you want, extra-virgin coconut oil is something you should invest in.
No matter what type of skin you have, extra-virgin coconut oil works as a great moisturizer. It is, in fact, very helpful for older people who are more prone to skin dryness. This oil is one of the only sources of medium-chain fatty acids, which is what makes it so incredibly good for skin.
This oil is also rich in phytonutrients and polyphenols that act as antioxidants and have other tissue-supportive and tissue-protective properties.
A recent 2013 study published in the International Journal of Dermatology showed that topical virgin coconut oil decreased water loss in the skin of people with atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition in which the skin’s natural moisture-locking barrier does not function properly.
Coconut oil is also very effective against hair damage. This is due to its high affinity for hair proteins and low molecular weight, which makes it possible for the oil to penetrate inside the hair shafts.
A 2003 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that among mineral, sunflower and coconut oils, it is coconut oil that can remarkably reduce the protein loss in both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.
8. Shave with Care
Most men and women prefer shaving as one of the best methods to get rid of unwanted hair and to enjoy smooth skin.
But if shaving is not done properly and with extra precautions, it can irritate the skin, especially if the skin is thin, dry and sensitive.
A 2011 article in the British Journal of Dermatology reports that shaving represents a highly complex series of mechanical and chemical interactions occurring at the skin surface. To ensure great closeness and optimal comfort, successful management of the skin is paramount.
It is recommended to shave after a warm bath or shower (or pressing a warm wet cloth on your skin) as it helps soften the hair. Never make the mistake of shaving when the skin is dry. Also, use a clean, sharp razor, and shave in the direction of the hair growth. After shaving, rinse the skin well with warm water to remove soap and dead cells.
If the skin becomes irritated after shaving, avoid using an alcohol-based lotion even if it feels refreshingly cool. Such products can make the irritation worse by drying out the skin even more.
9. Practice Facial Yoga
Facial yoga has become increasingly popular, as it provides the same benefits as a face lift surgery without the risks and cost.
Regularly practicing facial yoga can lead to fewer wrinkles, less eye puffiness, a firmer jaw line and no sagging skin. This happens because facial yoga poses increase production of collagen, which is the skin’s fountain of youth that declines with aging and sun damage. It even improves muscle tone and makes the skin look more supple.
A 2014 study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found facial yoga to be effective for skin rejuvenation. However, evidence from large, randomized controlled trials will be needed before conclusions can be drawn.
To reduce double chins, try this facial yoga pose:
- Sit comfortably, keeping your head straight.
- Pout your lips and move them slowly to the left, stretching your cheek.
- Turn your head to the left and lift it upwards at a 45-degree angle.
- Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Repeat again before doing it twice to the right side.
To remove smile lines, try this facial yoga pose:
- Place both palms on your temples.
- Push up and back with your hands to lift your face.
- Open your mouth gently and make an “O” shape.
- Then, drop your jaw.
- Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 2 more times.
Facial yoga mainly focuses on the muscles in your head and neck. If done correctly, it can help keep your face looking younger for longer.
10. Avoid Excessive Scrubbing
Gentle exfoliation is a great way to get rid of excess dead skin cells and bring back your skin’s radiant glow. But over-exfoliation can cause irritation and inflammation.
Many of us rub too vigorously when using a scrub. The constant friction and abrasion on the skin can strip away the natural oils, leading to irritation and dryness. It can even cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, leading to darkening of blemishes.
The line between healthy exfoliation and over-exfoliation is pretty thin and blurry. Over-exfoliation can lead to:
- Loss of moisture in the skin,
- Patchy and peeling areas of dryness,
- Blotchy and red skin,
- Increased sensitivity to your regular products,
- A burning sensation when anything is applied to the skin,
- Skin that feels hot to the touch, and
- Annoying itching.
If you have any of these symptoms after scrubbing or exfoliating, take it as a warning sign that something is wrong.
Exfoliation should be done only once every week or two, depending upon how sensitive your skin is.