1. Sun protection is number one
The sun can be energizing, invigorating and inviting so summer is the perfect time to be outside and enjoying nature. However, without healthy precautions, the sun can also be a source of premature skin aging. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants and wholesome plant foods will provide some protection for your skin from sun damage but it’s also important to avoid too much direct sunlight during the peak hours of between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Choose your sunscreen wisely—some sunscreens contain many questionable chemicals. The Environmental Working Group releases a sunscreen guide each year that evaluates the safety and effectiveness of many sunscreens: http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/.
2. Hydrate from within and moisturize from without
Skin cell hydration starts from the inside out; drinking plenty of clean fluids, such as purified water, herbal tea, and fresh vegetable juice, will go a long way towards healthy, radiant skin. Then you can seal in the moisture from the outside by using a natural, plant-based, and non-toxic moisturizer. Plain jojoba oil is a very affordable and effective moisturizer that is suited for most skin types. For your skin below the neck, try almond oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil. Each will help keep your skin soft and supple without any harsh additives or chemicals.
Removing dead skin cells with an exfoliating scrub two or three times a week will help keep your skin vibrant and youthful, while letting the healthy, new skin cells shine through. Just remember not to overdo it—too much exfoliation or using harsh chemical exfoliators can have the opposite of the desired effect. Always apply a soothing moisturizer after exfoliating.
4. Become a sleeping beauty
Sometimes if we don’t get enough sleep (especially if it happens too often), we can wake up feeling more like a croaking frog than a sleeping beauty. Sleep is essential for cleansing, rejuvenating, and repairing the skin’s cells. Give your skin the rest it needs and aim for 7 to 8 hours of shut eye each night. Remember to always remove make-up in the evening to keep your skin fresh and clean.
5. Exercise for that rosy glow
Getting your body moving on a daily basis helps nourish and detoxify your skin cells. Regular exercise improves circulation, boosting oxygen and blood flow. Sweating is great for getting rid of cellular waste; just be sure to wash your skin after sweating to avoid unwanted breakouts. Your body’s natural oils are also enhanced during exercise, helping to keep your skin soft and vibrant.
6. Pile on the fruits and vegetables
Fruit, vegetable, and herbal extracts have become increasingly popular in skin products for good reason; they help nourish and heal your skin’s cells. However, the most important nourishment for your skin comes from the inside. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, and healthy fats give your skin the nutrients it needs to repair and rejuvenate itself.
7. Cut back on sugar and processed foods
Sugar and processed foods are big culprits in early skin aging through a process called glycation. It is essentially excess sugar molecules floating around in the blood, bombarding protein and fat molecules in your cells. This makes those molecules stiff and malformed, causing cellular damage all over your body—most noticeably to your skin. Try to satisfy your sweet tooth with anti-oxidant rich fruits and try using healthier sweeteners such as honey, coconut sugar, sucanat, or stevia to sweeten beverages, desserts, etc. Refined flour products have a similar effect to white sugar, so opt for whole grains to help keep blood sugar levels in check.