Don’t have time to really pamper your skin? No problem - having beautiful, glowing skin isn’t just limited to movie stars and others with equally deep pockets. In fact, you can make big differences in your skin with just a few small changes to your daily routine. Get started with these ten simple, doable tips for healthier, more ‘glowy’ skin.
1. Ace the basics – look after your skin by getting the basics right: cleansing your face regularly, using the right moisturiser for your skin type, and applying sunscreen every day. While it’s easy to skip these steps if you’re busy (or if you’ve had a late night!), nailing the basics every day will help keep your skin fresh, clean and radiant.
2. Know your skin – Finding the right products and routine is a matter of knowing what your skin needs as well as your personal preferences – what works for someone else might not work for you. If your skin tends to be dry or sensitive, moisturise more and exfoliate less to achieve a healthy glow. Conversely, if your skin is on the oilier side, using a gentle exfoliant regularly may help reduce breakouts.
3. Protect yourself from the sun. This tip is so, so important! Even from an early age, protecting your skin from the sun can reduce wrinkles, age spots and skin cancers such as melanoma – and mean a younger-looking you when you’re older.
A recent Australian study showed that up to 50% of sun damage is incidental, so we recommend using a broad-spectrum, SPF30+ sunscreen (or higher) on your face and any other visible skin every single day, even in winter. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — more often if you're swimming or perspiring.
Don’t forget the other SunSmart guidelines - avoid the sun and seek shade between 10am and 4pm when the sun's rays are strongest - especially in the daylight savings months. And wear protective clothing: cover your skin with high UPF long-sleeved shirts, long pants, sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats.
4. Eat your way to beautiful skin. Your skin is your body’s biggest organ and, as the saying goes, ‘you are what you eat’. So eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins and your healthy diet is likely to show up in your skin.
Try to avoid unhealthy fats and carbohydrates such as fried or processed foods (which can clog up your skin and cause acne and other issues). And aim to include more fish or a fish oil supplement in your diet - many skin experts suggest that these can promote younger looking skin.
5. Drink to your skin’s health. Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin hydrated, flush out toxins and generally look more dewy and glowy. Herbal teas such as green tea are also great for skin, while (unfortunately!) coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol can all have a negative effect on the skin.
6. Avoid sunbeds. It should go without saying that baking your skin to a crisp in the sun or on a sunbed is not okay. New Zealand Ministry of Health guidelines say that using a sunbed is never recommended1.
That’s because sunbeds expose users to higher levels of dangerous UV radiation than the sun – which can increase the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers. On top of that, sunbeds accelerate aging, wrinkles and sunspots. The risk is even greater for people with pale skin that doesn’t tan easily, who have lots of freckles and moles, have had skin cancer before or are under 18 (even people under 30 are at higher risk). In fact, it’s now illegal in New Zealand for sunbed operators to let anyone aged under 18 use a sunbed.
7. Say no to smoking. This is another biggie. Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles, especially around the lips. It not only damages collagen and elastic – the fibres that give your skin strength and elasticity – it also depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health. What’s more, smoking can increase your risk of getting skin cancers such as squamous cell skin cancer, so if you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.
8. Keep your cool. We all love long, hot baths and showers, but they can remove oils from your skin. So limit your bath or shower time, and use warm water, not hot.
9. Avoid the strong stuff. Strong soaps and detergents can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild cleansers, shaving creams and soaps with minimal ingredients. In fact, many people choose not to use soap on their face at all, as this can dry out skin.
10. Pat your skin, don’t rub it. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin, especially on your face. Then apply a moisturiser or serum straight away before you skin has time to dry out. Add on a SPF30+ sunscreen and you’re good to go!
11. Exfoliate regularly. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells, revealing the newer, smoother skin underneath. In general dermatologists recommend using chemical exfoliators over physical ones (like harsh scrubs containing pits or abrasive beads) because they tend to be gentler on the skin. If you have dry or sensitive skin, limit exfoliating products to occasional use as they can irritate cause irritation.
12. Keep stress under control. Stress is not skin’s friend! It can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne, rosacea and other problems. To encourage healthy skin (and a healthy state of mind) make sure get enough sleep (aim for 8 hours a night), organise more ‘me-time’, and cut back that ‘to do’ list.
Sources: 1. Ministry of Health NZ: https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/environmental-health/sunbeds
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