Keeping your skin healthy and glowing is simple. It just takes the right support and a few daily habits.

Healthy skin is one of your most valuable assets. For starters, it’s the first layer of protection against the elements. It controls your body temperature. And it can also alert you to other underlying health issues. It’s a living, breathing, incredibly important organ.

But healthy skin is also beautiful skin. It radiates. It glows. It defies age. It helps you not just look––but feel––your best. Making sure your skin maintains its tightness, elasticity, and radiance doesn’t require a 10-step skin-care routine or monthly facials. It begins with your cells, diet, and daily habits. In fact, keeping your skin healthy can be simple.

First, let’s talk about the habits that might be causing your skin to age more quickly. Then get started on smart habits with some simple tips to maintain healthy, strong skin.

A Few Factors that Contribute to Unhealthy Skin

What you eat, your age, and the environment you live in can cause your skin to gradually lose its structure, brightness, and elasticity. Here are some of the biggest aging accelerators:

  • The sun: Exposure to UV rays can promote free radicals, which can break down the elastin and collagen that give your skin its structure. Over time, this leads to more fine lines and wrinkles, as well as skin discoloration.
  • Poor diet: Eating a lot of carbohydrates, processed or fried food, and refined sugars isn’t good for skin health. That’s because as sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins, it produces harmful compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that can cause oxidative stress. The more AGEs that build up, the more they damage the proteins in your skin, which can make skin look older.
  • Stress: Acute and chronic stress can impact overall skin health. It can trigger the production of cortisol, which normally is natural and good for you. But too much cortisol will gradually break down collagen. And when collagen breaks down, so does your skin.
  • Age: Estrogen plays a vital role in maintaining your skin’s natural beauty. That’s because it helps stimulate collagen, elastin, and the hyaluronic acid production that keeps your skin firm. But as women age, estrogen levels naturally decline. Too little estrogen leads to more wrinkles and sagging skin.

How to Keep Your Skin Bright and Radiant

From the foods you eat to how much you sleep, here are a few steps you can take to keep your skin healthy, firmer, and more radiant:

Put some (healthy) fat into your diet

Your skin gets its glow from healthy fats. Get monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, and avocados, or fish to help your skin stay hydrated, firm, and flexible.

Get plenty of antioxidants

Antioxidants are an important way to protect against collagen degradation caused by free radicals. Foods rich in vitamins C and E can help deliver the antioxidants you need on a daily basis. These foods also play an important role in collagen synthesis. Consider adding foods like broccoli, blueberries, tomatoes, walnuts, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes to your plate.

Give collagen a boost

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. One of its primary functions is to provide your skin with structure and help it retain volume and elasticity. Eat a diet high in protein along with foods like bone broth to help promote collagen production.

Wear sun protection

Sunlight takes its toll on your skin due to its ultraviolet rays that damage your cells. So, protect yourself with hats, protective clothing, and sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.

Manage stress

Stress can make your skin more sensitive to acne breakouts or other skin problems. Take steps to manage your stress and develop a healthy state of mind. Take time for yourself, get enough sleep, and, if you’re dealing with chronic stress that’s interfering with your overall well-being, consider talking to a mental health professional.

Be gentle on your skin

A good daily skin-care regimen can help protect and restore a healthy complexion. Use soap-free cleansers, rinse with warm—instead of hot—water, and moisturize regularly. The right balance of oil and moisture is important for elasticity and overall health. You can also add concentrated anti-aging ingredients with serums or toners that include hyaluronic acid or antioxidants. It’s also a good idea to gently exfoliate a couple times a week.

Replace what life takes out with supplements

Add high-quality collagen and antioxidant supplements to your routine to boost your body’s ability to combat the negative effects that the environment, stress, and diet can have on your skin health.

Drink plenty of water

Drink about 8 glasses of water a day to help maintain radiance and firmness. Staying hydrated flushes toxins out of the body that may otherwise impact your overall skin health. It also fills your cells with water to improve elasticity, plump your skin, and give you a healthy glow.

Exercise regularly

Daily exercise can help improve your skin’s overall appearance in a few ways. Increased blood flow during your workouts carries nutrients to skin cells and gives you a glow. Exercise also releases stress-reducing hormones—and less stress means healthier skin. Avoid working out with makeup and wash your face afterward because sweat can clog your pores. And if you choose to exercise outside, wear sun protection or sunscreen to protect against the aging effects of UV rays.

Invest in beauty sleep

Beauty sleep isn’t just a fairy tale. Your body produces collagen, and your skin cells regenerate and restore themselves more quickly at night. There’s also more blood flow to your skin, so it gets the nutrients it needs to recover from daily exposure to the elements. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. And apply moisturizer before you go to bed to aid your skin’s natural regeneration cycle while you sleep. Try this bedtime routine.

Want to learn more? Check out 9 Things You Never Knew About Your Skin.