It can take a lot of time and effort to take care of your skin. Whilst many of us may think we are too busy to develop a good skincare regime, it does not need to be as difficult as we might believe. Incorporating a few simple rituals into your daily routine will make a huge impact on the health and appearance of your skin, and it is a wonderful chance to help your mind and body relax as you become more aware of how your actions directly impact your skin. Our skin is influenced by so many factors, which means there are a number of ways that we can influence the health of our skin. Here are our top 7 ways we’ve chosen to support our skin each day.
1. Always wash your face before bed
Ever heard of beauty sleep? It is not only a term coined for helping us to wake up feeling energised and without bags under our eyes. During sleep, our bodies rest and recover and this includes our skin cells regenerating, this is an important reason to wash your face before bed. Leaving make-up on for too long can cause clogged pores and breakouts and an unwashed face can increase bacteria on our pillows, which will harm our skin even more. Cleanse your skin to remove make-up and exfoliate to help shed the outer layers of skin. Exfoliate the skin no more than twice a week to reduce irritation or wash your face daily with a clean face cloth for gentle exfoliation.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Drinking water is the easiest way to achieve healthy, supple skin. Water is essential for the health of our skin cells and will help the skin to repair itself when damaged. Aim to drink at least 2 litres per day and try adding in fresh fruit slices for a variety of flavours. Mineral and electrolyte balance plays a huge role in hydration. A nutrient-dense diet will also help you to hydrate due to the mineral content.
3. Sensible sun exposure
Repeated sun exposure can cause early aging due to UV damage, encouraging the development of wrinkles and uneven pigmentation. However, safe sunlight exposure (early morning) can also prime your body for exposure to stronger rays in the middle of the day. Make a habit of spending time outside unprotected in the morning, so that your skin will be more naturally protected around the middle of the day when UVBs are able to activate vitamin D3 – an essential “hormone” for immunity and bone health. Similar exposure to sunlight near the end of the day helps to repair any UV damage to the skin from midday. Additionally, exposing your eyes (no sunglasses!) to the light at sunrise, and then as often as you can throughout the day (in the shade in the hottest part of the day), will signal the appropriate hormones at the right time of the day and season. We evolved with the sun; sunlight creates energy; and a lack of sun exposure is linked to increased mortality.
This does not mean you should spend hours in the burning sun every day. But covering up with clothes, sun sleeves, and hats, or seeking shade in the hottest part of the day is arguably safer for your skin than slopping on chemical sunscreens. When you cannot avoid exposing skin to stronger UV rays, a natural, zinc oxide-based sunscreen is the smart choice.
4. Get your daily dose of zinc
Zinc helps to balance the skin’s oil production and supports hormones, that when imbalanced, can lead to acne, and is critical for wound healing. If you are suffering from redness of the skin, adding more zinc into your diet can help tissue repair, encouraging less scarring. Boost your zinc intake with oysters, red meats, eggs, and the occasional activated (soaked and dried) pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
5. Add daily vitamin C
Citrus fruit, berries, kiwifruit, broccoli, capsicum, and dark leafy greens are all foods that are high in vitamin C and may help to support healthy aging. Vitamin C helps to combat free radicals which are implicated in aging and the formation of wrinkles. Eating a diet high in vitamin C will help to keep the skin firm as it not only works as an antioxidant to protect collagen and elastin from oxidative damage but is also involved in the production of collagen within the body. A caveat – watch out for the oxalates in leafy greens and kiwifruit!
6. Wash your make up brushes
When was the last time you washed your make-up brushes? If you can see make-up on the bristle, or it is no longer feeling as soft as it was when you first bought it, it may have been a while. Every time you touch a make-up brush, it transfers bacteria and oil from your skin to the bristles and then back onto your skin and then on to your make-up palette. This can cause break outs and will affect the quality of your application. Brushes can be cleaned straight after use, with a quick spray of brush-cleaner wiped with a tissue. If they are done daily, there will be less build up, which means they will take less time to clean. If it has been a while since you have cleaned your brushes, rinse them under lukewarm water and massage the bristles with a gentle shampoo. Swirl the brush on your palm until it rinses clean, then lie flat on a cloth to dry.
7. Increase your dietary fats
Adding more healthy fats into your diet and applying topically can help to maintain the moisture barrier on your skin. Fatty acids help to nourish your skin from the inside, especially if you struggle with dry or inflamed skin or are prone to blackheads. Healthy animal fats contain fatty acids, including essential omegas, in the optimum ratios. Animal fats contain all 4 fat soluble vitamins, especially vitamin A, critical for skin health. All of this ensures that your skin will be soft, supple, and even-toned, as you age. Skincare products made with tallow (rendered animal fat) may just be the next big thing for skin and beauty!
The outer layer of skin is replaced every 28 days. This means that over a single month we can support our skin in a variety of ways. Take time to reflect on the health of your skin and create daily rituals to honour it. Look after your skin this month, and see how easily you can obtain healthier, glowing skin.
What are the benefits of using sunscreen in my daily skincare routine?
It depends on a number of factors, including skin type, and what kind of sunscreen you choose. Sunscreens can give you a false sense of security, so if you’re going to spend hours in the blazing sun, clothing and a hat may be a safer option. By the same token, if you spend most of your day indoors, wearing a chemical-based sunscreen all day, every day, is unnecessary and may be potentially harmful in the long run. Check the ingredients list and look for mineral-based sunscreens with no added nasties.
How can I support my skin as I age?
To support your skin as you age, focus on a skincare routine that includes moisturisation with natural skincare products, staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet rich in animal foods and fats, and avoiding smoking and excessive sun exposure. Regular exercise and adequate sleep contribute to healthy, radiant skin as you age.