You’ve heard it a million times before: To prevent wrinkles and sun damage, you need to wear sunscreen every day. And if you want to minimize existing lines, use a retinoid cream — just about every dermatologist on Earth will prescribe you one. These two products make up the gold standard of skin care.
Still, they’re not the only pieces of the puzzle. Celebrities have long attributed their perfect skin to drinking tons of water and a healthy diet. And yes, those things help, too. But there are countless healthy habits you can adopt for better looking skin from head to toe. You may be surprised by just how easy it is to make these switches — and you’ll see results fast, too.
Switch to almond milk
If you’re a cereal eater or milk drinker, here’s some bad news: Cow’s milk isn’t good for your skin. Dermatologists have studied the link between dairy and acne for many years, but recent research
shows that rosacea flare-ups and other types of inflammation can also be triggered by drinking milk. New York City dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD, suggests trying vitamin D fortified almond milk instead. Fortunately, there’s also good news: Cheese and yoghurt don’t seem to have the same adverse effects.
Shorten your shower
A long, hot shower may feel fantastic, but it’s stripping and drying out your skin. You need to protect the moisture barrier — the outermost layer of lipids and water — because dry, cracked skin is prone to inflammation, ages faster, and looks dull and lifeless. Graf recommends taking tepid showers and only showering for five minutes. Then, moisturize within three minutes of stepping out of the shower.
Get your Z’s
There’s a reason looking well-rested goes hand in hand with brighter, healthier skin. A good night’s sleep allows your skin to rejuvenate itself, repair free-radical damage, and build new collagen. If you’re not getting eight hours a night, your skin may be suffering. “It’s part of your circadian rhythms,” says New York City dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD. “At night, the pH of your skin decreases and microcirculation increases.” In this state, which Graf calls “renewal mode”, your skin eliminates toxins and makes healthy cells. She recommends seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.
You know you should exercise for overall health, but did you realize it’s also good for your skin? By increasing circulation, your body — including the skin — eliminates toxins. “You’re stimulating your lymphatic system so you’re getting rid of your waste products,” says Graf. “It’s great for your skin.” Unlike your blood, which gets pumped by your heart, your lymphatic system moves when you move. Exercise amps up detoxification, making your skin look brighter and healthier. When your lymphatic system is sluggish, your skin can look dull, tired, and even sallow. Just remember to drink lots of water to help the elimination process.
There’s an obvious link between stress and dull, tired looking skin. The more stressed you are, the worse you look. Daily meditation significantly reduces stress levels, balances out hormones, lowers your blood pressure, and stimulates lymphatic drainage, says celebrity facialist Kate Somerville. Take a few minutes each day to relax and focus on your breath.
Wear ‘healthy’ makeup
Makeup can actually be good for your skin. In fact, in many Asian cultures (where women are known for youthful skin and skin care rituals are 10 steps or more), a woman’s morning routine isn’t complete without foundation or BB cream. It gives you an added layer of moisture and SPF, which protects your skin throughout the day. As long as you choose a product that’s free of silicone and mineral oil, it’s better to wear a foundation than to skip it.
Drink green tea instead of coffee
“If I can give you one anti-aging tip, it’s to give up coffee,” says nutrition guru Oz Garcia. “It’s dehydrating, pro-inflammatory, and processed.” He suggests drinking green tea instead. “If you look at the cultures that live the longest — primarily in Asia — they all drink green tea,” he says. Green tea is high in antioxidants, which counteract free-radical damage throughout your system, including the skin.