A self confessed skin-care junkie, Sarah loves nothing more than sharing the tips and tricks she has learnt over the years.
When life takes it's toll, the first place those trials and tribulations show are on our faces - and I don't just mean a sour look. I'm talking dull skin, dry patches, breakouts and imbalances of the skin that can all add years onto our age. Product free anti ageing is a thing and I'm here to share all the tips and tricks I have learnt over the years. Genes do play a part, but there's so much we can do ourselves without a plethora of creams and serums to brighten and tighten our skin, giving us a more youthful, unblemished appearance.
Sleep for Youthful Skin
It's not just about the amount of hours sleep you get a night - it's about how you sleep too. The general consensus is that 8 hours of sleep is what the average adult needs, but everyone is different. I know people who can't function without 10 hours, and those who bounce around like a toddler after too much sugar on just 6 hours sleep. As a general rule of thumb, to get the best product free anti ageing benefits from sleep, look to get the optimum amount of sleep that you need to function. Once we've got the quantity nailed, we can move onto improving the quality.
- On your back – When you sleep on your side with your face all squished up, you are going to cause the skin on that side to wrinkle prematurely. These tend to be called ‘sleep lines’ and you are most likely to have more on one side of your face than the other. Sleeping on your back reduces these ‘sleep lines’ (and gravity might will give you a natural face lift as you sleep too!). Not everyone can sleep on their back though, either for comfort or health reasons, that's where Silk Pillowcases come in.
- Silk Pillowcases – These are more than just a luxury item, silk pillowcases are kinder to our skin. They reduce the pull on our skin as we toss and turn throughout the night. They can also help to reduce ‘sleep lines’ for side sleepers. Be sure to wash it at least once a week to reduce the amount of dirt, sweat and dead skin cells you are sleeping on each night! Most come in packs of two so you never have to go a night without one whilst the other is in the wash. Invest in a good silk pillowcase; even if it doesn't match the rest of your bedding, you are only pulling it out to sleep on!
Did you know? Silk pillowcases are also great for happy, healthy, shiny hair!
Blue Light Fatigue and Dull Skin
When RescueApp looked at the data of over 11,000 users (2019 study), they found the average user spent 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on their phones. If you have an iPhone, you can load up 'screen time' from the settings function and see how your phone use stacks up against these numbers. The average smart phone user opens up their phone 58 times a day between 9am - 5pm, with activities lasting anywhere from <2 minutes to 10 minutes or more. I know I am guilty of this too, I've checked my phone at least 3 times just writing this paragraph for no reason other than it's on the desk next to me.
Exposure to blue light during the day isn't the worst as it can help to maintain your circadian rhythms but too much blue light in the evenings is when the real damage is done. Blue light exposure at the wrong time can impair your bodies capability to produce melatonin - the sleep hormone. So when you scroll through your phone late into the night, especially in bed, your body doesn't realise it should be winding down and getting ready to fall asleep. Whenever I use my phone 1 - 2 hours before bed, I can never fall asleep as quick as I normally would and when I do, the sleep is always broken up and disturbed. After a night like this, I'll hit the snooze button, skip my workout, reach for quick fix sugary foods and caffeine over fruit and water. My skin will look as dull and as tired as I feel.
- If your phone has the option (Androids have this option in the settings), apply a blue light filter to your screen. I have mine on all day, but you could opt for just using it of an evening.
- Switch off all screen devices 1 - 2 hours before bed. This includes tablets, laptops and televisions. All screens give off blue light, so you will want to limit your exposure so close to bedtime.
- Invest in a blue light tint to your glasses - if you don't wear glasses, you can buy blue light resistant plain glasses to wear when using your devices for long periods of time.
Foods to Eat for Brighter Skin
We all know that what we put into our bodies shows on the outside. A diet filled with rich, anti-ageing foods, will give your skin a more youthful, glowing appearance. The other added health benefits are a nice bonus too. Now, chocolate does not give you spots, let's get that one out the way for a start. But, a diet high in sugar, saturated fats and alcohol will cause acne breakouts.
The best anti-ageing foods are high in antioxidants, zinc, and vitamin E, C and K. Collagen boosting foods such as chicken, egg whites and fish, keep our faces looking fuller and more youthful. Vitamin D helps reduce inflammation, taking the redness out of breakouts.
You can see my more comprehensive list of anti ageing foods in this article.
- Knowing what to eat is a great place to start, but so is knowing what not to eat! Foods high in sugars and saturated fats play havoc with our skin, causing excess oil build up, acne and inflammation of the blood vessels. Cut down on any excess and unnecessary naughty foods (you know what I am talking about!) and boost your intake of water, fruits and veggies.
- Foods high in processed sugars have been proven to weaken collagen and reduce the development of new collagen cells. Collagen is what keeps your cheeks plump, without it, your skin will sag and fold.
- Dark chocolate can improve the smoothness of your skin, as well as locking in and prolonging skins hydration levels.
- Brazil Nuts are high in selenium which can help prevent free radical damage, fight off harmful UV rays, reduce inflammation and pigmentation. 4 brazil nuts a day are enough to meet your RDA requirements! I love mixing mine with 2 squares of dark chocolate for an afternoon snack.
Meditation for Acne Breakouts
If you have ever face mapped your skin to figure out the root cause of your acne breakouts, you may have found that many of your breakouts are caused by stress. Scientists are proving over and over again that regular meditation practice does reduce the levels of stress hormones in our bodies. The American Psychological Association (APA) looked at over 200 studies into meditation and it's benefits in 2019 and found meditation and other mindfulness based therapies to be effective for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. When it comes to product free anti ageing, nothing could be more free than spending a few minutes sitting quietly every day.
Whenever I am stressed, no matter how well I try to hide it, my skin always gives the game away, with extremely red, inflamed breakouts. Personally, I love using the Headspace app as I find guided meditation stops my mind from wandering too much. The Honest Guys on YouTube is also a favourite of mine, both offering free resources.
- Many of us find mediation daunting. Try starting with just 5 minutes a day of slow, steady breathing. You don't even have to close your eyes if it makes you uncomfortable, just relax your gaze.
- Meditating when you need to can help, but you will get more benefits if you make meditation as much as part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth.
Exercise Your Way to Healthier Skin
Exercise. Some of us love to hear that word, some of us hate it. Science tells us that exercise is almost a cure all for most things, and when it comes to product free anti ageing, it's high on my list. When you increase your heart rate through exercise, you improve your blood circulation. Improved blood circulation helps to deliver vital nutrients all around your body, including to your skin. This helps to boost collagen production which promotes the generation of lots of healthy skin cells. And don't we all want lots of healthy skin cells?
Gone are the days of finding excuses not to exercise. You can't say it's boring - have you tried every form of exercise out there? You can't say it's expensive - there are hundreds of thousands of hours of free fitness content on YouTube. You can't say you don't have the right clothes - I've been known to workout in my pyjamas! Yes, there are physical and health related issues that might mean not all forms of exercise are accessible to you, but speak to your doctor and find out what kinds of workouts would be safe for you to pursue. Your heart and your skin will thank you for it!
Anti Ageing Skin Care Tools
I know we are talking about product free anti ageing, but there are some tools worth talking about and even having on hand when it comes to keeping your skin bright and youthful.
- Your own hands are amazing anti ageing tools. Facial massage with just your hands can be a powerful weapon in your skin care regime. Lymphatic drainage massages are amazing for draining toxins from your lymphatic system and reducing inflammation. Lifting and firming massages can do just that too, lifting and tightening your skin in all the right places. I love treating myself to a massaging facial every couple of months, but there are some great tutorials on YouTube you can follow along with to achieve amazing results at home.
- If you want to up your home massage game, look at investing in a jade roller or a gua sha stone. Jade rollers have been used in skin care regimes since the days of the Egyptians and the Mayans. The naturally cooling properties of jade helps to reduce puffiness and aid in muscle relief. Gua Sha became popular in ancient Chinese beauty routines, aiding in lymphatic drainage and resulting in firmer, brighter looking skin. I bought a great set off Amazon a few years ago and it is serving me well. I use my jade roller with my sheet masks to ensure the serums really penetrate my skin. The gua sha comes out once a week for a thoroughly luxurious and satisfying at-home facial massage.
- You can buy portable steamers but I do like to go a little old school and just put my face over recently boiled water and cover my head and the bowl with a towel, creating a little mini facial sauna. Steaming releases trapped dirt and sebum from the pores which, if left unchecked, can clog pores and result in inflammation and breakouts. Steaming also encourages collagen production and boosts skins elasticity, resulting in fewer wrinkles and less sagging.
You don't have to break the bank when it comes to skin care, and there are so many wonderful things you can do without the creams and serums. I find when I follow these simple steps above, my skin not only looks great, but I feel great too - and the products I do reach for, work all the better for the extra care I've given my skin!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Sarah Campbell
Riviera Rose from South of France on April 15, 2013:
I loved this hub - never knew about silk pillow cases, what a fantastic idea! And although I eat healthily and do much of what you suggest, I do neglect my neck - but no more! As of tonight I'll moisturise there too - how did I not think of this myself? Great hub, voted up and beautiful.
Eiddwen from Wales on April 15, 2013:
So very interesting.
GiblinGirl from New Jersey on April 14, 2013:
Interesting - I never thought about the way I sleep or the material of my pillow cases. Thanks for sharing!