Many cosmetic companies want you to think that the only way to have clearer, younger looking skin is to buy their products. But the truth is, when it comes to your skin, what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your body.
In fact, our diet and lifestyle play a major part in how taught, plump and wrinkle-free our skin looks.
Here are 7 of the most important things you should be doing if you want to have healthy skin, without paying a fortune on skin-care products.
- Stay Out of the Sun
Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process. When we are exposed to sunlight over a long period of time, the sun’s UV rays break down the collagen and elastin in the skin, which cause wrinkles. So the first, most basic thing you can do to avoid getting more wrinkles is to limit your sun exposure, and when you do go out, make sure to wear zinc or titanium dioxide sunscreen.
- Drink Water
The second most important thing you can do to promote healthy skin is to drink lots and lots of water. As soon as you get dehydrated, your skin will immediately start looking dull, flaky, saggy and loose. As a rule of thumb, Dr. Jerry Gore, head of the Center for Holistic Medicine, recommends that you drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day, and remember that each cup of coffee, tea or soft drinks that you consume count against the total. Also, make sure you’re well hydrated before you go to sleep, because not drinking enough before bedtime can result in puffiness, dryness and wrinkles the next day.
- Eat foods high in antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that help prevent or delay cell damage. That’s why it’s important to eat a diet high in antioxidants. Some of the best sources of antioxidants include:
- Acai berries
- Goji berries
- Purple grapes
- Dark chocolate (70% or higher of cocoa content)
- Organic green tea
- Get enough vitamin C
A diet rich in vitamin C leads to fewer wrinkles. That’s because vitamin C helps form collagen, which helps your skin stay taught. In fact, researchers have found that skin exposed to vitamin C for long periods of time can produce up to eight times more collagen! Foods high in vitamin C include red and green peppers, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, broccoli and kale.
- Have a rainbow-colored plate of food
Free radicals form in our bodies and cause major damage to our cell structures. The different nutrient-rich foods we eat neutralize them. You need to consume the widest variety of antioxidants you can to fight off the different kinds of free radicals. Think about what colors you’ve missed throughout the day, and try to incorporate them into your next meal.
5. Eat healthy fats
Did you know that saturated fats are required to strengthen cell walls? Essential fatty acids like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important because they keep your skin plump, hydrated and younger looking. You can find these fats in avocados, olive oil, flax seeds, nuts and fish.
- Avoid alcohol
If you’ve ever seen photos of someone who has been a heavy drinker vs. a photo of themselves after they’ve stopped drinking, it’s obvious how drinking alcohol can add years to your life. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes you to be dehydrated, which leads to wrinkles. Plus, alcohol causes inflammation, which can lead to a histamine reaction in your skin, causing your facial capillaries and blood vessels to dialate, making your skin look redder.
- Avoid sugar
We all know that too much sugar is bad for your waistline, but did you know it can be bad for your skin as well? Sugar causes inflammation, which produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, causing more wrinkles.
- Get a lot of sleep
If you’ve ever woken up with bags under your eyes from a bad night, you know how important sleep is to your skin. Your skin cells repair themselves at night, so it’s important that you are asleep long enough to let your body do its job.