We all have different genes that affect our skin’s appearance and elasticity, and while there are numerous skin types, many of us share similar skin problems. Being vegan may give you a head start when it comes to your skin, but it is still important to adopt some healthy habits that will do your skin good. After all, our skin is one of the first indicators of good health, and to help us promote veganism we want our good health to radiate from the inside out.
Not every tip on this vegan guide to healthy skin will work for everyone, but it’s a great place to start! Let’s go:
The importance of sleep
Are you surprised that the first item on this checklist isn’t a product? Don’t be, because your body needs six-eight hours of quality sleep every night to rest and repair itself – think of it as a mini hibernation! Turn off your phone, TV and radio and allow your body to re-charge. Lack of sleep causes dilation of blood vessels which can lead to dark under-eye circles and increase stress, which wreaks havoc on your skin (not to mention your health).
Keep yourself hydrated
The second item has nothing to do with a product either (are we sensing a pattern here?). You need to drink water and lots of it! The majority of your body is made up of water, which helps flush out toxins and prevent dehydration. Different lifestyles, such as being an athlete, or being pregnant/nursing, can affect the amount of water you need, but according to the Mayo Clinic women need about nine glasses of fluids a day. Notice I said fluids and not water? Vegan milks and many fruits and veggies (such as watermelon) are high in water and count towards your nine glasses.
My personal trick is to drink 32 ounces of water first thing in the morning. It refreshes me after my six-eight hour drought and provides almost half of my daily recommended amount, putting me on track for the rest of the day.
Keep it clean
Have you ever washed your hands after being outside and been shocked by how dirty they were? Now think about your face. It is often covered in makeup, you or others may have touched it, and it has been in contact with air pollution. The point is you should clean your face at least once per day, whether using soap and water, or simply using wet and drained cotton wool to rub away dead skin cells and dirt.
I use the same vegan soap on my face that I use on my body. This works for me, but you may wish to try different brands and different methods (whether using soap or going soap-free) to see what works for you. Just make sure that if you are using soap, that it contains simple non-toxic ingredients, as just because a brand is vegan, this doesn’t necessarily make it toxins-free. Also, be aware that over-washing your face can strip it of its natural oils.
Another important tip that falls under this category is never sleep with your makeup on. Even if you feel like just rolling into bed, at the very least use an oil such as coconut or castor oil to remove your makeup first. Sleeping with your makeup on can clog your pores causing skin aging and acne. And let’s be honest: sleeping with your makeup on does not mean that you will wake up looking all sexy like they do on TV. It’s more likely that you will end up looking like the Joker.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
After you get enough sleep, drink enough water, and regularly clean your face, you can start to think about skincare products. They don’t have to be store-bought, although there are some great finds out there these days.
The first essential product is a good moisturizer. I urge everyone to moisturize their body and their face, even if you have acne-prone skin. Although you may be able to use the same soap on your body as on your face, you shouldn’t do this with body lotion. Inquire about samples from your favorite vegan brands to see which moisturizers work best for your skin. Try various plant-based oils for your body such as coconut, castor, or vitamin E, and don’t forget to make sure your facial moisturizer contain a sun protector factor (SPF).
Give masks a try
I love masks! I use them at least once a week to clean my pores and remove dead skin cells. Masks can have many benefits, and can be homemade or store-bought.
I have masks that harden and masks that use enzymes to eat away dead skin. I developed this habit as a young girl when my mother, who was not a product person, gave me her homemade mask treatment every week – a ritual that really stuck with me. My mother being 60+ with barely any wrinkles motivates me to keep up this practice.
Since this is not an everyday practice, I recommend you pair your mask ritual with something else you do weekly. Do it while you watch your favorite TV show or while doing laundry – multitasking is a great thing and you will be less likely to forget to do it.
I do not really think of makeup as skin care. Makeup to me is skin jewelry, meant to highlight what you like and hide what you don’t. The problem is, unless you are an awesome beauty guru or a Hollywood makeup artist, you are probably not doing a great job of hiding your problem skin. Use these tips to fix your skin first. If you do wear makeup, it is important to avoid toxic ingredients which can have a negative effect on your skin. Again, ensure your products are vegan and cruelty-free. If you need some recommendations read about my 5 must-try vegan cosmetic companies.
Your skin is your largest organ so it is important to take care of it and treat it with the respect that it deserves. Leave a comment below with your favorite vegan skincare tips!
Cover image: Shutterstock. Modification: TVW.