When we talk about our skin we’re referring to our body's largest organ. And just like our other organs, if we don’t care for it and provide it with what it needs, we notice the effects. With our skin, we quite literally see the effects.
Read on for 15 of the best natural skin care tips you can start using today.
Your skin can reveal a lot about your health. If you’re not getting enough sleep, eating poorly, drinking little water and too much alcohol, rarely exercising and generally not caring for your body, it’s made visible through your skin.
Dark circles, deep lines, dry skin, spots and blemishes, a dull faded complexion. The list goes on.
And while there are thousands of products declaring major benefits, it’s difficult to know which will work for you and what you can afford to trial. Never mind the fact that some products contain ingredients that can actually cause long term damage to your skin and health.
But some of the best skin care tips are simple changes you can make to your lifestyle and skincare routine without spending an extra
One of the best natural skin care tips comes in the form of your diet. As scientists learn more about diet and the body, it’s increasingly clear that what you eat can significantly affect the health and aging of your skin.
The gut is where 70% of your immune system lies, where you make nutrients and neurotransmitters, create detoxifying enzymes and neutralise pathogens.
Poor gut health can inhibit your body's ability to perform these processes, which are all necessary for healthy skin.
Also, inflammation in the gut due to a poor diet can cause your gut to release pro-inflammatory cytokines which are responsible for the inhibition of collagen production and an increase in collagen degradation, leading to major signs of skin aging such as wrinkles, lines and sagging.
Food intolerances impacting your gut health are also linked to common skin concerns such as eczema, acne, rosacea, and dry skin.
So a healthy gut based on a good diet is essential for healthy skin.
Daily servings of bright fresh vegetables such as capsicum, pumpkin, beetroot and dark leafy greens are all great as they are rich sources of valuable antioxidants.
Berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, also contain antioxidants that help control free radicals, one of the leading causes of skin damage that contributes to ageing. So a regular dose of them in your diet is also a healthy remedy.
And one of the best skin care tips are healthy fats. You might think the words healthy and fats shouldn’t be used together, but science now shows that they are essential to good health. And that includes healthy glowing skin.
When looking for healthy fats to eat you want the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated sorts. You can find these in foods such as:
The unhealthy sorts of fats to stay away from - trans and, to a lesser extent, saturated fat - are those present in foods like butter and margarine, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, fried food, and processed snacks, to name a few.
Healthy probiotics and prebiotics (not the sugary kind!) such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso, tempeh, kombucha, and live unsweetened yoghurt can also improve the health of your skin by maintaining a healthy colony of bacteria and other microorganisms which aid your gut and digestion.
Modern medicine has categorically declared that a healthy gut is essential to your overall well being, including the wellbeing of your body's largest organ: your skin.
Basically, you need to look after your gut so your gut can look after you and the foods for healthy skin we’ve mentioned here are some of the best skin care tips available.
First off, a quick refresh on sugar and simple carbs.
All carbohydrates are sugars, but the simple unhealthy sort are those found in processed foods like snack bars and fast food, while healthy carbs are the ones in fresh foods such as veggies, nuts, and fish.
But how does sugar affect your skin?
Unhealthy sugars (or simple carbohydrates), while contributing to overall poor health, also impact the health of your skin as they lead to inflammation in the body and aggravate skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and skin ageing.
Dr. Donna Hart, a dermatologist from Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, says, ‘Aging skin has the most changes in the dermis, where collagen and elastin fibers reside, and with glycation, sugars basically bind with collagen to form something called advanced glycation end products (AGEs)’.
It’s this binding that appears as fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin as collagen fibers become stiff and brittle.
So one of the best free skin care tips available is to reduce how much sugar is in your diet.
You may think you don’t consume much sugar in a day, but you could be surprised.
Food companies have taken to hiding sugar in all its forms in places you might not expect, such as:
Even more astonishing is that some of these foods will often be promoted as ‘healthy’ options. So make sure you scrutinise the ingredients list for sugar (in all its names) when you shop. And the higher it is in the ingredients list the stronger its presence in the food.
So another natural skin care tip to improve the health and appearance of your skin and slow the aging process is to reduce, or if you’re really keen, eliminate sugar from your diet.
An expert from the Baylor College of Medicine, Kim Chang explains, ‘Aloe vera has lots of uses. It contains antioxidants, enzymes, Vitamins A and C, and it is highly anti-inflammatory. It can help treat burns, acne and dry skin’.
And the enzymes in aloe vera also help exfoliate your skin, speed up wound healing, limit scarring, support the production and release of collagen, help repair sun damage, slow skin ageing, moisturise and soothe your skin, and help make your skin more flexible and supple.
Be mindful however that when used too frequently aloe vera can begin to have a drying effect on your skin. So like most things, use it in moderation and keep an eye on the results.
The easiest way to get your hands on raw aloe gel is to keep a plant of your own as they are easy to grow and require little maintenance. If a plant isn’t going to work for you, you can try a quality aloe vera gel.
You can learn more about the benefits of aloe vera and how to use it, here.
‘In its natural form, honey is produced by enzyme activity, plant matter, and live bacteria coming together to create a powerful ingredient with hundreds of practical uses’, explains Kathryn Watson from Healthline.
And it's this unique process that makes honey cosmetically valuable.
The benefits of honey include fighting skin infection, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, moisturising benefits, and its ability to boost collagen. And raw honey, which has a grainy texture, can also be used as a natural exfoliant to brighten dull or dry skin.
Be certain you choose the right honey though. Highly processed honey will have added sugar and has probably been robbed of its beneficial properties. So stick (no pun intended!) to Manuka or raw honey.
And always try a patch test to ensure your skin is happy with what you’ve chosen.
You can use honey as both a face wash and mask. Simply apply to your face and rub into your skin for around one minute. Then leave on as a mask for a further eight to ten minutes before washing off with water.
(True story: some years back a step brother of mine (won’t mention any names) had an operation that involved an incision on his buttocks. He was advised, by his surgeon no less, to apply quality manuka honey to the wound to help it heal faster. Now that’s an impressive pantry ingredient!)
Sleep is priceless when it comes to your anti-aging skincare routine. Nevermind its other benefits.
The most common cosmetic effects of insufficient sleep are well known: swollen and sunken eyes, dark circles, and pale and dehydrated skin.
But there are also several long term downsides.
Research has shown that regular sleep deprivation causes inflammation leading to reduced collagen growth, enlarged pores, uneven skin texture, increased signs of ageing including fine lines and wrinkles, and outbreaks of acne, eczema, psoriasis, and skin allergies.
It can also limit your skin's ability to repair from environmental stressors such as sun exposure.
These days, the term ‘beauty sleep’ has the backing of science and damage to your skin can begin within just two days of restricted sleep.
So, put down that mobile, turn off the TV and give yourself the chance to begin relaxing before bed.
And we’ve got some more essential tips to share on how to prepare for a fabulous night of beauty sleep.
Yep, that’s right, a facial massage. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
The possible benefits are the reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improved skin texture, relaxed muscle tension, aid in lymphatic drainage, and glowing skin. Plus, it feels fabulous!
Experts suggest a weekly massage over six weeks, followed by monthly maintenance to keep your skin smooth and fresh.
Sweating might not be an experience you feel compelled to pursue, but it’s certainly one your skin will enjoy.
When you sweat the fluid hydrates your skin, the minerals and salt in the sweat will naturally exfoliate it, and urea and uric acid help combat dryness and dermatitis.
Sweating also purges your skin of bacteria, dirt, and impurities such as alcohol and waste products, which helps your skin detoxify.
And due to an increase in circulation when exercising, oxygen-rich blood will flow around your body carrying nutrients and hormones to feed your skin and create a firmer, more plump appearance.
Standard exercise is obviously one way to generate a favourable amount of sweat, but other options include Bikram yoga, which is performed in a heated room, and the good old sauna.
To avoid potential breakouts, gently cleansing your face soon after a session of sweating is good practice.
Regular exercise is one of the most potent anti-aging skin treatments out there.
As mentioned above, while you exercise your blood flow increases, boosting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your skin. Additionally, by raising your heart rate your body promotes improved collagen production and the creation of new skin cells.
Even more encouraging is that recent research has shown that these benefits will not only improve your skin's health, but can actually reverse your skin's aging on a cellular level!
Easier said than done, I know. But sometimes the best place to start is simply acknowledging the stressors in your life and considering what you may be able to do to reduce them.
The medically proven brain-skin connection means skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne, rosacea, dermatitis, and eczema often appear for the first time when you experience considerable stress.
Some valuable options for you to consider are:
Although not as crucial as some other methods of skin care, drinking water is certainly necessary for your body to run optimally, helping nutrients reach your skin through healthy blood flow.
Proper hydration levels also help plump your skin and improve its elasticity making your skin less prone to cracks, irritation, and blemishes.
It’s generally recommended that women
drink around eight cups of water
It’s essential to your health to receive around ten minutes of direct sunshine on a regular basis so your body can produce vitamin D.
But a daily dose of the sun also has positive effects on your skin causing immune cells to travel to the outer layers of your skin where they help to protect and repair damage such as that caused by sun exposure. Ironic, hey?
And sunlight can also act as a natural treatment to help the healing process for skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
So, above you read that getting a daily dose of sun is essential to your skin's health and now you read that you need to protect your skin from it.
So which one is it? Well, it’s both.
One of the most important elements in your anti-aging skincare routine is protecting your skin from excess sun exposure. Probably not the first time you’ve heard this advice.
You need to protect your skin against both UVA and UVB radiation. Ultraviolet A (UVA) has a longer wavelength, and is associated with skin aging. Ultraviolet B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength and is associated with skin burning.
So if you’re going to be in the sun for longer than just 10 minutes make sure you are protecting your skin on all fronts with sunscreen, clothes, a hat and sunglasses, to reduce your skin's exposure.
It might be years before you notice any damage to your skin, but you’ll regret your past mistakes when you do. And of course when it comes to sun damage there are far more serious implications than lines and wrinkles.
All of these benefits will help prevent premature aging by improving your skin's moisture and allowing your skin to breath and repair while you sleep.
I’m sure you know this one already, we’re just reminding you of the ways smoking affects your skin and offering you even more incentive to give up! Plus, it’s just too significant to leave unmentioned.
We all know the resounding negative health effects of smoking. But as a human when the affects don’t have an immediate impact, there not always enough to change our behaviour.
But if you can relate giving up smoking to positive results you can actually see and immediately enjoy, who knows, it could help get you over the line to achieving that milestone of quitting.
Nicotine in cigarettes causes the narrowing of blood vessels in your skin and impairs blood flow, which means your skin is receiving less oxygen and nutrients. Meanwhile, the chemicals in tobacco smoke also damage collagen and elastin, the essential components of your skin that keep it firm and supple.
Both of these processes speed up the visible signs of aging resulting in premature wrinkles, lines, a dull complexion, and sagging skin.
Alcohol can have several damaging effects on your delicate skin, but the quickest reaction is skin dehydration.
‘There’s a huge amount of damage to the skin that occurs; alcohol affects any mucous membrane, from the pancreas and liver to the skin. The first effect is dehydration, as it actually takes all the fluid out of the skin’, warns Jairo Rodriguez, a nutritionist based in New York.
On top of that, drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of rosacea and acne, as well as impact inflammation, which is the second major cause of skin ageing following sun damage.
Inflammation can also cause the skin to become red and flushed, which, if you continue to drink too much, can become permanent.
Try reducing your drinking to every other day and keep it at a single glass.
So there you have it. Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on all sorts of products which may or may not show visible signs of improvement, begin by looking at how you can start using these healthy skin care tips today!
Regarding any of the tips you’ve found here, always check in with your doctor or dermatologist first if you are dealing with chronic skin conditions. If you don’t have any skin troubles it can still be a good idea to try a patch test if applying something new to your skin.
And we'd love to hear any tips or ideas you've tried and tested that have worked well (or any warnings about what not to try!), so leave us a comment below.
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