While unhealthy lifestyle habits can wreak havoc on our bodies, in many ways we aren’t as aware of what’s going on inside because we can’t really see it. Our skin, on the other hand, is something we do see everyday, and which is equally affected by an unhealthy lifestyle.
Skincare for me is less about daily remedies, and more about long-term care. I don’t put lotion on my skin (except when it becomes itchy in winter); I don’t give my face mud masks or cucumber treatments; I don’t buy expensive eye creams or anti-aging treatments; and yet, at 35 years-old, I still regularly get ID’d at the liquor store.
Part of that might be encoded in my genes (thanks mom and dad) – but a bigger part of it likely has something to do with leading a healthy lifestyle. Here are 12 things you can do to keep your skin healthy and fresh:
1. Drink water, drink water, drink water – even if you have a sore back and no cups.
Water does everything for us: it flushes out toxins, it hydrates our cells (including our skin), it keeps us alive. The fountain of youth is not a myth, it’s real; but the water in it isn’t magic, it’s just plain old H2O.
2. I know it’s hard, but you gotta eat your leafy greens.
Among the 100 million health benefits of eating more green vegetables, promoting clear, healthy skin is one of them. Pretty much everything that hurts our bodies is related to inflammation, which also affects our skin, and green vegetables help to reduce that inflammation.
3. Soap is an accident waiting to happen, ergo, don’t use it on your face everyday.
The reason our skin gets oily is because our body is producing that oil to protect our skin. Washing it off everyday with harsh soaps is counterproductive and might actually make your skin become even more oily to compensate. While I wash my face everyday or every other day with water, I only use soap once in awhile, like after an intense workout for example.
4. Dump dairy.
Dairy is full of shit that fucks with our body (especially our skin) – it’s full of hormones and antibiotics to name just two. And don’t get me wrong: I still have dairy in moderation because I tolerate it pretty well, but since adopting a healthier lifestyle, I have cut back my dairy intake to probably 20% of what it used to be.
5. Get a sassy T-shirt and exercise.
Working out, going to the gym, doing cardio – all of these things help to promote circulation and increase reparative hormones in the body, all things that make your skin happy.
6. Wheat is a soulless inconvenience…to your health.
There have been studies that say gluten is bad for us, then other studies that say those studies aren’t valid. Personally, I believe wheat and gluten are foods that cause inflammation (which affects our skin) – and while I can’t pin my healthier looking skin on not eating as much wheat, I feel confident that it’s helped.
7. Catch rays in moderation.
I know, this one is bummer. But emphasis should be placed on the word “moderation” –because getting sun on our skin is required for many reasons, vitamin D creation and happiness to name two. But wear sunscreen, hats, sunglasses as much as you can, and your 50-year-old self will thank you.
8. Refined carbs? Complete disaster waiting to happen.
French fries, fruit juice, pasta, white rice, chips – all these “foods” rapidly increase our blood sugar, which means that our bodies must produce high amounts of insulin to compensate. And because insulin is a growth hormone, it can also cause our body to generate more skin cells than it needs, which can lead to skin problems like psoriasis and acne.
9. Try to get some fucking sleep.
Sleep is the time when our body repairs itself, which includes repairing our skin. Cut back on caffeine, turn off Netflix, tell your noisy neighbours to shut the fuck up – do whatever it takes to get the sleep you need, and your skin will thank you for it.
10. Salt makes you swole.
A lot of salt in the diet contributes to swelling, inflammation, dehydration, and water retention. Ever wake up in the morning with puffy eyes? That’s probably because you ate a salty dinner and your body is retaining water. If you do eat a salty meal, make sure to drink lots and lots of water after to help flush it out of your system.
11. Don’t put freaky-ass shit on your skin.
Magic creams, fancy procedures, creepy masks – while it might provide temporary relief to a skin issue, it won’t do anything in the long run. These products are marketed to the human need to fix something quickly, in the short-term, when in fact long-term behaviours are what keep our skin healthy.
12. Don’t compare your skin to celebrity skin.
Just don’t do it! Celebrities, like these mega studs from Star Trek, have make-up, botox and collagen injections, good lighting, and filters to make their skin look flawlessly healthy. You, on the other hand, or a mere mortal Earthling (and a beautiful one at that).
While none of these skincare tips will add up to healthy skin on their own, keep in mind that their combined effort over longer periods of time will promote and maintain healthy looking skin. At the same time, it’s important to treat our body and self with kindness, which means accepting that, as we age, our skin ages along with us.
Your skin is nothing short of a story! What will yours tell the world?