Treat yourself right, from the inside out. Here are eight beauty habits that will also boost your health.
Drink less alcohol (and more water)
Dr. Stephen Mulholland, a plastic surgeon in Toronto, says excessive alcohol consumption-more than one or two drinks a day-puts strain on the liver. This can result in dilated pores, dilated and broken capillaries, as well as the overgrowth of sweat and oil glands.
Unfortunately, this occurs most often in the face (particularly the nose), though other areas of the skin are vulnerable, too. But he still believes in the health benefits of red wine, and says one glass a day will not harm the skin-unless you suffer from rosacea. A survey by the National Rosacea Society in the U.S. found that 76 percent of sufferers cited red wine as a trigger for flare-ups.
Exfoliate your skin
Dead skin cells equal dull skin tone. And by not getting rid of them, you’re sabotaging the hydrating effects of body cleansers and moisturizers as they try to “battle through” the buildup barrier. Use a body scrub about twice a week. Alternatively, try daily dry-body brushing before showering.
Using a brush or loofah mitt, buff your skin in circular motions (don’t scrub too hard), starting with the soles of your feet, then working upward on legs, front and back. Pay special attention to backs of the thighs, upper arms and hips. Of course, in the shower, you can use a nylon puff or sea sponge with your favourite body cleanser for a more gentle slough.
Embrace a fuller brow
One of the biggest beauty mistakes is to go wild with the tweezers-too-thin brows (think Pamela Anderson) but it can age you. And compensating with makeup is never as good as having full natural brows, says Kira Thompson, owner of The Brow House in Toronto, which does professional brow shaping. And you also don’t want to end up with a shape that’s not naturally yours, like a rounded clown brow or a hook (a.k.a. “tadpole”) shape.
Thompson recommends learning from a professional about the shape of your own brows and how they grow, and what works for you to keep them groomed.
Exercise definitely gives you more energy and keeps you in shape. But new research from McMaster University suggests that endurance exercise might help fight, and even reverse, the signs of aging, such as balding, grey hair and thinning skin.
Endurance exercise is aerobic activity-such as brisk walking, running or cycling-that improves cardio-respiratory fitness, according to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. The longer you can do aerobic exercise, the more endurance you have.
In the McMaster study, lead researcher Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky had mice with physical characteristics comparable to a middle-aged person do 45-minute runs three times a week. Their skin became tighter, and their fur grew back and stopped turning grey.
Stop picking at pimples
Never pick at your skin, says Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK on Avenue in Toronto. “Picking can cause scarring and infection,” she explains, “and the skin doesn’t heal properly.” It’s important to note that acne scarring is actually caused by picking and not the acne itself, Dr. Kellett notes-so keep hands off for clearer skin.
Remove your makeup before bed
By not cleansing before bed, you’re leaving your pores clogged with leftover makeup and sweat, says Manuela Marcheggiani, a cosmetic chemist and co-founder of Canada’s Isomers (Skin Care) Laboratories.
The result: dull, breakout-prone skin. Leaving on your eye makeup could even cause eye irritation and broken lashes.
On nights when you’re too tired, use pre-saturated cleansing cloths before you crash.
Stop shampooing every day
Some women just don’t feel clean if they don’t shampoo daily. But washing your hair that often depletes your scalp of the natural oils that make hair shiny and manageable, says high-profile Canadian hairstylist Marc Anthony. It may make hair greasier as your body overproduces oils to compensate.
Instead, try shampooing every other day. “If hair is flat, run damp hands through it and blow-dry on low to bring back volume,” suggests Anthony. It helps if you don’t go wild on hairspray and gel the first day. You could also try a “dry” shampoo.
Apply sunscreen daily
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canada, and those with fair skin are at increased risk. “Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or indoor tanning equipment and having fair skin are the most common risk factors for skin cancer,” says Lynda MacNiven, senior prevention coordinator for the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. “People who work, or exercise, in the sun for long periods of time are at greater risk.”