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Every person wants picture-perfect flawless skin and many people go to great lengths and spend a great deal of money when trying to achieve it. I feel we often go out looking for complicated solutions thinking it's going to be the fix for our complicated problems, when in fact the solutions tend to be quite simple.
1. Accept & Honour
Above all: learn to love your skin. If you have freckles, beauty marks, natural discolourations, a dark complexion, a light complexion, or maybe you're just breaking out plenty because of hormones in your teenage years or because it's "that time of month". Regardless of these things: own it! It's you, and therefore it’s beautiful. Focus on the things you can change, and don't sweat the things you can’t.
2. Nutrition is Key
Of course I'm going to be starting with nutrition, because I strongly believe that healthy and glowing skin primarily comes from the inside, not from the outside. So some people will tell you that certain vitamin or mineral supplements are good for the skin. Others say certain ingredients are good for the skin, like cucumber, mint, lemon, berries. I believe there's no one single compound or small group of food ingredients that will help clear your skin. Your nutrition and your diet as a whole is what determines the health and vitality of your skin. The more wholesome, plant-based foods you eat, the clearer your skin will be. It's that simple.
Does that mean you need to be extreme? Not at all. Allow yourself to enjoy some treats on occasion, but you may notice that if you over-do the processed foods, the oily foods, and the food with loads of added sugar your skin may tend to break out a little bit more. So keep it all balanced, and place an emphasis on enjoying an overall wholesome diet.
3. Stay Hydrated
Some people recommend certain detox teas, other recommend vitamin-infused water, but like nutrition: don't let these quick-fix products fool you. Again: hydration as a whole is what we want to evaluate. Are getting in enough fluids? This can be from water, soups, smoothies, tea, fruits and the like. If not, making sure to keep hydrated will certainly help in your journey towards clearer skin.
4. Maintain Gut Health
Most beauty product manufacturers try to convince us that our skin issues are an isolated external problem that can be easily fixed by a lotion or product they sell. Keep in mind there is money to be made in these industries, and their claims should often be taken with caution. I truly believe the solution and secret to clear skin lies within. An integral part of skin health is gut health: happy intestines and healthy poops. So making sure to eat foods that are high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, in addition to making sure you get a healthy dose of probiotics, like plant-based yogurts or fermented foods is healthy not only for the gut but also the skin. Of course, hydration and regular physical activity helps to keep things moving too.
5. Sweat it Out
It should come as no surprise that sweating and regular exercise helps with complexion as well. Increased blood flow helps to deliver much-needed oxygen to the skin for regeneration and nutrition, and also carries away with it waste products and flushes out cellular debris.
6. Decrease Stress
Exercise not only helps with blood flow but also helps to decrease stress, and we all know how much our skin can react in stressful times. If you're overly stressed, ask yourself what things you might be able to do to bring some zen into your life. Time spent in nature? Time spent with family and friends? Self-care rituals or a cup of warm tea? Whatever it is, take the time to identify what you can do to decrease some of that stress in your life. Your mental health and skin will thank you for it.
7. Keep Products Simple
Now that we've talked about how to achieve beautiful skin from the inside, we can segue into talking about how to achieve it from the outside. If you use day creams, night creams, cleansers, facewashes, makeup removers and scrubbers, it may be best to review the number of items you use. Are they all necessary? And are there any ways you can simplify by minimizing the number of items used or using items with fewer manufactured ingredients? For example, you may be able to substitute your makeup remover for coconut oil: applying a small amount on a cotton pad and using this to remove the makeup around your eyes.
BONUS TIP: Wash Before Bed
I'd recommend getting into the habit of washing your face every night before bed, regardless of whether or not you wore makeup that day. This helps to remove any dirt that may have piled on my face during the day to keep your skin clean and pores clear throughout the night when you sleep.
8. Give it Time
All good things take time. Don't buy into quick-fix solutions and don't expect overnight results. Remember that consistent practice is key. When I switched from day and night cream to using coconut oil as a moisturizer, it took a while for my skin to adjust. First it got too oily, then I noticed little bumps on my skin, and then it got too dry before it finally found its equilibrium. So when you do find a product or routine that works for you, stick with it; after a few weeks you may start to notice changes in your complexion.
9. Let it Breathe
Skin cannot literally "breathe" but as a form of expression: keep it clear of products however often as possible to minimize clogging pores and to minimize potential reactions between the skin and manufactured ingredients. Ask yourself if it's possible to wear foundation on special occasions as opposed to part of your daily routine. Wearing products like foundations and powders on a daily basis can create a dependence, of sorts - making you feel less beautiful on days when you don't wear them. Refer to recommendation #1 above: honour your blemishes and beauty marks, or as John Legend would say, " your perfect imperfections".
10. Gentle Exfoliation
This is one you want to be careful not to over-do. Exfoliating every two to three days or so with an exfoliating cloth is a simple way to gently scrub away any dead skin or debris. These need not be fancy exfoliating cloths, a simple one purchased for just a couple dollars should work fine.
And that's it! Some pretty simple tips on how to keep your skin clear and glowing. Nothing complicated, and nothing that's going to break the bank. The take-home message is this: healthy skin comes above all from the inside. When we do shift our focus to the outside, the emphasis should be placed on minimizing the number of unnecessary things we apply to it; keeping it simple and healthy.
Want To Learn More?
Read this previous nutrition article called BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO VEGANISM » covering the basics
What About You?
Do you have any more tips to share? Let us know in the comments below or share your recipes with us on Instagram with the hashtag #pickuplimes.
❤ Written by: Mitra (PUL Executive Assistant and Dietetics Student) & Sadia