What is health? When we think of our health and the desire to improve it, we most often think of physical health. Health is most specifically measured by the well-being of the body and mind. These are often not mutually exclusive components – a healthy body enhances the healthy mind, just as the healthy mind promotes a healthy body. Sometimes the health of our skin, and the importance of maintaining skin health are overlooked in the equation. In fact, some of us discount skin health as pertaining to superficial attention to appearance, and instead condone our own poor skin health habits under the self-deceiving mantra of “aging gracefully”.
It is unquestionably good to enjoy every year and each phase of your life for the beauty and experience it can bring. However, don’t embrace that mentality to the detriment of the largest organ of your body – your skin! If you look in the mirror and see a trend towards dry skin, clogged pores, patchy discoloration, excessive fine lines (or not-so-fine lines!), or increasingly lax skin, your body is telling you something. It is time to start listening.
If the symptoms of poor skin health reach a critical point, you will find yourself in need of more drastic measures – prescription medications, or perhaps surgical procedures. However, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. These four skin health habits will go far in keeping your skin looking younger and acting healthier.
Healthy Skin Habit 1: Maintain A Proper Diet
Sometimes common sense and science are in complete alignment and this is one of those cases – a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is key for health, and yes, that includes skin health. According to WebMD most experts say eating a balanced diet is the best way to get your share of good food for healthy skin. Still, a number of specific treats are more likely than others to give a boost of glowing good health to your complexion. Those treats include low-fat dairy products, especially those rich in vitamin A. WebMD also sites a study recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that named blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and plums as those with the highest “total antioxidant capacity” of any foods.
Getting enough water each day has a variety of benefits for your skin. “It is my belief that our skin needs at least a half gallon of good clean water—that’s about eight glasses—every day,” says nutrition expert Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN. But don’t run out and buy expensive bottled water—according to Lipski, the minerals in hard water are preferable. “A water softener may help your plumbing,” she says, “but it’s hard water that is better for your health.”
Healthy Skin Habit 2: Adopt a Responsible Daily Care Regimen
Caring for your skin should be a matter of daily habit, but depending on your age and the nature of your skin’s needs, the thought that doing anything is better than nothing may not be true. Many soaps, moisturizers and sunscreens that people buy and use off the shelf contain dyes, artificial colors, artificial fragrances, and other skin irritants that may actually detract from healthy skin function. That is NOT an endorsement for doing nothing! Rather, it is an endorsement to take the selection of the right daily skincare products seriously, and consult with your dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon or other skincare physician about what skincare regimen is right for you. Be wary of products that contain parabens or other harsh preservatives. Also, while some skin conditions may warrant the use of prescription topicals such as hydroquinone (Obagi, Triluma, Glyquin), consider non-prescription procedures your doctor can administer such as the popular SilkPeel Dermalinfusion to jumpstart healthy skin function first, and if you do use a hydroquinone product, make sure that you limit exposure to these ingredients to no more than three or four months, and then, have a long-term product regimen ready to help maintain your best skin health possible.
One such product regimen that a growing number of dermatologists are recommending is the Lumixyl Topical Brightening System. Based on exciting new clinical studies conducted at Stanford University, Lumixyl employs a special class of peptide that helps reduce the appearance of age spots, sun spots, and other patchy skin discoloration, but is non-irritating, non-toxic and therefore safe for daily and long-term use.
The Lumixyl system of products (including an antioxidant rich daily cleanser, a rapid exfoliating lotion to stimulate cellular turnover, and an elegant sunscreen), go much further in stimulating healthy skin function and providing protection against the sun and elements that would age your skin prematurely.
For example, the Lumixyl Active-Prep Cleanser is formulated to thoroughly clean your skin down to the pores, removing dirt, make-up and oils that build-up there, while at the same time keeping the skin’s own protective acid mantle intact. Other cleansers by comparison often contain soaps that break down the skin’s acid mantle, weakening its ability to protect against bacteria or other harmful outside factors.
Healthy Skin Habit 3: Use a Physical Sunscreen of SPF 30 or Greater Every Day
Good skin health starts with good sun protection. Not just when you are going to the beach, and not just when you are going to be exposing large portions of your body to the sun all day. The fact is, you are exposed to solar radiation even when indoors, every day, almost all the time. This exposure leads to photo-damage – breaking down collagen and elastin in the skin, triggering hyperpigmentation.
Here again, not just any sunscreen will do. Popular sunscreens found in your grocery and drug stores are often loaded with chemical sunscreen agents. These chemical ingredients will help prevent that painful burn, but they may also be clogging your pores, and irritating your skin at the same time. Instead, use a sunscreen that incorporates the proven physical sunscreen agents – micronized minerals known as Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide. These agents give broad-spectrum protection, and they tend to lay on top of the skin, blocking the sun’s rays before they can penetrate your skin cells. Lumixyl’s MoistureLock Sunscreen SPF30 does this with Titanium Dioxide and includes Symhelios, a further layer of anti-aging protection against the sun’s aging rays.
Healthy Skin Habit 4: Keep Rested and Get Your Sleep
As pointed out in an article on completewellbeing.com, it is “during our slumber time that the body repairs the daily damage caused to the skin by stress, ultraviolet rays and other detrimental exposures to dust and pollution. Sleep is when the body produces more proteins, which are the cell’s building blocks. Enhanced protein production ensures proper rejuvenation and revamping of the tissues and cells, which in turn provides vital regeneration and repair to the skin. So, not sleeping well is bound to show up on the face: dark under-eye circles, swollen, red eyes, sagging, dull and sallow skin, and early onset of wrinkles, crow’s feet and laugh lines.”
The next time you see a friend that just looks amazingly fresh and youthful, and are inclined to wonder how they do it – think of these four tips. Chances are your friend is applying these self-same secrets. Perhaps you should too.