Beauty Tips for Great Skin
These days, celebrities are busy showing off their makeup free selfies. They’re getting so much attention that I could see easily see this trend going mainstream. So how can you get glowing skin – and skip the foundation? And is there a way to do it without spending a fortune? These beauty tips should get you off to a great start!
Remember, healthy skin is beautiful! So anything you can do to make your skin more healthy will pay dividends in beautiful, radiant skin!
1. Don’t smoke. Not even E-cigarettes.
Both contain nicotine. It shrinks capillaries, which means less blood flow to skin and quicker aging. Smoking creates wrinkles around your mouth. Nicotine slows healing, destroys collagen and elastin, and thins skin. Here’s what the American Lung Association has to say about e-cigarettes:
“Nearly 500 brands and 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes are on the market and none of them have been evaluated by the FDA. We don’t know for sure what’s in them. Studies have found toxic chemicals, including an ingredient used in antifreeze and formaldehyde in e-cigarettes. Because the FDA doesn’t regulate these products, there aren’t requirements around ingredient disclosure, warning labels or youth access restrictions.”
A smoker’s risk for squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, is 50% higher than a nonsmoker. Need I say more?
2. Sleep on your back.
Most of us sleep on our side. The problem is when you lay on your side, your face is compressed against your pillow. And when you sleep in this same position over and over, wrinkles are formed.
“occur in predictable locations based on fixed anchor points that hold the skin to bone. The key to preventing them is sleeping on your back, which also has other beauty benefits, like clearer, firmer skin and better back alignment. “They can be treated with wrinkle creams and fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane, but they will likely come back or develop in adjacent areas if you don’t address the real problem, which is facial compression.”
3. Use a retinoid every night.
Dermatologists don’t always agree on everything. However, they do seem to universally recommend topical vitamin A. Retinoids / Vitamin A stimulate collagen production and fight wrinkles – and acne. To learn more about retinoids, read our post, Want Younger-Looking Skin? 3 Ways Retinoids Make Skin Beautiful.
4. Change your sheets every week. Use an impervious cover for BOTH your mattress and pillow.
Pillows, pillowcases, mattresses and sheets collect lots of things: skin cells, animal hair, dander, fungal mold, fungal spores, bodily secretions, bacteria, dust, lint, fibers, particulates, insect parts, pollen, soil, sand and cosmetics. (Ugh.) Mattresses absorb all of these things into their core through gravity. And if you don’t wash your sheets often, they accumulate there too. Dirty sheets can add to asthma, allergies, and acne.
What should you do? Dr. Philip M. Tierno Jr., a director of clinical microbiology and immunology, recommends washing sheets every week and using the impervious protectors recommended for people with asthma or allergies. Without these covers, your mattress becomes a “zoological and botanical garden. If you put an impervious outer cover over the mattress and mattress pad, your mattress won’t harm you.”
Dermatologist. David E. Bank, says that dirty pillowcases can cause acne mechanica. “Acne mechanica is any type of acne that is the result of material or objects touching your face. When your pillowcase isn’t laundered or changed regularly, a build-up of dirt and oil from the environment as well as your skin and hair touching the pillow is transferred back to your skin. This can clog pores and cause blemishes.”
5. Wear sunscreen every single day. Choose a broad spectrum SPF 30 or more.
Sun exposure causes around 90% of premature skin aging and skin cancer. To prevent broken blood vessels, brown spots, wrinkles, and skin cancer, wear hats, sunglasses and protective clothing.
If you work indoors, you may be tempted to skip sunscreen. You’re fine if the windows in your office block UV rays, but most of us don’t know the SPF of our windows. Unless you know for sure, you’re better off wearing sunscreen.
Cloudy days require sunscreen too. Scientific American gives a good explanation. “Clouds do reduce the amount of ultraviolet A and B radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface and our skin, but it far from stops the damaging rays. Indeed, clouds are generally better at blocking visible light than UV.”
This man was a truck driver for 28 years.
The damage you see on the right side of his face is from years of sun exposure through the driver side window of his truck. His picture was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012.
Time spent driving also adds to skin aging. In 2007, researchers at the St. Louis University School of Medicine studied a group of skin cancer patients. Of 898 people with skin cancer, 53% of the cancers occurred on the patients’ left side. People who spent more hours driving had a higher chance of getting a left-side skin cancer.
Want to learn more about sunscreen? Check out our posts: Sunscreen | Why It's So Important AND Physical Sunscreen vs. Chemical | What's the Difference?
6. Check your skin for skin cancer often.
Know the signs of skin cancer and do at-home self-exams of your skin. It’s always better to find skin cancer early when it’s easier to treat. Watch for spots that change, itch, bleed or just look different. For more details on skin changes and how to recognize melanoma (a type of skin cancer), read our post, Mole or Skin Tag? What’s the difference? If you do find something that concerns you, be sure to book an appointment with a dermatologist. It’s a good idea to have your skin checked by a doctor every year.
Don’t use tanning beds or lie out in the sun. People who have used tanning beds more than 10 times have a 34% increased risk of melanoma. People who first use a tanning bed before the age of 35 increase their risk of melanoma by 75%! Those statistics are from the Skin Cancer Foundation. If you like being tan, use a self-tanner. It can give you a tan – without the risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
7. Eat Healthy Foods.
Whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables, and healthy oils (like olive oil) are full of antioxidants. Scientists think that the antioxidants in these foods protect skin (and the rest of the body!) from damage.
The proteins we eat (dairy, white meat, eggs, beef, beans) are building blocks for our bodies. Some proteins become hormones or enzymes. Other proteins are incorporated into our skin, hair, cartilage, muscle, bone, and blood.
8. Exercise Is Another Beauty Tip!
“We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant,” says dermatologist Ellen Marmur.
Oxygen is important for healthy skin. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to your skin. It increases lung capacity, fights age-related disease, and decreases inflammation.
Exercise also reduces stress – and skin diseases that are made worse by stress, like acne and eczema. This beauty tip can actually slow aging! More on that in a later blog post.
9. Reduce Stress. Try deep breathing.
By that, I mean inhaling through your nose until your lungs have filled, then exhaling slowly through your mouth. Deep breathing for just a few minutes can reduce stress. Spending time with friends, petting your dog, and watching fish also have proven calming effects. Some people feel better just smelling a favorite scent or taking a bubble bath. Sometimes stress exacerbates conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. So anything that reduces stress will make skin more beautiful.
10. Wash your makeup brushes and sponges – every day?!
“From a dermatologist’s perspective, I would like to see daily brush washing, so bugs and old make-up doesn’t accumulate,” says dermatologist, Dr. Greg Goodman, founder of the Dermatology Institute of Victoria. “Make-up is designed for coverage, so it sticks together to some extent. Brushes are also very good at allowing layer after daily layer to stick to bristles, letting dirt and bacteria to get trapped within. You’ll notice the brush becoming harder physically, which affects the delicate barrier function of your skin. Dirty brushes also load the skin with things it doesn’t like, including bacteria, which stimulates the skin’s immune system and results in inflammation,” says Dr. Goodman.
11. Avoid Sugar.
Cutting back on sugar will improve your skin and your waistline! We learned about all the ugly things sugar does to skin by studying diabetics. Sugar in the bloodstream attaches to the elastin and collagen proteins in your skin. New, damaged molecules are formed called advanced glycation end products - or AGEs. Once damaged, the collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, causing wrinkles and sagging. When this happens, it's called glycation. The high sugar (candy, soda) and high glycemic index foods (white bread, pasta) we eat age us. Read more in our post, 4 Ways Sugar Damages Your Skin + 9 Ways to Fix It!
Sugar also has ties to acne and rosacea. It's thought to trigger inflammation in your body leading to even more problems.
12. Take Care of Your Skin.
Products you never use won't help your skin! You need to commit to a regular skincare routine. It takes at least a month for a new product to improve your skin. And depending on the skin condition you're targeting, it may take even longer. Following are some guidelines from Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, a dermatologist in New York:
WRINKLES: 6 Weeks | “There is also a benefit to continued use of anti-aging products in that powerful ingredients prevent sun damage and continue to improve skin over the course of years.”
DARK SPOTS: 2 - 3 months if you're wearing sunscreen every day | “Skin-brightening regimens absolutely don’t work when people skip daily sun protection - this is one of the most common mistakes I see.”
Skincare products need time to work, so don't give up!
13. Wash your face.
Wash your face gently in the morning, before bed, and after sweating. Never miss the evening cleanse. It’s really important to remove any dirt, bacteria, makeup, and pollution that have settled on your face during the day. (Exposure to air pollution can cause skin damage.)
Start with lukewarm water. Apply a mild cleanser and rub in a circular motion with your fingertips. Finish with a thorough rinse, then pat your face dry with a clean towel. Vigorous scrubbing may irritate skin and can worsen conditions like acne and rosacea. To learn more about the effects of pollution on skin, read our post, The Clarisonic Review – 5 Reasons You Should Be Using One.
14. Skin care products don't have to be expensive.
While many cosmeceuticals have higher concentrations of active skin care ingredients, not everyone can use them. (Learn more in our post, Advantages of Cosmeceutical Skin Care Products.) A great example is retinol. People with sensitive skin often have trouble with higher concentrations of this form of vitamin A. For them, I often recommend starting with the lower concentrations of retinol in drugstore brands like RoC. Micellar water cleansers are great for sensitive skin too. And let’s face it, in tough economic times, not everyone has the money to invest in cosmeceuticals. Skin care products don’t have to be expensive. They just need to work for your skin’s particular needs.
If cosmeceuticals aren’t the right choice for you, check out this video by dermatologist, Tina Alster, M.D. You might try some of the drug store brands that she recommends.
I wish you beautiful skin! Thanks for reading!
Amy Takken, RN
Amy Takken is a registered nurse with 20+ years of experience helping people improve their health. Her in-depth skincare articles have been featured on Nazarian Plastic Surgery and The Palm Beach Center for Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery.
Masterpiece Skin Restoration is your online resource for all things medical aesthetics, skincare, beauty, and wellness. We keep you up to date on leading edge technology and the services available to help you restore your natural beauty.
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20226568 Increased prevalence of left-sided skin cancers.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303459004577361911935936578 Quick Cures/Quack Cures: When to Clean the Sheets
The Information provided on our website is not medical advice and should not be viewed as such. By law, only a medical doctor can diagnose or give medical advice. As a registered nurse, my goal is to educate, so I provide information on skin care, skin care products, and skin care treatments. If you have any condition that concerns you, please see a medical doctor. While most skin conditions are benign, some – like melanoma – can be deadly. If there is any doubt, please, please consult your physician. Thank you!
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