In a complicated world where keeping your skin young and pretty seems to require a lot of money, there are still some simple ways to change your skin to a softer and more supple look.
The world of skincare is constantly changing. New products and trends claiming to improve our precious skin are popping up daily. From moisturizers to supplements to diets, the beauty industry is taking a new approach to skincare. However, not all the latest crazes are backed by science so, to help you navigate the, sometimes overwhelming, world of genuine skin ‘care’ we’ve put together a list of 10 simple and yet worthwhile investments (and the science behind them!) to change your skin, keep it nourished and totally radiant.
Massage isn’t just for evenings!
The benefits of massage have long been substantiated. Facial massage is not only relaxing and luxurious, it can help to improve the way you look and the way you feel. Massaging your face while applying your favorite serums, moisturizers and masks has been shown to really increase the effectiveness of your favorite topical products by enhancing the dermal absorption by the skin.19 Regularly massaging your face also increases circulation and boosts the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to skin cells, giving you a prettier, relaxed, less lined, and more youthful appearance.Facial massage has even been shown to reduce anxiety and improve moods.20 So, not only can massaging your face help you maintain that youthful glow, it can also keep the blues away.
Why does Dry Skin Brushing really work?
We all know that dry skin brushing can do wonders for your skin, but what is it that dry brushing really achieves? The process of dry skin brushing has been shown to exfoliate the skin while increasing blood flow, which naturally leads to a glowing complexion. When winter weather has your skin feeling dry and rough, dry brushing is an excellent choice to remove built up dead skin cells, resulting in a smooth complexion.When dry brushing the face, a more delicate brush should be used. This gentle exfoliation removes clogged pores caused by excess oil and dead skin cells. The best time to dry brush your skin is before a shower, so any dead skin cells can be washed away.
Feed your Face
Nutrient depletion really is the main reason for a dull complexion. The skin is the largest organ and just as a poor diet can result in weight gain and health problems, it can also result in premature aging, acne, and other undesirable skin issues. Research shows that providing the skin (via your digestive system) with vital nutrients like fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can slow or reverse signs of aging like wrinkles and thinning skin.1Most diets heavy in processed foods are lacking in the important nutrients that the skin needs to regenerate and stay healthy. Scientific studies have even found that modern day agricultural practices have led to soil that is depleted of vitamins and minerals, resulting in produce that is lower in nutrients.2 Taking a supplement specifically designed to change your skin can help to nurture your complexion by providing the optimal amount of nutrition, even if your diet and smoothies are less than perfect.
Focus on Fat
Healthy fats are essential for the wellbeing of the skin. The beneficial fats found in foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut and fatty fish are vital for skin elasticity and are the key component of cell membranes, which protect the skin cells by keeping them hydrated and allowing important nutrients into the skin.3Omega 3 fatty acids, a type of fat, act as potent antioxidants in the body, reducing inflammation and protecting the skin from free radical damage and premature aging.4 Longer chain omega 3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA, which are most beneficial to the body, are found exclusively in seafood and algae. Although it is possible for the body to create EPA and DHA from the shorter chain omega 3 fatty acid ALA, which is found in plant foods like flax, pumpkin seeds, hemp, soy and walnuts, the conversion rate is very limited, with reported rates of less than 15%.21Adding in two to three servings of fatty fish like wild caught salmon per week will give you adequate amounts of EPA and DHA. If you are not a fan of fish, experts recommend popping a fish oil supplement at a dose of 2 to 3 grams per day. Vegans should opt for an omega 3 supplement made with algae. Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids also contain fat-soluble vitamins, which are critical for healthy skin.
Go for the Green
Eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables is a must for beautiful skin. Greens like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard are packed with nutrients that directly benefit the complexion. Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin found in these nutritious veggies, works to protect elastin, a protein that preserves the structure and elasticity of the skin.5 Magnesium, which combats inflammation, and calcium7, which is involved in the generation of new skin cells8, are both abundant in these greens. Greens also provide other benefits including high doses of anti-inflammatory compounds and a healthy serving of fiber. Fiber helps skin by slowing down digestion, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients it needs to keep you looking lovely.
Eat The Rainbow
Including more brightly colored fruits and vegetables into your daily routine will not only improve your health, but will make your skin literally look sun kissed. Carotenoids, a group of brightly colored pigments found in foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, and grapefruit, act as antioxidants in the body. Carotenoids work to protect cells from free radical damage and promote skin cell turnover.10 Research has shown that including more foods rich in these powerful compounds can even impact the color of your skin, leading to a more glowing and attractive complexion.9
Boost Vitamin C Levels
Vitamin C, found in strawberries, mangos, bell peppers, kale, and many other fruits and vegetables plays a crucial role in skin health. This vitamin protects the skin against sun damage and is involved in the synthesis of collagen.11 Collagen is a protein that is necessary to keep the skin looking young, despite all the stress it goes through, and luminous. As we age collagen production slows, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin.12 A diet rich in vitamin C will help to prevent skin breakdown and signs of early aging by aiding in the generation of new skin cells. In one groundbreaking research study conducted on 4025 women, lower intakes of vitamin c were significantly associated with the presence of a wrinkled appearance and senile dryness.14 All the more reason to ensure you get an adequate intake of Vitamin C.
Sweat it Out
It’s well known that being fit and active helps us to stay healthy, but recent research suggests that exercise can reverse the signs of skin aging, even for individuals who start working out later in life. The study found that men and women who frequently exercised had younger looking skin with healthier dermal layers compared to men and women who did not exercise.17Researchers believe that it has to do with a tiny part of our cells called Telomeres. Telomeres, which are found in the nucleus of cells, control aging. Telomeres become shorter as we age, and longer telomeres have been linked to a longer life. Studies have found an association between regular exercise and the lengthening of the telomeres18. What a great reason to get sweaty.
Proper hydration is key for a youthful complexion, and it doesn’t even need to contain added electrolytes in order to benefit you! Water is needed for many important biological functions like the transportation of nutrients and oxygen, waste removal, and circulation. Like all cells in the body, skin cells need water to function properly. Not drinking enough fluids throughout the day leads to dry, flaky skin and a dull complexion.The best choices for fluids are water and unsweetened teas, particularly green tea. Green tea contains compounds called polyphenols, which have been shown to benefit the skin in several ways. Polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and work to protect skin cells from sun damage. Research has shown that these amazing compounds can also help to promote the growth of new skin cells.13
Get Your Beauty Rest
The easiest one to achieve. Chronic sleep deprivation negatively impacts the body in many ways, including wreaking havoc on your complexion. A recent study found that chronic poor sleep quality was associated with increased signs of aging, diminished skin barrier function and lower satisfaction with appearance in women.15 Sleep is a time for regeneration during which your body repairs damaged cells, rehydrates, and eliminates toxins from the skin. When we sleep, the body replaces the collagen and hyaluronic acid that is broken down during the day, chaning your skin and helping the skin to stay youthful. Inadequate rest can lead to the degradation of collagen, resulting premature aging. To help your skin stay healthy, aim for 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.16