Are you excited about 2016? Here’s why you should be: this could be your year!
Why not make this the year you get that beautiful, radiant skin you’ve always wanted? Why not use this fresh start to incorporate those habits into your daily routine that will help delay the appearance of aging and reveal a more youthful you?
If you’re ready to experience your best skin, here are my top ten New Year’s resolutions to help you get there.
1. Cut back on sugar.
Yes, it’s that important! And I don’t mean just sugar, per se, but foods that break down quickly in your body and spike blood sugar levels. Research has shown that blood sugar variations can increase risk of acne breakouts, whereas a high-sugar diet has been linked with higher levels of inflammation in the skin, which can lead to redness, rashes, and accelerated aging.
You don’t have to go completely off your favorite treats unless you want to, but do try to read labels and eat more foods in their natural state (rather than processed foods). Watch out for condiments, soups, and yogurts with added sugars-choose organic to reduce levels. Enjoy real fruit for dessert, as it contains fiber that slows down processing in your body. Just try it for about a month and see if you don’t notice a difference in your skin!
2. Be choosy about the products you use on your skin.
I’ve said this from the beginning, but you’ve probably heard a lot more about it by now-harsh ingredients in typical skin care products lead to dryness, dullness, and uneven skin tone. Fortunately, the tide is turning and there are a lot more options available now that contain real, nourishing ingredients that support skin health.
Of course, there’s our very own CV Skinlabs line, which is full of good-for-your-skin ingredients like turmeric, aloe, calendula, sunflower oil, triglycerides, and much more. Whatever you choose, look for ingredients you can pronounce, and stay away from those ingredients I list on my Ingredients to Avoid page.
Seriously-becoming choosier about your products can give you better skin almost overnight!
3. Get more green foods into your diet.
Leafy greens and green veggies are powerhouses of nutrition, and they all contain things your skin needs, like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, and more.
It can be tough to get enough with your regular diet-that’s why I recommend a green smoothie most mornings. It’s an easy, fast, and tasty way to add a lot of green veggies to your daily diet, like spinach, romaine lettuce, and celery, along with fruits like apples, pears, and bananas. Yummy, so good for you, and one of the best ways to restore radiance to your skin.
4. Get more good fats in your diet.
Healthy fats contain essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s, which are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. They’re also critical for keeping skin hydrated and for creating that moist, plump look we all want.
Ask yourself: is your skin dry, inflamed, or likely to breakout? You may be low on your fatty acids. Think about taking a fish oil supplement, and get more walnuts, almonds, flaxseed, fatty fish, olive oil, coconut oil, seeds, avocados, and fortified eggs into each meal or snack.
5. Exfoliate regularly.
We sometimes forget to do this, but the truth is that skin slows down as we age. Dead skin cells gather on the top, causing skin to look dry and dull, and trapping in impurities and bacteria. We have to get rid of that dead layer of skin on a regular basis to expose younger cells underneath. Regular exfoliation also allows our products to better penetrate skin. If your moisturizer doesn’t seem to be working, for example, it could be because you’re not regularly exfoliating.
Choose a gentle product-avoid nut scrubs, as they can cause inflammation and breakouts. Use fruit acids, honey, baking soda, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and uncooked oats.
6. Get enough sleep.
Researchers have given us a lot more information about how important sleep is to our health. But did you know that they recently connected lack of sleep with aging skin?
The study was published in 2013, and involved women between the ages of 30 and 49. Half of them were poor sleepers. Researchers evaluated their skin with several tests, and found significant differences between those who slept well and those who didn’t. Poor quality sleepers showed increased signs of aging including fine lines, uneven pigmentation and slackening skin. They also found that good quality sleepers recovered more efficiently when skin was stressed with UV exposure.
Want to keep skin looking young and beautiful? Make sure you get 7-9 hours of shut-eye a night!
7. Incorporate regular stress relief into your weekly routine.
Stress damages skin-I talked about that in this post. So if you want to delay the appearance of aging, you’ve got to find a way to manage it well.
I do both meditation and yoga, which I find helps me dump stress and feel more centered. Regular exercise is also a must for banishing stress. But you need to find what works for you.
Maybe time with a pet, playing a musical instrument, a night out with friends, going for a regular walk, or a nice hot bath is your time to relax and let the world fall away. Just be sure that you’re incorporating your stress-relieving activity into your regular schedule at least 3-4 times a week. It’s the best way to keep stress from destroying all the good things you’re doing for your skin.
8. Be smart about moisturization.
To fade the fine lines and wrinkles you have and delay getting more, you need moisture, but not just any moisture. Many products contain a few good ingredients and then fill out the formula with synthetic fragrances, harsh preservatives, and other chemicals that can actually irritate your skin.
Choose a moisturizing product that will sink into your skin to moisturize even the deeper layers. You need ingredients like natural oils, butters, triglycerides, antioxidants, and vitamins. Look for that product that leaves your skin feeling moisturized and calm all day long.
9. Protect from UV rays.
You’ve heard this advice a zillion times, but it bears repeating for one reason: the sun is your number one enemy when it comes to your skin. You need to protect yourself from damaging UV rays, and it may be that you’re still skipping this important step on some days.
Choose a product with an SPF of 30 or higher and use it regularly. Make sure it’s either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Avoid chemical types like dixoybenzone, oxybenzone, cinnamates, and others, as these can encourage the formation of damaging free radicals, may disrupt hormones, and are damaging to the environment.
My two favorite SPFs are from Mychelle Sunshield SPF 28 and Juice Beauty SPF 30.
10. Do something for yourself at least once a week.
Here’s why this is so important-you need to keep yourself happy and motivated. A happy, motivated person is much more likely to want to take care of herself and her skin than an unhappy, depressed person.
In other words, the other 9 tips mean nothing if you don’t incorporate them into your lifestyle every day. That may require some changes on your part, and it’s never easy to make changes. You need to be motivated to look and feel your best, and the best way to do that is to make sure you’re keeping yourself happy.
Schedule a time at least once a week to do something that makes you feel good. It may be volunteering, getting away, spending time with loved ones, or pampering yourself with a facial or massage. Whatever it is, make time for it. This is where everything starts-with how you feel. So why not make yourself feel good?
What are your skin care resolutions for the New Year? Please share them with our readers.
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Mark Hyman, M.D., “Acne: Are Milk and Sugar the Causes?” Huffington Post, February 12, 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/do-milk-and-sugar-cause-a_b_822163.html.
Anahad O’Conner, “The Claim: Sugar in the Diet Can Lead to Acne,” New York Times, February 23, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/24/health/24real.html?_r=0.
“Sugar Intake Increases Inflammation in the Body,” Ground Floor Health, January 16, 2006, http://www.groundfloorhealth.com/diabetes/sugar-intake-increases-inflammation-in-body/.
University Hospitals Case Medical Center, “Sleep deprivation linked to aging skin, study suggests,” ScienceDaily, July 23, 2013, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130723155002.htm.