Skin Health 101: How to Get a Flawless Complexion
What does it mean to have healthy skin? We all know someone with impossibly smooth skin, who looks “great for their age,” whose skin glows even in the dead of winter. We know what healthy skin looks like when we see it; but what are we observing? Simply put, healthy skin has an even tone and texture, is blemish-free, and is well hydrated with good elasticity.
Genetics account for ~60% of how well we age. If your grandmother looked youthful in advanced age, the chances that you will too are pretty great! But don’t let that give you a false sense of security—40% of your life choices and environment still play a role. So where should you start?
Despite the previous damage your skin may have incurred, there are actions you can take today to promote better skin health for your future.
Diet. Radiant skin at any age begins with a healthy diet. Drinking enough water, incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your meals, and getting essential fatty acids can have a tremendous effect on your skin’s appearance and function. On a cellular level, poor diet leads to poor gene activity, which triggers early ageing.
Sun protection. (A dedicated column on sunscreen coming soon!) To keep it simple, use sunscreen on your face 365 days per year. During the summer, increase the coverage (spf), increase the frequency of application, and increase the vigilance with which you protect yourself and your family. Hats and protective clothing are a great defense during peak hours.
Stop smoking. Aside from what it does to your lungs, smoking is one of the single most preventable assaults on your face. The good news is that when you do quit, there are several tools available to reverse much of the damage that has already occurred.
Manage stress. The stress hormone cortisol breaks down collagen, which contributes to weakened skin and wrinkles. Practicing mindfulness or yoga, getting exercise, or participating in an enjoyable activity for just a few minutes a day can help tremendously.
Retin-A. Brown spots, fine lines, sagging skin… sound familiar? Don’t fret: well-studied, effective, and the industry gold standard, Retin-A is the answer to your concerns! Not only does it soften lines, boost collagen production, and help increase cell turnover, it also prevents some skin cancers from forming.
Exfoliation. With each decade, our skin becomes less efficient at shedding the dead cells on the surface, which can contribute to a lackluster complexion. By adding an exfoliating agent to your skin care routine, you will see a significant improvement in your skin’s glow. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser resurfacing are additional techniques that work deeper to reveal your natural radiance.
By following these guidelines to promote better skin health, you will feel confident that you are going out into the world with your best face forward.