Five skincare habits you should start today

No matter who you are, where you’re from or how old you are, there’s never a bad time to establish some good skincare habits. These are our top tips for looking after the skin you’re in.

Studies have shown that when it comes to aging and skin health, it’s not as simple as nature or nurture – while having good genes can certainly make a difference, researchers have consistently found that lifestyle and skincare habits matter just as much. You can’t control your genes, but you can control your habits – here are some of the best choices you can make for your skin health.

1. Sun protection – all day, every day, no exceptions!

The very best thing you can do for your skin is protect it from the sun. No matter where you live, how old you are or what kind of skin you have, your skin is at risk of sun damage whenever you’re exposed to sunlight, and that’s bad news – according to Cancer Council, the majority of skin cancers in Australia are caused by exposure to UV radiation. That might not be news to you, but did you know that UV rays are the single biggest cause of premature aging? Using sun protection every day will help prevent wrinkles, enlarged pores, fine lines and uneven skin tone – your skin will thank you for years to come! You should be using a minimum of SPF 30 every day (after moisturiser, before makeup). If you’re in the market for some sun-protective skincare, we recommend Ultra Violette – all their products are Australian-made and SPF 30 or higher, full of hydrating and skin-friendly ingredients and free of parabens and oxybenzone, which means they’re ocean-friendly, too!

2. Establish a consistent daily routine

The three essential steps of everyday skincare are cleansing, toning and moisturising.

  • Start with a gentle cleanser at least once a day to keep your skin free of pollutants and impurities. Use warm water (not too hot, not too cold) and pat dry with a towel (wiping or rubbing will strip your skin of too much moisture).
  • Follow your cleanse with a toner – this will help close your pores, which keeps your skin moist but not oily, and keep everyday pollutants out.
  • After that it’s time to moisturise. Your skin needs moisture, whether it’s oily or dry, acne-prone or clear – a moisture barrier protects your skin from premature aging, and locks in all the good you’ve done with your first two steps, so it’s important not to skip the moisturiser.

Consistency is key, so make sure you find a routine that’s manageable for you, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results straight away – most topical products take 6-12 weeks to work. Good things take time, so be patient and consistent with your daily routine, and soon enough your skin will show its gratitude!

3. Exfoliate

Sun protection and a good daily routine provide the perfect foundation, but the key to a truly stunning complexion is exfoliating regularly. You don’t need to do this every day (in fact, you shouldn’t – exfoliating too much or too often can be very harsh on your skin), but using a gentle exfoliator 2-3 times per week will unclog your pores, shift dead skin cells and stimulate blood flow, leaving you with bright, clear, reinvigorated skin.

4. Pay attention to your skin

Every body is different, and using the wrong product for your skin type will be less effective and might cause extra irritation, so it’s important to choose products and habits that suit your skin type. If your skin has too much oil, your face might look a bit shiny, and you might be more prone to breakouts, so it’s best to go with oil-free skincare products. If your skin is too dry, it might be itchy and flaky or feel a bit tight, and you might be more prone to fine lines, so you should look for hydrating, water-based products. You might have combination skin – some areas are oily, and other areas are dry – meaning you might want to use different products on different areas, or products specifically for combination skin. If you notice any sudden changes to your skin or anything that worries you, it’s best to speak to your doctor, especially if you notice any new or changing freckles or moles.

5. Look after yourself

Your skin is your largest and fastest-growing organ, so it often reflects what’s going on inside your body. This means that when you look after your body, you’ll see the benefits in your skin, but there are some specific things you can do to keep your skin looking its best.

  • Exercise regularly: this not only keeps your whole body in good condition, it also boosts circulation and improves muscle tone, keeping your skin looking younger and healthier. Breaking a sweat can also flush out your pores, which will help to prevent breakouts – just remember to cleanse after your workout!
  • Hydrate: drinking enough water is vital to your overall health and wellbeing, but poor hydration will show up in your skin first – water will reach every other organ in your body before it gets to your skin, so if you’re not drinking enough of it, your skin will start to suffer. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day will keep your skin functioning at its best, and will even help keep wrinkles at bay. If you’re struggling to stay hydrated, especially after a workout, a hydration aid might be a good idea.
  • Get enough sleep: treat yourself to 7-8 hours of shuteye every night – it will help keep your stress levels down and your mood up, but it will also slow down your skin’s natural loss of collagen as you age, which will keep your skin looking younger for longer. Try using a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent breakouts and sleep lines – this will reduce friction on your skin and hair, keep you less sweaty in summer and less dry in winter, and it won’t absorb moisture from your skin.
  • Eat well: your skin will thank you for a diet rich in fruit and veg, healthy fats and protein. Try to include foods containing biotin, aka vitamin B7 (mushrooms, cauliflower, nuts), vitamin A (carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato), vitamin C (tomato, leafy greens, red and green capsicum), zinc (meat, legumes, eggs, seeds) and Omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, avocado, non-fried oily fish such as trout and salmon). It’s also important to include plenty of protein, especially protein containing the two amino acids that support collagen production– L-lysine and L-proline. Animal sources of protein (dairy, fish, eggs, meat) contain all the essential amino acids, while plant sources of protein (legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, soy products) do not, so it’s important to eat a variety of plant-based protein to ensure that you get enough of each amino acid. For optimum skin health, you can also opt for a collagen supplement such as VÖOST Collagen Formation, which contains 500mg of hydrolysed marine collagen, 100mg of vitamin C and 8µg of biotin to support skin health, connective tissue health and the reduction of free radicals.