Skin Care Rules for Everyone

Small changes can make a huge difference in your skin health.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to skin care. Different skin types require different regimens. However, there are a few simple general rules of skin care that we would all be wise to follow. If you want healthy, glowing skin, start with these simple steps to skin success and then build from there.

  1. 1. Exercise regularly: Exercise infuses skin with oxygen and nutrients necessary for collagen production. Women who exercise regularly have firmer skin than their non-exercising counterparts. There are countless reasons to make exercise a habit, but this one will actually show. If you want to look and feel young and vibrant, put exercise at the top of your list.
  2. 2. Reduce stress: It’s no secret that stress can age you fast. In fact, some research shows that people who experience chronic stress can look five years older than their actual age. Here’s why: chronic anxiety leads to elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes inflammation that breaks down collagen. The result is skin that loses its elasticity and glow. If you want healthy looking skin, start with stress management. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and exercise are all excellent tools for keeping stress at bay.
  3. 3. Wash at night: It’s a simple rule—but one many of us break. Dirt and bacteria build up throughout the day. It’s important to wash away the grime—and the makeup—before bedtime to allow skin to breathe while you sleep. Makeup and dirt left on overnight can lead to congestion and breakouts. Furthermore, hormonal changes that take place in the body in the 40s can lead to decreased oil production—so cleansing twice daily can actually leave the skin dry and make wrinkles more pronounced. When in doubt, just wash at night.
  4. 4. Wear sunscreen: This is the most basic—and most important—rule of skin care. Even just 15 minutes of daily exposure to UV rays can lead to wrinkles and sunspots, not to mention the risk of skin cancer. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day. Period.
  5. 5. Eat omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are “good” fats found in salmon, flaxseed, chia seeds, and more. There are countless reasons to eat omega-3s and here’s one more: they boost hydration, which helps keep skin supple and firm.
  6. 6. Use a retinoid: Retinoids are vitamin-A derivatives that can help smooth fine lines and wrinkles and fade brown spots by boosting collagen growth. Retinoids are available in prescription-strength or over-the-counter. Over-the-counter versions are milder, but may take longer to produce results.