The Natural, Product-free Skincare Hacks Beauty Brands Don't Want You to Know
Have you ever purchased a bunch of beauty products and then regretted all the time and money you seemingly wasted on them because you didn’t see any results? You’re not alone. Fortunately, there are many natural ways to take care of your skin without using a dozen products every day, and you don’t need to spend extra cash testing them all out. We’ll help you turn your beauty-haul habit into a beauty-hack habit with these natural tips and tricks.
No, your eyeballs don’t have skin on them, but behaviors like squinting and peering, which cause you to narrow your eyes, can cause wrinkles to develop. Excessive wrinkles around the eyes and forehead are preventable (to a degree) when you wear sunglasses.
Sleep Like Royalty
Humans sleep for approximately one-third of their lives, so how you sleep and what you lie on both significantly impact your skin. People who smash their faces into the pillows when they’re sleeping on their sides or stomachs are at a higher risk of getting slumber-induced wrinkles.
An estimated 90% of skin aging (especially for lighter skin tones) is caused by exposure to the sun. Seek shade when you have to be outside, and limit your time in the sun overall. Aside from staving off signs of aging, this also reduces your risk of skin cancer.
Water helps all organs function better, and the skin is the largest organ your body has, so it makes sense that it requires (and benefits from) a decent amount of water. When you drink more water, your body clears more toxins out via your liver and kidneys, which in turn promotes plump, healthy skin.
If you consume a lot of sugar and refined carbs (which our bodies convert into sugar), it may begin to show up not only on your waistline but on your face. Insulin surges can cause collagen breakdown, which can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage, acne, wrinkles and a loss of elasticity.
When you’re stressed out, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol, which in turn makes the glands in your skin produce more oil. This can lead to breakouts and acne. Unfortunately, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stress and skin.
While exfoliating is great in moderation, there’s a trend of overdoing it, according to dermatologists. Exfoliation can scrub away dead skin cells, which helps prevent dry, peeling skin and breakouts, but the flip side of this coin is that you can also cause these problems if you over-exfoliate.
Stop Picking at Pimples
Many people squeeze and pick at pimples as soon as they notice them, but what they may not know is that this behavior can cause scars, infections and acne mechanica. Acne mechanica is caused by the mechanical action and friction of squeezing pimples, which often pushes bacteria and oil back into the pores.
Practice Good Hygiene
Showering daily might seem like a no-brainer, but there’s a lot that can cause a person to have poor hygiene, and stress is one of them. Dermatologists find that stress and exhaustion by the end of the day can be big reasons why people don’t take better care of their skin.
Use Lukewarm Water
The reason dermatologists don’t want you to use hot water for washing your skin is that the oil, or sebum, in our skin is a waxy substance that can "melt." When it happens, this melting strips away the protective barrier that holds moisture in the skin.
It’s better to massage your face with two fingers gently in a circular motion rather than scrub it with a washcloth or loofah, even if you’re using a facial scrub. Actually using a scrubbing motion when washing your face can cause a lot of irritation and moisture loss.
Wash Your Makeup Brushes Weekly
Cleaning your makeup brushes every week is a good idea. Lots of unsavory things can accumulate on makeup brushes besides old makeup — like oil, bacteria, sweat and dust. All of these things can cause skin problems like acne separately, but combined together it’s almost a sure bet they’ll affect your skin.
Exercising has many incredible and lasting health benefits, and those benefits extend to your overall skin health too. When we exercise, our blood circulates faster, bringing essential oxygen and nutrients to all of our organs. This includes the skin. The extra oxygen makes it younger-looking and better able to repair itself quickly.
Smoking cigarettes and vaping are bad for your health for many reasons, but one of them is that when tobacco burns, it releases free radicals that are damaging to the DNA in your skin cells. Collagen and elastin break down during this process, which accelerates signs of aging.
Get Enough Sleep
There’s a lot of truth behind the term "beauty sleep," because while we sleep, our cells regenerate and our bodies heal themselves. This is important for many reasons, one of which is how bad it feels when someone tells us that we "look tired."
Use a Separate Face Towel
The reason you might want to consider using a separate face-drying towel when you get out of the shower is because of cleanliness issues. The products you use on your body — fragrances, lotions, hair products, body washes — may not be the best products to put on your face.
Put Your Hair Up at Night
If you leave your hair down at night, it’s going to come into contact with your face. This means that any hair products, sweat and dirt from the day can all get on the skin of your face, even when you’ve just washed it.
Pat Your Face Dry
We’ve discussed scrubbing and how it can lead to acne, irritation and rashes and strip moisture from the skin. The same concept goes for how you dry your face. Be gentle with your skin, and if you must use a washcloth, use it ever so softly. Pat your face dry with a clean towel.
Change Your Pillowcase Frequently
Just like oils, sweat and products can transfer from your hair to your face, they can also transfer from your hair to your pillow to your face. Or from your face to your pillowcase and back to your skin. Or from your mouth to your face — yep, drool.
Eat More Plants
Eating vegetables is a natural way to get all of the vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that you need for clear, radiant skin. Many vegetables are high in fiber, which means that they help clear unwanted waste out of your system efficiently.
Eat Certain Vegetable Oils
Hydrogenated oils aren’t recommended for better health or better skin, but there are a few oils that may improve the skin because of their high antioxidant levels. These include almond, olive, coconut, avocado, macadamia nut and grapeseed oils. Buy cold-pressed, virgin and unrefined types of these oils for maximum health benefits.
Tone Your Face Muscles
Facial yoga is a series of exercises that some say tone the muscles in your face and increase skin elasticity, making you look younger. It’s like a workout routine for your face, and it can take some time to see results.
Splash on the Cold Water
This may seem too simple to actually work, but it can reduce puffiness, especially after sleeping. While we sleep, our cells regenerate all over our bodies, including in our skin. Also, our pores expand, which can cause puffiness, especially upon waking.
Our bodies react in various ways to everything that happens to us — and our skin isn’t immune. Just like stress can cause body-wide inflammation, an emotional or mental challenge can cause some skin problems that no product can fix. Claire Zhao is the co-founder of Amareta, a clean, plant-based, hormone cycle-related skincare line.
Cut Back on Salt and Caffeine
If you’re a woman, chances are you’ve seen some skin symptoms due to your menstrual cycle. Along with cramps, bloating, breast tenderness and other signs of premenstrual syndrome, women often get skin blemishes immediately before they start their periods.
Take Shorter Showers
Showers can be therapeutic, but if yours are hot and longer than 10 minutes, you’re not doing your skin any favors. Hot water can dry out and irritate the skin, which can predispose you to rashes, blemishes and other annoying and potentially painful skin problems.
Use Less Heat but More Humidity
Just like taking hot showers, having the heat up too high in your home or office can dehydrate your skin. It’s better to have the heat down a bit and wear a sweater if you want to stave off wrinkles, lines, dryness and other signs of aging and poor skin health.
Try Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Athena Hewett is an esthetician and founder of Monastery, a company that focuses on aromatherapy and natural skincare. She says that people can keep their skin supple with a technique known as lymphatic drainage massage. It sounds fancy, but you can actually do this simple massage at home.
Apply Ice Cubes
Just like cold water closes up pores, so does ice. Athena Hewett, an esthetician, recommends creating glowing skin that appears firmer by rubbing ice cubes on your face. Hewett says that "cold water tightens the skin by bringing blood to the surface."
Use Zero Products
Some people are doing the zero-product skincare routine and having wonderful results. Ted Lain, MD, a dermatologist in Austin, says that this is "usually...because a person’s using the wrong products for their skin type, or they’re using the right products…too much [and] it’s causing dermatitis."