If the skin you're in looks dull, dry or rough, it's time to get your glow on. Every day the health of your skin is affected by elements in your environment, such as solar rays, detergents and pollutants. It's also affected by things such as nutrition and blood circulation. The measures you take to care for your skin – both inside and out -- can go a long way in giving you the smoother, healthier look you're after. Consult a dermatologist if you're concerned about your skin.
Use Sun Protection
Protect your skin from the sun. Most skin aging is caused by sun exposure. Protect your skin from damaging solar rays by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor higher than 15, wearing protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves, and limiting your time outdoors between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun is strongest.
Limit alcohol to keep your skin looking healthy. Alcohol causes your body to lose fluids, and this dehydrating effect shows up on your skin by making you look haggard. If you do drink alcohol, drink in moderation and stay hydrated to minimize skin effects.
Get Carotenoids for Color
Get a healthy, rosy glow by eating plenty of colorful fruits and veggies, according to Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Many of these foods are high in beta carotene and lycopene, which give orange, yellow, dark green and red fruits and vegetables their color and thus will also give your skin more color. For healthy, glowing skin, eat plenty high-carotenoid foods, such as carrots, cantaloupe, kale, apricots, pumpkin, spinach, watermelon and yams.
Kick the Habit
Quit smoking if you want healthy, beautiful skin. Smoking damages your skin and causes premature aging by promoting the breakdown of collagen, the protein that makes your skin firm and supple. Smoking also causes aging -- and unhealthy-looking, sallow skin -- by constricting the tiny blood vessels that nourish your skin with vital nutrients and oxygen.
Plump up your skin with moisture. Dry skin may result from aging, harsh soaps, cold, dry air and frequent bathing. Apply a moisturizer to rehydrate the outermost layer of your skin and seal in moisture, according to Harvard's HEALTHbeat newsletter. Attract moisture to your skin with formulas that contain humectants, such as ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Seal that moisture in with petrolatum, silicone, lanolin or mineral oil. Don't forget to smooth the spaces between your skin cells with emollients, such as linoleic or lauric acid. Use a humidifier if dry air is a problem.
Exercise regularly for the look of health. Good cardiovascular health increases blood flow to your skin, which gives you a radiant, healthy glow. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. Consult your physician before starting an exercise program.
See a Doctor
See a qualified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for treatments to improve your skin. Prescription-strength retinoids, such as Retin-A and Renova, make skin look younger by increasing collagen and reducing wrinkles. Resurfacing techniques that restore the skin include chemical peels, laser resurfacing and dermabrasion. Seek a physician who is certified and experienced in these procedures for a successful outcome.
Gianna Rose is a registered nurse certified in hospice and palliative care, as well as a certified wellness coach. She completed Duke Integrative Medicine's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course in 2009. Rose also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design.