By Jackie Rainford Corcoran EBS Health Columnist
Unlike a fine Italian leather handbag, skin typically does not get better with age. But there are steps you can take to keep your skin fresh and youthful this summer. These simple tips are great for your face along with your overall health.
Protect your skin from UV exposure. In high altitudes, ultraviolet rays are strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. UVA rays cause skin damage like wrinkles, and are linked to some skin cancers. UVB rays cause sunburn, damage skin cells and increase the risk of most skin cancers. Be aware that UV levels can still be high on cloudy days. Prevent sunburns by wearing protective clothing, and by using a mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen—and reapply as directed.
Stay hydrated. Before reaching for an over-priced anti-aging skin cream, consider plumping your skin naturally by drinking water. Drinking an adequate amount of water every day helps keep the skin supple, and staves off fine lines and skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. Water is also good for the digestive system because it flushes out toxins, and in turn helps the skin have a healthier glow.
How much water you need daily depends on your size, activity, climate and other variables. But as a general guideline, consider drinking 4 pints of water each day.
Get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. We all know the effects that poor sleep has on our appearance. Dark circles and a puffy, bloated look is not what we strive for, and sleep is a time for cellular repair and detoxification. Lack of sleep causes hormonal imbalances, like high levels of cortisol, which in turn cause inflammation and impaired blood sugar regulation.
Here are some suggestions for getting a replenishing night’s sleep, to keep your skin looking great: Keep the bedroom at a cool 60-67 F and as dark as possible—use a night mask to block light if necessary; don’t over-consume caffeine, alcohol or processed foods throughout the day; avoid screen time before sleeping as the blue light emitted throws off the body’s natural sleep rhythm; and remove disruptive devices like cell phones from the bedroom.
Avoid foods that cause inflammation. Sweetened drinks, juice, milk, alcohol and highly processed foods like boxed cereals, chips and sugary treats can all cause unhealthy inflammation in the body. The inflammation process causes collagen and elastin—the proteins that make skin strong and elastic—to break down. This in turn creates wrinkles and sagging skin.
These inflammatory foods can also exacerbate skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. When you’re thirsty or hungry, reach for good clean water, and nuts, fruits and veggies as often as possible.
Exfoliate. While there’s a lot of controversy around exfoliating, like how often to do it and which products to use, the truth is that skin sometimes needs help in removing dead skin cells. The skin exfoliates itself naturally, but as we age, this process slows and can leave your skin feeling drier and duller. Try using a gentle soap like Aveeno Baby Wash and Shampoo to wash your face.
When it feels like it’s time for a deeper cleanse, dampen a loofah in warm water and gently cleanse the skin using circular motions. But don’t over do it, or your skin can end up feeling red and raw.
Ultimately, it’s your inner beauty that matters more than how you look, but following these tips will help you feel great too!
Jackie Rainford Corcoran is an IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach. Check out her new website corcoranhealth.com where you can schedule a free 30-minute health coaching session.