When I was 19, my skin underwent a massive shift from mostly clear to constant breakouts. I was going through a major life change at the time, and I know the stress was a big factor.
But stress wasn’t the only factor.
Along with the major life changes, I’d picked up some bad habits and dropped some of the good ones that my parents had raised me with.
And over the next few years as I figured life out again and regained my equilibrium, my skin was all-too-painful evidence of those bad habits.
Since then, my skin has become much healthier, and I believe I owe it all to the following 5 habits.
Why healthy skin starts on the inside
Did you know that your skin is your body’s largest elimination organ?
Your skin is the last place that problems in your body will show up because it’s your body’s last resort for getting rid of toxins. If your liver and your large intestines get overloaded from trying to eliminate the toxins in your body, your body will send them out through the skin… and that’s when you’ll see breakouts.
So you want to make sure you’re not overloading your body’s elimination system and that you’re properly supporting the systems to keep them running strong.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Water, water, water
Arguably the most important and most effective way to keep your skin clear and your body running smoothly is to make sure you’re staying hydrated.
The female body is about 55% water.
That’s a lot of water. And if you’re not replenishing it regularly, your body won’t have enough of it to keep your systems running smoothly.
How much water should you drink?
I’ve seen varied recommendations on this, but the one I see most commonly is that you should drink roughly half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water daily.
So, for example, for me as a 130-pound female, I need to drink about 65 ounces of water a day.
How much water should you drink if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding?
I definitely drink more water when I’m pregnant or breastfeeding. You need water to make milk for your breastfeeding baby, and your body needs water to give your baby what it needs in your womb.
I drink close to 100 ounces a day when I’m pregnant or breastfeeding.
2. Watch what you eat
The second habit you need for healthy skin is a balanced diet.
This doesn’t have to be as complicated as some people make it sound. Eat lots of whole, unprocessed foods and try to get a variety.
What else can you do to make sure you’re eating a skin-healthy diet?
- Eat the rainbow. I try to make sure that I’m eating a variety of fruits and vegetables in a range of colors throughout the day. Don’t just eat the green vegetables or the red vegetables or the yellow ones. The different colors indicate a different range of nutrients that your body needs. So try to get a wide variety of them every single day.
- Eat foods with antioxidants. Oxidation can damage the cells in your body, but antioxidants can help prevent oxidation. You’ll find antioxidants in berries, nuts, and leafy greens. When I can, I drink NingXia Red regularly because it’s an awesome (and easy) source of antioxidants.
- Limit sugar intake. Sugar can damage the elastin and collagen that keep your skin healthy.
- Eat healthy fats. No, fat is not the enemy. (I have literally been saying this for decades–my highschool friends thought I was crazy…) Your body uses fats from your diet to make healthy new skin cells. Just make sure your fats come from healthy sources like fish, avocados, nuts, grass-fed beef, or even full-fat dairy.
Check out my philosophy and template for a healthy diet here.
3. Catch your Zzz’s
The third habit for healthy skin is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
I know it can be a really tricky sometimes to get enough sleep. But your skin repairs itself while you sleep, so the more good-quality sleep you can get, the better.
If you’re pregnant, take a look at these solutions for getting enough sleep during pregnancy. If you have a new baby, read about how to help your baby sleep through the night.
And if you just struggle to sleep, period, take a look at these diffuser blends that will help you get a good night of sleep.
4. Keep moving
I struggle so much to get in structured exercise now that I’m a mom, but I spend an awful lot of time chasing after my kids and carrying them around. We also take frequent walks together.
Whatever you do, you’ll want to make sure that you’re doing some kind of regular movement. There are a lot of little things that can add up to help you get in your “exercise,” even if you’re not engaged in some sort of official exercise regimen.
For example, you can
- take the stairs instead of the elevator
- park farther away from the entrance to buildings
- bounce on an exercise ball while you work at your computer
- do squats while you watch television
Regular exercise gets oxygen flowing through your body and helps nutrients you need for healthy skin circulate through your body.
When you sweat while exercising, you’ll also eliminate the toxins that your body has been exposed to throughout the day. You’ll reduce the burden on your elimination system and keep your skin healthy.
5. Reduce toxins
This is a big one.
The toxins in the world around us overload your body and overload your body’s elimination pathways. When your body can’t eliminate through the liver and intestines, the toxins start to come out through your skin.
While it’s not possible to completely eliminate your exposure to toxins you can reduce your exposure.
There are toxins you can’t do much about, such as pollution. But there are toxins you can choose not to expose yourself to.
To keep your body and skin healthy, make it a habit of reducing the “by choice” toxins you can as much as possible.
For more on reducing toxins, you’ll want to take a look at the natural living resources in my free Pioneerish Micro Homestead Toolkit.
How to reduce your exposure to toxins
- Eat organic whenever possible. I know for many people eating everything organic may not be possible. (It’s not possible for my family, as much as I’d like for it to be.)
- Try to eat at least the Dirty Dozen organic. These produce items have been tested to contain the highest level of toxins from pesticides.
- Look into buying “ugly” produce at reduced prices. In the past I’ve used the Misfits Market service and Hungry Harvest. They will ship you organic produce at a fraction of grocery store prices.
- Use natural skincare and personal care products. Conventional skincare and personal care products are often loaded with toxins. When you put these toxins on your skin, they go into your body, overload your elimination system, and then come back out through your skin. It’s a vicious cycle.
- Use essential oils. Essential oils are a great option for healthy skin without the toxins. Frankincense and lavender are a couple of my favorites for keeping my skin smooth and clear.
- Watch your cleaning products. Cleaning products are a huge source of toxic exposure. My family primarily uses Thieves cleaner for basically all of our cleaning.
When you’re switching out your personal care and cleaning products, be aware that many companies “greenwash” their products. Greenwashing happens with marketers label their products to make them sound cleaner than they actually are.
Take a look at the ingredients lists–“fresh” and “natural” may not be as fresh and natural as you think. I’m a fan of the EWG’s Skin Deep database where you can look up specific ingredients to see how toxic they are.
As a bonus, when you reduce your exposure to toxins, you’ll probably also balance your hormones.
Healthy skin doesn’t have to be complicated
These 5 habits for healthy skin may require a little work to implement, but the payoff is well worth it.
My skin looks so much better now that these habits are a part of my everyday life.
How about you? What habits are you going to work on for healthier skin?
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