Skincare basics include eating the right foods, drinking plenty of water, exercising, getting enough sleep, protecting it from the sun, not smoking and limiting your intake of both caffeine and alcohol.
The health of your skin begins with good nutrition. New, living cells continually replace the dead cells on the surface of the skin. The growth of new cells is dependent on vitamins, minerals and hydration.
Eat at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables each day.
Remember to look for the ‘ACE’ vitamins: A to help prevent aging, C to promote clarity, E to to protect against the environment.
Vitamin A and C are most important for healthy skin and are plentiful in fruit and vegetables. Vitamin A is found in carrots, spinach, watercress, broccoli, sweet potatoes and melons.
Peppers, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit and leafy greens all contain vitamin C. Also include whole grain foods, nuts, dairy, fish and beans in your diet. They are all foods rich in zinc, which promotes healing and reduces inflammation in the body.
Biotin is another nutrient needed for healthy skin, hair and nails. It is sometimes identified as vitamin H and is part of the vitamin B complex. Food such as peanut butter, whole grains, eggs,and liver contain biotin and can help prevent dermatitis and hair loss.
There are many advantages to taking your vitamins in food rather than in pill form. When you eat, you don’t get single, isolated nutrients. For instance, a bowl of leafy greens provides an abundance of several important vitamins, such as B, K, and E, as well as fibre and antioxidants.
The fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains that provide fibre also naturally deliver vitamins and minerals and are low in calories. It is virtually impossible to consume dangerous levels of any vitamin or mineral through diet alone.
Antioxidant essential for the growth and renewal of new skin cells. Topically applied, may boost collagen production and promote skin cell turnover. Eggs yolks, dairy
Increase fatty acids in the skin, promoting exfoliation and firmness. Yeast, eggs, liver, vegetables.
Building block of collagen, the protein that gives the skin its structure tone and elasticity. Citrus fruits, broccoli, peppers, berries, tomatoes.
Essential for the development of skin cells. Egg yolk, salmon, fortified milk and other dairy products.
Antioxidant that helps build and maintain healthy skin tissue. Wheat germ, leafy greens, nuts, whole grains.
Fat is also an important nutrient for the skin and the health of the whole body. It is necessary for supple skin and soft, shiny hair.
Incorporate unsaturated fats, such as the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and avocado, with omega-3 fats, found in fatty fish and some seeds, into your daily diet.
Keep the healthy foods on hand for satisfying between-meal snacking:
– plain, low fat yoghurt
– string cheese
– chocolate protein powder
– low fat ricotta cheese with a dash of vanilla
– hard boiled eggs
– water with a bit of unsweetened cranberry extract or lemon juice.
Our bodies are 80 per cent water. Without sufficient hydration, the skin cells become dry and flaky. To keep the body, including the skin hydrated, eat food with a high water content such as fruit, vegetables and clear soup and drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
It is also important to limit your intake of coffee and other drinks containing caffeine as they are diuretics that remove water from the body and block the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Drink one glass of water each time you have a beverage that contains alcohol or caffeine.
Exercise is a skincare essential. Raising the heart rate through vigorous exercise increases blood flow, brings oxygen to the skin and cleanses impurities from the body through sweat.
Just twenty to thirty minutes of exercise a day is enough to help boost your immune system, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, strengthen your heart, build strong bones, increase energy levels and improve your mood.
Ideally, you want to do a mix of aerobic exercise and strength training. Aerobic exercise helps get the blood flowing, so take a walk, run or swim regularly.
With regular exercise you build a lean, muscle mass and raise your metabolism. Since the metabolism slows with age, exercise is fundamental to weight management.
Sleep gives the body’s cells a chance to repair and regenerate. Sleep deprivation stresses all of the body’s systems, including the skin and can result in headaches, irritability, lack of energy, or the inability to focus.
Skin becomes less elastic and prone to outbreaks of acne or rashes.
Excess sun exposure is the skins number one enemy. It causes premature aging, including wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and hyperpigmentation. Worse, overexposure often causes deadly forms of skin cancer. Where a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 in the winter and 30 in the summer
Smoking also causes the skin to age prematurely. Nicotine impairs the blood vessels that provide skin with both oxygen and nutrients and rid the skin of impurities.
It eventually robs the skin of oxygen, causing it to look dull and grey. With low levels of oxygen, the skin loses elasticity, which leads to sagging and wrinkling.
Skin problems can be caused by excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol can cause allergic reactions, such as hives and rashes. Some people have allergic reactions to salicylates, which occur in such foods as berries, bananas, beans, grapes and wine. If a rash appears after you eat these foods, it is likely that beer and wine will also cause these outbreaks.
Stress often shows up on the skin. Stress-related hormonal fluctuations can cause adult acne and other skin problems. While healthy eating and exercise habits help to combat the symptoms of anxiety and stress, finding mechanisms to deal with the underlying causes of stress is important.