So, here at The Decoder, we do lots of chatting about pretty products—as we very well should. But, since I’m a firm believer that the painting will only look as good as the canvas it’s on, today I want to talk about how to get skin that is not only beautiful, but downright healthy. Keeping your skin hydrated, balanced, and smooth is a challenge year-round, but the wintertime is particularly challenging, due to harsh outdoor temps and extra-drying indoor heating. So, use the beginning of this year to get some happy-skin habits solidly into place, and you’ll be golden for the rest of 2017—let this be your skin’s best year yet!
Although I’ve heard some dermatologists claim that the amount of water you drink doesn’t actually affect your skin, I will swear backwards and forwards forever that hydration is the biggest key to having clear, smooth skin. I’ve always been a big water drinker, but I’ve been enjoying staying hydrated even more since I got my BPA-free Soma Water Pitcher. The beautiful design is a major bonus, but I love how keeping this stashed in my fridge means that I can drink perfectly-chilled, clean-tasting water all day long.
Another key to staying hydrated (especially in these chilly winter months)? Swapping out coffee (well, at least one cup a day) with an herbal tea. Same warm, soothing experience, with no dehydrating caffeine and lots of antioxidants. If you’ve never tried rooibos, I highly recommend it; it has a lovely, vaguely vanilla-esque floral flavor that’s pretty addicting.
Now, on to actual products: if you don’t have a face mist in your skincare arsenal yet, now’s your moment. I love applying this chamomile-and-calendula mist after cleansing and before the rest of my products for an extra dose of soothing moisture for my sensitive skin.
One of the biggest factors (in my opinion) that contributes to healthy skin? Getting over our fear of oils. Forget what you thought you knew about oil in products causing breakouts; that only applies to mineral oil, which is a derivative of petroleum and can clog pores. Plant-based oils, such as jojoba, rose hip and olive, mimic skin’s natural sebum and are all readily sucked up by thirsty skin. If you’re nervous, add a couple of drops of face oil to your regular moisturizer and mix in your palms before applying to your face; it’ll be less of a greasefest than applying the oil by itself.
Another key to healthy skin: retinol. This ingredient is a derivative of vitamin A, and it helps to increase cell turnover. Meaning fewer wrinkles, unclogged pores, and a generally clear, smooth appearance. While you can get retinol in prescription forms from your derm, there are lots of effective over-the-counter products featuring it, like this day cream from Verso that features a stabilized (and therefore super-effective) version of the ingredient.
Speaking of retinol (which can make your skin extra sun-sensitive), you simply can’t expect to have healthy skin if you’re not wearing sunscreen every day. It really is important to wear sunscreen every single day on your face and neck, so find one that you love—like this soothing mineral-based pick—and slather it on like it’s your job.
A final tip that I recently discovered (that totally blew my mind): raw. Honey. Masks. I came across this DIY skin solution last winter when I had a random and horrible outbreak of some kind of eczema/rosacea rash on my face, and it made a huge difference. It’s this simple: get yourself a jar of raw, organic honey (I used Trader Joe’s), apply it to clean skin and leave it on for anywhere from 20-45 minutes, and rinse off. Raw honey is full of enzymes and is naturally antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing, so it’s a total healthy-skin heavyweight. Yes, the stuff is sticky and feels very weird to apply, but I promise that it rinses off very easily with warm water and leaves you smelling faintly sweet! Give it a try the next time your skin is rebelling, and let me know what you think!
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