How much did you know about keeping your skin healthy when you were 12? How much anxiety did your complexion cause you in your high-school years? I was lucky -- my skin was pretty good when I was a teen (in my 20s was another story), and my mum was always on the lookout for skincare that might help. But I really had no clue, not until years later. So for a Managing Teenage Skin seminar at Consonant Skincare's Yonge St. boutique last evening, I put together the following basic rules for healthy skin, whatever your age. How many do you manage to hit?
12 Rules for Healthy Skin
- Eat good stuff. Minimize the sugar, pop, caffeine and junk food intake; maximize the dark leafy greens and omega-3 fats (i.e. avocado, salmon, fish-oil capsules, or Barlean's insanely yummy mango/peach Omega Swirl) intake. What you eat really can show up on your face, which is why it's at the top of these rules for healthy skin.
- Sleep. It's important now, but that seven or eight hours will be even more important as you grow older. Sleep is the body's recharge, recover and repair time. If you skimp on sleep, stress starts to show on your skin in the form of dullness, breakouts and premature aging.
- Drink water. Infuse it with slices of cucumber and orange if you like. Herbal tea counts, too. (Iced herbal tea in summer... yum!)
- Clean your face, always after workouts/big sweats, and always before you sleep. Always.
- Moisturize, even if you have oily or problem skin (just use something super-light and oil-free -- drying out your skin will cause more problems). Hydrated skin is happy skin.
- Use SPF every. single. day. No argument. Many of us older types wish we'd known earlier that this is one of the key rules for healthy skin.
- Don't smoke.
- Exercise. It gets the circulation going, which gets the glow going. (A healthy glow looks good on guys, too. Trust.)
- Don't touch your face throughout the day. You don't know what's been where your hands were.
- Every week, switch to a clean, fresh pillowcase, preferably cotton, something breathable so as not to trap sleep-sweat and sebum against your skin. If you use lots of gel, mousse, hairspray or other styling products in your hair, wash it out before bed, otherwise it'll transfer to your pillowcase and onto your skin.
- Pay attention to makeup and skincare expiry dates. If something starts to smell weird and icky, time to restock.
- Keep your makeup tools clean -- and don't share makeup. Bacteria travels from skin to makeup via fingers, brushes and sponges (dirty tools = public transit for bacteria). Best not to mix someone else's bacteria with yours.
I freely admit that I fall down when it comes to some of these rules -- I don't do so well with sleep, or exercise, and caffeine is a problem (if Diet Red Bull had a generous kale component, though, I'd be set). I've also been known to smoke on occasion (hope my mum doesn't read that). But I try. The more rules I manage to follow, the more my skin says thank you.
And here, try the following nutrition-packed smoothie recipe, created for Consonant by Marina Cortese, nutritionist and founder of Nour-ish (@nour-ish). I haven't tried it yet -- I have to pick up some of the ingredients. But my skin's looking forward to it.
Healthy Skin Smoothie
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup strawberries (antioxidant-rich to combat skin-damaging free radicals)
3 tbsp full-fat plain, organic yogurt
2 tbsp cashew butter
1 tbsp melted coconut oil (high-quality fat to boost moisture/hydration)
1 tbsp spirulina (alkalizing to balance skin's pH and detoxify)
1 handful spinach (same reasons as above)
1 tsbp hemp hearts (rich in fatty acids that support skin health)
1 tbsp raw honey (antiseptic qualities that help heal and soothe skin)
Blend until smooth; enjoy.
How many of these healthy-skin tips do you manage to hit?