“Do you have any good tips for better skin?” This is a question I get often…really often.
In addition to keeping us alive, our skin suit is also important from a social perspective. It has been since time immemorial and in some of the first writings written, that the quality of the skin is mentioned in association with a person’s appearance. I would say that for many, the skin has almost become an obsession and this obsession often has the opposite effect, with skin abuse as a result.
Something that we often forget though, is that the skin is one of our vital organs (and also our largest) and should be taken care of in exactly the same way as the rest of our organs. Here are eight tips that also have scientific support for healthier skin.
1. Skin care – think “less is more”
I think our skin would feel better as we begin to become more careful about what we apply to our skin. There is also a need for a debate on how traditional skin care is produced, sold and stored and we also need to learn more about how skin care works and how the skin is structured. A change is needed, something like the one that the food industry has undergone in recent years. Since the debate on additives and processed food started, we have learned to question, make demands and read more details on the packaging. The result is that the range of decent food has increased! I hope that skin care will be able to make the same journey.
Achieving a healthy skin does not mean several hours in the bathroom every day with lots of different creams, serums and cleansers. On the contrary, using too many skin care products in layers upon layers can have the opposite effect. Certain ingredients can disturb the skin, such as perfumes and preservatives and the more skin care products you use, the more of the less good substances you apply to your skin. Long skin care routines can simply have the opposite effect on your skin. If you use a routine of 10 products per day, it is not impossible for your skin to come into contact with 500 substances in one day. This increases the risk of allergies, irritation or sensitive skin. There are currently about 60 approved preservatives in skin care, many of which are associated with skin allergies. More and more studies show that “less is more” when it comes to skin care.
2. Support your good skin bacteria.
Since you are reading this, you are probably a frequent visitor to Food Pharmacy’s blog and probably now have a great deal of knowledge about the importance of the intestinal flora. In recent years, a large part of the research in the microbiome has also focused on the skin flora (the skin’s microbiome). We now realize that the bacterial flora of the skin has an enormous value for our skin and its immune system. Most of us do not think that we expose our skin to many bactericidal substances but they are found in a majority of the skin care products that we use daily. Right now, scientific discussions are taking place all over the world where the focus is on understanding how cosmetics and skin care affect our skin flora, ie the good bacteria that are present on our skin and which have been shown to play a very important role in our skin health. Similar to the gut microbiome, where it has long been known that preservatives and processed foods have a negative impact, researchers have now begun to understand that we need to rethink when it comes to the ingredients that are often used in common skin care products today. You can reduce the impact on the microbiome by being more careful with washing and reducing the application of anti-microbial substances to the skin.
3. Do you eat healthier skin?
The skin is in direct contact with the intestine and the brain, which is usually called the Gut-Skin-Brain axis. Everything you put in your body, from carrots to tobacco smoke, affects your skin. The vitamins and minerals that the skin needs to be absorbed from the intestine, into the bloodstream and further into the skin. Surely it is fascinating, for example, that the skin absorbs as much as 6% of our total zinc intake through the intestine? More about which minerals, vitamins and other subject groups can be read about in my book The Skin Bible.
4. Sleep – for healthy skin
Is there any truth in the concept of beauty sleep? Yes actually. The hormone that makes our skin healthier thanks to sleep is melatonin. Melatonin is a versatile hormone, but above all it is an effective sleep hormone. It makes us tired and makes us fall asleep easier. Melatonin also acts as an antioxidant and is a factor that counteracts aging. The melatonin content increases in the evening when it gets dark. While we sleep, melatonin repairs damage to the skin – such as sun damage.
Melatonin also stimulates the immune system. Those who sleep too little, or sleep in too bright rooms, often show a lack of melatonin in the blood. This condition can lead to fatigue and depression, so review your sleeping habits for long-term better skin health.
5. Exercise – for the sake of the skin
Is exercise good for our skin? In Canada, dermatologists gathered about 30 volunteers of both sexes to study the effects of exercise. About half of the participants were physically active and spent at least three hours of moderate or demanding physical activity per week, while the rest were inactive and spent less than an hour a week exercising. Skin samples from all participants were examined under a microscope and showed that both men and women, who belonged to the group who exercised frequently, were found to have noticeably healthier skin. Exercise can thus be part of improving your skin health.
6. Natural for the skin is what is found in the skin
When you buy skin care, the starting point should be to give the skin what it needs in its natural state, the skin is an incredible organ that is built to withstand all sorts and different kinds of stress. Therefore, look for products that contain ingredients that are already in the skin, so-called skin-like or skin-like ingredients. By using skin-friendly ingredients, they work with our skin instead of against, because the skin is already used to being there naturally.
7. Wash less
This is a tip that may be foreign to many as we think that it is only positive to clean the skin and many therefore wash their face with cleansing products both morning and evening. However, only cleaning in the evening can make a big difference to your skin. The skin is smart and during the night, unique moisture-binding substances are formed that make your skin soft, supple and healthy and contribute to better skin health. Avoid washing them unnecessarily. Last year, a group of researchers in China studied 2,000 people with or without Rosacea. The results of the study showed that overwashing, ie skin washing more than once daily, significantly increased the risk of getting Rosacea (Li et al., 2020).
8. Stress less
Several skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema can be aggravated by stress. In studies done to investigate how stress affects the skin, it has been seen that people who suffer from acute stress have less moisture in the skin. For example, people going through divorce and college students with exam stress have been shown to have a skin that has repaired more slowly – negative stress causes a defect in the barrier function that is so important for healthy skin. High and prolonged stress is not good for the brain, heart or stomach and the skin is not an exception to other human organs.
By creating an overview of how much stress you have in your life and if necessary to make changes to reduce stress, you can affect your skin status and get better skin health. So try to take care of yourself and stress less – move around, enjoy nature, fresh air and closeness to other people!
Li, G., Wang, B., Zhao, Z., Shi, W., Jian, D., Xie, H., Huang, Y., & Li, J. (2020). Excessive cleansing: an underestimating risk factor of rosacea in Chinese population. Archives of Dermatological Research. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00403-020-02095-w
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.