There is an old folk saying that girls that have beautiful hair, white and even teeth, and clear, fresh skin will always be pretty. While that may not be necessarily true, it does point out that, while you can’t easily change your nose or cheekbones, how your hair, teeth and skin look will definitely make an impact in how people see you.
As you grow older, it’s especially important to start using good habits to take care of your skin. While hair and teeth are important, the skin is the largest organ in your body and definitely deserves some tender, loving care and attention.
Chances are, you’ve already heard all kinds of advice and miracle products from your family, friends, magazines, TV shows and celebrities. Having the right skincare products is a big part of having beautiful and healthy skin, but just as important are the skincare habits we use everyday. Here are seven important everyday habits to help keep your skin clear and fresh.
1. Wash your face twice a day with the right product
It’s important to wash your face with lukewarm water when you get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. Washing removes dirt, oil and other pollutants that can irritate your skin and cause blemishes. Did you know that there are different products for different skin types? Skin types range from normal, oily, dry, sensitive or a combination. Your skin type can change as you grow so it’s always a good idea to figure out your skin type before you get a product. Also if you can, you definitely should get face wash with natural and organic ingredients.
Beauty tip: Girls, no matter how tired we are, we have to remove our makeup at the end of the day! Sleeping with makeup clogs your pores and can cause breakouts.
2. Wear sun protection
It’s almost always a good idea to apply a layer of sunscreen. Not only does sunscreen help protect your skin from sunburn and skin cancer, it will also help protect your skin from premature aging. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing at least SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15. Make sure to get a sunscreen that is either labeled “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB” protection and one that is specially formulated for either your face or body. If you don’t like the smell of sunscreen or the way it makes you look shiny, you can use lotion with SPF.
3. Drink lots of water
When I say drink lots of water, I don’t mean soda or caffeine—I mean just water! Water carries nutrients to cells, helps flush toxins from your organs, and is essential in moisturizing your skin and giving it a healthy glow. Water intake can depend from person to person, but as a good rule of thumb, the Institute of Medicine recommends 3 liters (13 glasses) of water for adult men and 2.2 liters (9 glasses) of water for adult women. So for a teen/tween girl it’s about 1.8-2.0 liters (7-9 glasses) of water a day.
Fitness tip: Drinking a glass of water before meals and especially when you’re hungry is a good way to curb your appetite and prevent overeating.
4. Eat the right foods
Easier said than done, right? It’s so easy to just get something from a local fast food or the school cafeteria. Instead of trying to completely change your diet, try eating these few, skin-healthy foods with your daily meals.
- Almonds and/or dark chocolate: helps protect against sunburn
- Flaxseed: helps keep redness and swelling down
- Sweet potatoes: helps prevent wrinkles
- Tuna and/or salmon: helps prevent sagging
- Carrots: helps prevent blemishes
Exercise is not just important to weight-loss and overall health. Daily exercise helps prevent your skin firm, reduces stress, which reduces wrinkles and blemishes, and gives your skin a healthy glow. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise everyday. Don’t have time? Try brisk 10 minute walks. Even just keeping up your activity level is helpful too!
6. Get enough rest
Classes are getting harder, homework is getting longer and chores aren’t getting done by themselves. So what gets cut? Sleeping time. But, it’s important to remember that adequate sleep (nine hours for teenagers) helps prevent wrinkles and relieves stress. If that doesn’t seem like enough benefits to you, just remember that sleep helps:
- Improve memory
- Improve creativity
- Improve focus
- Improve grades
- Improve attention
- Improve weight-loss
7. Keep your makeup clean
As girls grow older, makeup can be a fun and exciting way for us to experiment with different looks. But did you know that you have to clean your sponges and brushes? Sponges and brushes will collect dirt, oil and bacteria. You don’t want to use a sponge that’s home to bacteria on your face, do you? In general, try to replace the sponge every week and wash with antibacterial soap every other day. For girls who use makeup casually, try to wash your brushes every two weeks. Heavy makeup users should seriously consider washing their brushes once or twice a week. Finally, it’s important to remember that cosmetics aren’t meant to last forever. If possible, replace your makeup palette every six months.
Especially for teenage, developing the above habits are important to keep your skin healthy and beautiful. Of couse developing new habits are easier said than done. It takes about 30 days to form a new habit, but just like learning anything new, you can start by focusing on mastering one to two habits at a time. In no time doing all of the above will be as simple as walking.