Most of us are on the hunt for clear, youthful and glowing skin, but stress, lack of sleep and sun exposure can all take their toll on our faces. Here are five ways to help banish the blemishes and get your glow on.
1. Vitamin C
You might know Vitamin C as a booster of the immune system, but it’s also fantastic for our skin. Vitamin C boosts the production of collagen, the protein which supports our skin’s structure and gives it its strength. As we get older, the production of collagen slows, which causes those pesky lines and wrinkles to form. However, taking vitamin C slows down the ageing process and can even help to smooth out existing wrinkles.
Vitamin C is also one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, meaning that it protects against the effects of collagen-damaging free radicals, which are caused by exposure to UV light and pollution. All this means that taking vitamin C equals brighter, smoother and more youthful looking skin, with reduced dark undereye circles.
Take as a supplement, or work into your diet by eating C-rich foods like red peppers, spinach, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Also look out for Vitamin C in skin products, such as Nourish’s Protect Hydrating Moisturiser.
2. Cleanse from the inside out
Cleaning our skin from the outside is one thing, but what about the inside? Skin issues like acne and inflammation are often symptomatic of something deeper going on within the body. Cleansing from the inside out can be a great way to reset and give the body a good old spring clean. Having said that, proceed with caution: “cleanses” or “detoxes” come in all shapes and sizes (from eating more greens and drinking more water, to fully blown fasts) and picking the right level for you is important. If you are thinking of doing a juice cleanse or fast, then do your research first and make sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Some simple things which can help to cleanse the body:
- Drink plenty of water. This can help to flush away toxins and also has the effect of hydrating and plumping up the skin, which is always a bonus!
- Switch to herbal teas. Give your body a break from the coffee and alcohol, and opt for a herbal tea instead. Dragonfly’s Balance Detox tea is a blend of organically grown aniseed, cardamom, cassia, fennel seed, turmeric, chicory and liquorice, perfect for purifying the body.
- Aloe vera. As well as having digestive benefits, a good quality aloe vera juice can be fantastic for acne and other skin conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.
- Take a green powder. We like Kiki Health’s Nature’s Living Superfood, a blend of alkalising land and sea vegetables, micro-algaes, enzymes and bacterial cultures, including wheatgrass, barleygrass, spirulina and chlorella, which can help with the absorption of nutrients and to support digestive health.
3. Consider a skin supplement
If you’re struggling with spotty skin, or just feeling like you need a bit of a skin boost, a specific skin complex or supplement can help to cleanse and rebalance your skin from the inside out.
Two products that we love:
- TerraNova’s Beauty Complex contains is a scientifically-based formulation of nutrients for skin health enhanced with highly active, whole and unadulterated superfoods and botanicals. Also useful for hair and nails too!
- Viridian’s Clear Skin Complex blends minerals, botanicals and carotenoids with a base of probiotics – all specifically formulated to achieve clear, fresh-looking skin. It’s been designed to be taken with its Clear Skin Omega Oil, which contains omegas 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids for dealing with skin problems such as acne.
4. Ditch the sugar
It may seem sweet, but sugar is one of the most destructive things we can do to our skin. When we eat a big hit of sugar, it causes an insulin spike, which leads to inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation breaks down that all-important collagen, which causes the skin to wrinkle and sag.
Sugar can also weaken the immune system, which leads to bacteria build up and clogged pores and spots. It also encourages the body to produce more testosterone, which can result in oily skin with larger pores. And in case that hasn’t put you off yet, it dehydrates the skin, causing it to look dry and sallow.
The effect of all this? Spotty, puffy, sallow skin with dark circles under the eyes.
Instead of snacking on refined sugars, try and opt for something which is going to benefit the skin. Almonds and sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, another great antioxidant which boosts the production of our old friend collagen and slows down the ageing process. Nuts and seeds are also high in zinc which can help to repair skin damage and ward off pimple break outs. Dark skinned berries are good too – they are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and contain high levels of vitamin C. And in case you do need that chocolate fix (we won’t judge!), choose a high-quality dark chocolate – this contains flavonols which are another fantastic antioxidant and anti-infammatory, which means plump, smooth looking skin. Hurrah!
5. Lifestyle changes
We’ll all know that when we’re feeling stressed out, it shows on our skin. This is because increased stress levels causes our bodies to produce a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol makes our skin produce oil, which in turn makes our skin more prone to acne or other skin issues. Many people find that physical activity is a helpful way to combat stress. Exercise, whether walking, running or kicking a punchbag produces endorphins, a natural painkiller sometimes referred to as the “happy hormone”. Exercise also increases blood flow to the skin which can leave you glowing and fresh-faced.
Poor sleep health is also a contributing factor to bad skin. Long-term sleep deprivation causes premature ageing and skin discolouration, which can be hard or impossible to reverse. So lack of zzz’s means dark circles, break outs and, unsurprisingly, tired looking skin. It turns out that there’s a reason we use the term “beauty sleep” – sleep heals the body and takes away toxins from the skin. So get yourself comfy, switch those devices off and get your 8 hours in – your skin will thank you for it.
It’s also not surprising that our surroundings have an effect on our skin. Pollution in the air breaks down collagen and causes wrinkles and uneven skin tone. Often, there’s not much we can do about this (without moving to a remote Scottish island), but don’t despair – there are some skin products that can help. Nourish’s Kale 3D Cleanse detoxifies and protects against pollution, helping to reduce the signs of ageing and its Protect Replenishing Peptide Serum and Hydrating Moisturiser will build your natural defences against pollution damage.
Look out for our new bundle of skincare!