The beauty industry makes a fortune every year selling every kind of cream, serum, and procedure under the sun. They're supposed to fill in wrinkles, give the skin a youthful glow, and contribute to skin health.
Many of them don't work. Some are downright loony.
As with most things in life, it turns out the best ways to take care of your skin are simple.
Drink lots of water.
Breaking out? Getting rough, scaly patches on your skin? Plagued by facial redness?
All of these can be signs of dehydration. When you don't drink enough water your skin tries to compensate by producing more oil. This can lead to clogged pores and irritated skin.
Yet it does this in patches, which is why you can end up with part of your face covered in pimples and part of it beset with redness, flaking, and general irritation.
The old adage that you should drink eight glasses of water a day applies here, too. Try using water instead of coffee, tea, or soda. Don't like the taste of water? Some flavoring products, like Mio, don't use any sugar, which means they're safe enough to help you remain hydrated while changing up the taste of your daily drinks.
It's never fun to hear that sugar isn't good for you. Sadly...sugar isn't good for you.
Every time you eat sugar you cause a burst of inflammation throughout your entire body. The body responds by producing enzymes which break down collagen.
Collagen is what keeps your skin looking firm and young. If you break it down, the result is wrinkles, sagging, and a generally haggard-looking appearance. Train yourself to love fruit, and put aside sugary snacks.
Stop to read labels too. High-fructose corn syrup is in practically everything, and if you aren't careful you can end up consuming vast quantities of sugar without meaning to.
Clean your skin twice a day.
Wash your skin with gentle soap and water every day. Pat it dry. If you wear make-up, make sure you use a good make-up remover each day.
Oil, dirt, and environmental toxins accumulate on your skin while you're out and about all day, and they continue to do so at night. A basic cleansing will help you keep your pores clear.
While the vast majority of lotions and potions out there are only marginally useful, you can't beat a good moisturizer.
Many of our daily activities strip the oils out of our skin. Not having enough oils in your skin is just as bad as having too many. These oils help your skin repair itself. This is why moisturizing regularly can even help you prevent skin cancer.
Most people think they only need sunscreen at the beach. But harmful UV rays assault our skin any time we're outside, no matter what time of day or season it is.
The sun ages your skin faster than anything else. Harmful UV rays are also the most common source of skin cancer. SPF 30 sunscreen will help you keep it protected.
For best results, don't forget to reapply your sunscreen from time to time.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Just as avoiding the wrong, sugar-laden foods can help you make your skin all the more beautiful, choosing the right foods can make a huge difference.
For example, the omega-3s in fish can help fight inflammation, and any foods high in antioxidants can fight off the effects of aging. And then there's kale. Got dark circles? Kale's full of the Vitamin K that will chase those away. It's full of Vitamin A, to help your skin repair cell damage. And it's full of lutein, which helps you produce the collagen that keeps wrinkles away.
Don't worry. If you're a kale-hater—or you love it, but can't cook it every day—we've got easy solutions to help you add kale into your diet without forcing you to taste the stuff.
Sleep really is the best cosmetic. Sleep is the time all the damaged cells in our body repair themselves, and that includes the cells in your skin, your biggest organ of all. You're also allowing the body to get a break from all the stress-produced cortisol that builds up during the day. Stress, like sugar, causes inflammation. Besides, who doesn't love getting a good night's sleep? When you are well rested you can face the day with a smile, which is perhaps the greatest beauty aid of them all.