We’ve heard it said that beauty is skin deep. While that’s debatable, there’s little doubt that healthy skin is an indicator of physical health and beauty. Along with the contour of the face, skin is one of the first (and lasting) physical impressions we make on people. The texture, color and smoothness of skin belies health, and it reflects our physical surroundings and how we take care of ourselves.
Healthy skin is a natural outcome of healthy lifestyle. Beautiful skin gives us confidence and contributes to our well-being. You might be tempted to think that skin is genetic, and you’re either born with it or you’re not. Not true! While it’s true that genes have some say in skin condition and appearance, beautiful skin starts on the inside. With healthy lifestyle habits and commitment to skin care, you’ll find that gorgeous skin will follow.
To start, drink water. The human body is 60% water in men, and 55% in women. Aim for eight to ten glasses of fresh water a day. Double that if you’re outside a lot or live in a warm environment. Good skin care starts with water consumption, it’s that simple
Then go to bed. Seven to eight hours of sleep each night are vital to health in adults and help us cope with the stresses of life. Lack of sleep contributes to aged skin and can lead to bagging under the eyes. You’ll also find your day is more pleasant with adequate rest.
Of course, it’s not always easy to sleep well, especially if you have ongoing stress in your life (and most of us do). Therefore, it’s a good idea to manage stress levels, for skin care and quality of life. Stress, unresolved anger or tension and anxiety can trigger diseases that irritate or damage the skin, including psoriasis, pruritus and urticaria. How can we manage stress? Meditation can help. So can exercise and counselling, when applicable. But proper skin care includes stress management.
While we’re on the subject, exercise! Physical activity relieves stress, promotes blood circulation and makes skin glow. Walking, running and cycling, among others, can all be incorporated into an active lifestyle. Swimming is also beneficial, though the chlorine in most pools can aggravate skin. A moisturizer can help.
Eat right. Few factors affect our quality and enjoyment of life more than diet. We’ve heard the evils of sugars and junk food. So skip them. Chocolate bars, cakes, fried foods, fast foods and fizzy drinks taste good, but you’ll wear them for years and can trigger acne outbreaks. Good skin care incorporates a healthy, balanced diet of cereals, vegetables, meat, chicken, eggs, fish, fresh salad and fruits.
You might also consider foods that are high in Vitamin C, as they’re believed to be among the most beneficial foods for healthy skin. In addition, there’s evidence that almonds are good for complexion.
Avoid street drugs and excessive alcohol. While there are benefits of moderate wine consumption, more than two glasses of any alcohol each day can increase risk of numerous cancers and interfere with the nutrient absorption required for healthy skin. The same goes for street drugs.
Finally, for your health, skin, beauty and too many reasons to mention, put the cigarettes down, and banish them forever. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layer of the skin, decreasing blood flow and depriving the skin of essential nutrients like Vitamin A. Smoking damages the collagen and elastin required for skin to regenerate and is a leading contributor to wrinkles, especially around the eyes and lips.
There is literally nothing that ages the skin faster than smoking. Skin care doesn’t belong in the same sentence. For beautiful skin, don’t smoke, period.
This isn’t rocket science. Good lifestyle habits go a long way, to your skin, your beauty, your health, your life. Live well and you’ll look good, with beautiful skin and a beautiful body. Your looks are well within your control. Healthy skin may start on the inside, but it radiates for miles.