There is an entire market of skin care products and procedures dedicated to making us look younger. Anti-aging creams, anti-wrinkle retinol serums, Botox — it’s a billion dollar industry. But we don’t always know what the long-term effects are of using these potentially harsh chemicals on our skin.
Ways to Take Care of Your Skin Naturally (Things You Can Do NOW!)
One of the biggest misconceptions about looking youthful as you get older is that you have to spend thousands of dollars on skin cosmetics and surgical procedures. Sure, that works for some people, but what if I told you that you could ditch your anti-wrinkle creams and look years younger just by making a few life changes?
Diet and Exercise
Eating a balanced diet and being active almost every day is one of the most effective natural ways to keep your skin looking healthy, bright, and — above all — youthful!
Exercising regularly isn’t just important for your general health, but your skin’s health, too. When your heart is pumping into overdrive, oxygen and vital nutrients are circulating a lot more quickly. This plus the toxins we release when we’re up and moving helps our skin to retain elasticity.
Most of us know that eating too much junk food in our daily diets isn’t good for our waistlines — but it’s bad for your skin, too! Foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates can cause the skin to wrinkle much more quickly. When we eat sugary foods, that sugar enters our bloodstream and attaches itself to our proteins. When sugar bonds to our proteins, it tends to deteriorate them. Some of these proteins are what makes up the collagen and elastin in our skin — that’s what leads to wrinkling.
Lucky for us, healthy eating has the opposite effect on our skin. Eating foods rich in nutrients means that your body is more likely to be getting everything it needs to run smoothly — which includes repairing damaged skin. It’s agreed across the board that having a “rainbow-colored” plate — red beets, dark green vegetables — is an excellent way to make sure your diet is full of nutrient-rich food.
Some foods in particular help even more! For example, foods high in antioxidants, like blueberries, spinach, and purple grapes help reduce skin damage and inflammation. And foods with fatty acids, like avocado, seeds, and nuts are essential to keeping your skin firm and elastic. Believe it or not, whether or not you’re drinking enough water also has a huge impact on the elasticity of our skin. Whenever we’re dehydrated — even just a little bit — our skin becomes flaky and dull.
Protect Your Skin From the Sun
As much fun as it is in the sun, it can severely damage our skin if we don’t protect ourselves. Just because your skin is dark or not prone to sunburns, don’t think that means you don’t have to wear sunscreen. The sun gives off ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can be damaging your skin even if you don’t see it. In the worst cases, prolonged sun exposure can cause skin cancer.
There are both short-term and long-term effects of the sun beating down on our skin unprotected. For example, if you forgot to bring sunscreen to the beach or a pool party, your skin can get dried out from the sun. This causes your skin to be dry, flaky, and sometimes wrinkly — though this can also be resolved with some moisturizer. Getting sunburnt is another short-term risk, which can cause your skin to be red, tender, and even blister.
A lifetime of sun exposure with little to no protection can change the chemical composition of your skin’s collagen. In such cases, skin tends to be rough, wrinkled, easily bruised, and thick in texture.
It seems like every day there’s another expert telling us how stress is a contributing factor to a myriad of health conditions. So it’s probably not hard for anyone to believe that too much stress will cause your skin to age faster, too.
Chronic stress increases the production of cortisol in our bodies. Cortisol is a hormone that can cause the collagen and elastin molecules in our skin to deteriorate. This significantly reduces our skin’s elasticity, making our skin look saggy and full of wrinkles.
The way your skin looks is often a reflection on how well you’re taking care of yourself. The better you treat your body, the better your skin will look. You don’t even have to buy all of those harsh, expensive skin care products to maintain soft, smooth skin. All you need for young-looking skin is a healthy, low-stress lifestyle and a little bit of sunscreen.
Because when it comes down to it, merely looking youthful because of an anti-aging cream or a Botox injection isn’t as good as looking and feeling youthful because of a healthy lifestyle.