Our skin holds our bodies together, it’s our largest organ and our first line of defence protecting us from pollutants, disease and the elements of the outside world. And, like every other part of our body, our skin also responds to care and attention. Skin also defines much of today’s standards for beauty, and as women we’re always in search of the best fix to help promote clear, healthy and smooth skin. Fortunately, achieving glowing skin isn’t as hard as you think and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
These are some quick, easy methods to help flush waste and toxins from your skin.
- Drink hot water with lemon every morning before eating breakfast
- Give your skin a good detox by sweating it out! Aim to exercise for up to an hour and make sure you do something that elevates your heart rate causing you to sweat. Vigorous exercise increases lymph flow and circulation.
- Fill the fridge with healthy foods. Fresh fruits such as berries, apples and grapes, and vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweet potato – their antioxidants help repair and prevent damage to your skin, and the high vitamin C content helps prevent skin ageing by eliminating free radicals. Make sure you avoid alcohol, excessive caffeine and all refined and processed foods.
- Keep hydrated. Aim to drink a lot of water (many health professionals say three litres) which helps support kidney detoxification and keep skin plump.
2. IMPROVE CIRCULATION
Start body brushing daily to support circulation and increase skin detoxification and regeneration, body brushing also helps moisturisers absorb more readily. I like to dry brush before I jump in the shower using a soft, natural bristle brush. Start at your feet and work your way up your body with small, circular motions.
Renowned Dermatologist Ellen Marmur says the point of cleansing is to “clean off the oil, debris, and makeup that accrue during a normal day, and to do that you don’t need anything harsh or too powerful.” I prefer to use a gentle cleanser rather than soap as it doesn’t alter my skins natural moisture barrier and still stays hydrated.
Also make sure you clean your makeup brushes, many women neglect to do this on a regular basis, even though they collect dirt and bacteria, which can cause breakouts. A simple way to do this is to mix a couple of drops of facial cleanser and warm water in a cup, swish your brushes around, rinse with warm water, pat dry, and lay flat to air dry.
4. PROTECT YOUR SKIN
I’m forever preaching to my friends about the importance of protecting their skin and wearing a proper sunscreen, and many women I’ve spoken to say the only sunscreen they wear is what’s included in their facial moisturiser or foundation. This is not enough.
Sunscreens help shield you from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays and with skin cancer rates on the rise, sunscreen is one of your best defences against the development of cancer and premature ageing. Not all sunscreens are created equal and gone are the days where we choose a sunscreen based on the SPF rating alone. The SPF rating refers to the blockage of UVB rays only – now the way I remember what specific rays do is very simple: UVA = Ageing, UVB = Burning, and to explain it in a more scientific way, while UVA rays don’t cause the sunburn (that’s UVB’s job) these rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing wrinkles, and it’s estimated that up to 90% of changes associated with ageing are actually caused by life’s exposure to UVA rays, if that fact alone doesn’t prompt you to protect your skin, I don’t know what will!
Always make sure you purchase a broad spectrum sunscreen protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays. There’s plenty of options on the market now for oily or dry skin and at an affordable price, and never forget to wear it every day, even in the cooler months, it’s much easier to prevent than to try fixing the damage later.
It’s important to exfoliate to remove the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface and as we age the process of cell regeneration slows down, this means our body is slower to shed old skin cells and generate new ones. By exfoliating regularly we promote the removal of barriers clogging the skin and uncover fresh, new cells below, which allows our moisturising products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, making them more effective.
I love Rachel Dreskin’s soothing oatmeal scrub, which you can make at home with just a few ingredients:
Combine 1 TBSP ground oatmeal with 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp of water or olive oil to mix it into a paste, gently rub it onto your skin in circular motions, let it sit for five minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.
6. START USING RETINOL
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative has been proven to boost collagen and reduce fine lines. It also helps to speed cell turnover and regenerates the skin by stripping off layers of dead keratin and the upper epidermis, which contains unwanted pigment caused by UV damage. Things to remember when applying a retinol cream is that it can cause some irritation at first, experts recommend trialling a test patch before you sleep to one side of your face near your ear for 30 minutes then wipe off with a damp cloth, while others also say it helps if you apply a gentle moisturiser first, allow it to soak in and then apply your retinol cream. Also due to heightened skin sensitivity, you need to be diligent with applying sunscreen when outdoors.
7. GET PLENTY OF REST
Ladies it’s called ‘beauty sleep’ for a reason and ensuring you get at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night is paramount for younger, clearer skin. Sleep deprivation increases the stress hormone cortisol, which can age the skin and cause acne. Sleep deprivation also lowers circulation, leaving us looking washed out if we only get a few hours rest, and causes blood vessels to dilate, giving us the look of dark circles under the eyes. Make sure you hit the sack early to allow your skin, and body to go into repair mode. While you sleep your skin renews itself, new skin cells grow and replace older ones.