Taking care of your skin shouldn’t require three degrees and endless hours of research, but often it feels that way. The problem stems from mixed messages from marketing companies trying to sell you skin care products. The more products in a given regimen, the more money a company can make, so the more steps you’re told you need. Not only is this expensive, but it’s complicated, and the more complex the process is, the less likely you’re going to stick with it for the long haul. The following will take you back to the basics by providing a guide on how you can create a great skincare regime for your particular skin.
First and foremost, you need to understand the timeframes your skin is working within. There are skin changes that happen quickly, like sunburns, drying skin out by overusing products, or puffy features from lack of sleep or poor food choices, but the majority of impacts from skincare changes take a full month to show up. This is because your skin cells take about a month to turn over. This means that if you’re having a good skin day, you have behaviors from a month ago to thank. Likewise, if you’re having skin troubles lately, you have behaviors from over a month ago to blame. This also means that when you’re trying something new, you need to wait 28 days or more to see the full extent of its impacts. The majority of quick-fix skincare products are marketing misleads; even the fastest-acting skincare products take time to work.
Given the above information, the single most important thing you can do for your skin is to keep a skin journal. This can be as simple as two to three lines written or typed every day. You want to note what you ate, any workouts completed, how much water you drank, how long you slept, and any skincare steps you took or products used. Then note anything about your skin you notice. This will allow you to flip back through the pages and identify what works best with your skin and lifestyle. Very quickly, you’ll notice patterns that will radically change how you think about skincare. Your skin is a highly communicative organ, and it will tell you when something needs to change. If you’re having skin problems, this is your skin telling you that your health or lifestyle can be optimized.
Learn About Hormones
One of the biggest sources of skin problems, particularly regarding blemishes and acne, is hormonal imbalances. The world is terrifyingly full of things that alter our hormones. All conventional dairy and meat products are filled with hormones that were added to the animals’ diets in order to fatten them up more quickly (it’s not a skin note, but think for a second about eating animals filled with fattening hormones; do you think it’s going to be easier or harder to maintain an ideal weight with those in your system?). You can avoid these skin-damaging hormones by seeking out game meat or organically-farmed, grass-finished, pasture-raised, antibiotic, and hormone-free animal products or by seeking out vegan meals and vegan skin care products. You need to be especially wary of added milk products in foods you wouldn’t expect would contain milk products. Things like potato chips, sauces, spice mixes, and protein powders can all contain a ton of hormone-stuffed dairy.
Beyond conventional animal products, there are lots of sources of hormone-disrupting compounds. Be wary of pollution, fragranced products, candles that are anything but all-natural beeswax with essential oils for scents, conventional cleaning products, and eating or drinking anything out of plastic containers. BPA-free plastic is not hormone-safe plastic. BPA-free simply means that one of MANY toxic chemicals is not present in the plastic. Drink out of glass or stainless steel.
It is also worth noting that stress is a hormone. If you have too much cortisol in your system, your hormones are imbalanced. Stress is a major thing to tackle, so focus on smaller steps that you can maintain over a longer period of time. It’s important to emphasize that while exercise is fantastic for your health and stress levels, too much of a good thing can be problematic as well. If you push yourself to your physical limits every day, your system gets flooded with cortisol. Rest days and gentle workouts like walks in nature are essential in a workout regime.
Be Wary Of Sunscreens
You’ve probably been told repeatedly that sun protection is key for your health and skin. This is true. The problem arises when you discover that the majority of conventional sunscreens are filled with toxins that damage your hormones and health, both of which impact your skin. Take your time to carefully study sunscreen options. The best sun protection is shade or clothing that keeps you shaded, but sometimes you need a little extra help. Avoid anything that is toxic.
Watch Out For Allergies And Intolerances
If you’re keeping a skin journal, you probably will have noticed that certain foods mess with your skin’s texture, glow, or clarity. One other way to keep an eye out for problematic foods is to take note of whether you’re congested or not on a regular basis. If you can’t breathe through your nose and you don’t have a cold, this means you’re ingesting something you shouldn’t be. Sometimes a quick clean-up is needed to get rid of dust. But other times, things need to be removed from your lifestyle.
Everyone knows that water is vital for glowing, healthy skin. What most people don’t know is that their tap water is contaminated with chlorine, hormones, and pharmaceutical medications. When people taking birth control or other medications like SSRIs excrete liquids from their system, that liquid goes back into the water system (after being cleaned of bacteria via chlorine). Many medical elements are not removed from the filtration system. Seek out a high-quality water filter, and don’t assume that bottled water is safe without researching the company and water quality. Often legally enforced bottled water standards are lower than tap water standards.
The above list should help you remove things that are damaging your skin and cultivate the habits needed to learn from your particular skin what works best. Building the right skincare routine for you will involve time and effort, but once you find that perfect balance, you’ll be able to rest happy, knowing your skin will be clear and vibrant.