10 Daily Habits That Keep Your Skin Young and Glowing
Get glowing skin with these simple steps recommended by dermatologists.
With each passing day, your skin is getting older—but it doesn't have to look that way. Experts say that by creating a skincare routine of daily habits that slow the outward signs of aging, you can keep your skin looking young and radiant for longer. The key is to target both the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that can cause your skin to age prematurely, says Natalie M. Curcio, MD, MPH, a Nashville-based dermatologist and the founder of Curcio Dermatology.
"Extrinsic aging mainly refers to external or environmental causes of aging, the most prominent one being sun damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation," Curcio explains. "Intrinsic aging, or chronological aging, is a genetically determined process that leads to loss of collagen and elastin in the skin, and changes to muscle, fat, and bone. Of course, both types of aging lead to wrinkles, sagging, and other signs of maturity."
Though experts concede that it's impossible to turn back the clock completely, there are plenty of interventions that can reduce the appearance of aging. Read on to learn which daily habits will keep your skin looking young at any age.
Try at-home red light therapy.
Using an LED red light mask may help you reduce the appearance of acne, redness, wrinkles, and scars. Fawn Bowe, founder of Skincare Stacy, recommends doing 10 minutes of daily red light therapy to help your skin stay young.
"Red light therapy is a newer innovation in skincare, but it's taken the world by storm," Bowe says. "Treatment with red light can help boost collagen production, reduce inflammation, and even improve your skin texture. When I first started using red light therapy with an LED mask from CurrentBody, I was amazed at the results: A blister on my face healed in just 48 hours, and my acne breakouts cleared up much more quickly!"
Use a gentle cleanser and remove all makeup.
Falling asleep with your makeup on can clog your pores, cause acne, and dull your complexion. Therefore, Elina Fedotova, a cosmetic chemist, celebrity esthetician, and founder of Elina Organics, recommends using a gentle cleanser at the end of the day to remove all makeup and other residue before you go to bed.
"When you cleanse your skin, ensure the cleansing product you use is natural and not overly stripping your skin with conventional surfactants like sulfates," she tells Best Life. "It is essential to cleanse your skin in the morning, but the most critical time is at night."
Focus on sleep.
Getting a good night's rest is another way to ensure your skin stays young in both appearance and health. That's why experts recommend establishing a consistent bedtime routine and getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
"Beauty sleep is real!" says Bowe. "During deep sleep, your body undergoes crucial repair and rejuvenation processes which include restoring your skin cells."
She adds that without adequate sleep, you'll be more prone to skin conditions such as dark circles around your eyes and acne, which can disrupt your complexion.
Drink plenty of water.
Keeping hydrated can help your skin stay smoother, more supple, and free of blemishes—all of which contribute to a healthier and more youthful appearance.
"Dehydration leads to wrinkles, dryness, and decreased cellular turnover," adds Ciara Dimou, MSN, a nurse practitioner and the owner of VAIN Medi Spa. She notes that people often underestimate how much water they need to drink to maintain radiant skin, and suggests drinking at least 90 ounces or 11.5 cups of fluid daily.
According to the Mayo Clinic, this number is ideal for women, but men need even more: at least 15.5 cups of fluid daily.
Use targeted treatment products.
Different areas of skin on your face may have different needs—and each may require different treatment products, Fedotova says.
"Very often, people think if we cleanse and moisturize, that is enough. Still, most of us have a combination complexion, which usually consists of some dry and sensitive areas, like around the eyes or neck," she explains. "Some areas could be oily and prone to breakouts, like your t-zone, so make sure you are addressing each area of your face with the correct treatment product that it needs. Then after that, use a hydrating cream with sunblock."
Your diet can also determine whether your skin looks young or old for its age.
"Remember that sugary, starchy, processed foods… are very unhealthy and can lead to skin inflammation, congested pores, and premature wrinkles," says Fedotova. "Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, and healthy fats help improve skin immunity and protect against environmental UV damage."
Slather on the sunscreen.
The experts all agree that wearing sunscreen every single day is one of the more important habits that will keep your skin young. It will also help protect against serious sun damage, which can ultimately lead to skin cancer.
"Most people think sunscreen is just for the summer, but it's not," says Dimou. "Light reflects off pavement when it rains, the windows when you are driving, the snow during the winter. All of these lead to UV damage and free radicals which speed up the aging process."
Select a high-SPF sunscreen, apply it separately from your foundation, and reapply it every two hours for best results.
Cut out or cut back on alcohol.
Drinking too much alcohol can prematurely age your skin, reducing your skin's elasticity, causing puffiness, and increasing dryness. So, quitting or cutting back on alcohol can greatly improve your skin's appearance and keep it looking young. "Replace alcohol with water!" urges Dimou.
Address your stress.
Research increasingly suggests that we wear the effects of stress on our faces. "Chronic stress can wreak havoc on our skin, leading to premature aging," says Viktoryia Kazlouskaya, MD, PhD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dermatology Circle.
To get it under control, you can try incorporating mindfulness and relaxation into your daily routine. Meditating, exercising, journaling, talking to a therapist, or making time for self-care can all improve your mental health, which in turn can improve your skin's health and appearance.
Try DIY skincare masks.
Most store-bought skincare masks are best used about once per week. However, Fedotova says you can make your own DIY skincare masks for daily use out of ingredients that are gentle on the skin.
"I love making cleansing masks with fermented foods like Kefir and yogurt for morning cleansing. They not only gently exfoliate your skin with natural acids and balance your skin's pH but will also help to brighten, heal your skin, and improve your skin's microbiome," she tells Best Life.
To make her signature mask, mix one teaspoon of baking soda, half a teaspoon of honey, and one teaspoon of organic Kefir or yogurt and apply it to any problem areas of the face for five to eight minutes.
"Once removed, you will notice that your pores are clean because the baking soda absorbs impurities from your skin. The honey will soothe, hydrate, and calm your skin, and the Kefir or yogurt will gently exfoliate, brighten, and improve your skin texture," she says.
For more beauty tips sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.