Are you struggling with uneven complexion, breakouts, dry patches and irritation? In 5 simple steps you can tweak your lifestyle and skincare habits this winter to help smooth your skin and give you a healthy complexion.
No sugar, please!
You could be spending hundreds of pounds on expensive creams but if your diet is packed with sugar, you might as well forget about smooth skin.
Sugar not only affects general health but it can also ruin our skin. How? Firstly, sugary and processed foods contain little in the way of vitamins and minerals that nourish and protect the skin.
Secondly, sugar and refined carbohydrates (which are quickly absorbed, just like sugar) cause a surge of the hormone insulin, which can then increase your levels of testosterone, which in turn can contribute to breakouts and acne.
And finally, high levels of sugar in the blood can increase the rate of a process called glycation. This occurs when sugar molecules bind to proteins or fats, making them stiff and inflexible. One of the proteins affected is collagen and this can result in loss of elasticity of the skin, encouraging the formation of wrinkles.
Curb your sugar cravings with our Equigluco that contains chromium and green coffee extract to boost your metabolism.
Smoked salmon, anyone?
As well as being necessary for our heart, brain and eye health, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an essential role in the structure and appearance of the skin. They are incorporated into cell membranes in the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and form a matrix around the cells, helping to maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevent moisture loss.
They are also thought to have a role in the dermis – the lower layer of skin – by controlling inflammation and minimising collagen damage from UV rays. So if you can, be sure to eat a good serving of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines three times a week. It’s also beneficial to take a good quality supplement. Go for our Super Omega 3-6-9.
Stress: Guilty as charged
Not only frowning all the time make you less approachable, but stress can actually affect the quality of your skin too. Anxiety can be causing wrinkles, blotchy patches and spots. One reason for this is that high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the blood can contribute to other hormone imbalances – for example in oestrogen and testosterone – which can then lead to pimples and outbreaks.
Apart from triggering a number of other changes in your body, cortisol boosts sebum production, which can lead to blocked up hair follicle and acne. That’s why after an exam we often end up with a few new spots.
Apart from breakouts, stress can also lead to dryness or even eczema. According to a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, women, who are experiencing high stress situations suffer with dehydrated and irritated skin.
Less is more
Every day the average woman exposes her skin to a multitude of chemicals and unnatural substances in the cosmetics and skincare products she uses. As well as having a potential impact on overall health and wellness, many of these chemicals can irritate the skin, even causing issues like eczema or dermatitis.
Thankfully, there are now plenty of natural products on the market. Look for those made with the highest percentage of natural, organic, plant-based ingredients and that are free from some of the most damaging chemicals including synthetic fragrances, parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate and harsh detergents.
Look no further than in your kitchen cupboard for extra help. For sensitive and even acne-prone skins, natural pure oils such as extra virgin coconut oil or jojoba oil can be the gentlest option for cleansing and moisturising.
If you have irritated, dry or damaged skin, it has to be soothed first. Essential oils are your best friends – packed with vitamins, amino acids and anti oxidants they not only smooth fine lines but also heal blemishes and irritations at the same time.
Which oils to chose? Aloe Vera, often called a ‘miracle plant’, has been used in herbal medicine for over 2,000 years. It’s mainly known from its healing properties, as it kills certain bacteria and reduces inflammation. It is also a great anit-oxidant, which means it protects skin from free radical damage. Tea Tree oil destroys bacteria like nothing else does – it penetrates blockages between your skin and glands, it clears clogged pores and dries out stubborn blackheads. Lemon essential oil can help to rejuvenate tired-looking skin and brighten complexion.