Nowhere is one’s overall health more apparent than in the skin. Whenever you eat well, refrain from consuming unhealthy substances, and stay away from unnatural products, this translates into a warm and healthy complexion. In contrast, when someone eats a lot of junk food, smokes, consumes caffeine or alcohol in excess, or uses too many products that are bad for the skin, the complexion becomes splotchy and poorly colored. Sure, there are any number of reasons why skin may look good or bad, but health is the most crucial aspect, and the one that we have the most control over.
Hydration and sun protection
The widespread notion that we need 8 glasses of water per day may be a bit of an exaggeration, but remaining hydrated is certainly important for many of the body’s systems. When it comes to the skin, hydration is doubly important, as the skin cells use water to flush out the toxins that build up on the skin over the course of a normal day. Especially if you are going to be out in the sun for more than a few minutes, it is important to drink plenty of water because the sun can sap the moisture out of the skin surprisingly fast.
Sun exposure is the biggest cause of rough skin, wrinkles, freckles, and age spots. While it’s difficult to get protection from direct sun exposure without resorting to SPF sunscreens, many of which are unnatural, there are ways to protect yourself without overusing chemicals. Most importantly, try to avoid the sun during the peak hours between 10 AM and 4 PM. Also, wear hats and other items of clothing that cover up the skin.
Fruits and vegetables
You have probably heard about the many benefits of antioxidants. While some of these claims still need more research, a growing number of studies over the last few years has shed light on the many positive things that these vitamins can do. For one thing, antioxidants help clear the skin cells of free radicals, which are tiny molecules that bounce around inside the cells and cause damage. Antioxidants are abundant in all types of fruits and vegetables, with some of the best sources being berries (especially blueberries), sweet potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes.
It is also a good idea to eat plenty of leafy greens. Remember that when it comes to greens, the darker the better. Spinach and chard, for example, contain numerous nutrients that have benefits for the skin cells. But it is important to go beyond just greens with your vegetable consumption. A good rule of thumb is to try to eat a full rainbow of vegetables on a daily basis.
Hydration and diet are important, but there are other things we can do to make sure the skin stays healthy. In case you needed another reason to quit smoking, cigarette smoke can be incredibly damaging to the skin, contributing to wrinkles and decreasing blood flow to the cells. Caffeine and alcohol can also be damaging, but they are not so bad if consumed in moderation (especially red wine, which has some powerful antioxidants).
Finally, mental health is also a factor in your skin’s appearance. Research has shown that unchecked stress can lead to breakouts and an overall unhealthy-looking appearance. Any time you are dealing with skin problems or a poor complexion, think about whether you have been unusually stressed lately. If so, slow down and take measures to increase your relaxation.
By Jamell Andrews