top 6 beauty habits

Introducing basic beauty habits into your daily routine doesn’t have to take a lot of time nor does it have to involve a ton of products. Giving your skin daily care and attention will keep it healthy and strong. Healthy skin isn’t just about beauty and slowing down the signs of aging, it also ensures you create a strong and healthy barrier between your body and environmental factors.

Incorporate these 6 beauty habits into your regime to keep your skin healthy and strong.

Habit 1: Use Gentle Cleansers

Some soap and cleansers can strip your skin of natural oils and leave it feeling and looking dry.

Avoid cleansers which contain a foaming agent called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) as this can be quite irritating on the skin, especially sensitive skin, and can cause itchy skin, dandruff and, sometimes, dermatitis.

Ideally choose a mild cleanser which contains some oils as these will help hydrate, nourish and moisturise your skin after you have cleansed. To avoid rubbing these beautiful oils off your skin after cleansing, gently pat your skin dry with a towel. Using cleansers which contain moisturising ingredients such as oils should leave your skin feeling much less taut and dry than other soaps and cleansers.

Habit 2: Keep Your Skin Moisturised

After cleansing, apply a moisturiser to your skin to keep it hydrated. Not only will moisturised skin feel soft and supple, it will also slow down the primary sign of aging – wrinkles. Wrinkles are divots in your skin caused by dryness. A bit like dried-out soil in summer that is full of cracks and divots. But unlike soil, you can’t remove wrinkles by simply hydrating the skin so it’s best to keep them away for as long as possible by daily moisturising your skin.

There are many moisturisers to choose from, from light water-based lotions to oil-based lotions to creams to serums and, finally, to the queen of moisturisers – body butters.

Lighter lotions and creams are better in the warmer summer months but you need to turn to something that bit heavier (oil-based products) in the colder drying months.

Serums are usually designed specifically for the face (though body serums are a luxury you should definitely treat yourself to if you have the chance). They are a combination of exotic oils, essential oils and other moisturising ingredients which are designed to give your skin a deeply hydrating and nourishing treatment. They can be used on their own or under a lotion or cream.

Body Butters are the queen of moisturisers when the one you buy is undiluted by water (‘aqua’ on the ingredients label). An undiluted Body Butter is a blend of butters and oils which slowly absorb into your skin leaving it heavenly soft and smooth, and moisturised. They are the heaviest moisturising product so perfect for keeping your skin healthy during the cold Winter months. But they can also be used all year round on troublesome dry areas such as knees and elbows.

Habit 3: Exfoliate Regularly

You should exfoliate your skin on a weekly basis to slough off dead skin cells that cannot fall off naturally. If too many dead skin cells get caught on your skin, your skin will look dull and drab, the pores may become clogged and your moisturiser may not be able to penetrate the skin and do its job.

When choosing exfoliating products remember that one product won’t suit your whole body. For example the skin on your face and lips is much more tender than that on your body.

For the body, choose an exfoliating product that has a salt or sugar base and, ideally, one which is made up from a blend of butters and oils. After exfoliating with this product, gently at your skin dry with a towel (rather than rub it dry) so to retain the hydrating and nourishing benefits of the butters and oils on your skin.

For the face, avoid an exfoliating product that feels scrubby as this will be too harsh for your skin and could damage the capillaries. Rather choose a product that contains soften exfoliating ingredients such as fruit seeds. A good exfoliating product for your face won’t feel like it’s scrubbing or exfoliating your face while you use it but after you’ve cleansed and touch your skin, it’ll feel soft and smooth.

Lip Scrubs tend to contain sugar (much more pleasant than salt if accidentally ingested) and, when used once a week for a minute, leave the lips smooth and soft. Lip Scrubs, if used regularly, can also help prevent sore, chapped lips.

When it comes to exfoliating our body we often forget about our feet. And yet our feet do so much for us everyday… they’re our unsung heroes. They need the same loving treatment as the rest of our body so don’t forget to include them in your weekly exfoliating routine. There’s nothing worse than forgetting about our feet and allowing them to develop hard, painful skin.

Habit 4: Get Enough Beauty Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for our overall health and well-being, and it also has a big impact on our skin.

A good night’s sleep can mean good skin health because the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) released into your body is kept to a minimum. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body creates more of this hormone, elevated levels of which can lead to increased stress and inflammation in the body which negatively impact your skin.

After a good night’s sleep you’ll have brighter, less puffy eyes with no dark circles under your eyes, your skin will have had a chance to repair itself while you slept and you’ll have fewer wrinkles, your complexion will be glowing and healthy, you’ll have a lower tendency to have immune-related skin conditions (eg eczema) flare up, your overall appearance (including your hair) will be healthier and happier, your skincare products will work better, and you could avoid gaining weight.

Habit 5: Protect Your Skin from the Sun

It’s important to protect your skin from the sun all year round, not just during the summer months when the sun is highest and strongest. For example, the Winter sun in combination with the glare and reflection from the snow can still damage your skin.

The sun emits ultraviolet rays (UVA & UVB) which can be harmful to our skin unless we apply protective UVA/UVA sunscreen. The sun’s rays can not only cause wrinkles and prematurely aging skin, but can contribute to skin cancer. More than 90% of skin cancers occur on skin that has been constantly exposed to the sun, unprotected.

Wearing sunscreen all year round (SPF 15 or higher), seeking out more shaded areas in summer and avoiding prolonged exposure to sunny snowspots in winter, wearing protective clothing such as hats, and avoiding direct exposure when the sun is at its highest (and strongest) during the day (late morning – early afternoon) will help protect your skin from the sun’s rays.

Habit 6: Don’t Smoke

The detrimental effects of smoking on our body are well publicised and scientific research over the last few decades has proven that smoking is simply dangerous to our overall health and well-being. We are all too well aware nowadays that smoking can cause many internal cancers such as lung cancer.

It also has a negative on our skin. Not only does it age our skin faster by creating wrinkles, especially noticeable around the mouth, but scientific research has also recently proved that it can cause skin cancer too.

A study showed that smokers are three times more likely to develop skin cancer than non-smokers, even if they only smoke a few cigarettes a day. It is suspected that smokers’ increased risk to skin cancer is attributable to tobacco’s harmful effect on the immune system. People with damaged or suppressed immune systems are more likely to develop skin cancers than those with healthy immune systems.

Additionally, with smoking being banned inside public areas within the EU, smokers now have to resort to partaking of their favourite habit outside, often choosing the sunnier, warmer side of the building and exposing themselves to the sun’s rays.