Beat the Winter Skin Blues: Supplements, Tips and Top Tricks for Year-Round Youthful Skin
No matter what your age, almost everyone wants to have youthful, radiant, blemish-free skin. Although the state of our skin is highly influenced by our genes, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is probably the closest thing we can do to drinking from the fountain of youth. Clients are constantly wowed by the almost immediate improvement in their skin when they begin our program- everything from increased firmness, radiance and suppleness to reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, redness and puffiness. In addition to eating plenty of veggies, fruit, healthy fats and lean proteins, and avoiding known culprits like sugar, dairy and wheat, here are six other ways to beat the winter-skin blues and keep your skin in top-notch condition all year long.
- Make exercise a part of your day – By improving circulation and elevating the heart rate, exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to every organ in the body – including skin. Not only does this support overall skin health and detoxification, it also promotes collagen production and stimulates cellular turnover. We aim to exercise seven days a week, knowing that realistically we will land somewhere around five. We always say to “overschedule” your workouts so you have that wiggle room for days when life doesn’t go exactly according to your planner. Plus, rest days are equally important to give your body a chance to repair and recover. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you choose – just get your body moving and your blood flowing in a way that feels enjoyable and energizing. Maybe it’s a 3 mile run in the park, or a brisk walk with your dog, or a socially-distanced pilates class, or a Popsugar cardio class on YouTube. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as it brings you joy and gets those endorphins flowing! Bonus if you can vary it a little each week – in other words, try to incorporate some strength-training, cardio and flexibility/flow so you don’t develop fatigue and work all muscles (and organs!) in the body. The workouts you enjoy are the ones you’ll stick with, and when it comes to exercise, that’s the most important pillar of all!
- Get on a clean skincare routine – Your skin is the biggest organ in your body, and the most important organ of elimination, so it is essential that you take good care of it. While diet may be the most important part of your “skincare routine”, you must also nourish and protect your skin from the outside, in. As far as products, because everyone has a unique set of needs and concerns, there is not a one-cure-fits-all approach. That said, we highly recommend choosing a “clean beauty brand”, and keeping your routine simple- in most cases, less is more. A basic routine should include a gentle cleanser and toner, moisturizer, eye cream, daily SPF 30 (physical block) and retinol/retinoid. Anything above and beyond that (serums, masks, peels, etc) are added bonuses but usually not necessary. Note: Sunscreen is important year-round, as UVA rays (the ones that cause melanoma) are present regardless if the sun is shining or not!
- If possible, enjoy a weekly sauna or steam -There are so many reasons why we love our weekly infrared sauna sessions, and the anti-aging benefit to the skin is just one. It hydrates and cools the skin and can even kill harmful bacteria on the surface. Also, sweating is an excellent way to rid the body of toxins, as the skin is our largest organ of elimination. Exercise is a great way to "get your sweat on", but whenever possible, we like to double down and get in a weekly 30 minute steam or sauna session. We realize this is difficult during a pandemic, but when things open up again, why not treat yourself to a free steam at your local gym? We love sweating so much that we actually invested in our own portable infrared saunas so we can have these weekly "spa sessions" without leaving the comfort of our own homes. Of course, always consult with your PCP before using any type of heat therapy.
- Stay hydrated and limit alcohol consumption Drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day is a terrific way to keep your skin looking young and radiant. It hydrates and revitalizes the skin, which, over time, slows the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improves elasticity, minimizes pore size, and balances sebum (oil) levels. It also helps your digestive system flush toxins from the body which can help combat acne, psoriasis and eczema. Alcohol, on the other hand, is one of your skin’s most powerful enemies. It de-hydrates the skin cells (lines, wrinkles, sagging!), increases inflammation (flushing, redness, blackheads, broken capillaries!) and heightens your risk for certain skin cancers including melanoma. If you do choose to imbibe, make sure to alternate with water to increase the diuretic effect, and choose clear liquors like vodka or tequila which leave the system more quickly.
- Take your supplements: As we’ve mentioned, eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet is perhaps the most important factor in keeping your skin healthy, glowing and youthful . It can also help in the prevention and treatment of skin cancer and other skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. That said, it’s equally important to supplement your daily diet with a few key skin-supporting nutrients. Our favorites include:
Omega-3 Fats: Omega-3’s promote collagen production which enhances the skin's firmness and elasticity, supports its healing ability and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They can also help to balance hydration levels and oil production, improve the skin barrier function and safeguard against UV damage.
Zinc: Zinc is an essential mineral for many processes in the body including enzyme production, cellular repair and immune function. It can also help reduce inflammation, prevent pores from clogging, heal acne lesions and sunburn and decrease damage from free radicals.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A promotes cellular turnover, prevents acne-causing bacteria from getting trapped in your pores, balances sebum production, stimulates collagen + elastin production, and helps normalize the appearance of pigmentation.
Vitamins C + E: These antioxidants, when taken orally or applied topically, help to soothe and calm dry flaky skin. Vitamin C helps skin cells repair and regenerate and may also help protect against sun damage. Vitamin E also helps to prevent damaging effects of UV rays and free radicals, regulates retinol levels in the body, treat inflammation, and maintain healthy moisture levels of the skin.
Collagen Hydrolysate: Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, and one of the major building blocks of hair, skin, joints and nails. Around the age of 25, your body starts producing less and poorer quality collagen which equates to decreased firmness and elasticity of the skin. Supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen (protein that has already been broken down into smaller peptides) may help improve skin’s overall health and suppleness and minimize appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Get your ZZZ’s: Getting a solid 7-9 hours of sleep each night is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking youthful and healthy. Skin produces collagen and boosts blood flow while you’re sleeping which keeps it firm, plump, radiant and elastic. A good night’s rest also means a reduction in dark circles and puffiness around the eyes and less droopiness or sagging around the mouth. By increasing your sleep time by just 1 hour, you can see improvement in the health and appearance of your skin in less than a week.
As always, if you have questions or concerns about your skin, please consult your doctor or dermatologist. Your skin is your immune system’s first line of defense and largest organ of elimination, so it’s essential to maintain it’s health, above and beyond just keeping it looking youthful and fresh.