WEEKLY WELLNESS: Skin Health 101

Many of us are told by parents, doctors, siblings, and friends that the trick to healthy skin is an inside-out approach. These tips often include drinking plenty of water, limiting alcohol intake, avoiding sweets and white carbs, and consuming healthy fats. Although water is essential to maintain hydration and a youthful appearance, there are some practical ways to foster a healthy complexion.

Nothing about healthy skin has to be expensive. High-quality products like Proactiv or Clinique often provide roughly the same effects as drug store brands, or even natural food products that contain the same nutrients.

Understanding your skin type is fairly important in assessing which products to use sparingly and which to make a part of a daily routine. There are three primary skin types: normal, oily, or dry. While some of us may be able to get away with minimal cleansing and a dab of sunscreen, many college students’ skin care regimen needs a bit more attention. The most common skin issues are acne and eczema (dry skin), which can cause discomfort and a lack of self-confidence.

Dry skin can happen seasonally or irregularly, depending on everything from climate to age. As you become older, your skin typically loses its natural moisture and becomes thinner. Dry skin is frequently associated with drier climates, such as Colorado’s. Symptoms typically include itchy, rough, and flaky-feeling skin. If you find yourself needing to apply Chapstick often, your skin may be dry.

Great simple moisturizers such as coconut oil or products that contain lanolin are known to lock moisture into your skin. If you have oily skin or are prone to acne, be sure to look at the ingredients in your moisturizers. Most popular and highly rated brands, such as Cetaphil and Aveeno, make products that are specifically designed for oily skin. Look for products that are non-comedogenic (don’t clog pores). Also, consider taking shorter, cooler showers and using a humidifier if your home is dry. Your skin should feel hydrated and clean, not greasy.

It’s hard to diagnose exactly why acne may suddenly appear or not go away. Acne can be the result of hormonal imbalances, diet, anxiety, and stress, among other factors. Underlying habits and reasons are important factors to consider in why your skin may become inflamed, but in the mean time following proper skincare steps such as cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and exfoliating will help control your complexion.

Since the skin on your face is much thinner than the rest on your body, be sure to avoid over-washing it; once in the morning and once at night is probably enough. Be sure to remove makeup, dirt, and anything else when cleansing with lukewarm water. Substances that contain sulfates and alcohol leave skin easy to damage and become irritating. Be gentle!

Toner doesn’t necessary need to be used in order to clean skin thoroughly. Cleansing and exfoliating should be enough to keep pores clean, but if you find your skin still feels sticky after washing, use a mild astringent before moisturizing.

If you feel like you don’t need moisturizer and your skin does not experience wrinkles and lines after washing, then only use a little if any. Natural moisturizing foods include honey, avocado, salmon, oats, and olive oil. A simple facemask to energize skin can be as easy as one spoonful of honey, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and one third of avocado. Combine all ingredients, mix, and leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

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