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Here we are. The start of a new year, when typically we're feeling focused, driven, and often buzzing with energy about our new health, fitness and self-care goals.
We're getting over the overindulgence's of December and all it brings. The slackening of a typical exercise routine or healthier way of eating... chocolate for breakfast can seem quite rational between Christmas and the new year - when ordinarily it really wouldn't. Less sleep. More alcohol. Less time spent on skin-care and self-care. Stress levels may be higher... this could be you, a hint of you... or perhaps not you at all.
Some of it is me. I definitely get swept along with the festive fever, but some things always remain consistent in my life and I believe that they help to balance things out a little.
Maybe your skin is feeling like it needs a 'lustre boost' right now. Perhaps it's feeling and looking a little lacklustre, especially with the combination of colder weather and central heating that can suck the life out of skin. Anyone else ready for spring now?
This post isn't a, drink more water, get more sleep, and buy lots of expensive products to feel as though you're doing something good one. Although, I'm passionate about those first two points - we all know that they have a positive impact on how we feel and look. And I do agree with investing in effective skincare products. Note that I said 'effective' and not necessarily 'expensive'. Although, I also believe that quality comes at a price.
The things we do to look after our skin's health. It needs to be a year-round, every day action, not an "It's the start of a new year and I need to sort myself out" kind of action. Achieving good skin health isn't as simple as a dedicated skincare regime with good products - whilst having a poor diet and lifestyle. Neither is it a super-healthy lifestyle brimming with super foods - and then using cheap, chemical-laden skincare products that are wrongly prescribed for your skin. The combination of everything we do as a whole is what reflects outwards in the state of our skin.
Let's talk beauty from the inside out - The things we can do year-round that help our skin to be healthy and look good - even on those occasions when we're perhaps being less than good.
Antioxidants are one of the biggest keys to healthy, younger looking skin. We need a constant flow of antioxidants in the body to help fight damaging free radicals that age the skin at a much faster rate. Our body doesn't make its own antioxidants so we must feed it a constant stream through our diet.
Lots of vegetables and fruits are essential for their antioxidant value, and vitamin C is also needed for skin repair and the production of collagen. Homemade smoothies and soups are an easy and fast way to get lots of antioxidants into the body. Taking a good quality, anti-ageing supplement that is rich in antioxidants and vitamins is also a beneficial beauty boost for the skin - from the inside out. Just make sure it's clean of fillers and bulking agents.
Include good fats in your diet daily. Good fats nourish the skin. They lubricate the skin and help it to feel moisturised from the inside out. They help to strengthen our skin cells, making them firm and healthy. These essential fatty acids are called 'essential' for a reason. They make our skin feel supple, juicy and smoother, and they give the skin a glow that is lacking without enough of them.
Good fats include avocado, nuts, seeds, flaxseed, coconut oil, olive oil and oily fish. A daily high-strength, good quality fish oil is worth taking to ensure you're getting enough omega-3. If you're a vegetarian look for flaxseed supplements.
Turmeric is a super-antioxidant that has amazing health and skin benefits. It can be used in cooking or mixed into smoothies, juices and hot drinks. As I'm writing this I'm drinking 'Golden Milk', a mixture of almond milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, pink Himalayan salt and a drop of honey. There are various recipes around and you can tweak it to your liking.
Making your own turmeric face-mask is also super easy. Just get adventurous in the kitchen with ingredients such as natural yoghurt, turmeric and honey, or simply turmeric and water mixed to a paste.
It helps to even out skin tone and gives the skin a gorgeous glow. Taken internally, it will help to fight those damaging free radicals that prematurely age the skin. It's an anti-inflammatory and an anti-bacterial, so if you suffer with skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea or acne, it can help to calm them.
Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes are hugely beneficial. Skin is a reflection of the health of your gut. A healthy gut ensures that you have plenty of good bacteria and you are absorbing the nutrients from the food you eat. Unfortunately, daily stresses and certain foods can leave the gut unbalanced. This can result in dull skin, breakouts, blotchy skin and other skin conditions. Taking a daily probiotic ensures you're getting plenty of good bacteria.
Digestive Enzymes assist with breaking down and digesting foods. This gives the body a helping hand in absorbing nutrients from food. If you're super-healthy and very conscious of what you're putting into your body, it's good to know that your body is actually absorbing the goodness and you can feel the benefits of your efforts.
Bone broth, the kind our grandma's used to make, is a super-nutritious, healing food full of beneficial nutrients, vitamins and minerals. There's a reason chicken broth is known to be a healer and soup for the soul ...
Regularly making a batch of broth to drink and use in recipes makes such a difference to the skin. It contains collagen which helps to keep the skin smooth, firm and with less wrinkles. Add in lots of vegetables, spices such as garlic, turmeric and chillies and you have a natural, inexpensive original super-food - made in your own kitchen.
Ditch or limit the white stuff - Sugar. It's a fast route to prematurely aged skin. It causes inflammation, which then produces damaging free radicals, and it destroys collagen fibres by attaching to them and making them rigid and brittle - the result of which is lines, wrinkles, and sagging dull skin.
I know there are times it's hard to resist cake... and what would life be without a piece of cake to devour at times? I believe in balance. But, on a daily basis try hard to crowd out the not so good stuff, with good stuff. It's counterproductive to boost collagen levels and skin health with a good healthy diet and cosmeceutical grade skincare products on one hand - and then on the other hand destroy precious collagen with sugar.
Okay, so I said it wasn't going to be the usual, sleep and water kind of post... but I will just say hydration is key to many cellular functions within the body and the skin - we all know this. Hydrated skin looks and feels plumper, softer and healthier. It looks fresh and juicy. Just think of the difference between a grape and a raisin, or a fresh apricot and a dried apricot - enough said.
You can read more of Katy's blogs over at Treat the Skin You're in
You can also download 20 Top Tips to Help Treat the Skin You're in