5-step plan to smooth skin

by Hannah de Gruchy June 08, 2021

5-step plan to smooth skin

Of all the skin concerns you may have, from spots and blemishes to wrinkles and fine lines, perhaps the most common everyday problem is rough, dry skin. The Holy Grail of a healthy complexion is skin that’s smooth, hydrated and texture free.

Achieving smooth skin means regular cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising. It also means considering the health of your skin, nourishing it with the right nutrients and plenty of hydration. Lifestyle factors also play a role, with UV protection and restorative sleep being equally important.

What causes rough skin?

rough skin relief

Rough, textured skin can be caused by a multitude of factors, ranging from hormonal influences to the external impact of the climate you live in and even how well you moisturise each day.

Going through the perimenopause and the menopause causes a drop in the natural level of the hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen helps to stimulate the production of collagen, the protein that keeps your skin youthful and smooth. Less collagen as a result of a decline in oestrogen can lead to dry, rough skin that begins to droop and show signs of ageing.

The climate can also cause your skin to become dehydrated and lose its smoothness. UV light, cold temperatures, changes in humidity and wet, icy winds can all leave you feeling dry and rough. Pollution and environmental toxins can build up and have the same stripping effect by causing inflammation.

Your skin has its own system of keeping itself moisturised, in the form of sebum, a natural oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands. But it does need a helping hand. Neglecting cleansing, allowing dirt to build up, and not replacing lost moisture will lead to an uneven, textured complexion.

How to get smooth skin

Achieving smooth skin isn’t impossible, but it does need a certain level of commitment to the cause. There are five main aspects to consider that will keep your face looking smooth and plump:

  • Look after your skin with regular cleansing, exfoliating and nourishment, using natural, toxin-free skincare products.
  • Hydrate inside and outside, drink plenty of water and use a suitable moisturiser.
  • Protect your skin from damaging UV rays.
  • Improve your lifestyle, improve your diet, exercise more, drink less alcohol and give up smoking.
  • Ensure you get enough restful, regenerating sleep.

1. Create a skincare routine for a smooth face

skincare routine

Properly cleansing your face removes the dirt, cellular debris, excess sebum, bacteria, makeup, and environmental toxins and pollutants that build-up on the skin each day. If left, these elements can become trapped in the pores, leading to spots and irritation.

Cleanse twice a day, in the morning and evening, to ensure you are clean and free from irritants. Use a gentle, organic cream cleanser to gently lift away dirt and remove makeup without stripping the natural oils.

Exfoliating will also help to keep the pores clear and to remove dead skin cells. Choose a gentle physical exfoliant such as a konjac sponge to buff the skin. Or opt for a ‘chemical’ exfoliant that contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) such as glycolic acid or a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) such as salicylic acid.

AHAs work by gently peeling away the top outer layers to reveal more evenly pigmented, smoother skin. BHAs work by penetrating the pores, flushing them of dirt and oil.

Aim to exfoliate twice each week, once a week if your skin is particularly sensitive.

2. Keep your skin hydrated

hydrated skin

Water is essential for life, and that includes the vibrancy of your skin. When you drink water, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream, helping to deliver oxygen and essential nutrients to all the organs of the body, including the skin.

If you become dehydrated, your face and hands will appear dull and dry, which in turn will affect the texture of the skin. Turning it from smooth and silky, to rough and bumpy.

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help to ensure your skin doesn’t become dehydrated. You can then take care of the outside, keeping your skin plump and healthy by using moisturisers containing nourishing ingredients.

Hemp-based moisturisers such as the Nurturing Face Cream from Hemptouch, are designed to calm red or irritated skin as well as nurture and protect it. Regenerating serums such as the Regenerating Concentrate from Alteya Organics are designed to support firmer, smoother skin.

Be mindful of what other drinks you consume. Sugary drinks have an inflammatory effect which can lead to redness, bumps and irritation. Caffeine and alcohol both have a mild diuretic effect which can lead to dehydration and dryness, so it’s a good idea to drink both in moderation.

Aim to drink six to eight regular glasses of water a day (herbal teas/infusions also count) and have an extra glass of water for each caffeinated or alcoholic drink.

3. Protect your skin from the sun

Protecting skin from sun

As much as you might love the warming sensation of sunlight, not to mention the enormous benefits of sunlight exposure – manufacturing vitamin D, which is needed for strong bones and teeth, a healthy immune system, and supporting mental health – long term exposure isn’t ideal for healthy skin.

The UV rays from the sun cause skin damage. In the short-term, UV damage looks like sunburn (even a suntan is actually a form of sun damage). Longer-term, it creates dull looking, uneven skin.

So, protecting yourself from UV rays is important for achieving smooth skin. A large brimmed hat and CE certified sunglasses will help, but using sunscreen is also important.

Avoid products containing chemical SPFs such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are linked with hormone disruption. Currently, the evidence is inconclusive, but some studies suggest that it could lead to developmental problems in children and fertility problems in adults. 

Instead, use a mineral based sunscreen such as Rose Otto Sunscreen from Alteya Organics. This lightweight, non-chalky SPF 25 gives a sheer tint and is rich in skin loving antioxidants.

4. Improve your lifestyle

Lifestyle exercise food supplements

Smoking is one of the most damaging habits for both your health and your skin. If you do smoke, give some serious consideration to quitting. (Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you would like support with this.)

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables means that you’re consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants helps to neutralise free radicals, unstable molecules of oxygen that can cause damage to cells and DNA. The vitamins and minerals found in fresh produce also contribute to skin cell regeneration and repair.

Adding a supplement to your diet that specifically supports the skin, such as hair, skin & nails from G&G Vitamins will help to support healthy skin from the inside. This supplement contains bamboo extract which is rich in silica and supports elasticity. Other ingredients include hyaluronic acid which helps cells to retain water, keeping the skin hydrated. It also contains vitamin C to stimulate collagen production and selenium to protect the membranes of the skin cells.

Collagen keeps the skin supple and smooth, but it’s lost as part of the normal ageing process. It can be helpful to take a collagen supplement to support your complexion and skin health. Organic collagen powder from Planet Paleo contains collagen peptides sourced from free range, grass fed cows and is easy to digest. Replacing this lost collagen can help to keep skin looking smooth.

Gentle exercise such as yoga, walking, light jogging, swimming and cycling are great for physical and mental health, and they’re good for the skin, too. Exercise helps to improve blood flow, delivering oxygen and vital nutrients.

5. The restorative effects of sleep

sleep night moon

Sleep is crucial to health and wellbeing. As Matthew Walker says in his book, Why We Sleep, “Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day”.

A lack of sleep can cause chronic physical and mental health problems including type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression and anxiety. Insufficient sleep can also negatively affect the skin.  

When you sleep, your body enters repair mode, repairing at a cellular level to ensure you’re able to function the following day. A lack of quality sleep will mean that your cells won’t regenerate properly, leading to dull, lifeless skin.

Eventually, you’ll experience dry, rough skin as a result of dead cells building up. Your under eyes may appear dark, sunken, and puffy, giving your face a sallow appearance.

Therefore, getting deep, restorative sleep is crucial in your smooth skin quest. Our healthy living blog, Why sleep and recovery are so important, provides helpful tips for sleeping well.

Achieving smooth skin 

There’s no magic cure to eliminating rough skin. It’s a case of making mindful self-care choices and improving your lifestyle. It’s not always possible to do everything right as life can have a habit of getting in the way.

But following these tips as much as you can, will help to ensure your skin remains healthy, hydrated, supple and smooth.

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Hannah de Gruchy
Hannah de Gruchy

Author

Health and wellness author and biologist specialised in sustainability, nutrition and eco-living.


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