The Best Way to Care for Your Skin Naturally
Think about words used to describe naturally beautiful skin: radiant, glowing, vibrant, youthful, smooth and clear. Your skin tells the world that you are healthy, inside and out, or that you are fatigued, stressed and far too harried to care for yourself. Skin is the largest organ of the human body. It holds moisture, protects internal organs and filters toxins. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the average adult has about 20 square feet of skin and 19 million skin cells per square inch. Your skin takes care of you and needs you to return the favor.
Nourish your skin at its foundation: the cellular level. Healthy cells need good nutrition provided by a well-balanced diet, vitamins and minerals. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that antioxidants are important for healthy cell development and that beneficial vitamins for skin include C, E, D, A, K and the B complex vitamins, especially B3 (niacin) and biotin. Minerals including zinc, copper and selenium also play a part in healthy skin cell formation. The NIH also reports on a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association that showed selenium may significantly reduce the risk of skin cancers. Most of these nutrients can be gained through a variety of lean meats, fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as legumes and nuts. Take a quality multivitamin/mineral supplement every day to ensure you get the recommended daily allowances.
Drink eight to 10 glasses of water daily. Water is essential in keeping your skin well-hydrated, moisturized and supple. Herbal teas containing ginseng, chamomile, green tea and licorice extract help nourish the skin without a diuretic effect that would dry it out.
Use gentle, natural products when cleansing, exfoliating and lubricating your skin. Avoid harsh astringents, chemicals and preservatives, as they tend to dry the skin and cause flaking, redness and fine lines.
Commit to using a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 every day. People often have the misconception that sunscreen isn't needed on cloudy days, but powerful ultraviolet rays can still harm your skin through haze and clouds. Try wearing a light makeup or body lotion that contains sunblock. Nothing ages the skin faster than UV rays. Avoid tanning salons, and reapply sunscreen every few hours when you are engaging in a water activity.
Cleanse your face and moisturize every night before bed. Getting rid of the oils, the old makeup and the pollution that your skin has had to face during the day will keep your skin looking youthful and vibrant.
Get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Adequate sleep diminishes puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. Your skin needs sleep to rejuvenate itself. In a Dec. 2009 article in the Los Angeles Times, staff writer Alexandra Drosu reported that sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system, which can lead to skin problems. "The most important thing you can do for your skin may be getting a great night's sleep," Dr. Howard Murad, a board-certified dermatologist, told Drosu.
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