Do you look at some people’s skin with great envy wondering why yours is not as good as theirs? What do you think their secret may be?
We have to accept that much of the original structure of our skin is down to our DNA and some people are naturally more prone to dryness and others are more prone to problem skin. This is something we cannot change, but what we can do is make the most of what we have and stop it from getting worse.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It serves several purposes, including temperature control, protection, production of Vitamin D and toxin removal. The skin is made up of 2 main layers – the deeper layer (dermis) is nourished with blood and nutrients and produces the living cells. The top layer is the epidermis, these are the cells at the very surface that we can see and they are already dead and are constantly shed to allow new cells to the top.
The skin has many enemies in the modern world, which includes, stress, alcohol, cigarettes, excessive sunbathing, caffeine, lack of exercise and a bad diet. The long term effect of all of these things can lead to the skin looking tired, pale, lack lustre and can cause premature wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity. This is due to the build up of toxins within the body, the reduction of the skin renewal process and damage to the connective tissue.
Here are my top tips for helping your skin.
If there’s nothing else you do as part of your skincare regime please please make sure that you cleanse your skin morning and night. In the morning it usually only requires a light cleanse unless you have very oily skin. However, at night try and spend a bit longer cleaning your skin before bedtime. Over the day our skin is exposed to environmental grime as well as the natural excreted products from our body. If you wear makeup then this needs to be taken off to allow the skin to heal and repair. There are many different types of cleansers on the market, including creams, face washes and face wipes. Go for the correct one for you skin type, but if you have very oily skin don’t go for anything too harsh otherwise you can over strip your skin and it then panics and makes even more oil. Some people happily cleanse their skin using just coconut oil or grapeseed oil (other oils can also be used). They just massage it in then use a damp flannel or cotton wool to remove the excess.
The second most important thing to do is protect the skin from the elements as well as hydrating it. This comes from moisturising. Sometimes finding the right moisturiser can be a really difficult thing to do, and it can take a bit of trial and error. I know how that is as I’m in that position again at the moment after my favourite moisturiser for the last 14 years was reformulated and is no longer as effective as it used to be. You want something that will keep your skin feeling hydrated and soft without being too oily for the whole day. Ideally you shouldn’t need to reapply it during the day.
Some sun protection is also good, particularly in the summer months and if you have fair skin. The sun can damage the structure of the skin causing premature signs of ageing which cannot then disappear.
When we sleep and rest our skin heals and repairs itself. It regenerates and uses the nutrients in our body as well as balancing and changing other hormones. A few bad nights sleep can easily be seen in the skin, as it loses it’s vitality and can look grey – that’s where the term ‘Beauty sleep’ comes from. I know with me, this can mean getting the odd spot or 2 (which I rarely get) and really dark circles under the eyes but after 1 or 2 nights of good sleep those spots just heal up happily and the dark circles reduce. Also think about when you haven’t slept well, do you feel irritated, impatient, stressed? This is also due to an increase in the stress hormones which are delivered to keep us going despite not having rested enough. This is fine for a day or 2 but over a longer period this can really start to show on our skin.
If you have problems with your sleep then think about what it could be due to. If it’s due to a health reason then visit your doctor, otherwise take a look here to see if there’s anything to help: http://www.calmandclear.co.uk/blog/5-ways-better-sleep/.
4. Diet and Lifestyle
What you eat and drink is almost more important than what you put on the outside. What we consume will have a strong impact on how the new skin cells are developed and what condition they are in. For skin health it’s all about balance. You need a rainbow selection of vegetables (and a bit of fruit), protein, fat and unrefined carbs. Unrefined carbs, refined sugars, high salt, bad fats and processed foods are all enemies to good skin.
Water is crucial to keep skin looking vibrant, hydrated and healthy. Drinking water allows all of our bodily functions to keep working well which in turn helps our skin look clearer. Aim for at least 1 ½ to 2 litres a day (exact amount depends on what you do during the day and what you eat).
Alcohol and cigarettes are 2 of the biggest skin enemies. They rob our body of the vital nutrients it needs, and which are skin requires to renew. They can cause more toxins to be eliminated from the body which can appear on the surface as spots, oily patches, irritation and inflammation.
Tension can build up within the facial muscles from the pressures of everyday life without us realising it. It can be easy for certain thoughts and emotions to show on the face. Under such conditions muscles can actually “dry up” and contract, which constricts our face. This can encourage ageing and the formation of wrinkles as the face loses its muscle tone and elasticity and begins to sag.
Through gentle massage of the face, this treatment can help to delay the ageing process. You can do this yourself daily and include in some facial exercises for the face muscles too.
Monthly treats for the face can include facials. You can do this yourself at home, which is perfectly fine but going to get a professional facial has added benefits. You gain extra treatments from the experienced hands plus you get the extremely important de-stress part.
There are many different types of face treatments available if you wanted to visit a professional, and not just the standard facial with products. You can have lymph drainage facials if you suffer from problem skin, puffiness or sinusitis. A good Facial Rejuvenation face massage is amazing for lifting and toning the face muscles and for deep relaxation.