1: Use sunscreen!
You’ve been told to use sunscreen a billion-and-a-half times, but that’s because it really is the most important aspect of a good skincare routine. Exposing your bare skin to the sun, even for a short amount of time, can have long lasting effects, and the damage can be irreversible. Protect yourself by using sunscreen everyday, even during the winter and even on cloudy days. And re-apply during the day: the sunscreen you put on in the morning is gone by noon, and that leaves your skin at risk for the rest of the day. Stay on top of your sunscreen game, your skin will thank you for it.
2: Pick a gentle cleanser.
You might be tempted to pick an “extra-strength” cleanser, especially if you’re starting a new skincare routine or if your skin is giving you trouble, but your skin is delicate, so be gentle with it! Pick a cleanser that is sulfate-free and void of any harsh chemicals or fragrances. You’ll be using this cleanser twice a day (ideally), so invest in a high-quality product that feels good, and one you’ll feel good about using.
3: Control stress.
Nobody wants stress –– it’s the worst. And all the terrible things that come with stress (anxiety, sleep problems, less than ideal food choices) can show up on your face. If you’re plagued by dark circles or puffiness around the eyes, or if you’re noticing more fine lines lately, check in with your mental state; it might be time to de-stress. Get a massage, check out a local yoga class, or try out a meditation practice. You’ll be surprised how much your complexion perks up when you minimize or eliminate stress.
4: Try out cold treatment.
Using a cold compress to reduce puffiness around the eyes may sound like a treatment your grandma would recommend, but that’s because it works! When you apply a cold treatment to the delicate skin around your eyes, the cells in your skin contract and relax, and thereby eliminate swelling. And you don’t have to run out and buy a fancy gel eye mask for your cold treatments, either. Just grab a bag of veggies from the freezer! They’re just as effective, and they’re already frozen, so you don’t have to plan your eye treatments around your eye mask.
5: Avoid sweets.
Oh, sugar. We love it so much. And why not? It’s delicious, it’s fun to eat, and it’s in practically everything, anyway, so why not embrace it? But excessive sugar consumption can wreak havoc
on you skin. That’s because sugar breaks down collagen, and collagen is the substance that makes your skin springy, plump, and youthful. When you eat a lot of sugar, your skin suffers from collagen breakdown, leaving your with dark circles and fine lines. It’s hard, but taking a break or even quitting sugar could be totally worth it.
6: Don't smoke!
Smoking is bad for your body in a whole bunch of different ways, but did you know it’s bad for your skin, too? Smoking just one cigarette can constrict blood flow for up to ninety minutes, which means that when you smoke, you deprive your skin of oxygen. Lack of oxygen to the skin makes collagen and elastin breakdown, which ultimately leaves you looking tired and probably older than you’d like. Smoking also depletes your body of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that keeps your skin looking youthful. And if all that’s not enough to keep your from lighting up, every time you exhale cigarette smoke all the nicotine, tobacco, and chemicals you breathe out can settle on your face, leaving you more susceptible to breakouts.
7) Drink more water.
Drinking water to improve your skin is the oldest trick in the book. That’s because your skin is an organ, and just like the rest of the organs in your body, your skin needs plenty of water to function properly. When you’re dehydrated, your skin can become tight and dry, and dry skin is a less effective barrier against bacteria, which makes a breakout more likely. Drinking plenty of water will keep you skin plump and strong, and it’ll help you stave of pimples and signs of aging.
8) Hands off!
It’s tough to avoid picking at your skin, especially if you’ve got a pimple or blemish that’s demanding all your attention. It can be tempting, but avoid popping pimples or other blemishes. Forcing matter to the surface of blemishes can tear the skin and leave the area open and vulnerable to bacteria, so you’re more likely to get an infection. And, popping pimples disrupts the surface of your skin more than letting them resolve on their own, which can leave you with scarring and other long-term damage.
9) Make baking soda your best friend.
When it comes to your skin, baking soda could be your new best friend. It’s super cheap, you’ve probably already got it on-hand, and it’s got tons of skin-friendly properties that make it a great addition to your beauty routine. Try it out as mild microdermabrasion treatment, it’s tiny crystals are fine enough to gently buff your pores without causing irritation. Or, if you’ve got blemishes you want to zap quickly without harsh chemicals, make a paste out of coconut oil and baking soda. Apply the paste for 5 minutes, 3-4 times a day, and your pimple will be gone before you know it.
10) Be gentle.
Above all, be gentle with your skin! It’s the largest organ you’ve got, and it’s your body’s first defense against the world. Treat it well, keep it out of the sun, and keep it hydrated, you’ve only got one, and it’s got to last your whole life. Keep your skin strong and happy, and it will pay you back in kind.