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Nutrient - Time to glow - skincare

By Sophie Inglis

Now that spring is upon us, it’s time to throw off those winter woollies and give your skin some tender loving care. If the winter weather has taken its toll, making simple changes to your diet can really make a difference. Nutritionally, our skin needs essential vitamins and minerals, to keep it looking radiant and glowing, so it’s important to think about what goes into, as well as onto, your skin. And while there is no magic pill that can make you look 20 years younger, you can help your skin look its best with the right nutrients and lifestyle.

Feed Your Face

Top of the list of skin nutrients are antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, selenium and zinc. As well as increasing the variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrains in your diet, it’s worth considering a high quality antioxidant formula to ensure an adequate supply. Vitamin C is a potent nutrient when it comes to skincare. Needed for the formation of collagen and elastin, which helps keep the skin looking plump and supple, it can also protect the skin from free radical damage which, over time, can increase the signs of ageing.

MOISTURISE FROM WITHIN

Dry skin is a common complaint, especially after the winter months. But by simply increasing healthy fats in your diet (like nuts, seed, avocados and oily fish), you can help to moisturise your skin from the inside out. Essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) are a vital component of our cell membranes, helping cells to retain water, leaving them soft and plump - think grapes rather than raisins. You can easily ensure a daily dose by adding a spoonful of omega 3-6-9 or flax seed oils in dressings, dips and smoothies, or take an omega 3 supplement. Include some nuts and seeds in your diet daily and make use of delicious nut and seed spreads like pumpkin seed butter, which is also a great source of zinc, needed for collagen and elastin, as well as cell renewal. 

If you find your skin is generally dry and flaky, check you’re getting sufficient B vitamins, especially Biotin. Top foods include poultry, lean meat, fish, bananas, wholegrains and eggs, or take a B complex supplement daily. 

CLEANSE AND HEAL

As the skin is a major elimination route for toxins, an overworked liver can be linked to skin problems. So, if you’ve overindulged over the winter months, it may be showing signs on your face. Antioxidants are, again, important for an efficient liver, but another important detoxifier is MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane), readily available in supplement form and incorporated in skin creams. Choose a cream with a minimum of 10% MSM and shea butter, which helps to moisturise and soften skin, particularly if it is dry and / or flaky.

PREPARE TO BARE

If you’re looking for that spring glow, think collagen and hyaluronic acid (HA). Collagen is a flexible structure, made up of amino acids, found in proteins, that literally gives our skin its structure and keeps it supple. In fact, experts estimate that 75% of the dermis is made of collagen. Hyaluronic acid is also a natural component of skin, absorbing water to hydrate the skin and hold the collagen and elastin together. Over time, however, this support structure weakens and the skin loses elasticity. Fortunately, you can help maintain collagen and HA levels by taking a supplement in a powder form which can be added to fruit juice. You can also apply a crème serum containing these ingredients to the face, before you go to sleep, to encourage regeneration.

TACKLE PROBLEM SKIN

Spring is the perfect time to address any ongoing skincare concerns. Many skin problems like rashes, eczema and psoriasis involve inflammation, so antioxidants and healthy fats can be helpful. Another contributory factor can be a build up of toxins, so ensure your bowels are in good working order by taking some ground flax seeds daily and drinking plenty of water - at least six to eight glasses a day. Dehydration can leave the skin looking dry and, lacklustre and, without water, the body cannot cleanse itself properly. Imbalances in the digestive tract, poor digestion and allergies can also contribute to skin problems, so include a probiotic daily and eat fermented foods like yogurt, buttermilk, sauerkraut and miso. 

Acne and breakouts are other issues that affects many people and are often linked to excessive sebum production. Vitamin A can be beneficial and, together with zinc, can aid cell renewal. For a traditional skin care treatment, try Aloe vera. Its gel structure maintains the right moisture in the outer layers of the skin and contains over 200 active nutrients, including a mixture of vitamins, minerals and active enzymes, which have been shown to help soothe skin. 

If your attention is turning towards looking your best in the summer months, it’s time to tackle those varicose or thread veins. These can be a real obstacle for people who would normally enjoy getting the air and sunshine on their legs. However, there is help at hand; bioflavonoids, bilberries and vitamin E all provide nutritional support for healthy veins. 

Remember also to start prepping your skin for the summer sun. Choose natural skincare products which are less likely to cause allergic reactions or flare-ups. And, by feeding your skin inside and out, you’ll be looking and feeling fabulous in no time!


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