Let's face it, we all want beautiful skin.
But as the body's largest organ, our skin can take quite a beating throughout life that can be expressed as acne breakouts, rashes, signs of aging, dry skin, flakiness, dark patches, and more.
Skin problems can be influenced by various factors including genetics, ethnicity, environment, but also our diet and lifestyle.
Though we cannot control our genetics we do have a say on our diet and lifestyle. This means our choices can contribute to problem skin, but also healthy beautiful looking skin!
What kind of choices? Today we've rounded up some of our top skincare tips to support you in having beautiful skin all year round.
Practice safe sun exposure
We all know we need to protect our skin in the sun, but why?
Overexposure of UV rays from the sun can promote DNA damage and oxidative stress which can cause premature aging of the skin and even kill skin cells (1).
During the fall and winter months this isn't such a concern in the Northern Hemisphere however it's important to avoid overexposure and be sun smart especially during peak hours of the day.
Smoking is known as one of the most detrimental influences on health, including skin health (2).
Smoking damages the skin and accelerates skin aging by promoting free radical formation, depleting vital nutrients, reducing blood flow to the skin, and damaging collagen and elastin.
Avoid smoking all-together as well as second hand smoke as much as possible to protect your skin and your health.
Eat skin friendly foods
Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are a must for healthy skin as they contain high amounts of antioxidants which help to combat oxidative stress associated with premature aging.
Many of these foods are also rich in vitamin C which is essential for collagen production and acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin from damage. Foods particularly high in vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Healthy fats, found in foods such as wild fatty fish, avocado, and raw nuts and seeds provide anti-inflammatory effects and can help to reduce dryness and inflammatory skin conditions.
Bone broth is a popular choice to support skin health as it is a direct source of collagen but also many nutrients important for healthy skin such as vitamin A, magnesium, and zinc. Bone broth has also been shown to support gut health which will have a direct impact on our skin.
Avoid inflammatory foods
Foods such as refined carbohydrates, refined sugars, fried foods, alcohol, and excess animal products all contribute to inflammation in the body which has a negative impact on our skin.
Dairy is also a very common trigger for skin issues like acne, so if you are prone to problem skin we recommend avoiding.
Use organic topical products
It is said that on average women come in contact with 168 chemicals from the various body care products they use daily (3).
And these chemicals can not only cause skin reactions but they can also impact our hormones.
We recommend a skincare routine that uses a gentle cleanser in the evening followed by a moisturizer to hydrate your skin overnight.
Avoid over washing your face and using products with harsh chemicals which can strip away the natural oils of your skin but also beneficial microbes.
Did you know the skin also has a microbiome? And your skin care products can actually impact the beneficial microbes that live on the skin that are responsible for protecting against infections and environmental toxins, training your immune system, reducing inflammation, and ultimately keeping your external barrier healthy (4).
Not sure which products to choose? Vitasave.ca has a multitude of clean body care products to choose from and you can also rate your products via the Environmental Working Group.
Go to bed naked
Let your skin breathe! Most women spend their day covering up their skin with cosmetics however it's important to give your skin a breather as often as possible. This is especially important at bedtime!
Not only will this allow your skin to breathe while you sleep, it will also help to avoid any breakouts and skin reactions that can be caused by clogged pores.
Take it easy
Chronic stress affects just about everything, and that includes your skin!
By activating stress hormones like cortisol over and over again this can also trigger more oil production in the skin which can clog pores and lead to issues like acne.
Chronic stress is also associated with signs of aging due to increased reactive oxygen species and DNA damage (5).
Avoiding stress is easier said than done however a stress management practice is highly recommended in order to reduce cortisol levels and experience a sense of calm during your day. Our favourites? Meditation and breathwork.
Staying up late and skimping on sleep alters the circadian rhythm and can increase cortisol levels, associated with inflammation and lowered levels of collagen and vitamin C, vital for healthy looking skin!
A study found that those experiencing sleep deprivation showed increased signs of intrinsic aging and reduced wound healing (6).
Having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep? Check out our top tips to achieve a restful night's sleep.
What does exercise have to do with our skin? Movement helps to promote blood flow which supports the body's ability to carry oxygen and nutrients to tissues such as the skin.
Regular exercise also promotes detoxification and the removal of waste and toxins, through activation of the lymphatic system, which can accumulate on our skin as signs of aging and skin conditions.
Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress, and we talked about how that can cause problems for our skin.
What does this mean for you? Get moving every single day in a way that you enjoy! This could look like walking, strength training, running, swimming, lifting weights, or even yoga. The options are endless!
Drinking enough water can also impact the way your skin looks as it will affect your body's ability to remove waste from the body, gastrointestinal function, and collagen production.
If water intake is too low this can affect the elasticity and thickness of the skin (7).
The average recommended intake of water per day ranges between 8-10 cups but this will depend on factors such as activity levels, location, and season.
Stay hydrated with a clean water source and keep the consumption of alcohol and coffee to a minimum to best support your skin.
About the Author
Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.