Have you been caught in the cycle of purchasing overly expensive and chemical derived skin care products? How about paying a premium for skin care treatments and then not seeing any results? Does this sound familiar? Don't feel bad, we've all been there. This can get pricey quickly as can also feel frustrating. Throughout my 20 + years of working with clients on skin care health, I believe that what you put on your skin is only one half of the story. To achieve naturally vibrant skin, I believe it is equally important to be mindful of six daily practices that positively influence the health of your skin (and, not coincidentally, your body and mind). I created the RITUAL dice as an easy, fun way to build a healthy habit into your day. Let's dive into these six practices and why I believe they are key to vibrant skin.
Eat Real Food
When you focus on eating real, whole foods in their natural state, you are receiving the highest nutrient density from these foods. By avoiding highly processed and fast foods, you are avoiding harsh chemicals and preservatives. These types of ingredients in foods are hard for the body to recognize and digest. They can lead to inflammation as well as tons of other ailments including skin breakouts, autoimmune issues, disease and the list goes on and on. So, what do I mean by "eating real food?" Real foods are foods that are in their natural state as nature intended them to be. You won't find these foods in a box with a barcode on them. Focus on fresh, local (whenever possible for the best freshness) as well as seasonal produce. Get to know your local farmer, participate in a local CSA program or hit up your local farmer's market for the best options for health and vitality. Real foods fight inflammation, aid in digestion, boost energy, aid in skin health and taste great. When building your plate for meals, focus on making the majority be whole, plant based foods with as much color as possible. Aim for 30 different plant varieties/week for diversity and for strong gut health. 70% of our immune system lies in our gut, so if we have a healthy gut, chances are, we are more apt to fight off illness and disease.
Real foods fight inflammation, aid in digestion, boost energy, aid in skin health and taste great.
Our skin is our largest organ and is a guide showing us what is happening inside of us whether that is stress, inflammation, dehydration, etc. Although we all have different skin, it is important to have a skin care routine and moisturize. Moisturizing firms your skin, reverses damage, slows the signs of aging and adds a healthy glow. Aim for skin care products that have minimal, organic ingredients and that are not full of chemicals. If you can't pronounce an ingredient or don't know what it is, it is best to steer clear. To become a skin care ingredient guru, you can visit my blog post here on what ingredients to look out for in personal care products. A skin care routine should be simple, easy and fun. After all, taking good care of your skin is a great form of self love and self care!
Aim for skin care products that have minimal, organic ingredients and that are not full of chemicals. If you can't pronounce an ingredient or don't know what it is, it is best to steer clear.
Calm Your Mind
Stress and anxiety wreak havoc on our physical and mental health. Learning to calm your mind and find space in your day to just breathe or pause is critical for promoting overall wellness, creativity, longevity, empathy and skin health. Meditation and deep breathing are scientifically proven to reduce stress, help with anxiety, calm the nervous system and improve concentration. Our minds are constantly processing, digesting and organizing thoughts-actually even thinking about it, makes me exhausted. Even when we sleep, our minds are working. Giving the mind space allows us to be more present with ourselves, with others and makes challenges that come our way not as difficult.
Learning to calm your mind and find space in your day to just breathe or pause is critical for promoting overall wellness, creativity, longevity, empathy and skin health.
Protect Your Sleep
I believe that sleep is the foundation for health and wellness. When we don't sleep well, we often reach for sugar, caffeine, and bad foods and we definitely don't feel like exercising. There is nothing better than getting a good night's sleep. I recommend sleeping in a cool dark room, steering clear of caffeine past 11 a.m., don’t eat at least 60 minutes before bedtime and avoid using a device right before calling it a night (pick up an old fashioned book or magazine instead as reading aids in falling asleep). Try sleeping next to an old fashioned alarm clock versus using your smart phone. This resists the temptation to check your phone right before bed or first thing in the morning. Start by creating a nightly ritual for yourself by soaking in a hot bath using calming essential oils and epsom salt. Another idea is to make yourself yawn along with a full body stretch- this helps prep the body and mind for sleep.
When we don't sleep well, we often reach for sugar, caffeine, and bad foods and we definitely don't feel like exercising.
Break a Sweat
The more you move, the better. Like my neighbor said to me the other day, "Motion is lotion." Move your body at least once a day with enough intensity to raise the heart rate and break a sweat. Try to move for at least 30 minutes and do it outside whenever possible (remember sunscreen). Moving clears your mind, rejuvenates your skin, helps with confidence and promotes a healthy heart. Yoga, pilates, running, walking, hiking, skiing, cycling, surfing, swimming all count - there’s a movement for everyone and every-body. Try mixing it up versus doing the same thing every day. This allows you to work different muscle groups and keeps you engaged in a variety of activities. Having a hard time staying motivated to workout? Find a friend to workout with to hold you accountable-and, it's a great way to catch up.
Moving clears your mind, rejuvenates your skin, helps with confidence and promotes a healthy heart.
Most of us could just live by this simple rule: drink more water. Our brains are comprised of approximately 80% water and when we aren't drinking enough water, we can feel it. We get tired, decision making becomes more difficult and it shows on our skin. I recommend 80-100 oz/day but this may not work for everyone. Start with drinking more than you do and build from there. Think water is boring? Don't reach for sports drinks for hydration (as they are full of chemicals and lots of sugar) instead, try adding a squeeze of lemon to add some flavor and help with inflammation. A real food diet high in fruits and vegetables also helps to hydrate the body and skin. Upon waking, try 16-24 oz of lemon infused water to get all systems ready for the day. Make it easy on yourself and try using a water bottle with a straw-you will find that water becomes easier to drink. Feeling tired? Don't reach for caffeine-reach for water!
Our brains are comprised of approximately 80% water and when we aren't drinking enough water, we can feel it.
Remember, it is about making small shifts that are sustainable over time. Start with one item on this list and build as you go. For more inspiration and guidance, check out my RITUAL by Sageborn podcast or, get your RITUAL dice here. I'm here with you on this journey and I'm excited to hear from you on how your wellness journey is going. What is your favorite RITUAL?