Do you take your skin for granted?

A lot of people put off caring for their skin because they think it’s all cosmetic. They think people who religiously care for their skin are vain and shallow and are only doing so to look good.

But your skin isn’t just something to show off for the camera. It’s your body’s first and biggest defense system against the dangers of the outside world.

Your skin is the first thing that wards of harmful bacteria and viruses. It keeps the toxins and pollutants at bay. Essentially, your skin is what’s keeping all of you together.

Caring for your skin isn’t just something you do to look good. It’s something you need to do to protect every other part of your body.

If you’ve never given skincare a thought, the consequences might be showing in the form of dry, patchy skin or oily, acne-ridden skin.

It’s never too late to treat your skin well. If you give it the love it deserves, it’s going to do its job of protecting your body well.

Feed Your Skin

You can slap on the best moisturizers in the world, but if you don’t feed your skin the right food, your skin will always fall short of nutrients.

Most people don’t know, but the skin ages from the inside of the cells. This means you need to give your skin cells the right nutrients so they can remain strong and healthy.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables gives your skin the vitamins and minerals it needs. The best way is to eat a variety of fresh produce, but there are some foods that are better than others.

Vitamin C-rich foods such as tomatoes, berries, and broccoli help the skin create its own collagen. Contrary to popular belief, your skin can’t absorb collagen topically. It needs to make its own. And getting a lot of Vitamin C can help with that.

Fresh fruits and vegetables also have plenty of antioxidants that fight against free radicals that cause wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging.

Tomato, in particular, can protect your skin from the cancer-causing UV rays of the sun. In fact, upping your tomato intake may reduce your chances of sunburn by 40%.

But you don’t have to eat an entire vegetable garden to keep your skin healthy. You also need to add healthy sources of fat and oils.

Olive oil, for example, protects your skin against dark spots, discoloration, and other signs of photoaging. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel also have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which moisturize the skin from within.

There are also a few things you need to avoid. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, we have some bad news for you. You need to ditch the sugar if you don’t want your skin to suffer. You can still eat a tiny bit of dessert but not as much as before.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Have you noticed how your skin breaks out every time you’re stressed?

When you’re studying for a major exam, working on a promotion at work, or in love with someone who doesn’t love you back, your skin tends to take a beating.

That’s because all the cortisol that your body secretes when you’re stressed isn’t good for the skin.

When you’re stressed out, you’re more prone to getting a bout of bad acne. But that’s not the only thing. You could experience extreme hair fall and get bare patches of scalp on your head. You could even get unexplained rashes or become way more sweaty than usual.

If these problems don’t get fixed, they might lead to even more stress, which might cause even more skin problems. It’s a vicious circle that you need to cut off. And you do that by learning to relax.

There are plenty of things you can do to ease off your stress levels. Exercise is one of these. You can choose any exercise you like. Whether it’s walking, running, yoga, dancing, or weightlifting, exercise is as good for the mind as it is for the body.

You can also learn other stress reduction techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and tai chi.

Soak It All In

Moisturizers are crucial to your skin. If we could recommend only one skincare product to get, we’d recommend getting a moisturizer.

A moisturizer hydrates your skin so that it remains soft, supple, and strong. Dry skin is weak skin. You tend to develop more wrinkles, dark spots, and other skin problems if you have dry skin.

On the other hand, having oily skin doesn’t mean you can go without moisture. Using the right kind of moisturizer will help balance your skin and keep it from producing too much sebum that creates the slick, oily feel.

Moisturizers have three components:

  • Humectants – to draw water into the skin
  • Occlusives – to seal in moisture into the skin
  • Emollients – to fill in the gaps in your skin to keep it smooth and plump

Moisturizing doesn’t begin with a jar of moisturizer. It starts when you get in the bath or shower and wet your skin. Don’t spend too long in there because too much washing can strip your skin of its own natural moisturizers.

Also, use warm or cool water as much as possible. Hot water may be more comfortable, but it scalds your skin and makes it more prone to drying out.

Use gentle, fragrance-free soaps that are free of sulfates. We recommend Dove Beauty Bar as a mild soap that’s great for overall use. Use it with a soft washcloth instead of abrasive brushes or loofahs, which can be too harsh on your skin.

Use a moisturizing cream, such as CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, right after bathing. You want to make sure the ceramides in the cream, which act as an occlusive, trap all that moisture in your damp skin.

This cream also contains plenty of hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant that attracts moisture from the air into your skin. It’s a scent-free moisturizer that you can use on your face and body.

During the dry winter months, you might find that using skincare products alone isn’t enough to keep the dryness at bay.

In this case, we recommend getting a humidifier like the Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier for your home. This adds moisture to the air so your parched skin can drink in some water. You might also find that it helps you breathe and sleep easier.

Quit, Quit, Quit!

If you smoke, you have to quit now.

You might not notice them yet, but the effects of smoking on the skin and on your body as a whole will inevitably show up.

Smoking is the easiest way to age faster than you’re supposed to. It constricts your blood vessels, including those that send blood and nutrient-carrying oxygen to your skin.

It also breaks down collagen, which is responsible for keeping your skin elastic, and limits your body’s ability to create its own collagen. The result is skin that looks much older than it is.

If you’re a smoker, the best thing you can do for your skin is to quit.

Get In Some Vitamin Zzz

Do you really need more reason to get some shut-eye?

Sleep may not sound like much of a skin protector, but it’s what you need to do to brighten those raccoon-like circles under your eyes and balance your patchy skin tone.

While you’re dozing off in dreamland, your body works on repairing old, tired, and broken down cells in your skin, muscles, and brain. It also beefs up natural collagen production, which is the only way to get collagen into your skin.

Research shows people who don’t get enough sleep don’t have as much collagen as they need. They also lose their body’s natural ability to repair itself, making them more prone to skin problems and other health issues.

Always try to get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Anything less than that isn’t good for your body and anything more will leave you feeling tired and groggy all day long.