Do you really need to spend $300 on face cream? Are teenagers the only ones who get acne? Will eating carrots really turn your skin orange? There are so many myths around skincare that it’s easy to confuse fact with fiction.
One of the biggest myths out there is that skin care is just about cleansers and creams. Think of it this way: when you set out on a new health regimen, you don’t just start running laps and hope they cancel out the Uber Eats binges. If you’re committed to changing your life, you take a multifaceted approach and make necessary dietary adjustments, too.
The same should be true of your skin care routine. Picking out an all-the-rage cleanser is a great start toward achieving a glowing complexion, but it’s just one step of many in your skin care journey.
Let’s talk about the many facets of skin health that you need to delve into.
1. Your Lifestyle
This is a big one. Even the seemingly unrelated choices we make in our everyday lives can impact our skin quality. Here a few lifestyle factors to watch for:
Your Sleep Situation
Countless studies have proven the impact a poor night’s sleep can have on your skin. This is because our body uses sleep as an opportunity to repair itself. While you sleep, your body is diligently building up collagen and regenerating cells for a refreshed appearance.
If you stay up late or routinely get less than the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, you’re not giving your body the tools it needs to perfect your complexion. Tempted to watch every episode of your favorite TV show before bed? Remember that Jennifer Anisten wouldn’t look that fab on two hours sleep and five coffees!
It’s not just when you sleep that impacts your complexion, it’s what you sleep on. During those eight precious hours of Zs, your face encounters constant friction from your pillow. This can lead to premature lines and wrinkles. Consider switching your cotton cover for a dreamy silk pillowcase. According to Quince, silk is less absorbent than cotton, meaning it won’t strip the hydration from your skin either.
Frequently washing your pillowcase is also necessary to remove oils and makeup. When these build up on the fabric, they can be transferred back onto your face. This causes easily avoidable blocked pores and breakouts.
As the adage goes, “you are what you eat.” A pricey skin cream won’t be enough to save you if you don’t observe a well-rounded diet. For fabulous skin, you should focus on eating foods that are rich in antioxidants, like fish, eggs and broccoli.
Vitamin C is a must, as it supports the immune system, combats redness and encourages collagen production. You can get your daily dose of vitamin C through a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a handful of blueberries or even a helping of sweet potato.
Did someone say Omega-3? These essential fatty acids play a role in the health of the cell membranes, which protect your skin from free-radicals. When the membrane is healthy, it holds more water and absorbs more nutrients, leading to softer and smoother skin. You can get your Omega-3 dose from seafood, walnuts, kidney beans and more.
Don’t forget to hydrate! Hydration is vital for the function of all key organs, including your skin. Not drinking enough fluids throughout the day can cause the outer layer of your skin to dry out. In turn, your skin will lose elasticity and may feel rough. Hydrated skin has a plumper appearance, which will help you achieve a more youthful look and disguise fine lines.
Your Alcohol Consumption
Love a G&T? When your body metabolizes alcohol, it creates a by-product called acetaldehyde, which is toxic to body tissue. Alcohol also dilates the pores, which can lead to blackheads or even cystic acne! An occasional tipple won’t hurt you too much, but excessive alcohol consumption will wreak havoc on your skin.
2. Your Environment
Environmental factors can play a huge role in the way your skin looks and feels. Why? Environmental stressors create oxidative damage to your skin, which causes collagen to break down. Loss of collagen leads to less skin elasticity and more pronounced sagging and wrinkles.
Here are three major environmental stressors to watch out for:
UV rays are a leading cause of premature aging, brown spots and even skin cancer. You can minimize the damage by limiting your direct exposure to the sun. Add sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat (think Breakfast at Tiffany’s!) or a parasol to your ensemble. Also be sure to apply a 30+ SPF sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays regularly.
Just like you don’t enjoy breathing in traffic fumes or smog, neither does your skin. International studies have shown that prolonged exposure to air pollution can increase the occurrence of brown skin spots. While sunscreen won’t do much to stop this, there is some good news: harmful air partials aren’t immediately damaging.
The key to limiting the damage is washing your face thoroughly at the end of the day. Look for cleansers and moisturizers that contain niacinamide, beeswax or glycerine. These ingredients help to protect the barrier between your skin and outside toxins.
Temperature and Humidity
Temperature and humidity can also impact your skin condition. If you’re in a dry climate, a humidifier and a serum or moisturizer containing glycerine can be a lifesaver.
For humid climates, cleanse carefully to combat congested skin and invest in a facial mist for your purse. Opt for lightweight, non-comedogenic skin care products and keep hydrated.
If you’re struggling to come up with a weather-proof routine, speak to a dermatologist for a customized regimen. Your skin is a lifetime commitment – it’s worth the investment!
Even this list of factors that impact the appearance of your skin is non-exhaustive. Exercise, genetic factors, illness and age can all contribute. So, next time you’re wondering why your celeb-endorsed face cream isn’t giving you red-carpet-ready skin, use this list to troubleshoot the wonderfully complex world of your skin health.