It’s really important to have healthy skin and making a few simple changes could have a really positive effect on the health of your skin. Having healthy, bright, clear skin enhances a person’s physical appearance, which boosts self-esteem and increases confidence. Below are a few steps you can take to ensure your skin functions effectively as well as making it feel and look better.
Moisturisers are important because they help to protect the skin from environmental conditions (such as the weather) and keep it looking bright and healthy. Skin experts recommend using a moisturiser on a daily basis; it is important to moisturise the whole body, not just the face although the face is more exposed to the elements so it may require more frequent moisturisation. Many people suffer from sensitive skin so it may be beneficial to get a cream or lotion that is designed for sensitive skin; often these are gentler and don’t contain any perfume which may cause irritation. According to many skin experts, cheaper branded products are as effective as the expensive brands so don’t feel that you need to splash out to get a decent moisturiser.
Cleansing should an integral part of your daily skincare routine; generally ,experts recommend using a daily cleanser as least once a day but people who wear make-up may wish to cleanse twice a day to ensure all traces of make-up have been washed away from the face. Cleansing washes away traces of dirt and keeps the skin looking clean and bright; be careful not to cleanse too often as this can eradicate the body’s natural oils, which are released to keep the skin functioning effectively and looking healthy. People with sensitive skin should use gentle products to prevent irritation.
The skin can be severely damaged if it is not protected in the sun; harmful UV rays contribute to most cases of skin cancer and also cause the skin to age prematurely. Make sure you wear a high factor sun cream if you have fair skin (factor 30) and a medium-high cream (factor 15-30) if you have medium, olive or dark skin. Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest and keep the skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water and moisturising regularly. Sunburn can be really painful, it looks unattractive and most importantly, it can double the chance of you developing a malignant melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer).
Your diet can have huge implications for the health of your skin; eating healthily will almost certainly improve the physical appearance of your skin, as well as ensuring it functions as well as possible. Try to eat lots of the following foods:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables: these foods are rich in anti-oxidants which help to protect against damage to the cells in the skin caused by free radicals (such as chemicals in cigarettes, environmental pollution and sun exposure). Vitamin C is one of the most effective antioxidants; this can be found in almost all fruits and vegetables but it is particularly concentrated in kiwi fruit, blueberries and citrus fruits including oranges and lemons. Carrots, kale, papaya and spinach are also extremely high in antioxidants.
- Foods containing selenium including brazil nuts, eggs and fresh fish: selenium is a powerful antioxidant which protects against sun damage and premature signs of ageing.
- Omega 3: foods that are rich in Omega 3 oils have an array of health benefits and help to control hormone balance in the body; the best example of this type of food is oily fish (such as mackerel, salmon and sardines)
- ‘Good’ fats: these foods contain essential fatty acids as well as vitamin D, which help to keep the skin looking and feeling great. These fatty acids are present in avocadoes, nuts and seeds.
- Foods containing zinc: zinc is used during the production of oil in the glands in the skin and is also important for effective healing of the skin. Foods that are rich in zinc include red meat, wholegrain foods and shellfish