Don’t be fooled by the picture-perfect complexions flooding your social media feed — we all have skin insecurities! While Instagram filters can be fun, there’s a fine line between play and reality. The ugly truth is that thanks to the rise in face-tuning apps and flawless skin filters, this line has been drastically blurred. Our perception of beauty has undoubtedly changed — and it’s harming our mental health. Rather than embracing our perfectly imperfect skin, men and women are chasing an unrealistic beauty standard. But, the truth is, there’s no such thing as “perfect skin” — we all have areas we want to improve! Whether you’re struggling with acne and scars or sunspots and wrinkles, there’s no need to feel embarrassed, insecure, or alone. That said, everyone deserves to feel beautiful and confident in their skin. The good news? With simple beauty hacks and lifestyle habits, you can support your skin and upgrade your beauty routine the all-natural way — no social media filters or cosmetic procedures needed.
To celebrate Beautiful in Your Skin Month, we’ve put together a 30-day Glowing Skin challenge. With expert beauty advice, product recommendations, and easy-to-implement beauty hacks, this simple (and free) beauty challenge will help you radiate from the inside out. Up for the challenge? You’re one month away from a more radiant you.
FitOn’s 30-Day Glowing Skin Challenge
30 tips + 30 days to a healthier, more vibrant you!
Day One: Eat Your Vitamin C
If you want to support the health of your skin, slow the signs of aging, and boost your natural glow, don’t underestimate the power of nutrition. While there are many skin-supporting supplements (more on this below), vitamin C deserves a superstar spotlight. You may know this nutrient as one of the best topicals for healthy skin, but did you know it’s just as powerful when eaten in food form? Loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin C-rich foods like citrus, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and pineapple fight free radical damage to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, inflammation, and lackluster. Vitamin C is also required for the synthesis of collagen, a protein that helps firm, soften, and smooth the skin. With benefits like these, you’ll want to load up on this nutrient!
To kick off your 30-day challenge, try these tasty ways to boost your Vitamin C:
- Add a handful of berries and freshly squeezed citrus to your water
- Snack on kiwi and citrus fruits like oranges, and grapefruit
- Make a tropical green smoothie with spinach, kale, lemon, ginger, pineapple, and coconut water
- Add some grilled or roasted broccoli, cauliflower, and bell pepper to your dinner menu
Day Two: Clean Your Makeup Brushes
When was the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes? It might not be at the top of your to-do list, but if you suffer from acne, skin irritations, or itchy skin (and even if you don’t), you may want to make this a higher priority! Not to gross you out, but dirty brushes make a perfect home for dirt, bacteria, and oil. Just think about it — even if you’re applying your makeup to a clean face, brushes can accumulate bacteria from the environment and your makeup bag. And if you share your makeup with a roommate or friend… well, we’ll leave that to your imagination. Let’s just say this is your sign to give your brushes a thorough wash! According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should be washing your brushes every 7 to 10 days — even after a single use. Rinse up!
Day Three: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Want the secret to dewy, radiant skin? Increase your water intake! It’s that simple. While other factors are, of course, at play, drinking enough water is one of the best (and easiest) things you can do to support your skin. Adequate hydration has been shown to improve blood flow to the skin, improve skin appearance, reduce whole-body inflammation, and flush out toxins. Based on findings from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men require about 15.5 cups of fluids per day, and women require about 11.5 cups.
If this sounds like a lot, you can also get about 20% of your hydration needs from the foods you eat. Try filling your summer plate with water-rich foods like cucumber, leafy greens, melon, and celery. Want some extra motivation to step up your sipping? Treat yourself to a new water bottle!
RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Hydration
Day Four: Give Gua Sha A Try
Taking whole-body health into consideration, we spoke with Dr. Monica Foitzik, licensed acupuncturist practicing Japanese meridian therapy in San Diego, California. Dr. Foitzik incorporates Kampo herbal medicine, Reiki, moxibustion, and fascial-release massage into her treatments to address everything from pain management and digestive issues to fertility, mental health disorders, and of course, facial rejuvenation.
A simple self-care practice utilized by Dr. Foitzik in her practice? Gua sha! “Don’t forget about your scalp and neck! Many don’t realize how much scalp and neck tension lead to sagging and wrinkled skin,” says Foitzik. “Regular gua sha or self-acupressure are great ways to reduce tension and keep those areas rejuvenated to prevent facial skin deterioration.” If you’re wondering how effective this facial rejuvenation treatment is, a single gua sha treatment has been shown to yield a four-fold increase in microcirculation followed by an immediate reduction in muscle pain. Think of it this way, by increasing blood flow, you’re helping deliver fresh oxygenated blood to an area that can help stimulate the body’s natural healing and repairing process.
Day Five: Address The Stress
ICYDK, “[chronic] amounts of unregulated stress can disrupt hormone balance and cause acne,” says Foitzik. “Additionally, high stress typically correlates with other unhealthy habits like poor diet, inadequate sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle. Over time, this lack of healthy routine can lead to dry, irritated skin, and even dull the complexion (depending on how depleted your body is).” This isn’t a one-size-fits-all skin issue, either. Stress can trigger and exacerbate a variety of skin disorders, affecting everything from rosacea and psoriasis to acne and eczema.
While stress isn’t always avoidable, managing stress with a regular self-care practice can prevent symptoms from occurring and worsening. Plus, it can help keep your skin condition from stressing you out even more! “Acupuncture, energy work, and different forms of therapy are good ways to start getting to the root causes of stress. Plus, [the feel-good effects of these mind-body practices] can trigger the will you need to build healthy habits in other areas such as diet, exercise, and meditation, which will support your skin (and overall health) even further” says Foitzik.
- Try a simple meditation to calm your mind and ground your body
- Book an acupuncture appointment
- Roll out your mat for a calming yoga flow
- Try a guided Box Breathing exercise
- Take an Epsom salt bath with stress-reducing essential oils like lavender
Day Six: Anti-Aging Skincare Supplements
Now that you’re nearly a week into your 30-day skincare challenge let’s talk skincare supplements for natural skin aging. Let’s be honest — we all want to find the ingredients in the fountain of youth. While everybody is different (and various skin types call for various supplements), “two major anti-aging and rejuvenating supplements are collagen and hyaluronic acid,” says Foitzik. As we mentioned on day one (when talking about Vitamin C), collagen is a must-have nutrient for skin support! In addition to increasing your intake of collagen-stimulating nutrients, adding a collagen supplement may be worthwhile if you’re looking to slow down the aging clock.
Though this supplement may be trendy, science supports its use. According to recent studies, skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density all improved with collagen supplementation. In fact, supplementation has been shown to reverse the loss of age-related collagen synthesis, helping to prevent fine lines and wrinkles and maintain our youthful appearance.
As for hyaluronic acid, recent evidence shows improved beauty benefits with supplementation of this skin nutrient. In a recent 12-week, double-blind study, daily supplementation of hyaluronic acid showed a significant improvement in water loss, skin elasticity, wrinkles, and overall skin condition.
While supplements aren’t a quick-fix aging solution, they can offer significant support alongside other healthy lifestyle factors like stress management, proper sleep, and a healthy diet!
Day Seven: DIY Honey Face Mask
You’ve completed one week of your skincare challenge! While these lifestyle and beauty routine changes may seem simple, small habits add up over time (and make for long-lasting results). And when it comes to our skin health, we’re in it for the long haul!
To cap off your week, it’s time for a little extra TLC — a DIY facemask. Simple, effective, and made with one ingredient: raw honey. Thanks to its natural antioxidants, enzymes, and antibacterial properties, raw honey can do wonders for your skin.
The benefits of honey:
- Deeply hydrates and moisturizes the skin
- Cleanse the pores and rid bacteria
- Gently exfoliates without causing irritation or inflammation
- Evens skin tone and improves scars
- Improve skin tone and brightens the complexion
Simply apply 1-3 teaspoons of honey onto clean skin and let it sit for 5-30 minutes. Want to enhance your glow? Customize your mask with additional ingredients such as a splash of lemon juice to brighten your complexion or aloe vera gel to enhance skin moisture.
Day Eight: Swap Your Coffee For Matcha
Start the week off strong with this simple swap. Aside from reducing caffeine jitters and avoiding a caffeine crash, making the switch to matcha comes with a host of glowing skin benefits. Matcha is particularly rich in EGCG, a powerful antioxidant with many skin-protective benefits. In fact, this active ingredient is often extracted and added to skincare products thanks to its beneficial effects on skin hydration and retention, wrinkle formation, and anti-aging support. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, the polyphenols found in this green dream powder have been shown to protect the skin from UV damage and the stress of environmental pollution.
We’re not saying you have to give up coffee forever, but try challenging yourself for the remainder of the month! Trust us — your skin will thank you.
Day Nine: Make SPF Your BFF
When it comes to supporting your skin, SPF is your BFF. Simply put, it’s the all-mighty barrier that protects your skin from the harsh summer ray.
But, it’s not enough to just slather any old sunscreen on and call it a day! Unfortunately, many conventional sunscreen brands contain toxic ingredients like endocrine disruptors and parabens. The good news? There are so many clean and green SPF brands on the market! Some of our favorites include: Coola SPF, Cocokind SPF, and Supergoop.
Day Ten: Treat Yourself to a (Weekly) Spa Night!
It’s time to treat yourself, and your skin! Pick a day each week where you do an extended skincare routine, says Foitzik. “Spend 2-3 extra minutes massaging your favorite cleanser into your skin, getting all the nooks and crannies (like around your nose, hairline, and behind the ears) then gently rinse with cool water and pat dry. If you utilize a derma roller in your routine, this is a good time to utilize one (I like Environ’s cosmetic gold roller). Follow with your serums — I typically rotate ones that incorporate hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin. Next, massage a facial oil — argan, sea buckthorn, and jojoba oils are great options — and then gua sha! Utilize intuitive strokes up and outward from the center of the face,” says Foitzik. “I personally love using gua sha tools made of stones, like rose quartz, jade, and amethyst. To finish, you’ll want to apply a moisturizing mask. Or, simply apply your moisturizer and eye serum or cream.”
For the best results, try making this a habitual part of your skincare and self-care routine. Maybe a Friday night in or self-care Sunday – you can even invite your girlfriends to join and make it a weekly ritual!
Day Eleven: Change Your Pillow Cover
Sounds simple, right? But, how often are you really doing this? Regularly changing your pillowcase is one of the easiest (and most effective) ways to reduce breakouts and prevent potential skin issues. Similar to makeup brushes, dirt, oil, sweat, and pollutants from the air can get trapped in your pillowcase and build up over time –— even if you’re going to bed with a clean face. So, if you cradle your face into your plush pillow every night and snooze away, there’s a high likelihood of irritating your skin (among other things).
At the very least, try to change your pillowcase once a week (even if you prolong your sheet washing a tad more). It doesn’t have to be anything time-consuming, either. When you wash your clothes, simply toss your pillowcase in the load!
If you’re extra acne-prone, you may want to consider swapping out your pillowcase on a more frequent basis (a few times a week, even daily).
Day Twelve: Load Up on Antioxidants
Load up your diet with antioxidant-rich fruits like juicy summer cherries, vibrant berries, and fresh pomegranate seeds. Foods with a vibrant red, blue, or purple pigment are full of nutrients like anthocyanins, polyphenols, and potent antioxidants — some of the best foods for your skin!
Here are some ways to enjoy them in your summer diet:
- Add fresh berries to your overnight oats or yogurt bowl
- Blend up an antioxidant-rich smoothie full of berries, cherries, spinach, almond butter, and almond milk
- Enjoy a fresh fruit salad full of seasonal picks
- Top your salad with blueberries or strawberries for all-natural sweetness
Day Thirteen: Sweat it Out for Healthy Blood Flow
The post-workout glow is real! In addition to supporting your summer health and fitness goals, reducing stress, and supporting sleep, sweating it out with a regular exercise routine can benefit your skin!
Every time you exercise, you’re increasing blood circulation and sending fresh, nutrient-rich blood to your skin. In addition to supplying your skin with vital nutrients and fresh oxygen, you’re supporting your lymphatic system in the removal of waste products. This promotes new cell growth, slows skin aging, stimulates collagen production, and reduces toxic build-up in the body (which can lead to acne and other skin disorders).
The key is staying consistent. Use this skin challenge as an opportunity to try something new! Press play on a new class in the FitOn app, try a new studio, or change up the scenery and take your workout outdoors.
Day Fourteen: Add a Vitamin C Serum
You’ve completed two weeks of your 30-day skincare challenge! Treat yourself to a new product. Our favorite? Vitamin C serum! While there are many products on the shelves, sometimes less is more. Rich in antioxidants, topical vitamin C has been shown to improve skin tone, brighten the complexion, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and prevent premature skin aging.
Your product doesn’t have to be pricey to be effective, either! This Maelove Glow Maker Vitamin C serum (with over 1,000 5-star reviews) is affordable, effective, and a worthwhile addition to any beauty routine.
Day Fifteen: Upgrade Your Beauty Products
Now that you’re halfway through your skin challenge, it’s time to rid some toxic habits (and products)! Similar to your SPF, going green with your beauty products is important — for both your skin and your body.
Conventional beauty products (including makeup, deodorant, face wash, haircare, and skincare products) are often made with toxic ingredients that can damage your skin and your health. The reality? There are more than 10,000 chemicals used in the formulation of conventional cosmetics. The bottom line? It’s important to be your own advocate — always read the ingredient labels!
Whether you do it all in one day or over the course of the month, take the time to go through all of your beauty products. Break up with those toxins once and for all!
Day Sixteen: Rinse With Care
You wash away the impurities from the day by cleansing your face every evening. Bravo! While routinely washing your face is important, the way in which you wash it matters too.
“Avoid hot water on your face,” says Foitzik. “Hot water can be very drying to the skin. Although I’m not an advocate of ice or anything super cold, washing and rinsing with cool water helps prevent dryness and reduces inflammation on the face.” Adding a little mindfulness to your routine can go a long way in supporting your skin.
Day Seventeen: Cleanse Your Post-Workout Routine
Speaking of face washing, your post-workout routine is just as important — especially if you’re wearing makeup or getting extra sweaty. If you have access to a bathroom or shower, take extra care to wash and cleanse your skin! Don’t have time? Pack non-toxic facial wipes for a quick fix. If you’re acne-prone, try a brand that uses salicylic acid like these gentle yet effective wipes.
BTW — sweating is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. If you plan to sweat it out, pack a change of clothes to avoid acne, eczema, inflammation, and irritation. And if possible, bring your own personal care items (like shampoo and deodorant) to avoid potential toxin exposure from conventional product use.
Day Eighteen: Get Your Beauty Sleep
It’s called beauty sleep for a reason! When you sleep, your body switches into the parasympathetic rest and digest state — this is the time for your body to repair and rebuild. Ideally, at the very least, you should be getting 7 hours of sleep per night. That said, life is busy and sometimes this doesn’t happen. But, can you challenge yourself to make (at least) one healthy upgrade to your sleep routine? Aside from supporting weight loss, boosting energy, and improving immune function, sleep is necessary for glowing, radiant skin.
Day Nineteen: Avoid Touching Your Face
It’s 2022 — we all know the importance of washing (and sanitizing and cleansing… ) our hands.
But, even with all the hand sanitizer, touching your face is still a big no-no — especially if you’re acne-prone or have sensitive and oily skin. You might not realize it, but you’re constantly coming into contact with germs and bacteria. From touching your phone and computer screen to opening doors and spending time in communal areas, germs can easily make their way onto your hands. When you touch your face, you’re spreading that bacteria which can lead to clogged pores, inflammation, irritation, and breakouts. Of course, there are many factors at play, but rubbing your face is a habit you’ll want to avoid.
Day Twenty: Swap Cocktails for Mocktails
We get it, it’s summer — sometimes a cocktail (or two) feels nice. But, unfortunately, your skin would disagree! First of all, alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the skin. This can lead to swollen, puffy eyes, dry flaky skin, inflammation, and rosacea. And because it disrupts your circadian rhythm, routinely consuming alcohol can lead to dark circles or bags under the eyes — and who wants that?
Plus, alcohol is pro-inflammatory — it can trigger oxidative stress, expose our body to free radicals, and speed skin aging. The exact opposite of what we want to happen! That said, the occasional boozy beverage isn’t going to damage your skin — it’s all about balance.
But, why not swap your cocktail for a mocktail? You’ll be reducing inflammation, avoiding dehydration, and preventing oxidative damage! Sounds like a win-win-win.
Need some inspiration? Try this hydrating summer mocktail:
Hydrating Summer Mocktail
- Crushed ice
- ½ cup pure watermelon juice, unsweetened
- ½ – 1 cup sparkling or seltzer water
- 1-2 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
- Fresh mint, to taste
Step #1: Pour watermelon and lime juice over an ice-filled glass. Next, top with sparkling water and stir to combine.
Step #2: Garnish with fresh lime and mint. Enjoy!
Day Twenty-One: Book a Facial Or Microneedling Treatment
Wondering if microneedling is worth the hype? Trust us, you’ll want to book an appointment ASAP. “Microneedling was one of the biggest game-changers to my skin,” says Foitzik. “I used to suffer from hormonal acne and breakouts that would easily scar. Microneedling has helped to gently resurface my skin, encourage cell turnover, and increase collagen and elastin production. I typically recommend patients do a minimum of a series of 3 sessions spaced out 4-6 weeks to see results. [And to address the root cause] I offer holistic microneedling sessions, which incorporate LED light therapy and body acupuncture to provide internal healing simultaneously.”
Day Twenty-Two: Be Mindful of Your Sugar Intake
While we’re on the topic of nutrition, it’s time to address the sneaky sugars and inflammatory foods in your diet! Steer clear of processed ingredients, artificial sweeteners, and refined oils — these are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to skin (and whole-body) inflammation. Do a pantry cleanout, read the ingredient labels of (all) foods, and cook at home whenever possible! What you put inside your body reflects on the outside!
Day Twenty-Three: Eat the Rainbow
Now that you’ve kicked those sneaky sources of sugar (and other inflammatory foods) to the curb, it’s time to load up your diet with good-for-you nutrients! Instead of focusing on what you should subtract from your diet, consider all the nutrient-dense foods you could add. Try to “eat the rainbow” and fill your plate with a variety of colorful fruits and veggies. The more colors you eat, the more nutrients (like skin-supporting antioxidants, polyphenols, and carotenoids) you’ll get!
RELATED: The Best 10 Foods For Glowing Skin
Day Twenty-Four: Make A Pitcher of Antioxidant-Rich Skin Food Water
By now, you should be a water-drinking pro. After all, hydrated skin = radiant skin!
To enhance the glow even more, try making a big batch of antioxidant-infused water and keeping it on hand at all times. Add ingredients like fresh berries, cooling mint, freshly squeezed citrus, and even cinnamon or cayenne. Drink up and soak in all the benefits!
Day Twenty-Five: Toss Expired Products
You’ve tossed your toxic products, but there’s one more thing to address: expired products! Yes, we’re talking about the endless array of oils, facemasks, and “clean” beauty products collecting dust on your shelves. If you’re anything like us, you probably have products that expired months ago (maybe even years). They might be loaded with active ingredients, pure botanicals, and powerful essential oils, but if these products are expired, they’re not doing much to support your skin.
And depending on how long they’ve been on the shelf (no judgment), these products could even grow bacteria or become rancid. Not so pretty, I know. Check your labels, friends!
Day Twenty-Six: Go Makeup-Free
Today we challenge you to go au naturel — go makeup-free and let your skin breathe! While makeup and foundation can give our skin a flawless sparkle, constantly bogging down your pores with heavy makeup and products can take a toll over time. Even if you’re a master face washer, there’s probably residual makeup and oil lingering on your skin. As you can imagine, this can lead to clogged pores, breakouts, and inflammation.
All this aside, going makeup-free can help build your self-confidence. Whether your skin is acne-scarred, irritated, bumpy, or dry, your skin is beautiful. We all have imperfections, but it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Embrace your imperfections and learn to love the skin you were born with!
Day Twenty-Seven: Address Your Gut Health
Your gut health impacts just about everything — including your skin.
Research shows a direct correlation between the two — improved gut health is linked to improved skin health whereas poor gut health is associated with skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, and dermatitis. In fact, it even has its own name: the gut-skin axis.
Can you challenge yourself to reduce gut inflammation (and support your skin in the process)? Adding in probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kimchi, reducing stress, and avoiding inflammatory triggers like processed foods and alcohol is a great place to start!
Day Twenty-Eight: Book an Infrared Sauna Sesh
Different from traditional saunas, infrared saunas penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, resulting in a deeper detox. This helps reduce inflammation, improve lymphatic flow, and heal the skin on a cellular level. Needless to say, it’s the ultimate skincare support. And as an added bonus, a hot and sweaty sauna sesh is one of the best ways to regulate your nervous system. This means you get to destress your mind while you detox your body!
Day Twenty-Nine: Address Hormonal Acne The Natural Way
If you’re struggling with hormonal acne, we feel your pain. Though it’s more normal than you think, we get it — breakouts can be painful, embarrassing, and impossible to get rid of. Consider addressing your acne from the inside out. “Two major supplements for balancing acne due to hormone irregularity are Saw Palmetto and DIM,” says Foitzik. While more research is needed, these natural plant compounds may help regulate hormones (such as estrogen and testosterone) that contribute to hormone and stress-induced irritation.
That said, everyone has different skin — there is no one-size-fits-all solution. “I highly recommend seeking the expertise of an acupuncturist and herbalist who can help heal and regulate any internal disharmonies that can be leading to poor skin health,” says Foitzik.
Day Thirty: Skip the Botox & Treat Yourself to a Cosmetic Acupuncture Treatment
Day 30! It’s time to celebrate your skin-care success with the ultimate skin-loving treat: a cosmetic acupuncture treatment. As a natural alternative to botox and fillers, this is the perfect way to cap off your month and take your skin support to the next level.
Let’s face it, we all want to preserve our youth. So, why not do it naturally? “Although facial acupuncture might not be as dramatic as botox or fillers in one session, multiple sessions (typically 10-12 per concern) help you achieve the skin you desire while enhancing your internal health, too,” says Foitzik. During facial acupuncture sessions, needles are applied to both the face and the body.” By addressing the internal and external state of the body, the results are not only effective, but they’re also long-lasting!
“In my personal practice, facial acupuncture sessions are 90-minute deep relaxation treatments consisting of a unique combination of acupuncture, moxibustion, gua sha, massage, facial cupping, LED light therapy, skincare, and even energy work. Post-treatment, herbs, supplements, diet, and lifestyle advice are also provided.” Essentially, addressing the health of the body (and thus skin) from all aspects — mind, body, and spirit!
Feel Beautiful In Your Skin
30 days and 30 ways to support your skin, improve your health, and feel good from the inside out. From all-natural product advice to diet and lifestyle hacks, you have all the tools you need to unleash your inner beauty. Perform this challenge anytime you’re needing some extra skin (or self) love. And of course, feel free to customize this challenge, adding or modifying any tips and tricks to best suit your needs.