When it comes to getting your healthiest, most beautiful skin, it can be tricky to know which steps to take. There’s so much information out there, and a lot of it’s conflicting!
Over the last eight years, as I've studied the skin and the best ways to keep it gorgeous, I've discovered what I believe are 10 essential skin care rules that everyone should know.
1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.
It’s a cliché, but it’s absolutely true. The skin, like all of our organs, is comprised mainly of water. When its cells are dehydrated, its basic functions start to slow, and it looks lackluster. Plus, dehydrated skin is more prone to drying out and becoming less resilient and elastic, which means it's more likely to develop wrinkles and fine lines than hydrated skin. So drink up!
2. Eat fruits and vegetables high in beta-carotene.
About a third of what we eat goes directly to nourish our skin, which means that what we eat really does affect how we look! The skin is our largest organ, so it uses up many of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that our body processes. Because of how much diet matters, it's important to incorporate foods with high beta-carotene content, to support collagen production. Some ideas: apricots, cantaloupes, carrots, and spinach, plus dark leafy greens. I try to have a fresh juice every day, and I try to always include fresh apricots, berries for antioxidants, and something leafy and green!
3. Lay off the coffee.
Most of us spend a lot of money to moisturize our skin every day, so why dry it out from the inside with coffee? Caffeine in coffee can dry the skin, and if there's one thing that's important for maintaining healthy, plump, glowing skin, it's moisture. Avoid drinking more than a cup or two of coffee throughout the day; instead, opt for herbal tea or hydrating coconut waters. I like to start each day with a juice and green tea with fresh honey from our farm, and I keep a water bottle on my desk at all times — that way it’s easier to remember to sip throughout the day!
4. If you want to glow, do some cardio.
It’s true that people who engage in regular cardio workouts (about 3 – 4 times a week, for at least 10 minutes) have more luminous skin. It's all about accelerating blood flow and bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients to the skin! Plus, blood carries toxins—including free radicals—away from the skin and into the body's detox system in the liver. That means skin is refreshed, regenerated and cleaned from the inside out.
5. Cleanse your skin every day.
Most people think that we can cleanse with any soap, and that we can skip it on days when our skin looks clear. In fact, cleansing should be a daily part of your beauty routine! Cleansing removes makeup, dirt, pollution and buildup from the pores, while providing antiseptic and antibacterial benefits to detoxify and reduce congestion in the skin, helping to keep it clear. Your cleansing routine will determine your skin's moisture level long-term, because a cleanser can either retract from or support your natural hydration balance. In other words: it’s huge factor in determining when and where your skin will start to form wrinkles and fine lines. I may be a bit partial here, but because I believe in it so much, I have to recommend our Regenerating Cleanser — it thoroughly cleans and detoxifies the skin while keeping it perfectly hydrated and balanced. I recommend cleansing every day, morning and night — and always be sure to clean off all makeup before you go to bed!
6. Avoid cleansers with soaps, detergents and alcohols.
These ingredients strip the skin of its natural hydration, open up the moisture barrier (a protective layer of hydration in the outermost layer of our skin) and confuse its natural sebum (facial oil) production. Essentially, they're drying and disruptive to your skin's natural balance. I suggest investing in a soap-free cleanser that exfoliates the skin with physical, natural chemical or enzymatic exfoliation, to clear away dead skin cells and deeply clean while maintaining hydration in the skin. How you’ll know it’s working: it won’t leave your skin feeling tight and dry, but rather soft, refreshed and dewy.
7. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!
Exfoliating daily can have a huge impact in the texture and brightness of your skin, because it clears away the dead skin, pollution, and environmental toxins that accumulate on the surface of our skin every day. Exfoliating not only deeply cleans, but it accelerates cellular renewal, kick-starts collagen production, and preps the skin to better absorb products.
8. Look for moisturizers that hydrate the deepest layer of the skin.
Does your skin ever look moisturized, but feel dry? That's because there isn't moisture in the deepest layer of the skin, the dermis, where our skin naturally produces a moisturizing substance called hyaluronic acid. While this has a scary-sounding name, it’s actually vital to youthful-looking skin. It’s responsible for your skin’s plump, bouncy look, because it traps moisture and creates a gel-like consistency so that our collagen fibers can stay flexible. If that environment becomes dry, those collagen fibers can get brittle and break, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of shape and volume. Because our skin's natural HA production starts to slow down with age, it's important to supplement it with high-quality moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid.
9. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen, even when it's cloudy.
The sun emits UVA and UVB rays, both of which are damaging to our skin, but in different ways. UVB rays cause superficial damage in the uppermost layers of the skin. Depending on the intensity of the sunshine, UVB rays either cause us to burn or get a tan. UVA rays are the ones that cause photoaging, which is damage to the deeper layers of our skin. These rays aren’t blocked by clouds, glass, or fog, which means there essentially isn't a day when we aren't prone to UVA damage. Essentially, look for sunscreens that say “broad-spectrum” (which will usually be written loud and clear on the label), and wear them as regularly as possible.
10. Know that our skin starts to age when we hit 18.
I grew up in Latin America, where beauty is an important part of everyday life, and where women typically care for their skin with a long-term strategy. I learned that preventative antiaging program is the best way to go, because the benefits are cumulative over the years.
Diet, stress, sleep, exercise and beauty routines all matter, and can all contribute to gorgeous skin as we get older.
Here’s the advice I give when asked how to prioritize what to buy: