It may sound cliché, but the best defense for your skin is still drinking a ton of water, eating fresh, wholesome foods, and getting regular exercise.
The water and wholesome foods flush toxins out of your system allowing the buildup of excess fats, oils and unbalanced substances to leave your body. Because the skin is the largest organ, we truly are what we eat, and it shows up in our faces, on our arms, bellies and thighs, not only in the size of everything, but in the elasticity as well.
Regular exercise, even gentle exercise like walking or swimming, keeps muscles firm and tight. The more toned your muscles, the more evenly your skin will lay over it. In other words, even if you are not overweight or out of shape, flaccid muscles will give your skin a more aged appearance than if your muscles were tighter under your skin.
Another crucial piece of information to keep in mind is that alcohol, tobacco and other recreational drugs wreak havoc on your skin, playing with the gentle balance of energies and ingredients that make up your tender bloodstream. These substances take oxygen away from your lovely skin, which needs tons of oxygen in order to glow.
Also, as we have been told for over a decade now, the sun is simultaneously our best friend and worst enemy. It is a known fact that those of us who insist on spending too much time baking in the sun, either naturally or in a tanning bed, are at a much higher risk for melanoma and other skin-related issues and concerns.
Your skin thrives on being oxygenated—so if it's the healthy glow you're after, exert yourself. Take a three mile run or walk up a steep hill - be outside, but just be active rather than laying there under all those ultraviolet rays. Your skin will vibrate with health and vitality. Then, go ahead and drink as much water as you can take.
Finally, you need to sleep. Beauty rest is real. Those of us who don't get enough, not only are we more prone to depression, illness, irrational thinking and poor job performance, we're also going to see it show up in our health, and that includes our skin. We get those dark circles under our eyes, and that gray pallor reminds us of our need for a solid eight hours of sleep, preferably at night. Your skin will miraculously renew and rejuvenate itself, but you must support its efforts at all costs.
Did I mention, drinking a lot of water? Go have a glass right now after you read this.
Aimee Boyle is a regular contributor to EmpowHER. She lives and works in CT.
Edited by Shannon Koehle