8 ways your lifestyle can seriously affect your skin
From your sleep to your home to your makeup.
Whether it’s trying to eat more local, organic food, make it to that HIIT class on the reg or simply get into bed before midnight, how we treat our bodies has become a major priority in our wellness-focused world. So it makes sense that we’ve become increasingly in-the-know when it comes to what we’re using on our bodies too–from skincare to makeup. After all, says Dr. Kellett, a dermatologist from the Toronto-based practice DLK on Avenue, “your skin is a reflection of your overall health, and your lifestyle choices will affect this largest and most visible organ of your body.” Here are eight things that can influence the quality of your skin.
“If we miss certain nutrients in our diet—for example, fatty acids [which keep skin hydrated]—our skin is going to reflect that,” says Abby Langer, a Toronto-based registered dietitian. She recommends healthy fats from foods like avocado, fatty fish, nuts and seeds; the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E from fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds, respectively; and vitamin A from orange and green fruits and vegetables. “Dark-green leafy vegetables and brightly coloured vegetables and fruits contain all the building blocks of collagen,” adds Kellett. “This is important because as we get older, collagen and elastin production break down and we need to repair our cells.”
Your skincare regimen
Antioxidants, like Vitamin E and C, aren’t only found in foods; when used in skincare and makeup, they can help combat the formation of skin-damaging, aging free radicals caused by pollution and the sun. Other skincare stars to look for in your products include moisture-replenishing hyaluronic acid (a molecule that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water), and green tea, which contains anti-aging polyphenols. Regular exfoliation will also ensure your skin looks its best—and help your makeup stay on longer. “Your foundation will go on better if you exfoliate,” says Kellett. “If you decrease the rate of skin turnover, then you’re going to have flaky skin.” For normal to combination skin types, Kellett recommends using an exfoliating gel-based cleanser at night. In the morning, wash face with cleanser or just water and follow with moisturizer, sunscreen, and most importantly, a primer like Nude by Nature Perfecting Primer, to help foundation grip to skin.
Not-so-fun fact: You ingest kilos of lipstick throughout your life. Also, since most of us wear makeup throughout our entire adulthood, that’s a lot of product on our face, day after day. “If you can make one better choice to remove questionable ingredients from your makeup routine—whether it’s in your mascara, lip liner, lipstick, foundation, that really does make a big impact over the decades,” says Clint Dowdell, global brand ambassador for the all-natural, cruelty-free brand Nude by Nature. The good thing about Nude by Nature’s line of lipsticks and mascaras is that they offer results using all-natural ingredients, like candelilla wax and sweet almond oil.
Your sleep quality
There is a reason they call it “beauty sleep.” When you sleep, your body repairs itself and that goes for skin too. Not to mention a lack of sleep can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can break down collagen in the skin. Try to hit the sack at the same time every night, and stash your phone far, far away from your nightstand. Just seven seconds of exposure to bright light before bed can decrease sleep-regulating melatonin in your body.
The air in your home
There’s been a lot of hype about air pollution and its effect on the skin, but the air inside your home can also affect your face, especially during our cold, dry Canadian winters. “When your home is dry, there’s an increase in transepidermal water loss [water lost through the skin’s barrier] so your skin will be flakier,” says Kellett. Keep a humidifier in your bedroom and run it at night.
We are all for spending summers poolside on a swan floaty—but, please, wear sunscreen. Dermatologists recommend a broad-spectrum formula—that means it protects against UVA and UVB rays—of at least SPF 30. Apply before your foundation, says Kellett, and let it set for five minutes.
Your girls nights out
They call it “wine face” for a reason—alcohol is a natural diuretic, and it can leave your face looking sallow and dry. Try cutting back on the booze; you may notice a difference on your skin.
Your gym routine
You love hitting that barre class because of its effect on your mood and your butt, sure. But did you know it can also make your skin look instantly refreshed? “Increasing circulation by being active is a great way to look more ‘glow-y,’” says Langer.