How Can I Improve the Health of My Skin?

Medically Reviewed on 4/27/2022
How can I improve the health of my skin?
Learn the 30 tips that can help you improve the health of your skin below.

Healthy, glowing skin is often a result of genes and efforts you invest in your overall health.

Developing a good skincare routine is an effective way to improve the health of your skin. To start a skin routine, you must determine your skin type and what type of products works best for it. Skincare often includes cleansing, exfoliation, and moisturization.

Beyond this, other lifestyle changes can also improve the health of your skin. These include the 30 tips described below.

30 tips to improve skin health

  1. Diet. Independent of what you apply to your skin, what you eat forms a major part of your skincare. A diet rich in complex carbs, proteins, and antioxidants plays a central role in healthy, glowing skin. Make sure you eat on time and in proper proportions. 
    • Include healthy fats, such as avocado, nut butter, and flaxseeds, in your daily diet. This help regenerates and repair skin cells.
    • Other foods that provide healthy fats include salmon, chia seeds, olive oil, and whole eggs.
    • Berries, leafy greens, fresh fruits, and lentils enhance skin health.
    • Contrarily, eating excess sugar and processed foods can cause hyperinsulinemia (increased insulin hormone levels in the blood) that triggers inflammatory processes in the skin, leading to acne and breakouts.
  2. Keep your skin microbiome balanced. Your skin is a host to numerous “good bacteria.” These organisms secrete fatty acid compounds that are beneficial to the skin cells, fight off free radical injury and prevent the colonization of bad bacteria. They keep your physiological skin barrier intact.
    • Harsh soaps and scrubs strip away these essential oils and bacteria that make up the skin microbiome, causing skin problems. Make sure you do not use harsh products (such as antibacterial soaps) on your skin.
    • Wash your face only two times a day and avoid rigorous scrubbing with rough towels.
  3. Post-workout care. Working out results in increased sweating and clogging of skin pores. This makes your skin prone to acne and boils. Shower after you work out. Never reuse your gym clothes. Never stay in damp or sweaty gym gear because this makes your skin prone to fungal infections and rashes.
  4. Hydrate. Dehydrated skin is chapped, dry, and looks dull. Make sure you drink enough nonalcoholic and non-caffeinated fluids in a day. Aim for at least six to eight tall glasses of water throughout the day or more if needed.
  5. Sunscreen. Sunscreen is probably the most important yet underrated product when it comes to skincare. Every type of skin, irrespective of its color, requires adequate sunscreen. Sunscreen protects your skin from sun damage and skin cancer.
    • Mineral sunscreens are often better than chemical sunscreens for sensitive skin.
    • Look for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection (sun protection factor 30 or higher) and is water-resistant. Reapply as required.
    • American Dermatologists Association recommends applying sunscreen only to children aged 6 months old and older.
  6. Quit smoking. Smoking speeds up the process of skin aging and slows down skin regeneration. Additionally, smoking worsens some skin diseases, including psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and hidradenitis suppurativa.
  7. Use non-comedogenic products. Especially for those who use makeup frequently and have acne-prone skin, it is best to use skincare and makeup products that are non-comedogenic (mentioned on the pack). Avoid using olive or coconut oils in skincare. Replace them with jojoba oil, which is skin friendlier.
  8. Haircare. Make sure you wash your hair regularly and condition them. Greasy hair can cause bumpy acne over the scalp, forehead, and chin. Choose water-based hair products and avoid those containing mineral oil, beeswax, or microcrystalline wax.
  9. Never self-medicate. If you find you have frequent fungal infections or acne bouts, see a dermatologist. Never use skin creams meant for someone else. Especially avoid constant use of steroid creams and antibiotic creams over the skin without professional guidance.
  10. Be aware of the medications you consume. Some oral contraceptives, antibiotics, fertility drugs, and antiseizure medications can cause breakouts. Long-term consumption of antihistamines, diuretics, and certain antidepressants can cause dry skin. Certain antibiotics and diabetes medications can make you vulnerable to sun damage. Talk to your doctor about the safety profile of the drugs you must consume.
  11. Gut health. Junk foods (the unnecessary antibiotics) and stress disrupt your unique gut flora. This can cause hormonal disruptions, irregular bowel habits, and often skin rashes. Make sure you eat fresh food and include lots of probiotics (curd, kefir) in your diet.
  12. Shave carefully. Most women use shaving or waxing to get rid of unwanted hair. Never shave without lubricating or moistening your skin first. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Avoid reusing the razor. Shave or wax in the direction the hair grows and not against it. Make sure you moisturize after shaving or waxing the skin.
  13. Use a self-tanner rather than sun exposure. Sun exposure ages your skin. It increases your risk of getting skin cancer. Use a self-tanner or bronzer to get the sun-kissed look.
  14. Visit your dermatologist regularly. Skin is the largest organ in the body. It needs periodic examinations. If you notice a spot that appears different, itches, or bleeds, make an appointment to see a dermatologist. The same applies if you have frequent boils or rashes.
  15. Use skincare products that match your skin's needs. Use non-comedogenic products. Avoid physical scrubbers, such as walnut peel scrubs. Never use skin care products past their expiration date. Rather than investing in 10 cheap products, buy one high-end product and use it regularly.
  16. Take care of the skin over your hands and feet. The neck, hands, and feet are almost always the most neglected parts of your body and skincare regime. Make sure you use warm water feet soaks to make sure the dead skin comes off the feet. Use luffas or pumice to scrub and clean your heels. Moisturize your soles before sleeping to make sure they do not crack. Wash your socks daily and use comfortable footwear.
  17. Double cleansing the face. If you use a lot of makeup, double cleanse your face before you retire to bed. This means, first use a moisturizer or a makeup remover to wipe the makeup using a washcloth. Then use a gentle cleanser to wash off the remaining makeup with water. This makes sure your pores are unclogged every night. Make sure you use cold water to splash your face. Follow up with a toner and a moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid-based moisturizers are especially helpful for those in their 30s.
  18. Spices and herbs. Include herbal teas or foods that contain herbs, such as turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, and oregano, in your diet. The topical application of nutmeg, rose water, and honey can revitalize skin cells, treat hyperpigmentation, and detoxify and stimulate circulation and regeneration.
  19. Strengthen your skin barrier. If you have itchy, flaky, dry skin, it is because your skin barrier is compromised due to very hot showers or poor hydration. Cleansers formulated with ceramides and urea can help regain your soft skin. Make sure you moisturize every inch of the body as soon as you step out of the shower.
  20. Stress management. Skin rashes due to psoriasis, eczema, or irritable bowel syndrome often exacerbate due to stress. Learn to let go. Manage your stress with some me time, indulging in hobbies, music, or medication.
  21. Retinoid. A retinoid is your second-best friend after a sunscreen. Start using over-the-counter retinol or prescription-strength retinoids to combat age and sun-induced skin damage in the 20s and 30s. Retinol keeps the top layer of skin from looking dull by promoting accelerated skin cell turnover.
  22. Overuse of cosmetics. Constant use of heavy cosmetics can clog your pores and make you prone to acne and pus-filled cysts. Make sure you only use makeup sparingly. Give the skin time to breathe.
  23. Makeup tools. Makeup brushes, bags, and sponges are potential breeding grounds for the proliferation of grime, bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil. Make sure your makeup brushes are clean. Wash them in baby shampoo one time a week. Let them dry completely.
  24. Get your hormones in order. Abnormal thyroid hormone levels can make your skin dry or prone to breakouts. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can make you prone to cystic acne. Unless you correct the underlying hormonal abnormality, the skin condition will not get better. Hence, make sure that these conditions are managed by a professional.
  25. Moisturize. Keeping your skin moisturized is one of the quickest ways to get a glowing complexion. Children need moisturizers as well. Those with oily and acne-prone skin need moisturizer. Look for ingredients, such as peptides and ceramides. For those with acne-prone skin, use products containing tea tree and rosehip oil.
  26. Clothes. Wear breathable clothing. Cotton fabrics absorb sweat better. These are the least irritating to your skin. Avoid polyester and nylon. Avoid tight clothing. Wear freshly laundered clothes every time.
  27. Quit alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates the body. It gives you a puffy face and dull complexion. Make sure you do not over-indulge in alcohol. It is best to quit completely.
  28. Sleep habits. They call it beauty sleep for a reason. Get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Maintain your sleep schedule every night (even on weekends). Moisturize before sleeping. Never sleep with your makeup on.
  29. Keep your hands off your face. Avoid picking your face. Popping pimples will make them worse. Do not touch your face unless you are applying moisturizer or serum.
  30. Listen to your skin. A serum that “worked wonders” for your friend may not work for you. A home remedy that cleared your sister’s skin, may make your acne worse. Listen to your skin. Do not blindly follow skincare fads or remedies, such as using baking soda or toothpaste on your skin. Talk to your dermatologist.

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Ringworm is caused by a fungus. See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 4/27/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Image

American Academy of Dermatology. 10 Skin Care Secrets for Healthier-Looking Skin. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/healthier-looking-skin