How much sleep you get -- or don’t get -- makes a significant difference to your skin. Up all night working on that presentation for work? Your skin will look pale and dull the next morning, with uneven tone and dark circles under your eyes. A full night’s sleep -- 7 hours will do -- nets you a brighter complexion and natural glow. The healing power of sleep works wonders for natural beauty.
Take it easy.
Stressed out? Your skin will show it with redness, breakouts and dry, flaky patches. Squeezing in some weekly yoga may not be possible, but do try to minimize stress as best you can. Have a cutoff time for work (no laptops or smartphones in bed, please). If you can, take 10 minutes every night to stretch, sit quietly sipping your favorite herbal tea, or doing whatever else takes your mind off the chaos of life.
Naturally beautiful skin needs moisture from the inside out. Ditch the sugary soda for plain water or, if you’re bored by basic H20, add a splash of lemon or lime. Staying hydrated keeps skin looking supple and plump, versus that dull, sallow look that happens when you let yourself get dehydrated or forgo water for coffee. To remember to drink water, buy yourself a pretty reusable bottle in your favorite color, keep it filled up and sip throughout the day.
Think about that natural glow you get after a brisk walk or jog. There really is no natural complexion booster quite like exercise, so get moving! Even if you just commit to one 30- to 40-minute fast-paced walk four to five times a week, the fresh air will revive tired skin. All that movement will get your blood flowing and heart rate up, giving skin that gorgeous, flirty flush.
Diet has a profound effect on how the skin looks. A diet full of refined flour, sugar and processed foods is a major culprit in uneven tone, breakouts and general lack of brightness. Giving your skin the nutrients it needs will help you get your glow back. This means saying sayonara to sodium-filled snack foods and pre-packaged meals, and instead getting lots of leafy greens, fresh fruit, colorful vegetables and whole grains.
A recent survey by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery found that only one in five people (20 percent) wears sunscreen on a daily basis, even though 94 percent of Americans know that prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin damage and cancer. Forgoing sunscreen also causes the fine lines and other signs of aging that can really hinder your natural glow.
Less is more.
If you have itchy, irritated skin, the products you use could be to blame. Before you buy, check the list of ingredients on the back of the package. How many are listed? If the entire back of the box is covered with words you’ve never heard of, choose something else that has fewer ingredients. The less that goes into making the product, the less chance there will be for irritation. Skin can’t be naturally beautiful when it’s fighting redness or irritation from unnatural substances.
Regular exfoliation sloughs away dead skin cells and unclogs pores to reveal fresher, brighter skin. Choose which type based on your skin type: scrubs for oily skin, chemical exfoliators for dry or mature skin, and enzymes for sensitive or reactive skin.
Chemicals on your skin are just as bad for you as chemicals in your body, so it follows that products made with the purest ingredients (rather than that long list of ingredients you don’t understand) are better for your skin. Look for the Natural Products Association's Natural Seal, which certifies that 95 percent of the ingredients are truly natural.
We all know smoking is unhealthy, but it also wreaks havoc on the complexion and speeds up the aging process. So if you want to look naturally gorgeous, do your best to quit smoking. Your face -- and your body -- will thank you.