– your body’s largest organ!
Of all the body’s organs, none is more exposed to the elements than your skin, whose primary role it is to offer protection from the harsh outer environment. Its structure is quite complex, containing four main types of cell, all of which have their own important role to play in keeping the skin healthy – but where to start? Whilst topical products have a crucial role to play, the skin also needs to be nourished from within.
But first, some basic skin care tips…Start from the inside
- Hydration is key. You need to be drinking around 6-8 glasses of water or beneficial herbal teas daily.
- Include some skin ‘superfoods’ in your diet – dark berries, oily fish, leafy green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sweet potatoes, avocados, acerola cherries and green tea. They all contain nutrients that are of particular importance to long term skin health
- Try to sleep for 7-8 hours each night. Lack of sleep quickly catches up with your face leading to lines and bags under the eyes
- Excess alcohol contributes to ageing skin by dilating small blood vessels and increasing blood flow near the skin’s surface, so save the juice for special occasions!
- Green smoothies! Whizz up some fresh spinach, half an avocado, some frozen berries and a banana with some filtered water – a cleansing and energising way to start the day
- Boost your circulation by doing some exercise. Exercise also helps your mood and energy levels so do whatever works for you!
- Don’t forget to remove make-up at night with gentle alcohol-free remover.
Collagen is the major protein that supports firm, youthful skin. It is found in the thickest layer of the skin called the dermis. It is the collagen in the dermis that determines the strength of the structural base for the skin and provides both support and elasticity. Unfortunately, the skin’s ability to replace damaged collagen reduces significantly with age. This can lead to easy bruising, reduced healing ability and the development of wrinkles. Taking a collagen supplement and using it topically can help its production, improving the structure and appearance of the skin and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) occurs naturally in the body and has some very important functions. For example, it lubricates joints and muscles, moisturises eyes and is vital for maintaining moisture in the skin. Unfortunately, the body’s natural supply decreases with age, contributing to the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and dryness in the skin. HA is emerging as one of the most exciting ingredients in beauty products that can actually help ‘lift’ the face. Together collagen and hyaluronic acid, used both orally and topically, help to support the general function and appearance of the skin by aiding skin flexibility, smoothness, elasticity and water absorption.
Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man; a bold statement for a nutrient that is even more powerful than vitamin E – but what is it?
The richest source of astaxanthin is from Haematococcus pluvalis, a green micro-alga and part of the carotenoid family. When heated, it turns bright red and it is the pigment that gives fish and crustaceans their distinctive pink colour. It is an antioxidant that works throughout the whole body and is particularly protective of the skin against sun damage, which causes premature ageing. One study showed that significantly more ultraviolet energy was required to produce skin reddening, the first stage of sunburn, in people taking astaxanthin daily. Positive effects on skin hydration, elasticity and reduction of wrinkles have also been demonstrated by supplementing a combination of astaxanthin and natural tocotrienols.
MSM, an abbreviation for methylsulfonylmethane, is often added to skin creams and lotions and is also used as a food supplement. Thanks to its role in the production of collagen and keratin, it may help maintain youthful-looking skin. As the name suggests, it is an organic form of the mineral ‘sulphur’, known historically as ‘the beauty mineral’. This is because it is an integral component of keratin, the substance that makes up the outer layer of our skin. MSM is important for healthy skin, nails and luxuriant hair.