Just as the eyes are a window to the soul, it can be said that the skin is a window to our inner health and wellbeing. It is possible to have healthy radiant skin at any age without having to reach for expensive surgical procedures, harmful chemicals or complex photo editing software. In this guide I will share what I have learned through my own personal experience, research and from the people for whom I have created customized products. We will cover some basic rules to keep your skin happy and some useful tips on choosing healthy personal care products.
Your skin is as unique as you are.
It will often change the way it looks, feels and behaves based on your overall health and lifestyle, age, stress levels, and many subtle factors in the environment. The skin is the body’s largest organ and forms part of the immune system. It has a rather complex anatomical structure made up of various types of cells, blood vessels, nerves, glands, etc.
While most of us are usually concerned only with our skin’s cosmetic appearance, it’s good to remember that it actually has many other important functions, such as helping us maintain optimal body temperature, waterproofing, neutralising the damaging effects of sunlight, transmitting injury or pain signals, protecting against infections and helping the body defend against foreign bodies and harmful substances.
Most skin conditions and disorders (such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis) are usually a sign of deeper imbalances within the body and while various skin care products can go a long way towards reducing or even eliminating symptoms, a cure will always need to address the underlying causes as well.
Beauty from the inside out
Beautiful skin is really just a reflection of the body’s overall health and of a harmonious relationship with the environment. In order for skin to look and function at its best it needs the same essential elements as all other living organisms:
- Food – our diet provides the building blocks all skin cells are made from. A balanced diet which includes plenty of vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats will always keep the skin happy and healthy. An easy way to achieve this is to stick to seasonal locally-grown produce – it’s not only fresher and tastes better, but it also means there’s less nutritional guesswork for us to do as we trust nature to provide us with the right combination of nutrients at the right time in the right place.
- Water – hydration is vital for maintaining a healthy and youthful complexion. The water content of skin cells is 70% and whenever we don’t provide enough the skin responds accordingly by looks dull, lifeless and wrinkled. Filtered water is best, along with herbal teas and freshly-pressed fruit and vegetable juices. Optimal skin hydration is maintained by the liquids that we drink, not by the amount of water that we apply to the skin. Skin and body care products that contain a high percentage of water are usually not very effective at providing long-lasting moisture. While a small amount of liquid helps make the product more easily absorbed, the best types of moisturisers to provide long-lasting results are those based on oils.
- Oxygen – we’ve all heard of the benefits of exercise, but few of us realise just how important it is for the skin. Exercise increases blood flow, which carries fresh oxygen and much needed nutrients to the skin
- Protection – the skin is always in contact with the environment and constantly affected by the elements. Excessively cold or dry conditions, whether outdoors or indoors, make the skin dry and may even aggravate certain skin conditions. We all need sunlight in order to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D, but prolonged UV exposure causes damage to skin cells, premature aging and wrinkles.
- Rest – beauty sleep is definitely not just a myth. During sleep the body’s natural repair mechanisms are actively working to restore balance and heal any damage that has occurred during the day; this is also the best time to apply highly active and concentrated skincare products. On the other hand, lack of sleep causes dullness and fine lines, increased inflammation and loss of collagen, which helps keep the skin smooth and elastic.