I usually don’t wear much makeup, but the one beauty trick in any girl’s back pocket is clear skin. That said, it can be easier said than done. Many people struggle with skin issues whether it’s acne, breakouts around that time of the month or simply the occasional zit that pops up *specifically* at the worst possible times. Tell me I’m not the only one that happens to!
The thing is, there are a lot of different ways you can give your skin the royal treatment, but it can be hard to know where to begin. And, a lot of times it’s not what we’re putting on our skin so much as what we’re putting into our bodies.
You know that saying, “you are what you eat?” I would more accurately re-state that as “you are how you treat yourself.”
Let’s take a look at some of the major players when it comes to that clear, radiant skin we all want.
That’s right, it’s called beauty sleep for a reason! Lack of sleep is generally considered to be anything less than 7 – 9 hours per night, and not only can less than optimal amounts of sleep speed up the appearance of aging, it can also cause inflammation that can irritate skin conditions like acne and eczema. Nobody got time for that, am I right?
Set an alarm on your phone to remind you when to start finishing up whatever task you are working on (or that Netflix show you’re finishing) and hit the hay early. No shame over here about being in bed by 9pm whenever possible, and you will notice a difference right away.
Ever notice your lips getting dry and cracked? It’s not a coincidence that your skin probably might look a little dull at the same time. I have a glass water bottle I keep with me at all times so I can re-fill whenever possible. Even having it nearby reminds me to drink more often and the difference in my skin when hydrated is noticeable. Aim for a minimum of 2 litres of water per day, more if possible, especially if you exercise regularly and depending on your climate. It can be easy to forget to drink as much water in the cold winter season, so switch it up with a warm herbal tea to stay cozy!
Truly, the importance of hydration cannot be understated. If improved digestion and more energy aren’t enough motivation, do it for the sake of your skin. I promise you won’t regret it!
SUPPORT DIGESTIVE HEALTH
How’s your pooping? Are you experiencing stomach pain, brain fogginess, low energy, or are you completely lethargic after eating a meal? These are just a few of the many signs that your digestive system might need a little extra support, and digestion has a huge impact on your skin. You can grab this cheatsheet for some ideas on how to get started.
ELIMINATE FOODS CAUSING DIGESTIVE DISTRESS
This one is probably the trickiest one in this list, because sometimes it’s really hard to pinpoint where to begin to improve digestion and there are a ton of factors that have have an impact here. However, one place you can start with is eliminating foods that you suspect might be causing digestive distress. For many people this can be things like dairy products and gluten, which are two common irritants. For others, it might be something completely different. I recommend starting with paying close attention to exactly how you feel after meals. Skin issues and breakouts are one of the many signs that could indicate an issue in your gut.
That’s right – stop fearing fat. Your body needs healthy fats and so does your skin to look it’s best. Consuming healthy fats like oily fish such as wild salmon, avocados, nuts and seeds, and even pastured butter can be a great way to nourish your skin from the inside out, reducing dryness and giving your skin radiance. Side benefit, healthy fats are great for hormone health too!
MINIMIZE YOUR MAKEUP
Specifically, minimize the crap in your makeup. Most makeup on the market is full of ingredients that have the potential to be very irritating to your skin. Luckily there are some safer lines coming out and the selection is increasing. One of my favourites is BeautyCounter, and no, I’m not associated with them in any way. Just want to pass on some awesome safe products to you!
And, give your skin some time to breathe by going bare faced or wearing less makeup whenever possible. It can feel a little weird at first, but the world wants to see that beautiful face of yours!
This can take all different forms, but I’m talking specifically about caring for yourself to reduce stress. Stress is hard on us mentally AND physically, and our skin often shows the results. So give yourself permission to have a kitchen dance party (my fave!), do some yoga or stretching, have a bath, settle in with a great book or podcast, set up a date with some girlfriends, play with your dog (or in my case, track down friends with dogs, ha!). Whatever is going to bring you joy can be a form of self care, and that joy will radiate from your skin.
MOVEMENT + EXERCISE
Movement (activities like walking, gardening, chasing after your kids) is crucial to our health. Exercise, which is typically more intense and intentional is also important to get you sweating. Among a long list of other benefits from these activities, both movement and exercise will lower stress and improve your quality of sleep. That’s a no brainer!
Both movement and exercise will get the blood moving, particularly to the skin’s surface, and if you’re breaking a sweat it allows the pores to open up and release trapped oils and dirt. Need more excuses to throw on your running shoes? This study even went so far as to refer to exercise as “the fountain of youth.”
Last but certainly not least, my all-time favourite! Collagen is a type of protein found throughout our bodies, and as we age, our ability to produce collagen decreases. Adding it into your daily life can improve skin elasticity and dryness, along with helping to renew your skin to keep it looking bright and beautiful. You can get collagen from bone broth, but since it’s not always possible to have some on hand, I prefer collagen powder. It can be easily added to soups, smoothies, tea/coffee, protein shakes, whatever floats your boat. Bonus? It can also be VERY helpful for your digestive system, hair and nails! My faves are Vital Protein and Great Lakes, and I’ve noticed such a difference in my skin since I started using them.
To sum up? Treat yourself better and you will see the results written all over your face. Your skin will thank you!