4 Things Your Skin Craves Every Day

A woman touching her hands to her faceFrom cleansers to serums to night creams, the beauty aisle is lined with many complexion-enhancing products. And while each one serves a special purpose, here are four key tips what everybody’s skin needs every day, why those elements are so important, where you’ll find them, and which supposed “necessities” might really be harming your complexion.

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1. Water

The human body is full of water — it’s 55 percent to 75 percent of what we are. Water flushes toxins out of the body, allows our cells to absorb nutrients, and keeps our digestive processes moving smoothly.

But that water isn’t a constant. The most basic bodily processes, like breathing and sweating, remove that water from our cells. So for our cells to function properly, we need to consume lots of water to replace what we lose.

The skin is no different from the rest of the body when it comes to needing hydration. Water helps to remove impurities from the skin that can lead to pimples, and it hydrates to keep the skin looking plump and smooth.

To keep the skin hydrated, you should drink at least half a gallon (2 liters) of water each day.

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2. Cleansing

Cleansing is the most basic element of any skin-care routine. It not only removes excess dirt, pollutants and pore-clogging oil from the epidermis so it can remain blemish-free, but it also preps the skin for any subsequent products you’ll be using, so active ingredients (like vitamins or sunscreen) can penetrate and be most effective.

But not all cleansers are the same. First, a facial cleanser should always be soap-free; the soap products you use on the rest of your body are typically too harsh for the face. And, as with most skin-care products, you need to pick one that suits your skin type. For very dry skin, you might want to go with a creamy cleanser. Dry and/or sensitive skin should always go alcohol-free, whether creamy or not. An oily epidermis can benefit from an acidic cleanser, like an alpha-hydroxy product, which does a better job of breaking up sebum — the skin’s oily secretion that can lead to clogged pores.

Whichever cleanser is right for you, be sure to massage it into your face for at least 20 seconds so it has a chance to do its job.

3. Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are an important component of any healthy diet. They help to build up the lipid-based cell membranes that hold in water and nutrients. In the case of the skin, those lipids also form an oil barrier that protects the skin from UV damage and pollutants.

Without EFAs, skin-cell membranes and that overall protective barrier can’t work effectively. The skin ends up overly exposed, dehydrated and prone to produce a more harmful type of sebum, leaving it dry, inflamed and blemished.

The EFAs you need to keep your skin looking great are primarily omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 is found in tons of foods, including poultry, grains and cooking oils, so you’re probably getting plenty of that. Omega-3s are somewhat harder to come by; you’ll find those in cold-water fish, like salmon and sardines, along with flaxseed and safflower oils, kidney beans, walnuts and spinach. Some skin experts also recommend another EFA, gamma linolenic acid (GLA), for its anti-inflammatory effects. GLA is founds mostly in plant oils.

You might find it helpful to take an omega-3 or GLA supplement to improve your skin health. You’ll find those in most grocery stores, and definitely any natural-foods store.

4. Antioxidants

Antioxidants are widely believed to be beneficial for both cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. They’re found in all sorts of foods, including fruits, vegetables, seafood and oils. Antioxidants’ free-radical-fighting activities destroy molecules that can damage healthy cells, and as it turns out, they’re as great for skin cells as they are for every other cell in the body.

While many different antioxidants can be beneficial to the skin, two in particular get lots of attention:

Vitamin C — Builds collagen for plump, tight skin. Find it in whole grains, apples and citrus fruits. Aim for 75 milligrams a day.

Vitamin E — Protects cell membranes and “boosts” skin-based nutrients that fight off UV damage. Find it in wheat germ oil, almonds, and peanut butter. Aim for 15 milligrams a day.

Other skin-beautifying antioxidants include selenium, thiamine, beta-carotene and zinc.

Pregnancy After 35: 11 Tips For A Healthy Childbirth

African American women looking confused upset at pregnancy testGetting pregnant after 35 may be more difficult than at age 25, but it’s not necessarily impossible. What are your chances for getting pregnant after age 35? Why is it more difficult than in your 20s and early 30s, and why do doctors recommend seeking help getting pregnant sooner than later if you’re past age 35?

Rest assured, most healthy women who get pregnant after age 35 and even into their 40s have healthy babies. That doesn’t mean, though, that that you shouldn’t think about smart steps you can take to maximize your health and your baby’s health during pregnancy.

How Can I Increase My Chances of Having a Healthy Baby?

1. Remember: “Happy Mommy, Happy Baby”. Besides all of the medical stuff that we’re going to go through for moms after the age of 35, there is one thing to remember, you have a living, growing body inside of you and he/she feels what you feel. So, the first thing to remember is to remain stress free as much as possible.  With any pregnancy, there will be a certain level of stress, but for the majority of your pregnancy, and even while you’re trying to get pregnant, try to remain upbeat, positive and happy. Studies have shown that those who do have babies who are less prone to wild tantrums, excessive crying and developmental issues. So give your baby the gift of a happy attitude even before he/she gets here.

2. Getting early and regular prenatal care.

The first eight weeks of your pregnancy are very important to your baby’s development. Early and regular prenatal care can increase your chances of having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. Prenatal care includes screenings, regular exams, pregnancy and childbirth education, and counseling and support. It allows your doctor to stay ahead of health conditions that are more common in women who are older when they get pregnant. For instance, your age may increase your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure along with protein in the urine. During prenatal visits, your doctor will check your blood pressure, test your urine for protein and sugar, and test your blood glucose levels. That way, any potential problems can be caught and treated early.

3. Consider optional prenatal tests for women over 35. Your doctor may offer you special prenatal tests that are particularly applicable for older moms. These tests help determine the risk of having a baby with a birth defect. Ask your doctor about these tests so you can learn the risks and benefits and decide what’s right for you.

pregnant black woman

 

4. Take prenatal vitamins. All women of childbearing age should take a daily prenatal vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Getting enough folic acid every day before and during the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent birth defects involving a baby’s brain and spinal cord. Taking folic acid adds an important level of protection for older women, who have a higher risk of having a baby with birth defects.

How Can I Lower My Risk for Pregnancy Problems?

5. You deserve the same TLC as your baby. Taking care of yourself will help you manage any existing health problems and protect you from pregnancy-related diabetes and high blood pressure. And the healthier you are the better it will be for your little one.

6. Keep up with other doctor appointments. If you have a chronic health problem such as diabetes or…