One of the easiest ways to determine someone’s health is to simply look at their skin. As the largest organ of the body, the skin is a direct reflection of what’s going on internally and what you’re putting it through externally. We spend a lot of time worrying about what to do to the skin to improve it. But what about what you shouldn’t do? Here are five habits to cut out of your life today:
1. Stop skimping on water
Dehydration is one of the top culprits when it comes to dull skin that develops fine lines anywhere on the body. You need to drink water to rehydrate and detoxify all of your body’s organs, especially the skin. You can tell that your skin is dehydrated if it’s lacking a glow and if it feels especially tight and inflexible. If you need additional flavor in your water, add some fresh lemon juice, which is invigorating, energizing and detoxifying, too.
2. Move your body
Your skin, just like the rest of your body, needs good circulation to look healthy. Exercise gets the lymphatic system moving, which gives skin a healthy glow and promotes better cell turnover, an important element for beautiful skin.
3. Stop smoking
Nothing good is coming from this bad habit – internally or externally. It breaks down your natural collagen, which keeps the skin plump, and it also saps protective vitamin C. Not to mention that sucking on a cigarette is the No. 1 factor in developing those unsightly vertical lines along the top of your lips. And finally, the chemicals in cigarettes cause dehydration in the skin.
4. Eat well
Your diet plays a direct role in the look of your skin. Some foods work for your benefit, and others to your detriment. Cut out toxic foods like overly salty, processed or fatty foods, all of which cause excess oil production in the skin that leads to blemishes. Your skin needs lots of healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals to look its best, so go for fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Raw produce is best, but add it slowly to your diet to avoid stomach upset and work up to having raw veggies at every meal. Organic poultry is a great protein source that will actually help boost your collagen production. And don’t forget omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, almonds or olive oil to hydrate the skin from within.
5. Shun the sun
While it may give you a golden glow when you tan, the damage is not worth it. Unprotected sun exposure breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin and is the No. 1 cause of age spots, wrinkles and dryness in the skin. Not to mention that you’re putting yourself at risk for skin cancer. Wear sun protection every day, even if it’s not particularly sunny out. If you want a tan, invest in a spray tan or a tinted moisturizer or bronzer to give you a temporary glow.