It’s a new year and with it comes the opportunity to reset your skincare regimen. While many people may opt to switching up their skincare routine with new products, we would like to encourage you to refresh your routine in a different way: by holistically changing your non-product daily routine.
Did you know how you treat your mind, body, and spirit can potentially have a greater effect on your skin’s health than using specific products? Holistic skin health examines all the ways we can improve our skin, beyond using the best vitamin C serum. Here are 6 tips to help improve your skin without using any products:
1. Get a healthy amount of sleep EVERY night
This one is so important! Sleep is vital to helping your body heal and remove toxins. During sleep, the body removes excess fluid and cellular waste from the brain and other organs, including the skin. Additionally, sleep allows the body to undergo its repair process. This important stage helps the body reproduce and distribute healing proteins and nutrients. New collagen is made by the skin during sleep, which keeps the skin plump and prevents wrinkles.
Blood circulation increases during the sleep process, giving your skin a healthy glow and decreasing any inflammation. Puffy eyes are the tell-tale sign of sleep deprivation. When there is a lack of blood flow, the blood can sometimes pool under the eyes causing those dark circles. When it comes to sleep, your best bet for optimal skin health is to get 7-9 hours of it every night.
2. Change your bed sheets regularly
Does your night-time skincare routine include lying on a clean sheets? Bedding holds the dead skin cells rubbing off our bodies, oil from our hair and scalp, dust mites, and the makeup you were supposed to remove before climbing into bed. Also, when we sleep, we do sweat and sometimes have other bodily secretions. If unattended, the buildup of perspiration on your sheets and pillowcases can lead to mildew and irritate allergies and conditions like eczema. And if you have a pet who sleeps with you, you also are exposed to their pet dander and whatever else they have rubbed on throughout the day.
To put it plainly, you may be lying in a cesspool of dirt, oil, fecal matter, allergens, and bacteria waiting to clog or infect your skin. Be sure to change your sheets at least once a week and wash them in hot water.
3. Eat nutritious foods
Hippocrates said, “let thy food by thy medicine.” If you want to have a healthy outer glow, fuel your body with nourishing foods to get that healthy inner glow! Be sure to consume a variety of plants: dark leafy greens are rich in antioxidants and fiber to repair UV-damaged skin and fight inflammation; boost your skin’s collagen with citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, and lemons; fight off free radicals with antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries and cranberries, take prebiotics and probiotics fuel your gut flora with healthy bacteria that reduces inflammation; and receive essential amino acids from plant proteins like lentils, beans, and whole grains and lean animal proteins like chicken and fish. Certain herbs are beneficial for skin health as well, like turmeric, chamomile, and rosemary.
And of course, drink water. Your body thrives from being well hydrated. Water is not the key to having clear skin, but it does unlock the body’s ability to flush out toxins, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation…which do affect your skin’s health. Drink up!
4. Move your body regularly
Engaging in regular exercise can help improve skin health on a cellular level. Exercise aids in improving blood circulation and providing oxygen and other nutrients to the entire body, including the skin. The increase in circulation helps drain excess fluid, cellular waste, and free radicals from cells and decrease inflammation. Studies show that specific anti-inflammatory proteins are released by exercising. Aerobic exercise can also aid in flushing waste from the body via pores through sweating. Sweat releases impurities and protects the body from infection from harmful bacteria like Staphylococcus by releasing antimicrobial amino acids to defend. Physical activity is such an important way to elevate the mood and keep the bodily functions operating smoothly. Aim to move (walk, weightlift, dance, run, flow, etc.) at least 30 minutes each day.
5. Limit screen time
This one can be tough, and we at EKB struggle with it too. Our society operates around digital technology: from using a computer to work during the day, to partaking in the daily social media scroll, to those late-night Netflix binges. We are in front of a screen very often. With those screens come a little unwanted friend called, blue light…aka a type of ultraviolet (UV) light. Blue light isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it’s in LED bulbs which help illuminate our world, and it’s even been used as a medical treatment for psoriasis and acne. However, constant exposure to blue light can wreak havoc on our eye and skin health. We know it’s important to wear sunscreen and sunglasses to protect our skin and eyes from the sun’s UV rays, but don’t forget about the exposure you receive every day from the device you’re using to read this blog post.
Research has shown that blue light emitted from electronic devices can lead to skin cell shrinkage and death (premature skin aging), an increase in swelling, and changes in skin pigment. Blue light also affects our sleep by disrupting our circadian rhythm, making it harder fall asleep and disrupting the skin cells’ ability to undergo their nightly repair process.
Be mindful of the amount of time you are exposing yourself to a screen. You can cover your phones and computers with a blue light shield, disable blue light on your phone or tablet (night mode), and wear blue light filtering glasses. Don’t forget to set limits of screen time and be sure to turn off the screens at least an hour before bed!
6. Manage stress
Most times, this can be easier said than done. Uncontrolled stress can wreak havoc on the entire body: from increased amounts of cortisol, to raised blood pressure, anxiety, and imbalanced skin. Cortisol is a hormone that causes your brain to produce corticotrophin-releasing hormone. This hormone triggers the skin’s sebaceous glands to release oil, that in excess can clog pores and lead to acne. Additionally, for people with conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, poor stress management can lead to uncomfortable flare ups, inflammation, and pain.
Stress also affects your sleep behavior. Lack of sleep, again can decrease blood circulation and the body’s ability to undergo its repair process. From this, we tend to see dull skin and an increase in dark, puffy bags under the eyes. Additionally, stress changes your skin’s proteins and reduces its elasticity; this can lead to wrinkles and fine lines developing.
Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of stress. Situations will come that are stressful no matter how hard you try to prevent them. What you can control is how you respond. Develop a stress management plan to help combat those stressful moments with healthy responses. This could be a combination of actions like meditating, journaling, going for walks, cooking a new recipe, seeing a therapist, or simply getting a hug from a loved one. Be sure to make healthy stress management a regularly scheduled activity.
We hope you enjoyed this list of holistic ways to improve your skin health without the use of products! What we love about holistic living is that every action you take affects your entire being. Exercising flushes out your system while also decreasing your stress which improves your skin health. Managing your stress allows you to have better sleep, which gives your body time to repair itself and build more collagen for plump, glowing skin. It’s all connected!
Do you have any other ways you prioritize your skin health? Let us know in the comments!
- Arjmandi, N. Mortazavi, Gh. Zarei, S. Faraz, M. Mortazavi, S.A.R. Can Light Emitted from Smartphone Screens and Taking Selfies Cause Premature Aging and Wrinkles? J Biomed Phys Eng. 1, 2018; 8(4): 447-452.
- March, B. #SkinSchool: The Effects of Blue Light on Skin. Harpers Bazaar. Mar. 26, 2020. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/beauty/skincare/a22113765/blue-light-skin-damage-advice/
- Janes, B. The Benefits of Exercise for Your Skin. Shape Magazine. June 14, 2019. https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/beauty-style/benefits-exercise-better-skin
- Jaret, P. Exercise for Healthy Skin. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/exercise#1
- Knight, D. 13 Foods Scientifically Proven to Clear Up Your Skin. Byrdie. Jan. 10, 2020. https://www.byrdie.com/clear-skin-foods
- Santos-Longhurst, A. How Often Should Your Change Your Sheets? Healthline. Jun 24, 2019. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-often-should-you-change-your-sheets#risks
- WebMD Medical Reference. Exposing Effects of Blue Light on Skin. WebMD. Oct. 5, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/blue-light-skin#:~:text=Research%20shows%20blue%20light%20from,minutes%20can%20trigger%20these%20changes.
- White, A. 8 Home-Grown Plants & Herbs for Naturally Glowing Skin. MindBodyGreen. Sep. 28, 2020. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20697/8-homegrown-plants-for-naturally-glowing-skin.html
- Yetman, D. What are the Effects of Stress on Your Face? Healthline. Jun 25, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress-on-face#stress-prevention