8 Ways to Thank Your Skin

Do you know what is the body’s largest organ? If you said "skin," you're right! Skin is also the body's first line of defense and a visual and physical indicator of your health. With such a significant role you can see why it's so important to give your skin the T.L.C. it deserves. Here are eight simple ways to show your skin some love!

1. Start from within.
Your diet can affect the condition of your skin. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, walnuts and spinach) help keep skin thick and supple. Antioxidant-rich foods (such as sweet potatoes, cranberries and red cabbage) help protect skin against free radicals that weaken its elasticity. Avoid fried foods, sugar and alcohol, and commit to drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day to keep your body and skin hydrated. (Example: If you weigh 180 pounds, aim to drink 90 ounces of water each day.)

2. Be gentle.
Be mindful of what you put on your skin. Avoid products that contain harsh detergents, chemicals and other potential skin irritants. After bathing, pat your skin dry with a towel instead of rubbing — this allows some of the moisture to stay on your skin. Apply body butter right after to lock in that moisture and keep your skin hydrated longer.

3. Take time out.
Take a moment to relax when you feel stressed or overwhelmed. These feelings trigger the release of hormones in your body that make skin more sensitive and lead to breakouts and other skin (and health) problems. Try to get enough sleep, set realistic goals and reasonable limits, and do things that make you happy.

4. Don’t smoke.
In addition to causing various respiratory and heart problems, the nicotine in cigarettes narrows blood vessels in the epidermis, hindering blood flow to the skin. With decreased blood flow, less oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the skin. The smoke from cigarettes contains thousands of chemicals and damages skin’s collagen and elastin, weakening it and causing premature wrinkles and sagging.

5. Sweat it out.
Regular exercise is an excellent way to help your body relax and detoxify. Raising your heart rate for about 45 minutes a few times a week can clean out your pores through sweating and help purify your skin.

6. Limit sun exposure.
While the sun provides vitamin D which is good for your body, too much sun can damage your skin. Using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 will help protect your skin against ultraviolet A or UVA rays (which cause premature aging, wrinkles and spots) and ultraviolet B or UVB rays (which burn skin). Too much exposure to either type of UV rays can cause skin cancer.

7. Exfoliate.
Our bodies shed approximately 50 million skin cells every day. Imagine how quickly these old cells build up and cause dull, dry skin. Exfoliating two or three times a week helps remove dead cells, revealing the fresher, younger skin underneath. It also detoxifies the skin, increases blood circulation, improves skin tone, reduces fine lines and helps remove ingrown hairs. Exfoliating more than a couple times a week can strip away skin’s natural oils, so it’s important to find a healthy balance that’s right for you.

8. Get a houseplant.
Houseplants not only add a touch of nature’s beauty to the home; they also naturally humidify the air through photosynthesis. Many plants emit about 97% of the water they absorb as moisture vapor, improving the air’s humidity and keeping dry skin at bay. The areca palm is one of the best plants to add to your home as it produces nearly a liter of moisture every 24 hours and even purifies the air of carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and other toxins.
Tags: skin care

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