Your skin is a complex organ with many functions–to regulate temperature, to protect inner organs, to keep water in and keep bacteria out. But we often neglect our skin and forget that it needs just a little daily TLC in order to function optimally. Here are a few tips to ensure your skin is getting everything it needs to stay healthy.
- Cleanse your skin every night – Taking the time to cleanse your face before hitting the hay is the first step towards good skin health. Night is the optimal time for your skin to repair damage from the day’s pollution, sun and stress. If you wear makeup, it is especially important to remove it at night, but even if you don’t wear makeup, cleansing your skin with a mild cleanser will remove dirt and oil that has accumulated throughout the day and allow your skin to repair and replenish overnight. This also gives you the opportunity to apply vitamins and antioxidants that have been depleted by UV light and environmental factors. They need replenishing every day in order maintain skin health.
- Sun protection – Sun is the major cause of damage to skin. Reduce your exposure to the sun by seeking shade, covering with clothes and wearing a hat. Sunscreen use is extremely important when exposed to UV rays to prevent sunburn and photo-ageing of the skin. Look for chemical free, paraben free, full spectrum sunblock that also contain antioxidants to replenish while protecting your skin. Sun damage is cumulative and will show up as an increase brown spots, redness, sagging, wrinkles, and not to mention,it increases your risk of skin cancer.
- Sleep on your back – This may sound like an odd tip for skin care but sleeping on your back will save your skin from lines and creases that are formed by facial compression when we comfortably snuggle into our pillow while sleeping on our side or stomach. Unlike expression wrinkles, vertical wrinkles located above the eyebrows, in the upper eyelid, upper lip, alongside the nose or on the décolleté are all referred to as sleep wrinkles. They first become noticeable as creases in the morning that go away during the day but will become deeper wrinkles as we age. Side sleeping or stomach sleeping is a tough habit to break, but if you are determined to avoid this type of skin wrinkling, try placing a pillow under your knees while sleeping on your back. This is also beneficial to ease any lower back soreness that has settled in throughout the day. You can even place pillows on either side of you to prevent yourself from rolling over during your sleep. Eventually, you will comfortably sleep on your back without the need for extra pillows while reducing the tell-tale signs of aging – wrinkles!
- Stay hydrated – Maintaining a balance of water and oil in the skin is a key component to skin health. Skin that is at its optimal balance will function at its best. Dryness, flaking and itching can occur when there is insufficient water in the skin and lack of lipids, or oil, can contribute to a compromised skin barrier. TEWL, or trans-epidermal water loss, occurs when moisture is allowed to escape through the epidermis and evaporate, leaving our skin dry and imbalanced. Applying moisturizer within 3 minutes of bathing or showering will lock in moisture and decrease your TEWL significantly. Moisture loss is a contributing factor to accelerating the aging process and aggravating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Adding a humidifier in the room during the drier months of winter will also increase the moisture in the air preventing water from evaporating from your skin.
- Exfoliate – Vigorous, over-exfoliating is a thing of the past but exfoliating is still beneficial and as long as it is a gentle, micro-exfoliation, it is one of the best ways to keep your skin feeling and looking its best. Exfoliation is the elimination of dead skin cells from the outer-most surface of the skin by either a mechanical or chemical means. A build up of dead skin cells can leave the skin dull, congested, acneic, or rough in texture. Keeping your skin exfoliated will ensure you have a continuous turnover of skin cells,a proliferation of new skin cells, and smooth, bright, clear skin.Using a night cream that contains Alpha Hydroxy Acids, will stimulate skin cells to produce growth factors that are important in the regenerative processes.
- No smoking – Our skin cells needs oxygen to thrive and smoking will surely deprive the skin of the necessary oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at its best. Smoking will limit the blood supply to the skin and accelerate the ageing process, cause wrinkles, dullness, and dehydration. Of course, it is detrimental for your overall health and any way you look at it, smoking is just not attractive.
- Use Vitamin A–My list wouldn’t be complete without Vitamin A and those that know me, know I am a firm believer in the topical use of Vitamin A. It’s true we get Vitamin A in our diets, but if we want the best delivery system to our skin, topical application gets it directly where we need it. It is crucial for the normal activity of the skin cell and if your skin has a good storage supply of vitamin A, it can better protect itself from UV light and maintain its barrier defense system. If you are new to using Vitamin A creams, you should start with lower doses then move up to higher doses to reverse damage. It will help clear acne, lighten brown spots, boost collagen, reduce fine lines, smooth texture and improve the overall health of your skin. Now who wouldn’t want that?
By incorporating these easy tips into your skin care regime along with a healthy diet, a good night’s sleep and low stress levels, you are sure to have beautiful, healthy skin to last a lifetime!