20 Natural Ways of Maintaining a Youthful Skin

Here are 20 proven natural ways to maintain youthful skin:

1. Exfoliate.

“I am not recommending a harsh scrub or cloth,” explains board-certified dermatologist Nancy Samolitis, M.D., who lists exfoliation as one of her top tips for glowing skin.

“Light exfoliation daily, with either a nonirritating acid cleanser or toner that dissolves dead cells on the surface, [will] lead to glowing skin.”

Removing the outer layer of dead cells will help smooth skin texture, increase the absorption rate of your skincare products, and brighten up your complexion.

2. Take care of your stomach.

Research shows that underlying stomach health issues can manifest on the skin in many ways, from acne to eczema.

Stomach health is nuanced and complex, and it’s important (for so, so many reasons) for everyone to take the time to learn how to care for and nourish their own unique gut flora.

However, for the purpose of this article, here’s a general guideline: Anything that will damage your stomach (sugar, processed food) may also damage your skin.

3. Incorporate healthy fats into your diet.

“Healthy fats like those found in nuts, flaxseed, and avocados can help to replenish your body’s ability to make healthy and strong cell membranes, [which] can protect against environmental damage by restoring the skin barrier,” Samolitis explains.

Waldorf agrees, explaining that “not eating adequate healthy fats can cause the skin and hair to be dry, and increasing these fats in the diet may help in certain skin conditions characterized by excessive dryness.”

Other healthy-fat foods are salmon, olive oil, and whole eggs.

4. Keep your skin microbiome balanced.

Microscopic bacteria keep skin hydrated and supple, fight off free radicals, stave off infection, and even protect against harmful UV rays.

Keep yours in check by avoiding harsh soaps and scrubs, which can strip away the essential oils and bacteria that make up the skin microbiome.

On the flip side, use skincare products that are formulated specifically to boost the skin microbiome.

5. Apply skincare products right after bathing.

In addition to a quality skincare routine, the timing in which you apply your products can affect moisture retention.

Waldorf’s top tip: Take to your skincare routine immediately after hopping out of the shower.

“Applying a moisturizer daily on face and body after washing replenishes and seals in moisture,” she says. “It is much better to maintain good skin than to try to catch up after skin is dry, inflamed, and uncomfortable.”

6. Practice a facial massage routine.

Not only does it feel enjoyable, but facial massage can lessen tension and increase circulation, thereby helping to keep skin cells healthy and aiding in lymphatic drainage.

Commit to a daily facial routine or use a jade roller.

It only takes a few minutes a day, and the post-facial massage glow will be worth it.

7. Eat antioxidant-rich foods.

“The more colorful, the better,” Samolitis says. “My favorites are dark, leafy greens.”

Indeed, fruits and vegetables are considered the best sources of antioxidants.

Some antioxidant-packed foods to incorporate into your diet include blueberries, spinach, and dark chocolate.

8. Stay active.

Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, thereby bringing vital oxygen, nutrients, and minerals to the outer layers of your body.

Bottom line: Working out leads to brighter, better-looking skin.

9. Use vitamin C.

One of the best topical ingredients for glowing skin is vitamin C—which brightens tone.

The research to back up these claims is sound and vast: Vitamin C can fade hyperpigmentation, protect against environmental aggressors, brighten skin tone, and promote collagen and elastin production.

10. Don’t pick your skin.

As a general rule of thumb, once your products are applied, keep your (most likely dirty) hands off of your face. ”

Picking at pimples, injuries, or itchy areas causes worsening of the problem and ultimately can [lead to] infection and scars,” Waldorf says.

11. Stay hydrated.

It’s not a myth: Drinking enough water is essential for overall health.

Staying adequately hydrated keeps your skin moisturized, healthy, and, you guessed it, glowing.

That’s not to mention all of the other endless benefits of drinking enough H20.

While eight (8-ounce) glasses per day is the general guideline, water intake isn’t one-size-fits-all, so listen to what your body needs.

12. Get regular facials.

We know, we know—this is not always feasible.

But if it’s in your budget, getting regular facials is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy, glowing visage, Samolitis says.

Ideally, aim for one facial per month, which falls in time with your face’s natural renewal cycle.

13. Avoid potentially irritating foods.

You already know what they are: foods that are packaged, processed and high in sugar, as well as dairy.

“Excess sugar, dairy, and processed foods can cause inflammation, leading to rashes and breakouts,” Samolitis explains.

If you can only commit to eliminating one of these no-no foods, make it processed sugar, as recent research has confirmed the link between high-sugar foods and acne, as well as general head-to-toe inflammation.

14. Don’t smoke.

Obvious but, for so many reasons, worth restating: Smoking has detrimental effects on your body from head to toe.

Whereas glow is concerned, “smoking restricts the oxygen supply to the skin, increases the buildup of damaging free radicals and increases the risk of some skin cancers,” Waldorf explains.

15. Strengthen your skin barrier.

Itchy, flaky, dry skin? Your barrier is likely compromised.

Strengthen it by using moisturizers and cleansers that are formulated with ceramides, an essential component of the barrier (that can be stripped away by things like over-cleansing).

16. Get your beauty sleep.

Yet another important reason to prioritize sleep: Inadequate or disturbed sleep can wreak havoc on your skin.

Research has shown that poor sleep quality can contribute to increased signs of aging (fine lines and wrinkles) and compromised skin barrier function.

As with water, eight hours is the standard rule of thumb for sleep, but always listen to your body.

17. Keep your makeup—and makeup tools—clean.

Makeup brushes, bags, and sponges are basically breeding grounds for the proliferation of bacteria, dead skin cells, oil, and grime—all of which can seriously hinder your quest for glowing skin.

So, keep things sanitary! Clean your makeup tools regularly, ideally every other week.

18. Keep things lukewarm.

One of the most common face-washing mistakes: using the wrong water temperature.

Rinsing your complexion (and hair) with water that’s too hot can strips natural oils, which can lead to a compromised barrier.

Too-cold water won’t get the job done and might leave dirt and makeup on your epidermis.

So when it comes to cleansing, stick to water temperatures that are lukewarm.

19. Minimize stress.

Easier said than done, we know, but feelings of chronic stress can seriously damage your skin—and even trigger a host of issues, including eczema and psoriasis.

All the more reason to commit to a proper self-care routine, whatever that may look like for you (although may we suggest a few aforementioned tips such as making time for face masks, facials, exercise, and beauty sleep).

20. Moisturize.

Need we say more? Keeping body moisturized is one of the quickest tickets to a glowing complexion.

Don’t skimp on daily moisturizer, even if you have naturally oily skin, and invest in ingredients that are proven to hydrate (like peptides, electrolytes, and ceramides).