There may not be a fountain of youth or a miracle pill to improve ageing skin, but the food we eat and how we treat ourselves can prevent or even reverse ageing.
Our body needs the right nutrients to fight off damage and the skin is no different. Nutrients help the cells replicate and have more energy. On the other hand, low-nutrient diets, processed foods, stress, and toxins will accelerate ageing. Protecting yourself from harmful chemicals while getting enough sleep, relaxation and exercise will all help to maintain a healthy and youthful glow.
How to improve skin health
What can you do daily to improve the overall condition and appearance of your skin? Healing always takes place from within – the more you improve the internal environment, the better it will be reflected on the external surface of your body. Conditions such as skin rash are a reflection of the health of the gut, liver, bowels and emunctories (elimination organs). If your skin is lacking vibrancy, you may need to look at the deeper causes of poor circulation and elimination.
Here is a list for you to follow and over time, your skin will thank you for your efforts.
1. Drink plenty of water (at least 2 litres a day).
Even a small amount of dehydration will cause your body to function in a less optimal way. Water is essential to maintain the optimum skin moisture and deliver essential nutrients to the skin cells. Just by ensuring we are drinking plenty of water during the day will keep our skins appearance nice and supple by replenishing the skin tissue and improving it's elasticity.
2. Eat foods which are rich in natural antioxidants.
Antioxidants are the best resources your body has to fight disease and ageing. They help reduce cell damage and inflammation which are the leading causes of wrinkle formation. Some of the best sources of antioxidants include:
- Acai berries
- Goji berries
- Purple grapes
- Dark chocolate (70% or higher of cocoa content)
- Organic green tea
- Happy Turmeric is a bioavailable form of turmeric which is a potent antioxidant.
3. Have a rainbow-coloured food plate.
Free radicals form in our bodies and cause major damage to our cell structures. The different nutrient-rich foods we eat can help neutralise them. You need to consume the widest variety of antioxidants to fight off the different kinds of free radicals. Think about what colours you've missed throughout the day and try to incorporate them into your next meal.
4. Eat organic foods to ensure that your body is free of toxic burdens.
This ensures that you are not contributing to a build-up of toxins and chemical residues that can accelerate ageing.
5. Limit your sun exposure.
Small amounts of daily sun produce Vitamin D and are beneficial to your health. However, too much sun will damage your skin. Don’t forget to wear your sunglasses on bright days and use zinc or titanium dioxide-based sunscreen formulations.
6. Opt for natural skin care products as many skincare products contain harsh chemicals.
When choosing moisturisers or makeup, research the ingredients to confirm that they're safe. Better still, make your own homemade versions using natural ingredients and essential oils.
7. Use non-toxic cleaning products.
It is imperative to limit exposure to toxic chemicals because you inhale them into the lungs and the skin absorbs them as well. Many cleaning products are laden with harsh chemicals and ingredients which contribute to hormonal and endocrine disruption. Make your own cleaning formulas at home using lemons, vinegar and bicarbonate soda. You can also use essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemon, Grapefruit, Thyme and/ or Orange in a vinegar-based cleaning spray. If you keep on top of your cleaning using these ingredients only (and some muscle power), you won’t have to use the harsh chemical forms in your home.
8. Have plants inside the home and office.
Surprisingly, indoor pollution levels can even be higher than the outdoors. A plant in your kitchen and living room or by your desk at work will act as an air filter.
9. Get enough vitamin C.
Researchers have found that skin exposed to vitamin C for long periods of time can produce up to eight times more collagen. That simply means fewer wrinkles!
10. Avoid sugar.
It produces free radicals that destroy collagen and elastin, both of which help keep skin strong and supple.
11. Eat healthy fats.
Incorporate foods such as avocados, olive oil, flax seeds, nuts and fish into your diet. They’re packed with essential fatty acids that nourish and moisturise skin to make it look more youthful.
12. Cleanse your body.
A buildup of toxins from the air, water and food we eat can cause oxidative damage and premature ageing. Detoxing via a juice cleanse is recommended so the body is able to focus on energy production and toxin elimination. Have a glass of water with the juice of ½ to 1 freshly squeezed lemon first thing in the morning for regular cleansing.
13. Engage in activities that relieve stress.
High levels of stress will compromise your skin. Consider yoga or meditation. Eliminate problematic people and activities from your life. Confide in your friends and openly talk to them about your worries and troubles.
14. Get enough sleep.
Your skin rejuvenates and repairs itself mostly while you’re asleep. Make sure that you’re not just getting eight hours of sleep each night – it also has to be quality sleep.
15. Exercise regularly.
It increases the circulation of oxygen and nutrients and releases toxins through sweat, which leads to clearer and firmer skin. Also, remember to smile always – it’s the best exercise for your face!
What you do for your internal health has a direct impact on the vibrance and health of your skin. Implement all these tips as part of a wellness lifestyle and you will benefit from the changes for years to come.
Pullar, J. M., Carr, A. C., & Vissers, M. (2017). The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients, 9(8), 866.
Schagen, S. K., Zampeli, V. A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 298–307.