Around this sunny time of year when the flowers bloom and the air is fragranced with honeyed pollen, I always want to detox and clear my system. I’m a firm believer in eating the highest-quality organic produce available, and am convinced that how you treat your body will show from the inside out. The condition of your skin depends on a number of factors; age, genetics, levels of UV exposure, amount of alcohol consumed, nicotine, diet, hydration, general health, environment etc. However, I think that the skin is a great indicator into your overall health; throughout my teens I struggled with my skin – like many teenagers, I’d get breakouts of acne which really got me down, and I still get the odd spots here and there. The interesting pattern I’ve noticed is that they tend to appear when I’m stressed, or when I’ve eaten a surplus of sugar (natural or otherwise), so I think it’s very much a hormonal consequence of those triggers. Through my struggles with my skin, I found early on how I could help to improve it through diet and behaviours that help my complexion. Click MORE to get the full insights into the 10 factors I consider critical to maintain healthy skin…
As part of an investigation into whether healthy eating combined with natural supplementation can improve my skin, I recently underwent a derma scan with the Scandinavian skincare brand Imedeen (with whom I’m commercially collaborating on the project – if you want to join me in my 90 day trial, click here); the scan showed a ‘before‘ picture of a healthy dermal layer, and a reticular layer with plenty of collagen – so a good base on which to build ahead of my ‘after‘ scan in 3 months time. The daily tablet contains a Marine Complex (protein strings containing elements similar to those naturally found in the skin) Vitamin C (to help protect cells from oxidative stress and support collagen formation) and Zinc (which helps with maintenance and repair of normal skin cells). I’ll bring you the results in a dedicated post when I get them!
In the meantime, if you are run down or haven’t had the time to pamper your face, here are some tips to help you on your way as well as my thoughts for foods which will benefit your skin!
MINI BACKGROUND ON THE SKIN:
It’s the largest organ of our bodies, performing a protective injury-preventative role, keeping out bacteria, enabling ‘sensation’, thermo-regulating via the sweat glands, and forming vitamin D for our bodies. There are 3 key layers; the Epidermis (the thin, wafer-like top layer, which is protective, and allows the secretion of sweat and the formation of new epidermal cells, along with enabling ‘tanning’ via the melanocyte secretion of pigment), the Dermis (the cushioning layer, broken into 3 divisions, all of which are thicker than the epidermis, and which house structures like follicles, sweat glands, fat cells, nerves, blood vessels etc) and the Subcutaneous (the deepest of the layers, including the collagen producing centre of the skin; there are roots, nerve endings, fats and even some insulation).
10 FACTORS FOR HEALTHY SKIN:
i) LEMON WATER
– Packed with vitamin C as well as a good source of potassium & calcium.
– Antibacterial – It’s super nutritious but also boats antibacterial properties.
– Detoxifying – I drink a big glass of freshly-squeezed lemon water first thing in the morning as it works wonders on kicking your digestive system into life, and as a powerful natural cleanser. Best to drink through a straw though, in order to protect your teeth.
ii) COLD PRESSED JUICES
– I use my cold press juicer as it preserves the nutritional value of the food (high speed juicers heat the contents and render the sugars more ‘simple’.
– Natural multivitamin – it acts an instant natural multivitamin hit.
– Plant based – I try to maximise my intake of plant based vegetables as they are lower on the glycemic index (less simple sugars). Phyto-estrogens are natural chemicals found in plant-based foods – a natural hormone which has been shown to help keep your own chemistry in balance.
– Flavouring – whether it’s ginger, lime, berries etc it’ll instantly give any juice some delicious flavour.
– Omega 3 & 6 fats – contains plenty of these essential fatty acids (which simply cannot be made by your body alone), and these are great fats for your skin
– Anti inflammatory – can especially help inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psorasis.
iv) HOME MADE FACE SCRUB
When I say scrub up for may I literally meant get some of the following natural ingredients – avocado, sea salt, coconut oil. Mix up a batch of nourishing, exfoliating remedy to get rid of dead skin cells. I find a good face (and body) scrub once a week helps. Just don’t go too aggressive, too often!
-Parsley – a ‘super herb’ chock block with skin goodness including potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. There’s also something called ‘myricetin’ which is a flavonol known to have preventative effects on forms of skin cancer. Foods such as sweet potato, cranberries and blackberries are some of the foods that contain the highest concentrations of myricetin, but parsley is right up there with them too.
– It’s crucial to remember to drink plenty of water in order to flush out the toxins, which in turn helps to keep your skin pure, taut and healthy. Taking extra water on board will ensure your skin stays hydrated, as water acts like a moisturiser from the inside out.
Sleep is critical for overall health including the quality of your skin. I can certainly tell if I’ve been sleeping badly – my skin is less supple, I have dark storms brewing under my eyes etc etc.
– Restore and repair – the body works hard during sleep at restoring and repairing organs, bones, and tissue.
– Immune system – a great time to replenish and strengthen the immune processes.
– I find if I’ve had a bad night’s sleep it increases my appetite the following day and I crave more unhealthy foods. Plenty of sleep helps everything else fit in properly!
viii) COCONUT OIL
– You may have read my post on Coconut oil – I’m a huge fan of using it both as a makeup remover and moisturiser. Since your body generally absorbs 70% of whatever you put on your skin, you’ll want to make sure it’s good for you!
a) Everyday – I use it as a daily facial/body moisturiser. The smallest amount goes a long way, and too much starts to get a little greasy.
b) Natural – whatever you put onto your skin is absorbed by the body, directly into the bloodstream. So whilst I stay clear of eating too many toxins (colourings and flavourings etc.), I try to do the same for my skin. Coconut boasts antibacterial properties too which help to deter spots.
c) The skin is thought to “age” through the oxidation of fats that are housed within the skin; coconut acts as an antioxidant. And whilst it’s not a sunblock, the antioxidant properties help to protect the skin from free radical damage caused by the sun.
ix) GOOD FATS
They’re responsible for growth, repair, and the development of tissue including muscle cells.
Nuts – brazil, pecan, cashewsm, pine nuts – any unsalted nuts are packed with good fats and work wonders for your skin. Take almonds for example – theyr’re a great source of vitamin E, a nutrient which has been shown to help improve the texture of your skin. The almond skin itself is also high in flavonoids, which is a heart-protecting compound.
Avocado – is full of the healthy monounsaturated fat, which can lower your blood cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease as well as help improve your skin.
– When working out, the skin is being supplied with oxygenated blood (responsible for those rosy cheeks and a nice glow)! This exertion invariably boosts circulation and nourishes the skin, helping to rid it of toxins.
– The Sweating-and-rehydration cycle cleans your pores and blocked-up skin, and encourages you to drink yet more water!
Here are the rest of the shots from my wander around the beautiful Clifton Nurseries!