Healthy skin isn’t only about the products you are using on it or indeed the ingredients you might want to avoid using on your skin. A holistic, natural approach that includes optimal diet, lifestyle and product choices can lead to better skin whatever your age.
Here are my 5 top tips for healthy skin:
Water is number one on my list because adequate hydration is essential for optimum skin health. Skin is our largest organ which is made up of 64% water and without sufficient water it will not function properly or at its best. Dehydration of the skin makes it look dull, less smooth and wrinkles appear more prominent. And lack of hydration can result in dry and tight skin which makes it less resilient and more prone to irritation. Aim to drink about 2 litres of water a day.
Fruit and Vegetables
Aim for at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and a variety of colours is key. Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that are vital for protecting skin from damaging free radicals such as smoking, pollution and sunlight. The beta carotene, vitamins C and E, zinc and selenium all found in fruit and vegetables are essential for healthy skin.
Nuts and Seeds
As part of a healthy diet nuts and seeds also have many skin benefits. Flax seeds are a good source of omega 3 fat which helps to promote healing of anti-inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Choose milled flax seed so the nutrients are easily absorbed by the body. Almonds are a great healthy snack and one of the best food sources of Vitamin E which protects skin from cell damage and supports healthy skin growth. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium which is a powerful antioxidant. Nuts and seeds are also a source of zinc which is vital for healthy skin and helps to repair skin damage.
When choosing your beauty products opt for products that are natural or at least those that have a high percentage of natural ingredients. Cosmetics and creams with a cocktail of synthetic chemicals may lead to irritation. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a known skin irritant and there are correlations between contact dermatitis and SLS. And ingredients such as parabens and phthalates are known to disrupt endocrine function, which may lead to more serious health issues. Apparently the average woman uses between 5 and 12 different products on her skin daily – an untested chemical soup – so it’s well worth investing in natural skincare even if you choose to replace one product at a time.
Stress is a fact of life and it cannot be avoided but it can be managed effectively through exercise. The form of exercise you choose to keep your stress under control is a personal choice. It is important to recognise that stress can have a major impact on your skin and it is often overlooked. While you are reading this right now take a few moments to concentrate on your facial muscles. I bet you are holding a lot of tension in your face. Relax your facial muscles and be aware of the areas of tension as this can also lead to headaches. Yoga is great for relieving tension and also helps to increase circulation and rid the body of toxins. On the subject of yoga I attended a fabulous face yoga session recently at the Manchester Yoga Show but this could be the subject of a separate blog post so watch this space.
And finally keep in mind that it takes 28 days on average for your skin to renew so it will take at least this long for you to see any visible difference in your skin when making changes to your diet and lifestyle.