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Skin is the body’s largest organ, yet it’s one that we constantly seem to neglect! Before I became an Esthetician I definitely had some pretty terrible habits, which led to several skin issues such as acne, irritation, redness, etc. I wanted to give you guys some tips that I started to follow once I gained the knowledge and brought about big changes to the health of my skin. These aren’t so much tricks as they are lifestyle changes that should turn into habits once you start doing them often enough, though I do want to mention that some skin conditions can be genetic or results of health issues that should be seen by a doctor or dermatologist. So let’s get started!
1. Drink Water
I know, you’ve heard this over and over again but it really is super important! Like I said before, skin is the body’s largest organ and, like the rest of the body’s organs, it needs water to function. If your skin is dehydrated, it can get very dry and cracked which leads to flakiness and that looks especially terrible under makeup. Even if you are not showing signs of flakiness, they are still there and it can clog up your pores, causing all kinds of issues. When your skin is hydrated, it thanks you be giving you smooth, soft skin.
This is something I ALWAYS make sure to do every few days. If you don’t know what exfoliating is, it’s basically getting rid of that top layer of dead skin just sitting on the surface. Gross right? We have something called skin cell regeneration and that is our skin shedding it’s top layer to make room for new skin cells, now as we get older that shedding starts to slow down which means if we don’t take off that layer, our skin will start to look dull and that dead skin will just sit on the surface and eventually start clogging your pores, which is one big cause of acne and breakouts. Ever wonder why baby’s skin is so incredibly soft and smooth? It’s because they’re skin cells regenerate so much faster and the dead skin is pushed off by their new cells.
There are several ways to exfoliate your skin, including scrubs, special skin brushes, chemical exfoliating serums or even just a washcloth. My favorite way to exfoliate is just by using a classic scrub, either homemade (ground oats mixed with a little water make a GREAT homemade scrub) or I really love using the Ocean Salt scrub by Lush. Also make sure you are exfoliating your body as well, with a loofah or washcloth since your entire body sheds this dead skin layer.
IMPORTANT! Be very careful not to over-exfoliate your skin! I recommend only exfoliating about 2 or 3 times a week, not every day. Over-exfoliating can cause skin irritation and will do more harm than good. Exfoliating is very important, just don’t overdo it.
3. Use Sunscreen
This is another one you’ve probably heard a million times, but guys, it’s a big one. Did you know that the sun is the biggest contributor to skin issues? Too much sun can lead to premature aging, hyper-pigmentation (dark spots on your skin), age spots, darkening of facial scars, and worst of all, skin cancer. There’s a reason why there was a surge of skin cancer cases in recent years in middle aged men and women, because people used to lay out in the sun and slather themselves in oil to ATTRACT more sun and get a better tan. It may have looked great at the time, but they are paying for it later. Tanning beds are even worse, as it is literally concentrated UVA rays which is what causes premature aging. I’ve always thought I was cursed with very fair skin because I could never tan and I would burn very quickly, but now I’m so happy for my fair skin because I’ve always been careful to use sunscreen since I was little and will likely have great skin later in life. I really love this face sunscreen by aveeno, it’s super gentle, has a high spf and it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy at all.
Now, not all sun is bad. The sun is a natural source of Vitamin D, which is important for our bodies AND our skin, so it’s good to get a little bit of sun without sunscreen. Did you know that our body absorbs its daily necessity of Vitamin D in just 15 MINUTES or sun exposure? That’s all you need, just 15 minutes. So once you’ve gotten your little bit of sun, slather it up with a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF and remember to reapply every few hours, sooner if you sweat a lot or go swimming.
4. Reduce Your Sugar and Grease Intake
This one in particular was pretty hard for me and still is, especially being pregnant and having lot’s of cravings. Sugar and grease from fried foods go straight to your skin and can severely aggravate acne and oily skin. There are several different causes of acne but primarily are caused by hormones and clogged pores, which is why teenagers seem to get it the worst. Hormones can cause your skins oils production to go into overdrive which in turn clogs your pores, and when your eat greasy foods it just adds more oil. Sugar can also cause flare ups because when your eat it in excess, it can inflame your system. There’s definitely some truth behind the phrase “You are what you eat”. Check out this post on substituting healthier options so it doesn’t feel like you are sacrificing what you love!
5. Create A Daily Routine
This one can take some time to implement if you don’t already have any kind of routine for your skin. It’s very important to wash your face at least every single night to wash off any makeup and dirt your skin has accumulated throughout the day and trust me, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean its not there. I’m a stay at home mom and don’t make it out of the house a lot during the day, but there is still a lot of gross stuff that makes it on my face every day, whether it be little hands covered in who knows what or my own hands when I’m on the phone or brushing my hair our of my face.
First, if you wear makeup make sure you take it off every single night and get a good cleanser for your skin type and wash your face after taking off your makeup. If you are lazy like me you can start off by using some makeup removing wipes as your first step, I use these wipes by Yes To ALL the time whenever I’m camping or just too tired to use my normal cleanser. When I was in high school, I regularly went to sleep with my makeup on and big surprise, got terrible breakouts. Next is usually a toner of some kind, it’s not really a necessary step but I like to use some tea tree water on a cotton pad after my cleanser just to make sure I’ve removed all my makeup and 9 times out of 10 there’s usually something I’ve missed. Last but not least, is moisturizer. Moisturizer is extremely important because when your skin doesn’t receive the moisture it needs, it will send signals to the oil glands and tell them it needs moisture so oil production goes into overdrive and your are left with excess oil on your skin which, if not removed, will go back into your pores and clog them up. That is what causes blackheads and whiteheads.
Make sure you follow the same steps in the morning since your skin does most of it’s shedding in your sleep when your body is in repair-mode.