If there’s one thing most people want, it's healthy, glowing skin. It seems like a difficult goal to achieve and many don't know how to achieve this result in their skincare routine.
But we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll describe what makes skin healthy, and what methods you can use to achieve a radiant complexion.
So, what is healthy skin?
First of all, it’s important to bust the myth that healthy skin is perfect and flawless. Your skin is an organ and is never going to be perfect. All skin has inherent flaws - it’s normal!
Your skin is an organ, and the biggest one you have at that. And just like a healthy body, healthy skin is skin that does a good job at what it’s meant to do. That is, protecting you from harm by acting as a physical barrier, keeping your body regulated (thermoregulation) and helping you sense things.
Your skin is actually your first line of defence against things like pathogens, infection and UV radiation. It does a lot more than just ‘look good’!
Hence, healthy skin is characterised by having a working, strong barrier function, or simply, by effectively protecting you from outside harm and disturbances. These range from mild to life-threatening and include:
- A wound/injury
- Hot water
- Environmental pollutants
- Parasites and bacteria
- Irritating ingredients
- Skin picking
Healthy, strong skin is better at resisting attacks and faster at healing these disturbances than unhealthy skin. It’s less likely to produce effects such as inflammation, irritation and pain when aggravated. It also responds to infections and wounds faster and retains moisture better.
Moreover, healthy skin has a skin barrier that is around 5.5 pH (though some people’s normal pH can be as low as 4.3). This pH creates perfect conditions for a strong acid mantle, a slightly acidic layer of sebum and sweat protecting the skin from microorganisms and contaminants. In this acidic environment, the skin’s beneficial microflora (its naturally occurring community of bacteria) is able to grow and protect the skin from harmful microorganisms.
Other signs of healthy skin include:
- Lack of flakes and scaling
- Soft and relatively smooth to the touch
- Even skin tone
- Not red all over
- A normal colour (unlike green, grey or yellow, which can point to a deeper condition like jaundice)
HOW TO ACHIEVE HEALTHY SKIN
Sunscreen. You might hear people go on and on about the importance of sunscreen and guess what… it’s true! The sun’s UV rays can cause severe damage to your skin if left unprotected. The effects can range from your skin drying out, to having an increased skin cancer risk and suffering from premature skin ageing due to photoaging.
UV radiation is all around you even when it’s not a sunny, warm day. It doesn’t go away in the wintertime, either! So you need to wear SPF daily and ensure you reapply every 2 hours. It might seem like a chore, but you’ll thank yourself in a couple of years when your skin is looking like a baby’s butt. We recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for adequate protection.
Maintain your skin’s pH. Since your protective acid mantle is acidic, it’s important to keep it that way to maintain its protective ability. Skincare products that dramatically alter the pH can cause disruptions and increase the risk of skin problems. Products on the alkaline side, like harsh cleansing agents, can also severely disrupt this balance.
Regular moisturisation. No matter your skin type, whether super oily or dry, your skin needs moisture every day. Look for a moisturiser that fits your skin type and sensitivities, like our radiance renewal pro-vitamin moisturiser. It’s tailored for dull, dehydrated skin, acne and hyperpigmentation-prone skin.
Don’t overwhelm your skin with actives. If you’re going to try a new product or treatment, make the addition small and gradual, instead of making a sudden, dramatic change. It helps your skin deal with the new ingredient (and any possible side effects) better. It also allows you to spot a bad reaction and know what change likely caused it.
Avoid over-cleansing and over-exfoliation. Remember, everything in moderation. Too much cleansing and exfoliation can severely damage and dry out your skin by disrupting your acid mantle, stripping your skin of its sebum, and taking off more skin cells than necessary. Your skin can end up irritated, dehydrated and sensitised.
We recommend you wash your face twice a day (try double cleansing after wearing a lot of makeup, SPF or skincare products) and exfoliating up to twice a week.
Keep to a healthy diet, and get adequate sleep. Your skin is a part of your body, and if your body isn’t getting enough rest, and being nourished from the inside out, you can’t expect the skin to be its best. If your diet lacks the vitamins and minerals needed, your skin won’t have the necessary resources to do its job. Ensure you get 7 to 8 hours sleep daily, and that you’re getting your macronutrients every day - include protein, fats and carbohydrates on your plate.