My top 10 tips start with the No.1 tip which may surprise many of you but trust me it is so true. WHY you ask, how do I know?
I worked night shift between 1997 and 2003….six long years of sleep deprivation and looking after 2 beautiful children under 5 years of age saw my facial skin go from fresh and rosy to tired and haggard.
1. Sleep – get restful sleep. Don’t pay attention to those out there that say we can do with just 4 hours of sleep….listen to your body and get the sleep you deserve. I need at least 7 hours sleep but 8 is better for me….what do you need?
2. Sun – protect your skin from the sun. It’s never too late to cover up and use products with UV protection.
3. Stop smoking! Look at people who have been long term smokers and they are in their 50s or 60s…..compare them to a non smoker….it’s a no brainer, it ages you! Give it up or seek help to give up smoking, there’s a lot of good products and services to help you.
4. Alcohol – limit your daily input as alcohol can dehydrate your body and skin and leave you looking old and tired. How many times do you wake up after a big night, look at yourself in the mirror and ask “who is that old and tired person looking at me?” Oops one glass of red too many!!!
5. Cleanse your skin – cleanse before your day starts and cleanse before you go to bed. Important to get rid of impurities but do it gently using warm water (not hot) and cleansers that don’t contain irritating additives.
6. Moisturise – after every cleanse you must feed your skin nutrients by using alcohol free moisturisers and find ones suitable to your skin type and age group. As I’ve said before, products we use at 20 years of age are different to our needs at 30, 40, 50, 60 etc.
7. Weekly scrub and face mask – you deserve to pamper yourself at home or at a clinic. Find product suitable to your pocket and suitable to your skin type. Lots of home remedies out there that I’ll also share with you over time.
8. Water and Diet – this not only includes a well balanced nutritional diet but it means reducing or avoiding those nasty diuretics (fizzy drinks, coffee, energy drinks, etc.) Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day you will be amazed how good you’ll feel and not crave unhealthy sugar filled snacks! Enjoy your water with fresh lemon, lime or use fresh herbs in cold or hot water. Supplement your diet with vitamin C. Fasting and cleansing is vital, consider assistance by using Digestit Colon Cleanse, details can be found on my Product and Service Reviews Page by clicking here.
9. Sugar – it ages us and makes us fat and sick. Avoid foods that tell us are they are healthy (such as health bars) but are riddled with so much sugar that you would need 4 hours in the gym to burn it of! You must read food labels to determine sugar content and as a rough rule of thumb I aim for less than 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams.
10. Stress – this is a tough one but we all must try to de-stress from our daily life, as stress ages us quickly and prevents our skin’s ability to repair itself and rejuvenate. Therefore ensure you exercise daily, 30 minute brisk walk is all it takes! Also consider meditation, but remember adequate sleep will help you be rested and rejuvenated. But above all try everyday to stop and smell the flowers, admire the trees and birds…..in other words every day try to be positive and thankful for what you have in life and how you may put a smile on someone else’s face!
A. HOW TO MAINTAIN SKIN STRENGTH AND SUPPLENESS
The strength of your skin and its ability to stretch (and to return back to its original shape) are due to 2 components of the dermis:
- Collagen; and
This is the name given to one type of connective tissue. As the name suggests, connective tissue binds, supports and strengthens other tissues., it effectively holds us together! Hence, keeping it healthy is vital to having great skin. Collagen’s ability to respond to respond to physical stresses reduces with age and exposure to the sun. Vitamin C is vital for the formation of a key protein found in collagen (hydroxyproline). Without Vitamin C the skin cannot maintain its structure.
Another major structural protein in skin is elastin. Elastin provides the skin with strength but also gives skin its resilience and allows it to expand and spring back to its normal size. It is believed that changes in the structure of elastin results in wrinkles (Kligman, AM. et al 1985, vol. 113) although studies have shown that little difference has been found in the cells of wrinkly skin compared to smooth skin (Montagna, K. & Carlisle, K., 1979, vol. 73). What has been found is that wrinkles are caused by a combination of two things: the natural ageing process and damage to skin cells through oxidation. Good water intake is important to maintain healthy and supple skin.
B. HOW TO REDUCE OXIDATION TO YOUR SKIN
Oxidants can damage good wine, fresh food and other living (and non-living) things such as DNA and protein. It is the exposure to ‘oxygen’ that causes damages in our bodies because oxygen is chemically reactive and highly dangerous. The irony is that oxygen is our most important nutrient and the basis of all plant and animal life! Oxidants also known as ‘free radicals’ damage our skin, turning it from a smooth, taut face to a lined, wrinkled face. Free radicals come from pollution, cigarette smoke, fried and burnt food, processed cooking oils, sunlight and the burning of oxygen to produce energy.
Oxidants are highly unbalanced and reactive, so it’s no surprise that they have been linked to many diseases, including cancer and heart disease. So as you can see oxidants are very destructive because they damage fats, proteins, connective tissue and DNA/RNA. So damage to these will prevent or interfere with how your cells will produce new cells (rejuvenation) and making essential substances such as hormones.
Avoidable oxidants: tobacco smoke, exhaust fumes, pollution, fried/burnt food, excessive sun exposure, radiation, viruses/bacteria, energy production in your body, pesticides, alcohol and the list goes on……
Unavoidable oxidants: the manufacture of energy in our bodies is required to help kill harmful organisms and malignant cells and help blood clotting. So these oxidants are unavoidable and naturally occurring in our bodies. Antioxidants, naturally occurring in our bodies help to fight off oxidants, except when our skin is damaged or diseased.
Chemicals capable of disarming oxidants are known as antioxidants. Research over many years has confirmed that many common diseases are associated with a deficiency of antioxidant nutrients and can be avoided by taking antioxidants supplements. The body does produce its own antioxidant defence system but there is nothing wrong with a helping hand, particularly when ageing and/or at risk of developing degenerative diseases.
The main players in antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E; beta-carotene; minerals zinc and selenium; glutathione and cysteine; anthocyanidins; lipoic acid; and Co-Q10.
The balance between your intake of antioxidants and your exposure to oxidants will determine how quickly your skin and the rest of your body ages. It is therefore unavoidable and important to emphasise the big part that good all round nutrition plays in preventing and in some cases reversing some of the ageing and degenerative effects caused by oxidants.
There is plenty of material you can obtain from your library (e-books are brilliant!) to help you better understand the synergy that is needed amongst different nutrients to help your body protect itself from the effects of oxidants and carcinogens. For example, vitamin C (which is water-soluble) and vitamin E (which is fat-soluble) are synergistic and together they can protect the tissues and fluids in the body (Holford, P. & Savona, N. 2001, p.53). The key is to eat food rich in antioxidants and where needed take supplements to give you a helping hand!
D. HEALTHY FATS FOR HEALTHY SKIN!
When I was a young teenage girl suffering from acute acne my dermatologist only wanted me to use soap free facial cleanser or natural soap…in my time we didn’t have a lot of choices, so I used Velvet soap…still around today and is brilliant! Then I was told to apply this awful and very drying medicated cream to my face overnight and every second night to moisturise my face by only applying natural oils like extra virgin olive oil…..really???
You will do anything when you are desperate to see an improvement right? Well this dermatologist of mine wasn’t silly after all…he did say that instead of using oil found in my mother’s pantry (phew…what a relief!) I should look for essential oils to mix with water and apply to my face. So for topical use I was told to apply 2 to 3 drops of PURE lavender or tree tea oil. This helped to relieve me of the terrible drying effects of my acne treatment.
So for the benefit of achieving healthy skin you don’t have to look too far away….Essential oils applied topically are important but so too are essential fats that come from food. Your body cannot make them, hence you incorporate them within your daily diet. I’m sure you’ve heard of them all before….Omega 6, Omega 3, GLA, EPA and DHA.
Omega 6, found in oils of corn, safflower, sunflower, sesame, soya nd evening primrose;
Omega 3, found in oils of flaxseed, walnuts and pumpkin;
GLA, found in oils of borage, black currant seed and primrose, Spirulina (often called blue green algae) also contains GLA;
EPA, found in oils of various fish, crustaceans and molluscs; and
DHA, found in oils various fish, specialty egg/dairy products.
Clearly a balanced nutritional diet is the best, but there are many times that we need to supplement our daily diet. So, when looking for supplements only look for certified organic packaged in light-resistant containers and marked with a freshness date.