Skin is a fickle thing. You can do your best to wash it night and day, drink lots of water, and diligently apply zit cream, and yet it can still struggle to look halfway decent. It's enough to make you wonder what (if anything) can actually make your skin look and feel better.
Because, let's be honest. There truly is nothing more annoying than looking in the mirror and seeing a huge zit waving back. Or marching around with the driest of dry skin. Or looking tired and haggard, despite your best makeup application efforts. Your skin is always on display, in one way or another, so having it look and feel less than great is a major downer.
But that's exactly why we all need to thank the dermatological gods, because there are a million and one ways to get your skin back on track. Whether it's tweaking your skincare routine, adding in some new healthy habits, or getting rid of bad ones — there really are a bunch of ways to right your skin if it's all gone wrong.
So never fear! Things can and will improve, if you want them to. Start with trying out some of the dermatologist=recommended tips below. Here's hoping that your skin will be looking and feeling better soon.
1. Do Something To Reduce Stress
By now, we all know that stress isn't good for the body. Too much of it can lead to headaches, stomachaches, increased blood pressure — you name it. But it can also cause all sorts of skin issues. "Cortisol, known as stress hormone, is linked to acne and its unattractive [consequences] including scarring and blotchy hyper-pigmentation," says Dr. Patricia Ceballos, of Schweiger Dermatology Group, in an email to Bustle. That's why it's so, so important to reign it in as best you can. Think about doing meditation or yoga, or taking walks — anything that will help you de-stress.
2. Slap On Some Sunscreen
If your skin is looking dry and blotchy, it could be due to chronic overexposure to the sun's damaging rays, according to Ceballos. If you don't already, she suggests using a mineral sunscreen to help shield your skin from radiation. And remember, it's a good idea to wear it every day (not just when going to the beach).
3. Wash Your Face
How many nights do you crash into bed without washing your face? If it happens a lot, it could be why your skin isn't looking too hot. According to an article on Prevention, leaving dirt and oil on your face throughout the night can cause all sorts of problems, like clogged pores and blemishes. It also allows pollution to negatively affect your skin. Simply changing your lazy ways, and actually washing your face, can prevent all of that.
4. Get Some More Sleep
A lack of sleep can affect your skin the same way that stress does. It's precisely why you look worse for wear after a bought of insomnia, or too many late nights. So make it a point to get your tired ass to bed. "Getting six to eight hours of sleep per day cannot be overemphasized in order to achieve that radiant glow," Ceballos says.
5. Dust Off Your Yoga Mat
Yoga is good for that de-stressing I recommended above. But it's also an excellent way to drain out your body's zit-causing toxins. In fact, any exercise that uses your body's full range of motion helps to flush the circulatory and lymphatic systems, which can create more luminous skin, according to Lashaun Dale, in an interview with Megan Deem on Health.
6. Bathe A Little Less Often
I love a bath just as much as the next gal, but soaking for too long can lead to a case of dried out skin. "Overexposure to water by prolonged bathing, swimming, and detergent soaps will lead to excessive dryness as the outer skin layers are depleted of natural moisturizing components, such as ceramides," Ceballos explains. To prevent crispy skin, switch to quick showers, and save the tub soaking as a special treat.
7. Drink Plenty Of Water
Be honest with yourself — how much water do you actually drink a day? Probably not very much, right? If it's just a cup or two, you'll want to up that to at least two liters a day, according to Ceballos. It's seems so simple, but you'll really notice a change in your skin.
8. Add Healthier Foods To Your Diet
If you were looking for an excuse to get a better diet, then maybe healthier skin will be it. All you have to do is add in more grains, lean proteins, fruits, and veggies, and you'll notice a difference pretty much right away. "Your skin will thank you for the antioxidants," Ceballos says. And the rest of your body will thank you, too.
9. Improve Your Air Quality
OK, so you may not have total control over the air quality, but you can do your best to improve it. The best place to start is with avoiding smoky environments, according to Stacy Colino on Real Simple, since smoke releases damaging free radicals that speed up aging. You also might want to change the air filter in your home, if possible. Oh, and go nuts with the indoor plants. They are cute, and they can't hurt.
10. Stock Up On Natural Soaps
For better skin, you should only be using natural soaps that contain Shea butter and other natural ingredients, according to Ceballos. "Avoid detergent soaps containing formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers and other chemical ingredients," she adds. "If you can't pronounce an ingredient, probably best not to include it in a skincare regimen."
11. Scrub Your Bod
I hereby give you permission to linger in the shower a bit longer, as long as you're scrubbing your skin. As V Roberts said on MindBodyGreen.com, "... incorporating a simple exfoliation twice a week will ensure your dry, dead, and dull skin cells don't suffocate your skin and block up your pores."
See? Such simple changes, and yet you'll get such big benefits. Add in some healthier foods, do a bit of yoga, and remember to smear on sunscreen, and your skin should be looking and feeling better in no time.
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