Everyone wants to have younger looking skin. Unfortunately, even the most effective face creams can’t turn back the hands of time. So you dream of healthy, beautiful skin, but what steps can you take to attain it? How do we keep it baby smooth and soft? There is so much more to skin than we even think about. To achieve healthy skin we first need to understand our skin, how it functions, and what it really does.
There are a number of things that determine how quickly our skin ages, including genetic factors such as your natural skin type, environmental factors such as exposure to sunlight and external factors such as whether or not you smoke.
In general, pale skins wrinkle faster than darker skins that are protected by increased amounts of pigment and lipids. Age is another vital factor: your skin is very different at 20 to how it is at 40 or 50.
Skin is much more than the outer surface of the human body. It protects us from bacteria, dirt, the ultraviolet rays of the sun, and contains nerve endings that tell us if something is hot or cold, soft or hard. Skin also plays an important role in regulating body fluids and temperature.
Skin is the largest organ of the body. It consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous layer. The epidermis is the thin outer layer of the skin, also referred to as the stratum corneum. The outer layer of the epidermis consists of dead cells that are always sloughing off. These are replaced by new cells manufactured in the lower portion of the epidermis, which then move upward to the outside of the skin. As they do this, the cells harden and die. This cycle of cell production and replacement takes roughly 28 days.
There are smaller skin cells on our face than there is on the rest of our body. Because of this, facial skin is often more sensitive than skin on other parts of the body.
Our skin is designed to prevent evaporation of moisture from within its outermost layer. When the skin dries out, this protective ability is lost and the integrity of the skin suffers. For this reason, proper moisturizing is critical to both skin health and our comfort level. A good moisturizer supports two functions: it slows moisture loss and helps to draw water back into the stratum corneum.
There are two kinds of moisturizers, oil-based and water-based. Moisturizers contain different kinds of oil, and the ratio of water to oil varies from product to product. The type of moisturizer you choose should depend on your skin type. If your skin is oily, a water-based moisturizer will prevent the burdening of your pores with more oil. If your skin is dry to normal, an oil-based moisturizer works best to maintain hydration.
There are also several facials that you can do to keep your skin at its best. Think of it as maintenance. You can’t get ultimatum performance from your car with no gas or oil, or maintenance right? Well you can’t achieve beautiful skin unless you take care of and maintain it.
Try these simple tricks to achieve healthy glowing skin:
*Be very cautious of what you out on your skin. Remember back a few posts ago when I did a blog on your skin’s absorbency? Your skin will absorb up to 65% of what ever you put on it so make it count!
*Instead of scrubbing your face, let the cleanser sit on your skin for several seconds and break down the makeup, dirt, and oil.
- The number one way to prevent skin aging is to apply sunscreen, so use a morning moisturizer with an SPF of (at least) 30. Hint: What women with gorgeous skin also do: Reapply sunscreen every few hours.
*Use a retinoid cream at night and your skin will be glowy and smooth! Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that have been proven to boost collagen, which reduces fine lines, and to speed cell turnover, which evens out discoloration. Retinoids are available over-the-counter (as retinol) or with a prescription (as tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene). Because retinoids can cause some irritation at first, I recommend applying a gentle moisturizer, letting it soak in for at least 30 minutes, then applying your retinoid cream.
*Eat a lot of Salmon. Salmon’s high omega-3 content helps hydrate skin from the inside out and reduce the inflammation that can cause skin redness. antioxidant-rich foods and drinks—blueberries, dark greens, green tea and coffee—help fight free radicals that can damage the cellular structures of the skin, accelerating skin aging.
- Exercise! Raising your heart rate once a day makes your skin glow. Because exercise improves your circulation and oxygen capacity, it improves your complexion.
Sleep! Cortisol, the stress hormone, ages the skin and can cause acne. Sleep reduces the cortisol level in your body. So it’s a simple equation: Sleep = younger, clearer skin.
Keep your skin care routine simple. Using a lot of different ingredients all together can be irritating, and some ingredients cancel out each other’s benefits. For example, the acid in salicylic or glycolic acid breaks down ingredients like retinol, hydroquinone or vitamin C. “More is not necessarily better.”
More than a great wardrobe or a skilled hand with make-up, glowing skin will turn heads. So understand your skin, take care of your skin, and your skin will take care of you!