Surprising Things You Never Knew Were Great For Your Skin
While skincare is the absolute foundation for a healthy-looking complexion, there are some lesser-known things that can also do your skin real good.
Don’t you just love it when you find out some things in life come with extra benefits? And when these things enhance your skin and, heck, even make you look a little younger? Count us in for some large slices of those, please!
Read on for some of the most interesting – and downright surprising – things that are proven to have awesome skin benefits. Cheetos and tanning beds need not apply…
Think of it as the ultimate skin fitness boost. Aerobic exercise accelerates your heart rate, making it a great way to increase blood flow to your skin. This helps reduce toxins while increasing transportation of oxygen and nutrients to your skin, helping keep it healthier and radiant-looking. Three words for you: post-gym glow.
Sweating also eliminates impurities to help keep your pores clean and clear. However, you must always cleanse your skin before working out to remove pore-clogging dirt, oil, makeup and bacteria. And then you should do the same again afterwards because, well, ditto. Try our Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser, which is an awesome cleansing treatment with activated coconut charcoal to rid your skin of nasties, along with aloe vera, glycerin and essential oils to help hydrate and balance.
Booze is a tricky one because it’s notoriously bad for your skin due to it being a diuretic. What does that mean? Well, diuretics cause you to pee more often and therefore reduce your body’s ability to retain water and remain hydrated.
On top of accelerating skin dehydration, alcohol also depletes vitamin A, which is an important antioxidant and crucial for reducing oxidative stress caused by skin-damaging free radicals. And when you add mixers to your favorite tipple, your skin also has to contend with all that added sugar and/or salt, which can cause inflammation, dryness and highlight visible signs of aging.
So, hold on then – what right does red wine have appearing on this list? Well, red wine is heads-and-shoulders above other boozy favorites due to its high content of a certain polyphenol called resveratrol. It's a case of the good outweighing the bad.
Just remember, downing a bottle a night will do more harm than good (hello dryness and dehydration), so stick to one glass a night max and sip on the red stuff only. Why does red beat the white stuff? Resveratrol is only found in the skin of grapes used to make red wine, so white wine can't boast such antioxidant benefits on its resumé. Take that, chardonnay!
Dark chocolate is another treat that’s rich in antioxidants, as well as minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc. This time you have the cacao pod to thank for its antioxidants properties. Cacao is "choc"-full (sorry, not sorry!) of flavonoids, which help regulate cellular activity by nixing free radicals, therefore fighting off the damage they can cause to your skin. Flavonoids also have anti-inflammatory effects, making them great for reducing redness and sensitivities.
The thing is, and it’s kind of a big thing, chocolate also contains a ton of sugar and is high in saturated and monounsaturated fats – none of which are good for your skin. So, if you’re a chocolate fan, always choose at least 70 percent dark chocolate to maximize those flavonoids and reduce your sugar and fat consumption.
Studies are also ongoing as to whether dark chocolate may decrease your skin’s vulnerability to UV light, but the jury’s still out on that one. So our advice is yes, feel free to feed your choc addiction with high quality dark chocolate, but always apply a topical antioxidant serum like Vitamin C Serum. Use this every morning before generously applying sunscreen to genuinely help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
Getting A Dog
Pet allergies can be super annoying for your skin, but if recent research is anything to go by, being exposed to dogs early in life may help protect you from developing eczema later on in childhood. Eczema is characterized by patches of extremely dry, itchy skin and can be triggered by any number of things, but it's usually caused by a response to external allergens or irritants.
This tip may be too late for you, but it’s worth pondering if you have or are thinking of having children. Plus, other than providing a lifetime of love, dogs are supercute stress reducers, which can help decrease the level of inflammation and redness your skin has to potentially deal with.
So, who’s up for a fun evening of curling up on the couch with a labradoodle, glass of red wine and large bar of dark chocolate? Perhaps followed up by a quick gym session in the morning? Let’s do it!
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.