So, let me start by explaining my skin journey. In high school, I had acne.
White heads, big and small. On my forehead, chin, cheeks, I even got them in the corners of my mouth sometimes. I was extremely embarrassed about my skin and appearance in general. So, the fact that I’m writing a guide to naturally glowing skin is something my 17-year old self never saw happening.
But here we are and I have been experiencing the best skin I have ever had in my life! After 10 years (ok, almost 20 years) of researching and experimenting different ingredients and products in search of clear, glowing, healthy skin , I understand how to maintain great youthful, happy skin. I have tried massive amounts of products (and still do because I love new finds) and have done a boat-load of research (I only touch on a minimal amount of research and my favorite products in this blog).
While you can’t control your age (man, I wish you could), you can control multiple other factors that accelerate the aging process. Excessive exposure to sunlight, cigarette smoking, poor dietary habits, and stress are all known to fast-track the aging process. To keep your skin looking young and healthy, while enhancing that natural glow, there are things that should be done. While it isn’t an exhaustive list, this is a great start. Along the way, I will share some of my faves and current obsessions.
- HYDRATE!! This is the first step because I definitely think it is the most important. Water is what flushes all impurities out of our bodies, instead of it sitting and contaminating other things. It just makes sense to continuously drink fluids to make sure everything is being washed out. When skin is dehydrated, it can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling. No one wants that. I like to keep my water in tumblers like the Starbucks Cold Cup 24oz Traveler Tumbler. If I drink three full cups then I feel like I’ve hit my water intake for the day. Sometimes I even like to infuse it with hibiscus flowers and mint leaves to add flavor.
- Eat your veggies. Research suggests that eating foods rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals may provide valuable anti-aging effects. For those affected by medical skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis, eating certain foods could aggravate those symptoms or trigger an unexpected flare-up. Let’s face it, not all of us enjoy eating a bowl of peas and carrots daily, me included. For that reason, I love Amazing Grass’ fruit and veggies powders. They have different flavors and it doesn’t taste like I’m swallowing chalk. I take a spoonful of the Original, mix in in my Ninja with a banana and almond milk and enjoy!
- Exer-cise. By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells and keep them vital. “You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside,” states dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD to WebMD. I try to stay as active as possible even though I feel like I never have the time. I use my watch to keep up with my activity levels and try to walk for at least 30min a day.
- Lower your stress. Clinical observations have linked psychological stress to the onset or aggravation of multiple skin diseases, as stated in the article titled, Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging, by Ying Chen and John Lyga. Stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. It can also make it harder for skin to heal. Research has found that stress caused by sleep deprivation increases signs of aging, like fine lines, reduced elasticity, and uneven pigmentation. The loss of skin elasticity may also contribute to the formation of the bags under those eyes.
- Show yourself some love. “If there are areas of puffiness, discoloration, bagginess, wrinkles, or poor radiance, it can impact how we feel about ourselves,” according to Dr. John Burroughs, a board-certified plastic surgeon. Self-care can mean different things to different people, but the overall goal is to feel good, happy, and calm. For many, engaging in a skin care routine can help reduce daily stress and it’s a chance to take a mental break. The real benefit is the ‘me’ time that you receive. On the days when I am able to carve out some time for myself, I have a whole regimen and my husband knows to just leave me alone for a few hours. I play some old-school RnB music, exfoliate my face using Australian Pink Clay Flash Perfection Exfoliator from Sand and Sky, and apply a hydrating mask like Tatcha’s Violet-C Radiance Mask. After the mask is applied, I run a warm bath, throw in some Cashmere Moon Bath Salts, light a soy clean-burning candle, and just soak in the water and let the salts take my stress and muscle aches away while the mask does its magic. I feel like the steam from the bath really opens the pores to allow the mask to penetrate deep in the skin. Afterwards, I feel refreshed and recharged, not to mention, my skin feels loved and nourished.
- Quality Skin-Care Products. Quality ingredients in your skin care products will help to build resilience and promote healthy skin, while poor ingredients can dry your skin out, cause breakouts, and lead to long-term damage. Consistency is also key, as using premium skin care products every once in a while, will yield no desirable effects. For facial skincare, I love Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Pore-Tight Toner, and Tatcha’s The Essence Plumping Skin Softener. For body care, I use Cashmere Moon Peppermint Eucalyptus body cream mixed with their body oil.
- Apply SPF. Everyday your skin is damaged by environmental factors like the sun and pollutants, so it is extremely important to include SPF in your skincare regimen. Sun exposure (no matter how much melanin you have) can make your skin look dull. Every day, you should make sure to apply at least factor 30 on your face.