Simple Steps to Save Face
Your skin is a barometer of your health, and lifestyle choices literally make their mark on your face. No need to cover your face or panic. Just follow the commonsense guidelines below for skin preservation, and you’ll be sure to radiate vitality and vigor.
Everyday skin care—keep it consistent
Regular cleansing rids the skin of excess oils and dirt and sloughs off dead skin cells.
If you have dry skin, use a mild exfoliant with a heavier moisturizing cream that contains nut oils or aloe.
If your skin is oily, occasionally use an exfoliant with astringent properties and finish with a light, water-based moisturizer. Tea tree and citrus oils help tone skin between washings.
If you battle with problem skin, avoid using harsh exfoliants on breakouts. Instead, apply a deep-cleansing mask and a moisturizer with antibacterial ingredients such as tea tree oil and lavender.
Let the sun shine, but choose your exposure carefully.
A face cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher should be a mandatory part of your beauty regimen. Look for a cream that matches your skin type and wear it even on cloudy days.
Your body does, however, need some sun exposure, as ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin. A 20-minute walk or bask in the early morning or late afternoon sun should suffice; you might prefer to wear a hat and let your arms and legs get the rays.
Let it glow
You are what you eat, drink, and breathe, so consider this:
A healthy diet full of antioxidants A, C, and E helps fend off free radicals from everyday exposure to air pollutants, sun, and stress. Foods rich in vitamin A and vitamin C include brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens, tomatoes, strawberries, and kiwi. Vitamin E is found in a variety of nuts, nut oils, and wheat germ.
Exercise increases circulation, which helps nourish collagen fibers that give skin its appearance of plumpness, while perspiration from your workout cleanses the skin.
Water hydrates the skin from the inside out, so practice drinking enough water that you rarely get thirsty.
Avoid smoking and breathing secondhand smoke, which causes blood vessels to constrict, inhibiting blood flow and starving the skin of oxygen.
July 1, 2010
Kathleen Finn is a writer and marketing consultant for The Natural Word. She specializes in natural health, food, and fitness material, and has worked on staff at Delicious! Magazine and written for Yoga Journal, Spa Magazine, Natural Foods Merchandiser, and Nutrition Science News. She holds a master's degree in Journalism from University of Colorado in Boulder.
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