With skin being your largest organ, there is no doubt that it requires some extra TLC….especially when it comes to that deeply coveted glow everyone is in search of. While there are an abundance of products on the market that tout breakthrough formulas that will give you everything you want and more when it comes to your skin, the reality is that there is no magic cream, cleanser, mask or toner that doles out perfect skin. Instead of hitting up the usual resources for skincare products, start by looking to Mother Nature first. After all, she has a ton to offer in the realm of a clear complexion. Here you will find our top four natural remedies for making all of your skin dreams come true.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
With 15% of your skin being comprised of water, drinking water seems like a simple, obvious, and easy solution to a glowing complexion. A variety of structures in the skin that support collagen (the building block of skin) require water to work effectively, says Julius Few, M.D., director of The Few Institute and clinical professor of plastic surgery at the University of Chicago. Unfortunately there is very little research to officially prove water as a skin remedy or myth. That's because pharmaceutical companies can't patent and profit off of water so there is little incentive to fund studies. With that said, we can look to certified dermatologists and their experience with clients for answers.
Rachel Nazarian, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at the Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City says "Without adequate water intake, skin appears duller, and wrinkles and pores more prominent.” She continues, “I’ve even found that my patients tend to complain of more acne lesions when they’re dehydrated. We know that small changes in diet can affect the type of oil and sebum that your skin makes, which we know, in turn, can be associated with an increase in acne formation. Dehydration may work the same way to trigger these changes in the oil glands in the skin.”
Water, as a whole, is vital for every bodily function. No to mention, water also assists in transporting nutrients and oxygen to skin cells and prevents dehydration. You can think of water as a moisturizer for your skin that acts from the inside out. For a supple, glowing complexion, you should strive to drink the recommended eight glasses of water (or more) a day.
Keep in mind that beverages that contain water like coffee, soda, and tea do not actually help hydrate. In fact, they act as a diuretic and dehydrate!
You Are What You Eat
A balanced diet plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining clear, glowing skin. Annie Chiu, dermatologist and founder of The Derm Institute in Redondo Beach, CA helps explain why cutting back on foods, like processed sugar, dairy and alcohol while increasing the consumption of others can have major positive effects on your skin.
Since your skin is the largest organ in the body, it is not surprising that what you eat will have an impact on the look and feel of your skin. Sugar is a major contributor to inflammation that can exacerbate skin conditions.
Alcohol is a detriment to achieving your desired complexion because it dehydrates and leaves skin looking bloated and puffy. Chiu also says that alcohol “deprives skin of vital vitamins and nutrients, especially vitamins C and A, antioxidants needed for collagen production”.1
“What you eat affects your hormone balance, which can cause acne and create or lessen inflammation,” says Chiu. This means that following an antioxidant-rich diet to nourish and protect both your body and your skin is something you should strive for. She suggests loading up on foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium (found in foods like brown rice or eggs), beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to making such foods a regular staple in your diet, dermatologist Whitney Bowe advises those that are more pimple-prone to avoid foods including white bread, white rice, and sugary desserts.
Try out Mother Nature's best
Ditch the harsh chemicals in products in exchange for gentle oils that come from the earth. Despite what you may think, oil actually combats the oil produced by you skin by mimicking it.¹ The end result is that your body actually stops over producing it, having just the opposite effect you might assume oil would have on your skin. Not to mention, it will give your face a smooth, hydrated feeling.
For pimples and blemishes, tee tree oil has proven to be an effective spot treatment thanks to its anti-bacterial properties.² It's one of the most popular acne treatments; some say it's just as effective as benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient used in some of the strongest acne medications. You can apply it topically to treat acne, just be cautious if any dryness occurs.4 In terms of something to use all over the face, apple cider vinegar is a great natural substitute. Apple cider vinegar has antioxidant qualities which are beneficial in preventing free radicals from damaging your skin.³ And instead of using cleansers and moisturizers, go for coconut oil. Its phenolic compounds contribute to the antioxidant properties responsible for giving your skin some added glow.
Pro tip: lightly heat up the coconut oil before massaging it onto the face and neck. Instead of rinsing it off like a cleaner, leave it on overnight. When you wake up in the AM, fee free to add some brown sugar to your fingers and use the remaining oil on your face for some quick and natural exfoliation. PS: did we mention that olive oil is a great way to remove makeup!?
Get Your Beauty Sleep
Getting an adequate amount of sleep (6+ hours) is absolutely essential when it comes to clear skin. Chiu explains that when you’re getting your beauty rest, your "nervous system slows over, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the skin and building more collagen.” Generally speaking, a lack of sleep is the perfect suspect behind that much hated facial puffiness. The reason being: “Excess fluids and toxins are drained when you sleep, so if you don’t get enough rest...you’ll look puffy — especially around the eyes where there's less fat.”
- Adopt a solid facial hygiene practice for when you wake up and before you go to bed. When you sleep, you actually slough off dead skin cells and dirt that need to be washed away first thing in the AM. A healthy AM/PM face regime will help curb the growth of bacteria and promote clearer skin. Pro tip: wash your hands before you wash your face. That way, you’re not transferring germs and dirt to those precious pores of yours.
- Remove your makeup before hitting the sheets. Your skin needs to breath and the time you spend sleeping is the opportune time for the. Plus, sleeping with your makeup on means your pores are clogged 24/7.
- Change your pillow case at least once a week. Even if you’re consistent when it comes to washing your face before bedtime, your pillow still becomes host to lost of oil, grime and dirt. Each time you get into bed with a clean face, its highly likely that you’re getting your face dirty once again throughout the night. Thus, your pillow can be the cause of unwanted breakouts so be sure to change them regularly.