Just like that, another year is over and 2015 is well underway. Following the delicious indulgences that December provides, January jarringly brings us back to the reality of routine - and those never-ending emails. The new year brings new goals, meaning popular resolutions like eating better, exercising more, and getting more sleep are often at the top of everyone’s to-do lists. While these goals are fantastic, what people may not know is that beyond their obvious benefits, these classic New Year’s resolutions all have another great benefit in common: healthier skin! In case you needed any more motivation to stick to your resolutions this year, take a look at some of the most common New Year’s resolutions, and how they can lead to healthier-looking skin.
“Drink 8 glasses of water a day,” we are told. While the recommended amount can vary from person to person(8), the fact is that most people do not drink enough water every day. Your skin contains a lot of water, and acts as a protective barrier against excessive fluid loss.(1) Adequate water consumption helps rid your body and skin of toxins, like urea, and can help keep your skin looking healthy.(2) While it won’t erase fine lines and wrinkles, the proper amount of hydration will keep moisture in your skin and prevent the dry, wrinkled look that dehydration brings.
Among all the headlines and crazy fad diets live a few grains of truth to the healthy-eating craze that has taken over in recent years. In terms of your skin, you really “are what you eat”, and making healthier meal choices can affect your skin’s appearance. Some of the foods that can help keep a healthy complexion include:
Aside from the damage that smoking does to your overall health, it also contributes to making your skin look older and more wrinkled. By constricting the blood vessels that supply oxygen and essential nutrients to your skin, smoking harms your skin’s health and reduces its strength and elasticity.(4)
Beauty sleep is a real thing. The benefits of sleep cover a wide range of aspects of our overall health, including our skin's. We all notice the dark circles and bags that form under our eyes after a night of poor sleep, and it’s not pretty. While you sleep, new skin cells form and replace older cells, allowing your skin to repair itself. Getting a good night’s sleep (7 to 9 hours) gives your skin enough time to go through these restorative processes.(5)
Everyone’s favorite New Year’s resolution just got a little better. Besides being good for your heart, lungs, and mental health, exercise is also a key contributor to healthy skin.(6) In general, anything that promotes healthy blood flow and circulation can improve your skin by providing oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells. Not to mention, sweating itself helps keep skin clean and clear.(3) Exercise helps flush toxins and cellular debris from your skin. "You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside.", says Ellen Marmur, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.(6)
To live a stress-free life is the ultimate goal. Stress acts on the skin by making it more sensitive and reactive, therefore allowing allergens and irritants to penetrate and cause problems more easily.(7) Also, those who are stressed are more prone to picking, scratching and irritating the skin, which can further worsen the situation. Taking action to reduce the stressors in our lives will not only make us feel better emotionally, but will also reduce the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, that can cause breakouts.(7)
Your skin is your largest organ, so it’s no surprise that so many different lifestyle choices can affect its health. While none of these methods will work overnight, they are important to keep in mind and incorporate into our daily - or nightly - routines. Whether it be for a New Year’s resolution, or a mid-year resolution, your skin deserves a little extra attention. Combined with daily moisturizing and, of course, regular sunscreen use, you can keep your skin healthy year-round.
(3) WebMD: Skin Food
(4) Mayo Clinic:
Reviewed by Vlad Ratushny, MD, PhD