Eat your greens
Apart from the obvious - that you should steer away from refined, processed foods as much as possible, it’s also important to make sure that you get enough greens in your diet…and reds and yellows and purples. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables plays an important role in healthy, radiant skin. And having a medley of natural colours in your diet will allow your body to absorb an optimum range of vitamins, nutrients and minerals.
There are five main colours in fruits and vegetables - red, purple/blue, orange/yellow, green and white/brown. The colour is due to phytochemical compounds found in fruits and vegetables, and they signify the different type of nutrients available. To maximise your nutritional input, you should aim to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables - and aim to get at least 5-9 servings into your diet each day.
Our body is made up of over 70% water, so keeping yourself hydrated isn’t only important - it’s crucial. Water is key to every part of our being - including regulating our body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Water also works to flush out toxins and help keep your skin plump and elastic - so make sure you stay hydrated.
A quick way to gauge if you’re drinking enough water is to check the colour of your urine - if it looks pale and light, you’re getting enough fluids but if it’s dark yellow, you should keep drinking until your urine is a few shades lighter. Technically, anything you drink and eat can count as water - fruits & vegetables, soups, tea, milk and of course, water. But not all fluids are made equal - soda and juice may count, but it also comes packed with sugar, artificial flavouring and colouring.
Ultimately, drinking plain water is the best way forward but if sipping H2O feels a tad too boring, take things up a notch with naturally infused water. You can play around with endless combinations of fruits and vegetables - or use up whatever you have sitting in the fridge. Cucumbers and mint make for a refreshing zing while lemon will perk you up. And if you are having problems weaning yourself off from soda, switching to sparkling water infused with fruits might make things easier for you.
Use a facial oil
Facial oils are all the rage right now, and for good reason too. When you use a normal water-based facial moisturiser or lotion, your skin may feel hydrated and moisturised - but this doesn’t usually last for long. The reason is due to your skin’s natural oils: sebum.
As sebum is an oil, the water-based moisturiser you are using cannot penetrate through this protective barrier to moisturise the deeper layers of your skin. All it can do is to moisturise the top layer of your dead skin cells, which only provides temporary relief from dryness.
If you have oily skin and think this doesn’t apply to you, think again. Oily skin is usually caused by your cleanser stripping off too much sebum every time you wash your face. When sebum levels on your skin are not optimal, your body reacts by producing more sebum, leading to - you guessed it - oily skin.
When you swap your facial moisturiser for a facial oil, you’re reintroducing the oil your cleanser stripped away back into the skin. With your skin’s sebum levels back at their ideal range, there is no need for your body to go into sebum overload, saving you from oily skin.
Go makeup free
Makeup may make your skin glow, but it’s only temporary. What isn’t temporary though, are the long term effects makeup can have on your skin, such as clogged pores, irritations and infections! So whenever you can, give makeup a pass and let your skin breathe as much as possible.
And when you do wear makeup, make sure you thoroughly clean them off at the end of the day before going to bed. One of our skin’s function is to eliminate toxins via sweat glands. But if the skin is clogged, this won’t work as well - paving the way for future skin issues.
Be sure to also regularly replace your makeup as old makeup is a hotbed of germs. Water-based makeup should be replaced more frequently - usually every 3 to 6 months - while powder or oil-based makeup can usually last 1-2 years. Be especially wary of old mascara as they come into such close contact with your eyes, they can increase your risk of eye infections. If you do find yourself suffering from an eye infection, it’s safer to stop using makeup completely while your eye heals - and to toss your mascara immediately to prevent the infection from recurring.
The surface of our skin consists of dead skin cells, with living cells buried underneath. When you exfoliate, you are effectively scrubbing off the topmost layer of your dead skin cells. The result: instantly brighter, glowing skin. But be careful not to go overboard as exfoliating too frequently can cause raw, red skin - which happens if you strip off more dead skin cells than you should.
How often you should exfoliate depends on your skin type - normal skin types should aim to exfoliate once a week while those with sensitive skin should only do this once a fortnight. The type of exfoliant you use is also important. As the skin on our face, neck and décolletage (the skin just below your neck) are thinner than the rest of our body, using an exfoliant that is too rough can cause micro scratches on the surface of your skin - leaving you with the opposite of glowing skin!
Although exfoliators such as apricot kernels or baking soda are natural and much better for Mother Nature than microbeads, they are unsuitable for the face. Exfoliants made from nut kernels or shells are too coarse and hard for your skin, while baking soda’s particle size is so smooth and fine, they can also be abrasive for the skin. Exfoliators that are ideal for your face includes oatmeal, ground beans, fine sugar (brown or palm sugar) or a konjac sponge.
Stop picking at your skin
Popping a zit can be a very satisfying experience, but it comes at a price. Touching, poking and popping a zit can drive the bacteria that is causing the pimple deeper into your skin - which in turn can lead to inflammation, infection and scarring.
When you break your skin open, it can take weeks for the wound to heal, leaving you with a red, angry blemish while making your skin more susceptible to infections. Not only that, picking at a pimple before it’s healed can cause permanent scarring and pigmentation, which won’t help you achieve beautiful, glowing skin.
A better alternative is to be patient and wait for your body to do its thing. When left alone, pimples can heal in 3-7 days but a popped zit may take several weeks to mend. If you can’t resist leaving the pimple alone, it’s best to get it extracted by professionals such as dermatologists or trained aestheticians. They will have the right skills and tools to extract the pimple safely and with minimal damage to your skin.
Wash with lukewarm water
You may love soaking in a hot bath to take the day’s stress away, but your skin doesn’t. Washing with hot water can damage your skin in the long term as it can cause scalding, irritation and over dilated blood vessels. Over the long term, your skin might turn red and exacerbate conditions such as rosacea. Hot water can also strip away your skin’s natural oil or sebum, leaving you with dry skin. The ideal temperature to wash your face with is lukewarm water.
Turn off the AC
Artificial air from air conditioning or central heating is an enemy of glowing, radiant skin because they suck the moisture out of the air - and this can cause your skin to dry out over time. If you can’t turn off the AC (we get it, no one likes being hot and sticky!) or spend most of your day in the office, then you might want to load up on moisturisers to help keep your skin hydrated.
There are two ways to do this - either use a thicker, heavier moisturiser or layer your moisturisers - whichever way you choose, make sure you reapply regularly to prevent your skin from going parched.
Get enough beauty sleep
Only when you’re glowing on the inside, can you start to glow on the outside. So it’s important to treat your body with the respect it deserves for keeping you alive and well for such a long time! Be sure to get enough beauty sleep - most of us need at least 7-9 hours of sleep a day, depending on your individual needs.
Going to bed on time has never been more difficult and important in today’s 24/7 society and getting enough ZZZ’s each day can sometimes be an uphill battle. But it’s one that is crucial to your well being, as sleep is your body’s way of recovering and rebuilding - as well as preparing for the day ahead. If this isn’t enough to convince you, how about this? Getting enough sleep is a surefire way to beat dark, puffy eyes!
Ready for more? Learn about how you can achieve a healthy glow naturally, with minimal effort.