An Easy 3-Step Guide To Strength Train Your Skin + A Supplement To Help
So often in beauty we talk about strengthening the skin, which isn't necessarily the clearest concept. You know you can strengthen your muscles through lifting and working out, sure, but skin strength is something else entirely. What we mean when we talk about strong skin is essentially resilience: the ability for the organ to withstand pressure from external aggressors. It's skin that's able to recover, stay hydrated, and bounce back easily when stressed. Sounds pretty great, no?
But strength training your skin looks nothing like it does for your body (I'm sure you could have guessed that). Here, our quick guide to making your skin more resilient:
1. Provide your skin with proper nutrients to build it up.
Strength requires fuel. With your skin, that means keeping a diet full of skin-supporting nutrients that replenish your lipid layer, protect it with antioxidant properties, and sustain cellular energy. You'll want meals that prioritize healthy fats and colorful fruits and veggies.
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While diet is key, you can also rely on supplements to help. mindbodygreen's nr+ contains several ingredients that support skin strength.* To start, there's the phytoceramides. Ceramides are polar lipids naturally found in the skin that are a vital part of your skin structure, helping seal in moisture and creating a barrier. Phytoceramides are their plant-derived counterpart. Participants with clinically dry skin who took a phytoceramide-rich wheat extract oil supplement for three months saw up to a 35% improvement in skin hydration.*
There's also astaxanthin, an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radical damage.* (Free radicals, from UV exposure or inflammation, does a number on the skin, breaking down collagen, elastin, and making skin weaker.) Research has shown that super-antioxidant astaxanthin not only helps block skin damage, but it can actually support the healing process.* In one study, astaxanthin supplementation significantly improved skin elasticity, smoothness, and hydration in just 12 weeks.* Another study found astaxanthin improved skin wrinkles, age spot size, and skin texture.*
The star of the supplement is nicotinamide riboside, a nutrient vital for healthy aging.* When consumed, it turns into a coenzyme called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which aids your cells' mitochondria, helping them create energy and revitalize the cell.*
2. Protect it with topicals.
So you're fueling your skin internally—great first step—but you'll also want to protect your strengthened skin with the right topicals. By this we mean increased barrier support and environmental protections, like antioxidants and SPF.
In short: The skin barrier is what makes skin strong. "It protects us from mechanical injury, low humidity, cold, heat, sun, wind, chemical exposure, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens," explains board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D., stating that, "a healthy barrier is critical to normal skin function." So you must make sure that you're aiding it with the right products, like natural emollients, lipids, and botanicals that soothe inflammation. A few good topical ingredients to look for are squalane, shea butter, aloe vera, as well as biome-supporting ingredients like pre-, pro-, and post-biotics.
As for environmental protectants, you should, of course, always protect it from sun damage from mineral sunscreens, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Then load up on antioxidants here, too, to bolster the free-radical-fighting properties of the skin: vitamins C and E and coenzyme Coq 10.
3. Give your skin off days.
Modern skin care regimens seem to relish in exfoliation—and while encouraging cell turnover is good and has lasting skin benefits like increased collagen production and unclogged pores—too much will weaken your skin. Think of it like your muscles: You can't properly strengthen them if you don't give your body rest days.
And as derms often remind us, when it comes to exfoliation, we need a lot of rest days. "The most important tip is that 'less is more.' You want to exfoliate just enough to increase cell turnover and reveal fresh new skin," says Ife Rodney, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Eternal Dermatology. "But be sure to not scratch or damage your skin by overusing these devices or products."
Only you can judge how much your skin needs, but the recommendation is usually one to three times a week.
You can strengthen your skin, making it more resilient and able to bounce back from external stressors. But much like strengthening your body, the process requires a holistic approach.