Ask Nurse Alice: 7 Simple Steps to Great Healthy Skin
Are you constantly battling with blemishes, acne, skin discolorations, fine lines or oily skin? Ever wish that there was something else you could do to clear those things up for once in your life?
Your skin is an outer reflection of what’s going on inside your body. So let’s start there. It’s not the fountain of youth or a miracle pill but these six simple steps will help balance your inner body and skin health so you can have that great healthy skin you’ve always longed for.
1. Make sure to cleanse your face daily and gently
A common mistake that many people make is scrubbing their face unnecessarily in efforts to remove oil, dirt an makeup. Unless your face is oily, use a creamy cleanser daily- allow it to chemically scrub your face for you by leaving it on your skin for a few seconds. Then gently work it in with your fingers tips and rinse with lukewarm water. If you have oily skin, wash twice a day and use a foam cleanser instead. And make sure to pat your face dry, don’t wipe.
2. Apply and reapply sunscreen
One of the easiest ways to ward off the appearance of aging is as simple as
wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen serves as protective armour. It filters out the sun’s ultra violent rays that are known to speed up the aging of our skin. So make sure you’re applying a sunscreen or moisturizer with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. Sunscreen protection can be found in lotions, creams, sprays, oils and even make-up. And make sure to reapply sun protection every 2-3 hours, because that’s about as long as it lasts. And because SPF is in make-up, make sure to carry a mineral powder with SPF with you at all times for those quick make-up and sunscreen touch ups throughout the day.
3. Try Retinoid Cream
A well kept beauty secret is Retinoid cream. It’s a vitamin A derivative thats perfectly safe. It can be purchased over the counter for approximately $20-$40 or prescribed in higher concentrations by a dermatologist. Its able to keep your skin looking good as it unclogs pores, increases skin cell turn over to even out skin discolorations, and boosts collagen production to ward off fine lines and wrinkles thereby making for smooth skin. If you have sensitive skin, try applying Retinoid 20 minutes after you’ve washed your face and applied a moisturizer to avoid any irritation.
It’s not the actual sweat that will help your skin, but the exercise and getting your heart rate up that causes you to sweat that will. Exercising helps improve blood circulation and optimizes oxygen carrying capacity – both of which are important for your complexion as well as overall health. But you have to get your heart rate up. Slow walks are a start but unless it gets your heart rate up and you sweating, it won’t do the trick. And did you know your skin has endorphin “feel good” receptors? This may explain why after a good work out you feel good…. and now you know it’ll help you look good as well.
5. Eat foods high in Omega-3 and Antioxidants
Eating the right foods will be instrumental in letting your healthy shine inside and out with great skin. To do that make sure you eat foods high in Omega 3. These are essential fatty acids that our body doesn’t make so you’ll need to make sure you include them in your diet. They have several health benefits for your heart, lowering cholesterol, and reducing inflammation which may cause redness of the skin and helps keeps skin hydrated from the inside out. Omega 3 can be found in fish (Salmon, Sea Bass and Swordfish – my favs), broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, flaxseed and canola oil.
I like to refer to Antioxidants as the body’s own natural street sweepers. They help sweep up free radicals, wastes and by-products from foods we’ve eaten, the environment and normal everyday metabolism. If these things are left at high levels in the body they can damage the cellular structure of our skin and speed up the skin aging process. Some of my favorite high content antioxidant foods are berries, green leafy vegetables, melons, tomatoes, beans and eggplant.
Although many of us don’t get enough of this – SLEEP is a critical part of healthy skin. Aim for 7 hours of sleep/day. Not only is it an opportunity for your body to rest, relax and be renewed but its important to know that sleep reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that accelerates the aging of skin and can cause acne. So know that the more sleep you get, the better you’ll feel and look. Perhaps there is a fountain of youth but you have to sleep your way there.
7. Drink plenty of water
Avoid coffees, sodas and teas when possible. Drink at least 8 glasess of water every day. Its the most natural, zero calorie and refreshing drink out there.
These are only seven simple starter tips. Stay tuned for more beauty and health secrets by following me on twitter @AskNurseAlice and tuning in to my weekly radio segment “Healthy Living with Nurse Alice” that airs Thursdays 8:25am CST on WENO 760AM The Gospel.