You may not realize it, but your skin gets bombarded by internal and external stressors everyday. This is why many people have far older-looking skin than they should have. It simply gets worn down by constant stress and eventually stops renewing itself.
The good news is that your skin is incredibly receptive to positive change.
Even if you’ve already reached the point where your complexion looks old or tired, there are many natural steps you can take to rejuvenate it. And if you haven’t reached that point yet, these steps will help your skin to keep maintaining a natural youthfulness and glow.
Here’s a closer look at what causes your skin to age and the best holistic practices for younger-looking skin.
What Ages Skin? Internal & External Age-Accelerators
Your skin is a very unique organ (and your largest). Not only is it connected to all the internal systems of your body, it also serves as a barrier between the rest of your body and the outside world.
This means that you need to consider skin aging and health from two perspectives: internal and external.
What you feed and put into your body has a huge impact on how healthy your skin is. In a similar way, if something isn’t functioning well internally (digestion, liver, etc.), chances are it will show up in your skin at some point.
For example, if you are consuming toxins through food, or your body is producing toxins in response to stress, this can accelerate the aging process in your skin. On the other hand, if your body isn’t getting the building blocks it needs for healthy skin, your complexion will suffer in a different way.
From the external perspective, your skin has to put up with a lot. It is constantly renewing itself from UV damage, wind, excessive heat, dryness, chemicals, and so on.
The more you can limit these external stressors, the less work your skin has to do and the younger it will look. It’s also incredibly important to “feed” your skin anti-aging nutrients through the skincare products you use. Otherwise, it will become depleted and quickly age in response to all the stressors it has to deal with.
A Quick Word on Free Radicals
There are many possible age-accelerators for your skin, but one of the biggest is free radicals.
Free radicals are a great example of both an internal and an external stressor. They can be generated within your body due to toxins, stress, etc. However, they can also be generated directly in your skin as the result of radiation exposure, environmental pollutants, and so on.
Free radicals can make your skin look much older than it is, particularly by contributing to the breakdown of collagen and elastin— two very important anti-aging skin proteins.
Many of the natural skincare practices in this article are incredibly powerful because they both feed your skin (internally or externally) AND combat free radical damage that accelerates aging.
Top Natural Practices for Younger-Looking Skin
Drink Lots of Pure Water
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s so important it bears repeating: Hydrate from the inside out by drinking water.
It may not be a vitamin or mineral, but water is absolutely essential for your body and your skin. Every single cell and tissue in your skin needs water for proper function.
When you get dehydrated, your skin gets stressed. Eventually, it will start to look dull, dry, and less elastic— and this is a recipe for signs of aging to show up more quickly and more clearly. On the other hand, hydrated skin is more likely to look plump, bright, and healthy.
(As an interesting note, skin proteins known as keratins have a different molecular arrangement when hydrated vs. dehydrated, so hydration is important even at the cellular level!)
To avoid common toxins in drinking water that may harm your health and skin, use something like a reverse osmosis counter filter for truly pure water.
Don’t Overdo Sun Exposure
Sunlight is good for many things. It can lift your mood, help your garden grow, and is needed by your body to produce vitamin D.
However, too much sun exposure— or too much UV radiation, more specifically— is harmful for your skin. In fact, overexposure to UV rays is one of the biggest known free radical generators and age-accelerators.
Technically called photodamage (or photoaging), UV damage to your skin can cause wrinkles, roughness, age spots, uneven texture, and more. Even worse, the damage happens in the deepest layers of your skin, which makes it very difficult to reverse.
The best way to protect the youthfulness of your skin is to be mindful of sun exposure.
Just 15-30 minutes of sunlight a day is sufficient for most people to get enough vitamin D. After that, use a non-toxic sunscreen, clothing, etc. to protect your skin. Or sit in the shade!
Get Better Quality Sleep
Sleep is a challenge for many people. Some don’t get enough, while others go to bed on time but toss and turn through the night.
That being said, here’s the bottom line: Better sleep quality and getting 6-8 hours a night can work wonders for your complexion.
Essentially, sleep is when your body goes into deep repair and regeneration mode. Even though you feel like you’re resting, it’s hard at work renewing skin cells, repairing damaged tissues, and so on. When sleep is withheld, your body can’t do this vital work and your complexion starts to look older and duller.
In case you aren’t convinced, research studies have linked sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality to skin barrier disruption, slower recovery from environmental stressors, and increased signs of skin aging.
So if you want younger-looking skin…
Get to bed on time (try setting an alarm if you get easily distracted). Avoid sources of blue light (which is extremely disruptive for your sleep cycle) 2-3 hours before bedtime. You can also try supplements or herbs like melatonin, chamomile, and tart cherry juice to help yourself fall asleep.
Finally, apply an anti-aging night cream or serum in the evening for maximum effectiveness while you sleep.
Spring Clean Your Diet
If you want glowing, youthful-looking skin, you should not be eating a standard western diet. This diet is typically short on nutrients and high on both empty and toxic foods that harm your complexion in the long run.
Now, you don’t need to eat a “perfect” diet, but most of us could do a little spring cleaning when it comes to our daily food choices.
At the top of the list of foods to avoid is excessive amounts of sugar. This is mainly because elevated amounts of sugar accelerate the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). As you may be able to tell from their name, AGEs speed up the aging process in your skin (and body) and damage skin proteins.
Also, avoid processed foods as much as possible. They frequently contain high amounts of sodium and sugar as well as artificial colors and flavors. Many also have added chemicals that have a toxic effect on your skin and health.
Buy organic when possible to avoid GMOs and pesticide residue.
Consume Nutrient-Dense Foods
Getting toxic, highly processed foods out of your diet is doing your skin a huge favor. However, to truly “feed” your skin, you also need to focus on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
If you want a basic outline for an anti-aging skin diet, it would be to eat a variety of whole, plant-based foods. These foods usually contain the highest amount of skin vitamins and minerals AND are packed full of antioxidants that combat the effects of free radicals.
There are also some specific skin-boosting foods that you may want to focus on.
For example, both avocados and nuts are excellent sources of healthy fats that keep your skin hydrated and supple. Leafy greens are always a good choice and contain a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants. Raw cacao and spices like turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon are also sky-high in antioxidants for your skin.
Fill Up on Vitamin C
It’s hard to pick just one nutrient that is “the best” for your skin. Your skin needs well-rounded nutrition, just like the rest of your body.
However, when it comes to fighting signs of aging, vitamin C is certainly a top pick. It’s an excellent natural collagen booster, which makes it a secret weapon for fighting wrinkles and old-looking skin.
As you may know, collagen is an important skin protein. It supports the structure of your skin and helps it to stay plump, firm, and thick. When it starts declining, that’s when you see signs of aging (particularly wrinkles) start to appear.
Along with boosting collagen, vitamin C can also brighten your skin and fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation. As an antioxidant, it even helps protect your skin from photodamage.
Find Ways to Manage Stress
Chronic stress is somewhat of an epidemic in our busy, fast-paced world. It can be extremely harmful to your health and isn’t good for your complexion, either.
In fact, more and more studies are showing a brain-skin connection. They have also documented the fact that stress (particularly the prolonged type) contributes to a variety of skin issues. This includes acne, psoriasis, eczema, and (of course) accelerated skin aging.
It certainly isn’t easy to manage stress, but doing so will significantly contribute to a younger-looking complexion.
Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness practices are all ways to combat daily stress. You may also want to consider aromatherapy, frequent warm baths, or simply taking more time off from work. Getting fresh air, and exercising regularly is also incredibly good for your mood.
Avoid Smoking and Excessive Amounts of Alcohol
Smoking isn’t just harmful for your lungs. It’s also one of the biggest age-accelerators for your skin, causing it to look significantly older than it should.
Multiple studies have shown that smoking increases wrinkles, crow’s feet, and under-eye bags while damaging elasticity and hydration. It’s also extremely detrimental to the collagen and elastin in your skin, largely because of the toxic chemicals found in cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can also make you look older.
Alcohol is a big dehydrator for your skin, causing it to look dull and lifeless. Heavy drinkers have also been shown to develop more wrinkles, facial lines, under-eye bags, and saggy-looking skin than they would otherwise.
To maintain a youthful complexion, avoid smoking altogether and keep alcohol at a moderate level.
Increase Circulation with a Face Massage
As your skin ages, it typically starts receiving less oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. This can result in tired- or old-looking skin, even if you are putting all of the right nutrients in your body.
To help improve circulation (and blood flow + oxygen), try incorporating a simple facial massage into your daily or weekly routine.
Gently massaging your face with circular motions in a downward direction helps with both circulation and lymphatic drainage. This, in turn, encourages waste and toxins to flow away from facial skin. Massaging in an upward direction is thought to help pull nutrients and blood into your skin tissues.
Of course, you can also hang your head upside down for about three minutes each day to get extra blood flow to your face!
Establish a Natural Skincare Routine
All the best natural skincare practices won’t benefit your skin as much as they could if you are constantly “feeding” your skin toxic skincare products.
The truth is many conventional skincare products are packed full of harmful toxins. A conservative estimate is that women typically expose themselves to around 168 chemicals every day from skincare products alone. (Men “only” get exposed to an average of 85 chemicals.)
This takes a huge toll on your complexion— and your overall health.
The best thing you can do is to educate yourself and constantly read labels to avoid the worst toxins in skincare. Look for USDA Certified Organic products so that you aren’t exposing your skin to pesticides or synthetic ingredients.
Once you find these skincare products, use them to create a consistent skincare routine that nourishes and supports your skin daily. For help with that, here’s a simple and highly effective anti-aging skincare regimen.
Naturally Cultivate Younger-Looking Skin
Achieving youthful-looking skin isn’t an overnight kind of thing. Once you get to a certain age, it takes a combination of many different daily practices to keep your skin looking bright, young, and healthy.
But as mentioned earlier, your skin is very receptive to positive changes, and you will notice a difference when you put in the work.
If you are looking for powerful, natural products to add to your anti-aging regimen, look into the Age-Defying skincare line from Purity Woods.
Every single product in this line is USDA Organic, which means zero toxins, GMOs, or artificial ingredients. Each formula contains pure botanical plant extracts and moisturizers that feed your skin exactly what it needs— antioxidants, vitamin C, fatty acids, etc.— to look younger, healthier, and rejuvenated.
Look into the Age-Defying products from Purity Woods here, and make them a part of a holistic, natural approach to beautiful skin.