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The beauty industry would have you believe that there’s some mysterious “secret” to healthy and glowing skin.
There’s always some new trendy ingredient that promises to solve all your problems forever (right now it’s niacinamide, and no, it hasn’t solved all my problems forever) or a holy-grail product that costs an arm and a leg just because of name recognition (ahem, La Mer and their so-called “Miracle Broth”).
But the real “secret” to healthy skin isn’t such a mystery.
In fact, you’d be shocked to learn that you probably already know all the ways to protect and nourish your skin, you’ve just been ignoring them all these years.
Don’t worry — I won’t hold you on the edge of your seat any longer. Let’s get to it.
1. Use SPF
You’ve heard it time and time again and you’re about to hear it one more time: wear sunscreen!!!
And no, that SPF 15 in your moisturizer is not good enough.
Wearing SPF is literally the easiest — and perhaps the most important — thing you can do for your skin. Without it, sun exposure can lead to wrinkles, pigment changes, decreased elasticity, rough texture, broken capillaries, and redness. And most of those conditions are pretty difficult to reverse.
There’s currently a debate as to whether physical sunscreen is better than chemical sunscreen, but what’s most important is that you wear SPF at all.
I’ll leave you with one more thing before we move on: it’s important to wear SPF all year long, come rain or shine. Just because it’s a cloudy winter day doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for damaging sun exposure.
2. Lock Down a Skincare Routine
Creating a targeted skincare routine is a lot easier said than done. Many of us spend hundreds of dollars just trying to find the right products that work for us.
But unfortunately, skincare isn’t an exact science. And what works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you.
My personal advice is to keep it as simple as possible. I know it’s tempting to go with a complicated, 13-step routine like we’ve all read about. But sometimes less really is more.
This is especially important if you have sensitive or reactive skin. Try finding a simple, clean cleanser and moisturizer to start with. And once you feel confident that nothing is irritating your skin, feel free to try adding a serum to target any specific issues you have like acne, fine lines, dark circles, or discoloration.
3. Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Obviously, drinking water is one of the most crucial things we can do for our overall health.
But as far as skincare is concerned, dermatologists actually disagree on whether or not drinking a glass of water can give you radiant skin. What they do agree on, however? That hydration is key.
So, if you’re not a big water drinker, there’s no need to sweat. Luckily, there are plenty of products out there specifically designed to deal with dry, dull, or brittle skin.
One of the most popular ingredients to look for is hyaluronic acid, which is generally non-irritating and safe for sensitive skin. You can also try adding a hydrating facial oil into your skincare regimen.
4. Move Your Body
We’re constantly being sold a myriad of products that promise to increase blood flow like jade rollers, gua sha scrapers, and more.
But all of these tools pale in comparison to moving your body, which really gets your blood pumping. Being active can make a positive difference to your skin because it improves circulation. Getting physical can help get your blood moving, increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients your skin cells get.
I know most of us consider exercise to be a terrible chore that we avoid like the plague (I know I do!), but there are plenty of fun alternatives to running on the treadmill.
I mean, if going for a jog is really your thing, then do it! But otherwise, try to find a way to move your body that won’t make you cringe. Perhaps a little yoga while watching Real Housewives will do the trick?
5. Quit Smoking
Your lifestyle choices have a huge impact on your skin health, and that includes smoking. Even if you’re just a social smoker, it can seriously contribute to premature aging, yellow skin stains, and more unsightly side effects.
And even though there are still too few studies on vaping and the effects on your skin, the early results aren’t looking so great. So, you might want to think about retiring your vape pen as well.