Live Better

5 natural tips for better skin (that don’t cost the earth)

Clear, glowing skin starts with good health on the inside. Here's how.

We all want our skin to look its best now, but also for years to come. To achieve this you could spend a lot of money on expensive cleansers, exfoliators, lotions and serums, but products can only do so much, and you’ve got better things to spend your money on!

Real skin health starts naturally within your body, and comes with establishing good habits. Here are the top five things you should be doing – or not doing – if you want a glowing complexion.

1. Get serious about sleep

Too many late nights could spell trouble for your skin – we all know a good night’s rest leaves you looking brighter the next day. Sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects of your skin’s health, but that’s when your body does the majority of cell regeneration and healing.

There’s science behind it, too. A 2012 study found that chronic poor quality sleep accelerated the skin’s ageing process. It also found that people with better sleep quality tend to rate themselves as more attractive than their poor-sleeping counterparts. It makes sense, dark circles under the eyes don’t suit anyone!

2. Eat more tomatoes, leafy greens, and avocados

Diet is so important to so many aspects of our health and wellbeing. With your skin being your body’s biggest organ, is it any wonder that what you eat might affect how you look?

Recent research has suggested that eating too many fried foods, refined carbohydrates like white bread and pasta, and refined sugars like those found in sweets and soft drinks, could be responsible for increased acne. These foods are may also contribute to inflammation in the body.

If you’re looking to clear up your skin, consider eating more foods with “good” fats and oils, and foods that fight inflammation, such as avocados, salmon, tomatoes, and green tea.

3. Stop overwashing and over-exfoliating.

Even if you’re fanatical about your beauty regime, you could still be hurting your skin. Over-exfoliation is a real possibility if you do it too much, use harsh cleansers and exfoliants, or use tools like washcloths or loofahs on your face. Your face is sensitive, and overwashing could be the reason your skin seems dry and irritated.

It’s best to avoid products with sodium lauryl sulphate, which strips the skin of natural oils. And try to use warm, not hot water. Contrary to popular opinion, normal soap is fine to use on your face, but you may wish to use a “soap free” product, which is less harsh on the skin. Consider using a moisturiser directly after a bath or shower to help “lock in” moisture, and prevent dry skin.

4. Always wear sunscreen

You might think that you only need sunscreen when you’re going outside in summer, but this is only the most important time! Skin can be damaged by UV rays any time you’re outside, even in winter.

Sunlight contains both UV-A and UV-B radiation that penetrates through the skin and damages cells, causing freckles, wrinkles, burns, and often skin cancer. UV-B rays are the most destructive, and can even penetrate through cloud cover.

Even on cloudy days, remember to slather on a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF15 or higher to any exposed skin, and consider using a daily cream or moisturiser with an SPF factor already in it. If you’re required to be outside at all for your job, it could even be tax deductible.

5. Wash your face before you crash

Ever got home from a big night out and collapsed straight into bed without washing your face? It could be the reason for your Monday morning breakout. All the day’s dirt and grit mixes with your sweat, natural oils, and makeup to clog up your pores and lead to infection via all the bacteria. Sound gross? We think so too. Pro tip: Wash your pillowcases regularly – your face is spending around 8 hours a day in contact with them!

Take care of your skin and the rest of your body for years to come with a simple, flexible health insurance plan. Use your $500 combined limit anyway you like, whether it’s physio, dental or chiro, the choice is yours. Get Medibank Healthy Start Extras for just $11 a fortnight. Find out more.

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