It’s a brand new year, and it’s a time when many people make goals and resolutions to change something about their lives. Lose weight, make more money, spend more quality time with the family, stop smoking – the list can go on and on. If you’re reading this blog, then improving the health and appearance of your skin is probably on your list.
Acne comes in many forms, from tiny whiteheads to those large nasty cysts,  and can plague people throughout their lives. Acne can also have several different causes – from hormonal changes to excess sebum (oil) to clogged pores.  And while some of these different acne situations call for different types of treatment, there are a few basic skin care principles that can help anyone, at any time, to have healthy skin.
Let’s take a look at three of the top resolutions that you can make that can help your skin:
1 – Get More Exercise
This might already be on your list of new year’s resolution, but if it’s not, then go ahead and write it on there if you want healthier skin. Of course it’s no great secret that even mild regular exercise can help you lose weight, sleep better, and reduce your stress. But it can even help your skin, too!
Here are a few points to consider:
- Exercise increases blood flow. This of course contributes to overall health, but it can also help your skin. Better blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients delivered to your skin, and might even help boost collagen production (the protein that gives your skin smoothness and elasticity).
- Exercise reduces stress. If you’re stressed, there’s nothing like going for a long jog or taking a kick-boxing class. Cortisol is a hormone produced when we’re experiencing high stress, and it’s been linked to excess oil production in the skin, as well insulin spikes and other changes in the body.  All of these can be culprits behind acne.
- Exercise helps you sleep better. Better sleep is one of the elements in maintaining a healthy cortisol balance. For more about sleep and acne, see the next point. 
2 – Get More Sleep
Can you really just sleep away your acne? Well, not quite, but getting an adequate amount of quality sleep can be a key factor in controlling your acne and having healthy skin. Let’s look at some of the factors:
- Lack of sleep can contribute to stress. See the previous point about stress and cortisol.
- Sleep helps boost the immune system.  Your immune system does more than just help ward off a winter-time cold. Your immune system fights infections and keeps your organs functioning properly – your skin included. 
Having trouble sleeping because of stress? Then re-read point number one and try adding regular exercise to your lifestyle.
3 – Eat Clean
We’ve discussed food culprits behind acne several times on this blog. Foods like dairy, sugar, and even coffee can affect your skin. So what does eating clean mean? Here are a few ideas:
- Reduce your carb intake. Carbs are more than just bagels or ice cream. Wheat, white rice, and even some “healthy” foods like granola bars or dried fruits have a high glycemic index. High GI foods quickly turn into sugar in your body, and sugar can contribute to inflammation (and a host of other health issues), acne being one.
- Reduce your caffeine intake. People have different reactions to caffeine, but too much caffeine can contribute to digestive problems and raised cortisol levels. 
- Eat more fresh vegetables. Switching out some of your junk food snacks for fresh veggies or fruits is just plain good for your overall health. The vitamins and nutrients in fresh vegetables can help boost your immune system, which can benefit your skin.
So what are you going to resolve to change about yourself this year? You can make this a year of healthier, clearer skin. We’re not doctors, so if you feel that you have a more serious medical cause behind your acne, please see a medical professional. But adding exercise, more sleep, and healthier foods to your lifestyle won’t hurt – and you might be surprised about your healthier skin, too!