Top Tips for a Healthy Glowing Skin

We are all interested in keeping our youthful looks. So we scour the internet and shops for the latest scientific breakthroughs, and spend a small fortune on a facial cream or anti-cellulite treatment with the promise of looking ten years younger in 10 days. Of course I am a sceptic and I find the anti-ageing, stop the clock, age reversal claims suspicious. The plain old truth is that it’s impossible to reverse or halt the ageing process. But while we may grieve at this prospect, we often forget that if our skin is ageing, then so is the body and organs.

 However, all is not lost. If we remember to take a holistic approach we can not only revitalise our complexion, but feel healthier in the process. A healthy, rosy glow to the skin promotes vitality and a youthful look. Research and medical professionals recommend practical steps to help maintain the health of the skin as it ages. Most are endorsed, but I advice that you fit in all recommendations as they are based on experience and sound knowledge. These practical steps are simple, common sense and cost effective. They include minimising skin and body exposure to sun, excessive stress and lifestyle hazards (such as smoking and excessive alcohol).

 1. Drink plenty of water (and more)

 If you really want an anti-ageing product for your skin, then this is it. Nothing works better than water to plump up your skin, prevent spots, promote a healthy glow and support the elimination process.

 2. Stop smoking

 Research generally shows non-smokers have younger looking skin than smokers, whose skin often appears prematurely aged due to wrinkles over the lips and around the eyes. Skin tone is often sallower and drier with an uneven texture. General health can also be affected, as smokers eat less healthy and natural foods and resort to high salt, high fat produce for flavour. Some studies have linked smoking to an increased risk of skin cancer. A more fragile skin is less able to cope with excessive exposure to sun, and smokers tend to sunbathe more than non smokers.

 3. Protect your skin

Sun damage is ageing and irreversible. Clinical studies show that sunscreen can retard the progress of various forms of skin cancer. However, the protection must be of a high SPF factor and applied regularly. Sunscreen may also inhibit other changes to the skin such as pigmentation and uneven texture, both very ageing. Look for products with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as these ingredients will help guard against the sun’s longer and shorter-length rays.

 4. Do not squeeze spots

 Spots are a sign that all is not quite right with the skin and sometimes with the body. Spots are a sign of stress, unhealthy diet and lifestyle, allergies, pollution etc. But whatever the reason do not try to put things right by squeezing them! This can actually push bacteria deeper into the skin and create an infection. And please think about where your hands have been before you start squeezing as you could be introducing further bacteria causing inflammation which can result in pigmentary changes and scaring.

 5. Throw away old, used products

 Cosmetic regulations do not force skin care companies to print expiration dates on product labels. European regulations now require products to display a graphic of a jar being open. However, not all brands show this or advise on shelf life. Also, unless you contact the company for a date your purchase was created (which they’re unlikely to give), you could be buying a product which is already months old. Whilst this is not necessarily a problem, think about the artificial ingredients used to allow a product to last so long.

 Using creams can mean that people may transfer bacteria from their fingers to the product. If your product contains water, this can lead to the growth of micro-organisms. It is therefore advisable to discard a skin care product one year after opening.

 Micro-organisms can also grow in mascara tubes (creating the risk of eye infections) and on lipsticks. It goes without saying that you should never share these products with your girlfriends. Once opened, discard mascara after three months and lipstick after 6 months.

 6. Reduce stress levels and increase sleep

 It is well documented that stress can cause havoc with our health and skin but when we deprive ourselves of a good night sleep our immune system may be weakened and our skin takes longer to recover. Intense or long term stress can lead to mental and physical symptoms such as anxiety and depression, digestive problems, palpitations, and headaches and migraines.

 Our skin can show obvious signs of stress and sleep deprivation such as dark shadows, eczema, spots, dry patches, and even psoriasis. Sleep requirements vary from person to person, but it should be between 6 and 8 hours, but your body and skin will tell you how much you need.

7. Simplify your skincare routine

 Using too many products on your skin can cause inflammation and soreness, and even permanent damage. In our search for eternal youth and a smooth blemish free complexion, we often use too many products at once, which contain harsh ingredients: vitamin A, salicylic acid, abrasions, and so on. Whilst being a strong barrier, our skin is too fragile to withstand this kind of abuse. The best we can do is strengthen and feed it with antioxidants, plant extracts such as green and white tea, and good nutrition.

 Use a natural cleanser suited to your skin type. Nourish and protect with a therapeutic day cream. Rejuvenate with an antioxidant rich preparation in the evening and apply by massaging well into the skin for a few minutes. Once a week, deep cleanse and apply a moisturising or clay mask. Not only is this simple regime kinder for your skin, but if you choose organic, you will be limiting your exposure to potentially harmful ingredients, using products which are not tested on animals and are much kinder to the environment. Not to say much lighter on the pocket!

 8. Limit your spending

 Many people reason that expensive products equate premium results. However, beauty manufacturers are not required to publish studies on the efficacy of their products so consumers are not really able to make a truly informed choice. They cannot determine whether the expensive product works better than the less expensive item containing similar ingredients. Premium products usually contain more perfume (which invariably is not natural) and is heavily packaged.

 Achieving good skin care is not proportionate to the amount of money you spend. You will be spending on marketing, packaging and even celebrity endorsements.