It seems like this is common knowledge, but it definitely bears repeating – blood circulation is truly essential for your body.
Look at it this way – the body’s most ardent soldier, the heart, is fighting for your health by sending tiny, tiny blood cells to every part of your body, giving your cells oxygen and helping them to thrive.
But, did you know that great blood circulation is also beneficial to your skin? If you’re looking to improve your skin, you might want to consider boosting your blood circulation, as it will definitely benefit it!
How the Cardiovascular System Works
The cardiovascular system is essentially made up of the heart and the blood vessels that pump blood to the farthest parts of your body. There are basically two types of vessels:
- Arteries, which carry blood away from the heart;
- Veins, which bring it back.
Now, basically, the heart is a pump that gets oxygenated blood to our organs. Then, de-oxygenated blood returns to the lungs to get its refill of oxygen. This all happens through the pulmonary circulation (in which the blood is oxygenated) and the systemic circulation (in which the blood goes to the rest of the body to deliver the oxygen).
That way, all the cells get their necessary fill of oxygen.
The Importance of Good Blood Circulation
Good blood flow is essential to our body, and any problem with it will, in some way or the other, reflect on our general health.
Circulation is pivotal in transporting nutrients to cells and transporting waste from them. That means that it is extremely important for nourishment and detoxification. It is also important for maintaining the body’s pH balance and stabilizing its temperature.
Poor circulation can cause a number of issues – swelling in extremities, numbness and tingling, cold hands and feet, cramps, fatigue, digestive issues, skin problems, and even memory loss and problems with concentration.
That is why boosting your blood circulation will not only have benefits for your skin, but for your general health, as well.
And here’s how to do it!
Start with Exercise
This should be a no-brainer, really.
Basically, in order to increase circulation, you simply need to get the “old ticker” ticking faster.
That’s where exercise steps in.
When your heart contracts at a higher rate, naturally, blood will flow faster and improve your general circulation.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should immediately hit the gym and start working strenuously on your pectorals (although that is an option, too!). Simple exercises will do.
In this day and age, it can be difficult to find the time to exercise and we tend to spend a lot of it sitting behind desks. But, that is not good for our overall health. And, as many other parts of our body, our cardiovascular system gets “lazy,” as well.
That is why any movement is – good movement.
Even walks are exceptionally valuable to getting your blood pumping, especially if that’s not something you tend to do on a regular basis. Just 20-30 minutes of brisk walks will do the trick. You don’t even have to do it every day, every other day will suffice. Walking even strengthens your heart and muscles. You can even do all sorts of exercises with your family and it will be incredibly beneficial for your circulation and, thus, your skin.
Also, another good exercise to boost your blood circulation is, in fact – yoga! Stretching, headstands and many other yoga poses, paired with deep breaths, do wonders for your blood flow! Just make sure you do it regularly and you’ll notice changes in your overall health, as well as your skin, in no time! If you choose to go outdoors to exercise, then you’ll also have the added benefit of the sun rays, that is, vitamin D, which is vital for your skin.
Some other types of exercise that can improve your blood flow and, with it, your skin, include aerobics and weight lifting. If you’re unaccustomed to exercise, start slow and work your way up! It never fails to get results!
Dry brushing basically includes massaging your body with a dry, stiff-bristled brush. And there are truly many benefits to dry brushing. This is mainly done to get rid of flaky skin typical of wintertime and to increase circulation. It also unclogs pores while exfoliating and stimulates the nervous system. That way, you get the added benefit of being energized.
It is best to use a natural stiff-bristled brush with a long handle to reach your back. However, when you’re choosing your brush, make sure to choose the one that will be most adequate for your skin. Some people have more sensitive skin than others and brushing with a brush that is too stiff might cause more harm than benefit.
Brush just before you shower for best effect. After brushing, you’ll be able to wash off the dead skin cells and the flaky skin. Just make sure to use a good soap or shower gel and, remember, after showering, make sure to apply lotion.
The most common way of dry brushing is to go from your feet upwards. Use long strokes to brush from your feet towards your torso. Don’t apply too much pressure, especially not where the skin is sensitive, such as your breasts or abdomen.
In general, you want to be gentle when dry brushing, as the brush will “do its thing” mostly. If you’re too rough, you can cause irritation and even bleeding.
It goes without saying that you should never brush already damaged skin. This includes scrapes, sores, cuts, burns (and yes, even sunburnt skin should not be dry brushed). Also, if you have any areas that are inflamed or already irritated, don’t go over them with the dry brush. The same goes for your face – it’s off limits!
Indulge in Cold Showers
Yes, it may not be something you can try when it’s freezing out. However, take advantage of the warmer days that are coming soon and take as many cold showers as you can.
Cold water aids circulation because it tells your blood to go faster to maintain the average body temperature. In a way, a cold shower “shocks” your body, getting your heart to pump faster.
Another great side-effect of that is that you will also feel more energized.
And that is also the reason why many people prefer cold showers in the morning.
In addition, a cold shower tightens your cuticles and pores, which makes your skin look smoother and your hair more shiny.
If you’re unaccustomed to cold water early on, go with lukewarm and work your way down, so to speak. That way you can gradually get used to the feel of cold water against your skin. You can also alternate between hot and cold showers. Simply shower with hot water for one or two minutes, and then immediately switch to cold water. Do this four or five times to flush out the skin and oxygenate it.
However, if you’re feeling too overwhelmed with such abrupt shifts in temperature, then this switching is not for you. But don’t worry, you can shower with cold water and your skin will still have incredible benefits!
Try a Face Massage
A regular massage is the best way to improve your skin. This goes especially for a face massage. It boosts blood and lymph circulation, thus enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells.
A good face massage also relieves stress and helps with PMS symptoms, if you needed any more convincing.
When you massage your face, make sure that your movements are gentle, that they’re not too harsh, as you can irritate the skin that way, and that is the opposite of what you’re going for. Remember, gentle movements are quite sufficient to get the blood pumping for healthier skin.
Before you massage your face, do the following:
- Wash your hands with warm water and an antibacterial soap.
- It’s also a good idea to steam your face first.
- Then, you should cleanse your face before you start massaging.
These steps will prepare your skin for a great, almost professional massage you’re going to give yourself.
Now, there are various types of massages for your face, but your skin will benefit most from the most common massage there is. It’s easy and you can do it any time of day (or night, whenever you have time!). Here’s how:
- Massage your lymph area. With the tips of your fingers, massage under your ears down to your throat and up along your jawline.
- Using wide circular motion, massage the side of your jaw, past your mouth, and over your cheekbones. It’s good to always push skin up and out. Never push your skin down, as it can cause it to sag.
- Then you should massage your forehead, using both hands. Start massaging your temples and move towards the middle of your forehead.
- Using gentle strokes, massage around the eyes to deal with puffy eyes.
You should massage each part of your face for about a minute for the best effect.
Ionize with Clay Masks
You may not have known this, but certain types of clay can boost your blood circulation. For instance, bentonite has negatively charged ions. When you put it on your skin, it attracts positively charged ions, like environmental pollutants and some bacteria.
That’s what makes your blood rush to the surface, causing a temporary redness of your face. But not to worry, together with all those pollutants that need to be flushed out, it also causes a rush of endorphins.
That is why you should definitely indulge in a clay mask from time to time. It’s easy to use, and the benefits are really multiple!
Try LED Therapy
LED light therapy was initially invented to accelerate the healing of wounds and scars after surgery. However, as in most things in life, there was another, quite lucky coincidence – the rejuvenation of healthy skin.
When the light energy is the appropriate wavelength, cells convert it into ATP, i.e. the fuel cells in the dermis layer use to do their job. These are called the fibroblast cells and their job is to produce collagen and elastin.
And collagen and elastin are the two greatest things for skin in the entire universe.
Collagen gives the skin its fullness, while elastin is in charge of, you’ve guessed it, the elasticity of the skin.
With the help of the LED light therapy, the fibroblast cells “work overtime” and the main result here is – rejuvenated skin.
According to experts that deal in LED light therapy, it doesn’t have any contra-indications. It can be used with all skin types and conditions, and, it’s even safe for your eyes.
Also, because it was initially discovered in order to treat wounds, one of its main uses is increasing circulation. That is, it increases the body’s healing processes, which later, you’ve guessed it, improves the health of your skin!
Check Your Diet
If this proverb were really true, most of us would likely be giant slices of pizza running around our pizza towns, going about our pizza life.
But, thankfully, the proverb is simply meant to point to the fact that our dietary choices are actually incredibly important for our overall health.
And, you may not have thought about this, but what we eat is vital for our blood circulation.
For instance, trans fats and processed sugar are, you might have guessed it, truly awful when it comes to blood flow. And, another thing you can reduce if you don’t want your circulation to suffer is salt.
However, the following foods are super healthy for blood flow and you should eat them on a regular basis:
- Onion and garlic. We figured we should put the best news first, as it’s a well-known fact that these two friends are the soul of every dish.
- Citrus fruits. As you may know, citrus fruits are full of antioxidants and they reduce stiffness in the arteries, thus improving circulation.
- Leafy greens. They dilate blood vessels, which allows your blood to flow more easily.
- Various types of spices. This includes cayenne pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, etc.
- Tomatoes. They act similarly as leafy greens, as they open up your blood vessels.
These foods are also great for your overall immune system, so you might benefit from eating them in numerous ways.