Your skin is your body's largest organ and it works overtime to protect your internal organs from bacteria and injury, and it helps to regulate your body temperature. Of course, for many of us, how our skin looks is also important. For clear, bright, healthy skin, our lifestyle choices can be just as crucial as the products we use. Take care of your skin around the clock with these smart daily habits.
Washing your face with regular soap can dry out your skin. Instead, choose a mild cleanser that matches your skin type to keep your skin clean and fresh without stripping away any natural oils. Washing with warm water rather than hot and gently patting your face dry with a towel can also help preserve your skin's natural moisture. Finally, apply a hydrating moisturizer. Choosing a moisturizer with built-in SPF of 15 or higher will give you the daily sun protection you need without adding extra time to your routine.
While the coffee is brewing, you scan the cupboards and fridge for a quick bite. Skip the breakfast bar! Even when there's no time to cook, you can throw together a nourishing, skin-boosting meal in under a minute.
Experiment with dairy and fruit combinations. Dairy is high in vitamin A, which supports the growth of new skin cells. Fruits—especially the brightly colored varieties—are high in antioxidants, which can help protect your skin from free radicals that can cause damage.
Try a bowl of low-fat yogurt and berries. If you have a bit more time, blend them into a nutritious smoothie. Go green by throwing in a handful of spinach—another food that's naturally rich in vitamin A.
Breaks are a golden opportunity to reboot and de-stress. Stress can harm all of your body's systems, including your skin, and it can cause conditions like acne, eczema and rosacea to act up. Use your time off the clock to take some deep breaths, stretch, talk with a friend, listen to your favorite song, or anything else that helps you feel calm and peaceful.
If you smoke, making an effective quit plan should be a high priority for your overall well-being. When it comes to your skin, smoking weakens tissue, blocks nutrients, and can increase early wrinkling. Many effective treatments are available to help you stop. If you're ready to quit, ask your Rite Aid Pharmacist about Rite Aid's personalized Quit For You program.
Step away from the computer! Because it gets your blood moving, physical activity helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your skin. Exercise is also a celebrated stress-buster.
If regular exercise is a new goal for you, experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend starting small and tracking your progress. Log your activity daily and give yourself a healthy reward as your steps increase and your habits solidify.
In the last stretch of the workday, it's tempting to reach for one more round of caffeine, but steer clear of the vending machine. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have found that soda triggers inflammation that can dull the appearance of your skin and cause it to age more quickly.
Reach for water instead. Drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day can help keep your skin hydrated. The average healthy adult woman should drink at least 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluid each day, while the average healthy adult man should consume at least 13 cups (3 liters) of fluid daily. These recommendations may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions and fluid restrictions.
As you change into your comfy clothes, firm up plans for a healthy dinner. Fish that's rich in essential fatty acids, such as salmon, nourishes your skin—and your family! Add a salad that includes dressing with extra virgin olive oil and walnuts sprinkled on top; both ingredients are also chock-full of essential fatty acids.
Use your evening to relax. Talk with your family, read a good book, or enjoy a favorite show. Head to bed in time to get a good night's sleep, but wash up first. Use a gentle cleanser and follow up with a moisturizer that's formulated for your skin type.
By Nancy Burtis Boudreau
American Academy of Dermatology, 10 Skin Care Secrets for Healthier-Looking Skin
Mayo Clinic, Skin Care: 5 Tips for Healthy Skin
Everyday Health, Your Afternoon Soda Could Be Making You Age Faster
Harvard Business Review, Break Bad Habits With a Simple Checklist
NIH: Office of Dietary Supplements, Vitamin A
Women's Health.gov, Stress and Your Health Fact Sheet
WebMd, Exercise and Healthy Skin
Skin Cancer Foundation, The Skin Cancer Foundation's Guide to Sunscreens
Mayo Clinic, Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.