In everything we do, there is a basic foundation, and also more glamorous, fun, or tempting advanced actions we can take. The same is true when it comes to maximizing your appearance. If you undergo elaborate procedures each month but forget to drink water each day, your look will suffer. If you regularly visit the plastic surgeon, but never break a sweat working out, your body will look soft and flabby rather than toned.
Although these actions are free and available to everyone, their importance to your look can’t be underestimated. Ignoring them will have a negative impact on your skin and body as it can cause early aging and other problems. Discover five essential habits that are natural, free, and excellent for making you as attractive as possible.
The Importance of a Strong Foundation
When it comes to our aesthetics, it can be easy to lose sight of the basic actions that don’t only contribute to our looks but keep us healthy as well. For example, it’s far easier to see the shortcut option of getting a tummy tuck rather than taking the time and effort to form a consistent workout routine. Even if they require extra effort, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re maintaining a routine that contributes to a beautiful, vibrant body and healthy, flawless skin.
Get Plenty of Sleep
One of the most underrated factors that determines how you look is simply getting enough sleep. The rule of thumb is that we need 7-9 hours of sleep each night to sustain optimal health, but it’s not just our health that’s affected. Remember a time in your life when you weren’t getting enough sleep – how did it made you feel, and what did it do to your appearance? If you regularly skip out on sleep, these are common ways it can affect your look:
Consequences of Not Getting Quality Sleep
- Premature aging
- Crow’s feet under your eyes
- Dark circles (Racoon Eyes)
- Thinning Hair
- Increased bouts of acne
- Wrinkled skin
- Dilated blood vessels that cause red eyes
- Gaining unwanted weight
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
While eight hours a day is the general standard, the amount of sleep you need really depends on different factors. According to the Sleep Foundation, this is how much sleep you should get each night based on your age:
- Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours
- School-age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours
The CDC reports that 7% of Americans drink no water at all and 43% consume less than four cups per day. With fresh water available to every American citizen, it’s surprising that so many people neglect their hydration, especially considering the effect that it has on our skin. There’s no doubt that the hundreds of other beverages on the market play a major role in why we don’t drink enough water, but none of them refuel our body and cells the way water does.
How Not Drinking Water Affects Your Body
- Dry, flaky skin
- Premature aging
- Gain weight due to hunger pangs when you really just need water
- Reduces muscle mass
- Interferes with your body’s ability to cool itself
- Digestive problems
Tips for Making Water a Bigger Part of Your Life
We get it– when you wake up in the morning or settle down to watch a movie with loved ones, water is probably not the first beverage you want to grab. However, not drinking enough can lead to early aging, weight gain, and other unwanted factors. It’s worthwhile to make an active effort to drink more water each day and these tips can help:
- Purchase a quality water bottle that you’ll look forward to using each day.
- Develop the habit of drinking a glass of water after each meal.
- Instead of coffee, rinse your organs and skin by starting with a full glass of water.
- Keep fresh water in the places you spend the most time, like your car and office.
- Use water as a way to reduce hunger by drinking a glass before you eat.
Fresh Air and Sun
When was the last time you spent at least an hour in the sun? While we’re all aware of the consequences of hanging out in the sun too long, which include sunburn and skin cancer, rarely going outside is equally unhealthy. In fact, a study in Southern Sweden revealed that avoiding the sun entirely doubles your chance of an early death. Discover why spending time outside should be a regular part of your beauty routine.
Benefits of Sun Exposure
- The right amount of sun exposure leaves you with a golden tan.
- Sunlight effectively treats acne.
- Provides Vitamin D, which affects nearly every tissue in your body.
- Increases serotonin levels to improve your mood.
- People who live in sunny areas get fewer cavities.
- Time in the sun increases sex hormones including testosterone.
We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat”, and the reality is, it couldn’t be more accurate. If you’re looking to try different beauty treatments but continue to eat a high-carb, high-sugar diet, then looking your best will always be an uphill battle. While many popular diets can be healthy and lead to your most fit and toned body, there are some food-facts that apply to everyone.
Excess Sugar Causes Many Problems
Most kids grew up being told not to consume too much sugar due to the threat of cavities, but as adults, there are even bigger reasons to limit our intake of the sweet stuff. From being the direct cause of obesity to studies that link it to cancer and dementia, following a high-sugar diet is one of the worst things you can do for your health or appearance. Consider zero-calorie sugar substitutes like Monk Fruit as a safe alternative.
All Bread is Sugar
While this doesn’t mean you should throw away the sandwich you packed for lunch, it is an important realization for managing your diet. Even seemingly innocent forms of bread like wheat pasta or hamburger buns have one thing in common– they turn to sugar as soon as you break them down in your mouth. By simply being mindful of this, you can manage your diet so it doesn’t cause cavities or weight gain.
Carbs From Bread are the Main Cause of Weight Gain
Make no mistake– carbs will cause you to gain weight far more quickly than fat will. If you’re highly active, carbs will be the first macronutrient you burn during exercise, but if not, the excess carbs will accumulate around your waistline and other problem areas. This is the reason that diets including veganism can be followed in a healthy way by eating fresh fruits and veggies, or unhealthy by loading up on pasta and other bread products.
Commit to a Life of Fitness
Although so many aspects of modern life are easy and can be done with little to no effort, humans have a long history of needing to run, hunt food, and walk long distances for survival. Ultimately, we’re designed to move. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is the surest way to let your looks and health drop to their lowest standard. The truth is, a consistent fitness routine will do more for your appearance than any plastic surgery.
Why Staying Fit is Vital for Your Appearance
From the toned, hardbody appearance you get from working out, to the fact that it benefits your smile and skin, there are a massive array of reasons to stick to a fitness plan. If your schedule is busy or you lack the money for a lofty gym membership, you can still do bodyweight workouts, go for a walk or jog, or do a free trial at a local gym or yoga class. However you make it happen, it’s absolutely vital to exercise on a regular basis if you want to look your best.
When it Comes to Improving Your Look, Don’t Skip the Basics
It’s true that a trip to the beauty salon or an appointment for laser hair removal can make vast improvements to your outside appearance, but the most powerful actions you can take are the ones that benefit your health as well. Ultimately, health plays a major role in what we find attractive. By staying fit and hydrated and managing your sun, sleep, and dietary intake, you can take a huge step towards a healthier and more appealing version of yourself, all without spending a dime.
Nicholas Napier is a Navy Vet and MBA living in San Diego. He works as an SEO specialist and writer while hosting the Rogue Writers Podcast. His interests include philosophy, fitness, nutrition, and martial arts. For inquiries, email Nicholas.