The Habituals: Taking Care of Your Skin Beyond Nutrition and Products
Healthy skin doesn’t start (or end) with a tailor-made topical routine or a flawless diet. Your day-to-day habits play an important role. So, too, do your lifestyle choices, behaviours and common practices. As always, it's the cumulative effect of doing a lot of little things right that makes the biggest difference. And doing them as often as possible.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Will having an adequate amount of water transform your skin? No. But proper hydration is vital to your overall health. Everything is connected. And water is crucial to our entire body’s proper function. Its health and wellbeing.
Proper hydration helps to keep your skin moist. To maintain its elasticity. It stops it from cracking. It deters it from sagging. It slows down the formation of wrinkles. It reduces itchiness and flaking. It improves circulation and the evenness of complexion and skin tone. It speeds up the healing process if your skin is damaged.
It aids in digestion and the dispelling of toxins. It helps regulate proper oil production - resulting in fewer breakouts. It balances pH levels - making your skin more resilient to irritants. It keeps the skin tight and helps it to avoid the puffiness associated with dehydration. It regulates temperature and prevents heat related flare ups like boils and rashes.
Avoid Prolonged Periods in Air Conditioning
Air conditioning systems remove moisture from indoor environments to reduce humidity. They draw moisture from the air, and in turn, your skin - drastically drying it out. Dry skin affects skin function and opens up a host of other problems. Itching, flaking, reduced elasticity, cracking, imbalanced oil production, poor circulation, premature signs of aging, psoriasis, eczema, and good bacteria growth.
Change your filters. Run a humidifier. Take a break from the A/C. Drink water. Moisturize regularly.
Shower under lukewarm water
Hot showers sure do feel nice, but the toll they take on your skin can’t be ignored. The hot water dries out and irritates your skin, damaging it at a cellular level. Your skin’s keratin cells - located directly beneath its first layer - become disrupted and prevented from retaining moisture.
Any skin condition characterized by a compromised lipid barrier is immediately worsened by hot water. It further strips your skin of its natural oils - the oils necessary to help retain hydration and ward off unwanted bacteria. It intensifies the feelings associated with dry or dehydrated skin. It increases your blood pressure and inhibits good circulation.
Wash your sheets.
You spend roughly a third of your life in bed. While you sleep you sweat, you breathe, shed dead skin cells, and transfer bacteria from the surface of your skin to the folds of your bed sheets. A nice, warm and generally quite moist environment. See where this is going? Bacteria is a normal and necessary part of our lives, however it needs to be kept in check. As time goes on, the bacteria levels on your sheets will lead to a handful of problems. Skin related and beyond.
Keep your sheets clean. There’s really no point in keeping yourself clean if you’re hopping into a petri dish every night.
Disinfect your phone.
Consider all the things you touch on any given day. Think about how many times you or other people are handling your phone. The surfaces you place it on. The places you use it - hello bathroom. Then what? You either bring it directly up to your face, or you type away on it. Either way whatever bacteria is on that phone is finding its way onto you.
Disinfect your phone. Wash your hands. Don’t Touch your face.
Anything that promotes circulation directly benefits your skin. And exercise does just that. Increasing blood flow helps to nourish your skin - delivering oxygen, vitamins and other vital nutrients to it - and carries away waste products like free radicals. While exercise, and more specifically sweating, doesn’t detoxify your skin - thats your liver’s job - it does promote improved cell turnover.
Caveat - you may notice, after a particularly sweaty workout, a flare-up of acne. A new pimple. A sweat pimple. This isn’t unusual. The combination of sweat, heat and friction can lead to a clogging of your pores, and if left unattended, bacteria simply sits there.
In order to combat this, gently pat excess sweat off during your workout, shower immediately after, and cleanse your face and body. Be sure to reapply your moisturizer thereafter.
Get plenty of sleep.
Beauty sleeps. Handsome naps. The value here is in your skin’s regeneration process. Sleep gives your skin time to rebuild itself. All day, your skin’s active role as a barrier to light, pollution, germs, dryness, wetness etc is put to the test. At night it gets a bit of break - just as you do.
Cutting back on sleep cuts back on the time your skin has to regenerate itself for the day. It’s during your skin’s regeneration process that collagen - the protein responsible for your skin’s volume and elasticity - is produced.
Blood flow is also an important role of sleep. Your blood is allowed to naturally flow to the parts of your body that aren’t in constant use. Delivering much needed oxygen and nutrients.
Sleep smarter. Sleep on silk.
Do yourself a favour and get some silk pillow cases. One, you’ll feel like a 70’s porn star, and two, you’ll start to look like one. Is that a good thing? Who knows. Sounds fun, though. Silk’s texture is...silkier than cotton’s. It causes less friction. Therefore less irritating. Less inflammatory. Cotton also absorbs and holds onto the natural oils, sweat and bacteria you release while you sleep. The grime doesn’t just build up, it embeds itself. Silk absorbs substantially less moisture.
Maintain a healthy diet.
We’ve gone over this in full in the blog about nutrition but it bears repeating. What you put into your body, eventually works its way out. Your skin is the outer manifestation of everything going on inside your body - good and bad. It doesn’t matter if you check 9/10 healthy skin routine boxes if your diet is poor. If you eat fast food every day, your skin will look like a cheese burger.
Take your vitamins.
Chances are, if you consistently maintain a healthy diet, you’re getting all your nutrients. But what’s the harm in making sure? A good safeguard — an insurance policy — is to have a well balanced regiment of supplements. Start with a multi. Work your way out from there.
Discovering The Link Between Nutrition And Skin Aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/
Nutraceuticals For Skincare: A Comprehensive Review of Clinical Studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946188/
Diet and Skin Aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146365/
Bioactive Compounds For Skin Health: A Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7827176/
Role of Micronutrients in Skin Health and Function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4428712/
Role of Macronutrient Balance on Skin Structure and Funciton. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0166175
The Edible Skincare Diet. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07433-7
How To Care For Your Skin. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/skin-types-care