First things first: cleanse, tone, moisturize, SPF
It may seem like a no-brainer but keeping your face clear and hydrated is the first tenant of clear skin. Cleansing removes sweat, makeup, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night. Toning balances your skin and prepares it to absorb the moisturizer. And moisturizing, puts much-needed moisture back into your skin, making it soft and supple. The final step, sunscreen, is vital for protecting our skin from the harsh sun and skin cancer.
Follow this basic order of operations below every morning and evening to keep your face healthy.
Cleanse: Use a cleanser to wash your face and remove dirt and pollutants from your pores.
Tone: Apply a toner after cleansing to remove any residual dirt missed by your cleanser and to prepare your skin for moisturizer.
Moisturize: Moisture is key for glowing skin. While cleansing keeps your skin clear, it also removes your skin’s natural oils that keep it hydrated. Moisturizer restores this hydration to the skin and keeps it feeling supple.
SPF: SPF helps protect the skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Use a moisturizer during the day that contains SPF or apply sunscreen after. Reapply throughout the day to ensure proper coverage. (you can skip this step in the evening)
Turn to home remedies
Have a breakout? Is your skin feeling extra dry? Often times, there are remedies for our skin issues right in our own pantry. When your skin feels in need of some extra pampering, check out these recipes for natural skin treatments.
And one great all-around at-home treatment is a lemon, egg-white mask. This cleanses your pores, brightens your skin and helps exfoliate all at the same time.
All you need is:
1 egg white and the juice from ½ a lemon.
Beat the egg white until frothy. Then, mix in the lemon juice. Apply it to your face and leave on for approximately thirty minutes. Rinse off with warm water and apply a moisturizer immediately after.
Fight pimples with ice cubes
When the sudden breakout strikes, our first urge is to squeeze, pick or pop our pimples. But this strategy, while satisfying, is ultimately damaging to our skin, causing more inflammation and pushing more dirt down into our pores. When we have a pimple, what we are actually seeing is a clogged and inflamed pore. And the best way to fight inflammation is with ice. Wrap an ice cube in a soft tissue or cloth and apply to the pimple for at least one minute. This will constrict the blood vessels under the skin and reduce the size and appearance of the pimple.
Take a look at your diet
Yes, we know, this can be a difficult one to manage. But our home kitchen is our ultimate tool for clear skin because how we nourish our body has a large effect on our skin health. Certain foods and substances can be especially damaging to our skin, while others can keep it youthful and glowing.
Here’s a quick guide for what to avoid and what to get more of:
Limit your sugars: The problem lies in inflammation. Sugar rapidly breaks down into glucose in our bodies causing insulin levels to spike and plummet, a process that causes something called glycation to occur. During glycation, sugar bonds with proteins in our body and produces AGE molecules. These molecules are known to damage the important skin proteins, elastin, and collagen, responsible for keeping skin firm and elastic. When these proteins are damaged, skin becomes brittle and dry, two factors that promote the appearance of aging.
The good news is not all sugar is created equal. Sugars in fruits, while still encouraging the production of AGEs, don’t cause blood sugar to spike as dramatically as foods with a high glycemic index such as processed foods, cake, and high fructose corn syrup. Vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants present in fruit balance the sugars while also providing beneficial properties for your skin.
Say no to dairy:
There have been many studies done that show the correlation between dairy consumption and acne. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 47,355 women, ‘found a positive association with acne for the intake of total milk and skim milk.’ The issue appears to be the hormones present in milk that trigger oil production in our skin. While it can be difficult to skip the morning latte, many people who cut dairy from their diet report clearer skin.
Eat the rainbow: Fruits and vegetables contain vital antioxidants that help fight free radical damage. Trade foods that are high on the glycemic index and spike insulin levels, like white bread, honey, potatoes, and corn, for non-starchy fruits and vegetables that keep the body in balance.
Drink plenty of H2O: Drinking plenty of water keeps our skin cells hydrated, which reduces the appearances of fine lines and wrinkles and keeps our skin supple. While water helps hydrate our body all-around, that doesn’t mean you still don’t need moisturizer. Moisturizer gives our skin the direct hydration we need. Doing both is the trick.
Don’t forget your vitamins & minerals: Certain vitamins and minerals contain antioxidants that can have powerful effects on our skin by limiting the damage caused by free radicals. Look for foods that contain selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E to boost your skin health. Healthy fats, such as omega-3s and omega-6s, found in fish, nuts and olive oil, are also shown to lower our body’s inflammatory response and aid in our cell membrane’s ability to hold water.
Indulge in the occasional mask
Face masks give your face an added boost when you need it most, especially when your skin is breaking out or extra dry. It’s also a treatment you can do at home, with ingredients from your local grocer.
Try a face mask with turmeric in it. This powerful root has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
MindBodyGreen offers an easy recipe you can try to explore this ingredient’s benefits:
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons raw honey
yogurt, coconut milk or water (just enough to form a paste)
Clear skin at home: Preparation
Gently wash face with warm water to open up pores. Pat dry. Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a small bowl. Using clean fingertips, place a thin layer of the mask on your face. Be careful to avoid your eyes, eyebrows, and mouth. Let the mask sit for 10-15 minutes, or until it dries completely. Use a washcloth to remove the mask, then apply a light moisturizer to lock in all the goodness. If you have a fair complexion, the turmeric may leave behind a faint hue. Don’t worry, a simple scrub will remove it while exfoliating your skin.
Do you have any at-home remedies that have worked for you? Share your knowledge with us in the comments!
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