We all want to have healthy, beautiful skin, but our lifestyles often make that difficult. Fortunately, there are quite a few things that we can do that improve our general health and protect our skin at the same time. Most of them take quite a bit of effort, but the results are usually more than enough to justify putting in the work.

Quit Smoking

Smoking does a lot of damage to our skin. There are a few different factors at work, and all of them have an impact.

Our skin is full of blood vessels, and smoking causes those blood vessels to get narrower over time. That reduces the amount of blood flowing through them, which can cause the skin to lose color and deprives it of nutrients. Smoking also causes the collagen and elastin in the skin to break down. Those are structural proteins that help the skin keep its shape, so losing them encourages wrinkling.

The only way to prevent that damage is to quit. It can be a struggle, but your doctor should be able to direct you to resources that can help with the process.

Improve Your Diet

Our skin reflects our general health, and a healthy diet is one of the best ways to give our bodies a boost. Combining a healthy diet that includes a balanced blend of vitamins and minerals with plenty of water for hydration can make people feel healthier and improve their skin. Some foods contain antioxidants that can also keep your complexion bright and balanced.

Shun the Sun

Our skin is remarkably vulnerable to damage from UV radiation, which comes from exposure to the sun. A little bit of time in the sun is fine and even healthy, but spending too much time in bright sunlight can lead to wrinkles, discoloration, and even cancer. There are a few easy things that can reduce the risk associated with the sun, and they’re all fairly easy:

  • Wear sunscreen. Look for sunscreen that offers “broad spectrum” protection and an SPF value of at least 15, with 30 being better. Be sure to reapply it every few hours, and more frequently if it gets exposed to moisture!
  • Try to spend time in the shade instead of in direct sunlight.
  • Wear clothes that cover as much skin as possible. A hat with a wide brim can be especially useful, but long sleeves and pants are also good choices.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

Some studies have linked stress with skin problems. Stress can also cause a variety of other problems, so it is best to keep it under control.

There are a lot of ways to fight stress, but there are a few that stand out:

  • Exercise is a great way to deal with stress, and it can also provide a lot of other health benefits at the same time!
  • Meditation techniques can also be effective.
  • Even something as simple as chewing gum can help!

Stay Rested

People who sleep poorly tend to suffer from premature skin aging. Most adults need seven to nine hours each night to stay healthy. People who routinely get less sleep than that may need to consult with their doctor to see if they can solve the problem. There are plenty of potential causes, so expert guidance can help to identify the true culprit.

Respect Your Skin

Our skin is fairly tough, but it is still important to treat it with respect and try to be gentle with it to make sure that it stays healthy. It is especially important to be gentle with it while dealing with personal hygiene. Try to choose gentle soaps when bathing, and stick to short baths with warm water to avoid removing healthy oils from the skin. Shave carefully and dry yourself with gentle patting motions instead of firm rubbing to reduce mechanical stress on the skin.