Want to keep your skin looking younger for longer? Then here are ten things that you need to be aware of.
- Do not be too much of a sun worshipper.
We all know a little sun always makes us and the rest of the world feel good. It is a clinical fact that a sunnier climate enhances our wellbeing. It is also now a clinical fact that the majority of us are vitamin D deficient. We need our brightest star to help produce vitamin D to keep our bones strong and healthy.
However, becoming a complete sun worshipper can have its disadvantages too. Like most things in life, everything is OK in moderation. Baking by the poolside or on the beach will not do your skin any favours.
Too much sun can lead to:
- loss of skin elasticity
- thinner and more translucent looking skin
- dry and rough skin
- broken capillaries on the face
- liver spots
- increased risk of skin cancer
So, if you want to keep your skin and the rest of your body healthy do not spend too much time in direct sun light. Cover up your bare skin, use a good sun cream, and slap up before you step out!
- Try and reduce that Carb Kick!
Some of our favourite guilty pleasures will not be doing our skin or for that matter the rest of our body any favours. Foods that are rich in sugars and starches are actually pro-inflammatory; this means they make your body react in the same way it would if you had an infection or injured yourself. This inevitably has a negative impact on your skin and wellbeing, including:
- accelerating the ageing process
- increasing the storage of body fat
- the risk of diabetes
- the risk of heart disease
and with respect to your skin:
- loss of skin radiance
- dark circles around the eyes
- loss of skin tone
- increased puffiness leading to loss of facial contours
- increased pore size
- increase in fine lines and wrinkles
You would be quite surprised by the amount of cheeky sugars that are lurking in everyday food and drink. Some examples are:
- Ready-made convenience foods have sugars added by the manufacturers; these could be high fructose corn syrup, sucrose and glucose – all fancy names for sugar.
- Fizzy or mixed squash drinks.
- Fruit juices, although they do contribute to your 5 a day, limit the amount to 150ml.
- Honey, syrups, fruit concentrates and nectars.
- Cheeky sprinkle on cereal or added to hot drinks.
Be kind to your body and in turn your skin, reduce the simple carbs for a healthier and happier you.
Smoking is extremely damaging to your health and your skin. Just one puff of smoke leads to over a trillion free radicals being produced in your lungs. Free radicals are chemicals that cause your cells to mutate and also trigger an inflammatory response in your body. Prolonged inflammatory response is known to cause all types of ailments, including predisposition to heart disease. This inflammatory response occurs all over the body, not just in the lungs. As a result, your skin also suffers:
- The amount of oxygen available to your skin reduces.
- The level of vital nutrients including vitamin C, vital for plump, moist and youthful skin are significantly reduced.
- Tobacco causes our blood vessels to constrict temporarily causing blood pressure to rise. This reduces the amount of blood flowing to the skin. The result is grey, pallid, lifeless and unhealthy looking skin.
- Smoking will lead to premature ageing of the skin and therefore an increase in fine lines and wrinkles.
Quite obvious really, do not smoke and your skin stays healthier. The good news is, even if you are a smoker if you quit, all of the above can be reduced or reversed. A good anti-oxidant is also very helpful in ‘mopping up’ all those dangerous free radicals.
Be good to yourself and your skin, don’t smoke!
The major destructive force in all our lives! The pro-inflammatory and pro-ageing force of stress is really quite something. Stress causes hormonal changes in our bodies which have a profound effect on the cells all over, including our skin. The stress hormone is known as cortisol, when large amounts are released into our blood stream for long periods, it is extremely toxic. Excess cortisol can lead to:
- reduction in brain cells
- reduced immune systems effectiveness
- decrease in muscle mass
- shrinkage in the size of other vital organs
The effect on the skin is profound; it can lead to thinning of the skin, accelerated skin ageing and therefore an increase in fine lines and wrinkles as well as increased visibility of blood vessels under the skin.
As difficult as it may be, one must find inner peace and reach the level of Zen to look after your mind, body and soul. Oh, it is also quite beneficial to your skin!
- Too much alcohol
The late night tipple or full on party night may feel like a good idea at the time, but we all know we pay for it the next day, and as we age, probably the next week. There is a common misconception that having plenty of water with your favourite alcoholic drink will counteract the negative effects. It is true that this may help to alleviate the dehydration caused; however, the negative effects of alcohol last longer than the simple dehydration. Alcohol is broken down to aldehydes; these chemicals can lead to cell damage which has a negative effect on your skin. Also, the blood vessels in your skin widen resulting in a flushed appearance and over time rupturing of the capillaries in the skin of the face. Alcohol induced dehydration also causes the skin to be more prone to fine lines, wrinkles and quicker ageing.
Remember that one drink can have effects that last for days and your skin will show it. It is not all bad news though, as with all things we enjoy, moderation is key. Chin, chin!
- Lack of sleep
Being a morning person may be one of the hardest things to achieve! A good night’s sleep ensures you start the day with a refreshed and radiant glow. Puffy eye syndrome and dull skin can all be attributed to a lack of ‘good sleep’. There is more science behind this than meets the eye. Sleep actually reduces the negative effects of cortisol and our adrenal hormones (used in the fight or flight reflex), all of which are increased during stress. During sleep, the hormone melatonin is actually released; this has a significant positive impact on our immune system and our skin. It is during our restful state that we build up our energy reserves and repair and rejuvenate our cells. Studies have shown inadequate sleep can lead to weight gain and a craving for fatty and carb loaded foods. A vicious cycle ensues. So the key to a more youthful, radiant and healthier you, plenty of exercise and then plenty of z’s.
- Lack of Exercise
The science that shows the health benefits of exercise is both plentiful and enlightening. A correct exercise regime will melt away the pounds, lower blood pressure, increase the happy endorphins circulating in your body, reduce the risk of certain cancers and also make your skin more beautiful. Studies show that exercise can have the same benefits on your skin as it does on your bone and muscle, all of which contain abundant amounts of collagen. If you look at the skin of a ‘gym junkie’ compared to a ‘couch potato’, the difference is quite dramatic. The greater the fitness level, the healthier the skin. There is a greater abundance and higher quality of collagen fibres in ‘fit skin’ than in unhealthy skin. Collagen fibres are what give our skin its strength, integrity and flexibility, so the more collagen present in the skin, the healthier and more youthful it will be. As with everything, moderation is also key in exercise, as long as we do not overdo it, an active lifestyle will have a profound, positive effect on your mind, wellbeing and skin.
- Not eating enough protein.
Protein is essential for cell repair. Our skin cells are constantly shedding and therefore we need enough raw materials to ensure we can rebuild and maintain the integrity of our skin. A lack of protein, either meat or plant derived is first notable on the face. Our features become softer, we lose the contoured cheekbones and jaw line blur into one soft shape. Our bodies are not designed to store protein, if we do not eat enough of this food group, the body will start to look at alternative sources. These being tissue and muscle, this inevitably leads to a reduction in collagen in the skin and other tissue and can cause the skin to age far quicker than it should. For great skin, eat a healthy balanced diet, maybe consisting of the odd big steak or bowl of humus to keep our building blocks in plentiful supply.
- Going Fat Free
Fat on the whole gets a bad press. True, there are many fats that are not good for us, but there are also plenty that we need and can give great health benefits. The ‘super-fats’, especially omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats have amazingly powerful anti-inflammatory effects and also improve the skin’s moisture, texture, suppleness and smoothness. Our good fats are found in many delicious ingredients: salmon, sardines, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados and acai berries to name a few. The fats in these foods help us absorb nutrients from our vegetables and fruits. This results in our minds being sharp, our mood upbeat and our skin glowing and wrinkle free.
- Not Drinking Enough H2O
Water should be our favourite drink! Without water our organs and cells will not function, if we do not drink enough, we cannot metabolize fat nor can we flush the waste products from our cells. Again, one should not overdo the intake of water, about two litres per day is perfect. A dehydrated body provokes the development of ageing and also causes the production of inflammatory chemicals. Drink enough water to keep your body in tip top shape and your skin will show it by being more radiant, soft and supple. Remember the difference between a crinkly prune and plump plum is water!
Pupinder Ghatora MPharm MRPharmS SCS and David Hyland MSc MBA CEng
Co-founders of Ingenious Beauty