Our skin is our suit of armour against all the elements of the world and so it’s important to take care of it. It’s also the artistic canvas we present to those around us and so we tend to have a lot of guests at Mountain Trek asking how to improve theirs so they appear younger and healthier. Of course, the longer answer to this question is to be healthier and act younger by exercising, eating nutritious food and taking care of yourself. However, there are other things you can do for your skin specifically that will help. This doesn’t mean slathering on lots of store-bought lotion, however, as many of those products contain hormones that affect our inner functions. Here are six easy, no-nonsense tips that will help your skin retain its youthfulness.
1. Protect yourself from the sun
It goes without saying that one of the most important ways to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. Not only will this prevent wrinkles from forming, it will also slow down the formation of age spots and other more serious problems such as skin cancer. For the most complete sun protection:
- Seek shade. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also consider wearing special sun-protective clothing, which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays.
- Use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or perspiring.
2. Don’t smoke
Aside from all the other negative affects of smoking, it also makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. It narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — the fibers that give your skin strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — can contribute to wrinkles. If you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit: ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.
3. Treat your skin gently
Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin. To keep it gentle:
- Limit bath time – Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time and use warm — rather than hot — water.
- Avoid strong soaps – Strong soaps and detergents can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild, natural cleansers.
- Shave carefully – To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it.
- Pat dry – After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin.
- Moisturize dry skin – If your skin is dry, use a moisturizer that fits your skin type but be wary of most of the brands on the shelves – they contain many additives and hormones that negatively impact your body. Sometimes the best moisturizer is natural food oils, such as coconut oil applied sparingly.
4. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. The association between diet and acne isn’t clear — but some research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin.
5. Manage stress
Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results might be more dramatic than you expect.
6. Smear food on your face
This can be fun! A lot of people, especially women, like to use masks to help rejuvenate the skin on their face and bodies but as will commercial moisturizes, a lot contain hormones and other additives that can be harmful over time. Here are four fun ideas for giving yourself a fancy spa facial at home:
- Vinegar has been used as a skin toner by the Greeks and Romans for centuries. After you wash your face, mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 2 cups water as a finishing rinse to cleanse and tighten your skin
- Mash up a ripe banana into a smooth paste and use that as a face mask and apply to your face and neck. Let it set for 10-20 minutes then rinse off with cold water. It’ll leave your skin looking and feeling softer.
- Create a facial that both exfoliates and moisturizes by mixing the juice from 1 lemon with 1/4 cup olive oil or sweet almond oil.
- If you don’t have any aversion to dairy, then make a mask by mixing 1/4 cup powdered milk with enough water to form a thick paste. Throoughly coat your face wit hthe mixture, let dry then rinse with warm water.