No Makeup Monday is a nightmare, but clear skin can definitely save you. Autumn and winter are usually the seasonal demons for skin because of the cold, bitter weather, but believe it or not, the humidity and the blazing sun of the summer don’t do much favors either. In fact, if you live in moist weather you’re more likely to get mosquito bites! Eeeeeeeek–I hate mosquitoes!
But have no fear, I have a few pointers on how to keep your skin clean and clear to make sure you’re glowing! I’ve seen a LOT of blog posts, YouTube videos and more on skincare tips that recommend certain cleansers and products. It’s great and all, but being Vietnamese and young, I am pretty cheap and prefer the au naturel route. So without further ado here are my top tips on how to naturally healthify and clear up your skin!
- Drink water. Tons of it. Okay, maybe you shouldn’t drink a river, but you have to have to keep yourself hydrated. My favorite way to remember drinking enough is bringing a 1-liter bottle with me on the go and filling it up every few hours. I typically drink around half a gallon of water a day (2 liters), but you may need more or less depending on your body weight, how much you exercise and where you live. If you don’t like the plain taste of water, add slices of fresh fruit to flavor your water or drink unsweetened green tea.
- Coconut oil is your best friend. Every style, beauty and health site will glorify coconut oil as a miracle worker for every natural beauty remedy you can think of. I forgot makeup remover during a summer internship except for these super harsh cleansing wipes full of chemicals that gave me hot rashes, irritation and skin pain. Somehow I found a wide coconut oil in my backpack and read somewhere that I could use coconut oil as a makeup remover, and it worked like sorcery! In fact, sometimes I preferred coconut oil over my normal makeup remover once I got back home! Coconut oil is also a great skin moisturizer, lip balm, shaving cream and acne cleanser. I usually use it on my arms, elbows, knees and legs and the skin smooths out within a couple days!
- Sun protection. My 46 year-old mother who constantly wore a hat when out and about was onto something–she looks more than ten years younger than her age! A dermatologist told me that all of one’s UV damage is usually done when you turn eighteen years-old. Try investing in raspberry seed oil, sesame oil and carrot seed oil, which have naturally high SPFs and aren’t as toxic as conventional sunscreen. You can also protect yourself by wearing enough clothes, hats with enough shade protection and reducing activity in the boiling sun (ex: late evening or early early morning hikes instead of noon). Oils are generally expensive, so try and find the best quality conventional sunscreen if you cannot purchase the oils listed above.
- I partially lied–vitamins and antioxidants are your best friends! Did you know that not only can you eat your way to health, but you can eat your way to beauty? I know someone who is thin eating junk but suffers countless frustrations with her skin and doesn’t know why. It’s because she’s nutrient deficient. What are the most important skin nutrients? All of them, but vitamin A, C, E and beta-carotene in particular aid in anti-aging properties and prevention of skin damage. It’s so simple–eat a wide variety of fresh produce. For example, one large sweet potato contains almost 700% of the RDA of Vitamin A. Imagine what would happen if you created a sweet potato salad with kale, carrots, blueberries and sliced almonds dressed in lemon juice and olive oil. You could literally be the most beautiful person on Earth if you ate this salad every day. Another thing: you don’t have to take a crazy amount of supplements or buy superfood powder to get in all of these important vitamins and antioxidants. It’s better to stick to natural fruits and vegetables you can find anywhere.
- Know your intolerances. While eating clean is probably one of the number one ways to clear up skin, you may be eating something widely known as healthy that could actually be giving you acne! I learned about the story of this one woman eating a raw till 4 diet and discovering that she had a skin allergy to bananas and dates, and cleared her acne up simply by eliminating those fruits, despite them being healthy. If you find that a certain food may be causing a skin intolerance, reduce it and see how long it takes for the acne to clear up, which may be multiple weeks. I find that white carbs (ex: rice and potatoes), lactose and gluten are my skin’s worst enemies, so I try to moderate or eliminate them as much as possible. They may work for others but not for you (I’ll pass on the mashed potatoes, please…).
- Wash your hands. They touch everything and anything, so any kind of yucky bacteria can be getting into your pores. Wash your hands after you touch something that may get your hands germy–yes, even after petting your dogs. Since you can’t access a sink everywhere, definitely make sure you keep a portable hand sanitizer bottle wherever you go.
- Watch your sodium intake. Sodium is one of the worst culprits to puffy skin and breakouts from water retention and oil buildup. What’s worse is that you may consume much more sodium than you think–of course, you do need some sodium, but the modern American diet includes waaaaaaaay too much. In short, read your labels, order from the menu wisely and use less salt and more herbs while cooking, which you should do more of anyways.
- Watch your sugar intake. Just stop it with the sugar-free syrups, pastries, candy, soda and fried shiz. Most high glycemic foods do the skin wrong since they lack fiber and vitamins to break down the sugars (whole fruits–not fruit juice–are the exception unless you discover otherwise). Moderate “healthy” treats such as store-bought vegan ice cream and bottled smoothies, and make healthier swaps: nana ice cream instead of froyo, sprouted whole-grain bread instead of conventional white bread, or raw cacao instead of Hershey’s kisses. Lastly, it’s much better to make your own smoothies than to get ones from smoothie bars; a lot of them make their drinks with agave (which BTW is not healthy for you at all), sweetened proteins and other ingredients that contain a lot of sugar to add flavor. You can save a lot of money by staying at home and blending up your own smoothie bowl!
- Don’t cut fat. Think about it: what do top beauty foods avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, whole eggs, salmon and macadamia nut oil have in common? They are used for natural skin remedies and have an abundance of healthy fat! Seriously–there’s a dark circle concealer cream made with salmon on Amazon! The war on fat is over. There is no reason to fear Omega-3’s whatsoever if they make your skin glow, shine and stay smooth. However, if you are on a low-fat diet (HCLF for instance), you don’t have to eat the fat–just apply it on your skin with this coconut avocado oat mask! It’s also okay to eat oil free as long as you consume healthy fats high in fiber and antioxidants, or at least take supplements to fulfill your RDA of healthy fats.
- Relaaaaaaaaaaaax. Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean the stress is gone. With many jobs and school assignments extending over the summertime, constant work can lead to stress buildup and breakouts. Stay rested, tackle one thing at a time, and live in the moment.
Hopefully these tips give you some insight on how to naturally care for your skin! If you like these beauty posts or have any other skincare tips and hacks on how to keep your skin clean and clear, let me know in the comments!