Is your skin feeling dull and lifeless lately? I know we all are well aware of the benefits of wearing sunscreen everyday, but besides sunscreen, I’ve listed a few other skin care tips that you may have not been aware of. These are easy, simple, and affordable steps that you can take to make a big difference in how your skin looks and feels. I am not affiliated in any way with the companies that make the products listed here. I just love them and hope that they never go away. Maybe this will inspire you to re-think your skin care routine.
1. Reduce Your Sugar and Dairy Intake and Increase Leafy Greens and Omega 3 Fats in Your Diet
Skin experts now believe that a lifetime of overeating sugar can make skin dull and wrinkled. At blame is a natural process that’s known as glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (or, appropriately, AGEs for short). Most vulnerable to damage: collagen and elastin, the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic. In fact, collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. Aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology. Cut back on the sweet stuff in your diet. It’s not easy to eliminate sugar completely, but limiting added sugar can help.
The good news about sugar damaged skin: It’s never too late to turn back the clock. Here, steps to eat right and keep your skin looking its youngest:
Added sugar should be no more than 10% of total calories. For instance, If you’re a 45-year-old woman of average height (5-foot-4), that’s 160 calories (or 10 teaspoons) from added sugar, about the number in one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola or six Hershey’s Kisses. By comparison, the average American consumes 31 teaspoons per day of added sugar, equivalent to 465 calories.
Turns out the glass of milk a day that you were always told was essential for good health may actually be harmful to your skin and health. Dr. Jessica Wu, M.D., Los Angeles-based dermatologist and author of “Feed Your Face” says cow’s milk (even organic) contains hormones and growth factors that are absorbed into the bloodstream. These hormones have androgenic effects that can cause acne in women. Dairy products can also promote inflammation, which can then worsen acne and accelerate aging.
Increase the green. The vitamin A found in dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are great for promoting skin repair and clearing acne. Vitamin-rich veggie alternatives include carrots and broccoli. Dark leafy greens are a great way to get your daily intake of calcium, as well.
Healthy skin is maintained by fat. In particular, getting more of the essential omega-3 fats found in salmon and other oily fish can help to keep skin supple and ease conditions like dry skin and eczema. US dermatologist Dr Nicholas Perricone even credits omega-3s with reducing the skin inflammation that is responsible for sagging and wrinkles. One to two portions a week will boost your intake.
2. Sleep on Your Back
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sleeping in the same position night after night can lead to wrinkles that won’t go away once you’re up. They also note that sleeping on your side increases wrinkles on the cheeks and chin, while sleeping face down gives you a furrowed brow. Your best bet for smoother skin is to sleep face up, on your back.
3. Exfoliate For a Clearer, Brighter Complexion
While skin of all ages produces new cells which gradually move to the surface and shed, the older you get the slower this process becomes. Dead cells stay on the surface for much longer, resultingin that dull, dehydrated look. A good way to exfoliate is with Microdermabrasion. It works by removing the uppermost layer of dead skin cells from the face and is one of the easiest and most effective anti-aging treatments you can treat yourself to. A series of 4 or 5 treatments about a week apart is recommended to get quick results, followed by a monthly microdermabrasion treatment to maintain.
Microdermabrasion doesn’t hurt, takes about 30 minutes, and will leave your skin looking softer and brighter. Removing the uppermost dead skin cells also helps your skincare product penetrate deeper and helps your makeup application look smoother.
Microdermabrasion in Pittsburgh is easy to find. Most dermatology and plastic surgery practices offer it. It can be also found at medical spas or by local salon’s that provide skin care services. Prices vary, expect to pay around $75 – $100 per treatment. The type of microdermabrasion machine and the skill of the Esthetician performing the service matters as well. I prefer the diamond-tip microdermabrasion machine as opposed to the older, crystal spray machines because the diamond-tip seems to penetrate the skin more effectively and I don’t leave the office with tiny crystals in my eyes and mouth. I’ve had an amazing and thorough microdermabrasion treatment done by the Estheticians at Pure Skin Care Center Pittsburgh, located in Robinson Township. A good website for more skin care information and treatment options – BeautyandSkinCare101.com.
4. Keep it Clean
And I don’t mean just your skin. Makeup brushes and pillow cases should be washed at least once a week. Use a fresh face towel and washcloth daily. Frequently wash your hands and avoid touching your face. Use an antibacterial wipe to keep your phone clean, as a dirty phone can cause acne. At the very least, take off makeup at night with makeup wipes before bed. Since I tend to get too tired to wash my face right before bed, I’ve found that washing my face after dinner keeps me on the clean track.
5. Sunscreen Now For Better Skin Later
I know this is a no-brainer and you’ve heard this many times before, but don’t forget to add an SPF 30 to your skin care routine. You’d be surprised how much sun exposure that you receive while even driving for a short period of time. If you’ve been lacking on sunscreen application in the past, there’s still time to undo the damage. Case in point, a dermatologist mentioned to me that my neck and chest skin was starting to look sun-damaged with fine lines and brown spots. That very day, I started using an SPF 30 on my neck and chest, and now, a year later, those very fine lines and brown spots have disappeared, without any additional treatment.
I’ve mentioned this product in an earlier blog post, but I’ve tried just about every sunscreen out there and I keep coming back to Blue Lizard. It’s a 30 SPF sunscreen that was recommended to me by a fellow Esthetician. This natural sunscreen provides both UVA and UVB protection in a chemical-free formulation. Turns sheer within a minute of application. It’s never irritated my sensitive skin, nor caused breakouts. Retails for around $10.00 a tube. Find it at Drugstore.com, etc.
Bonus Skin Care Tip: The only product that has helped heal my chapped lips from the cold, dry winters in Pittsburgh:
I was given a sample of Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm from a dermatologist and I’ve been hooked since. Made of 1% hydrocortisone, beeswax, petroleum jelly, and mineral oil. Hard to find in Pittsburgh area stores. I order mine online or purchase at Ebay.