As a follow up to last week's article, where we looked at 10 beneficial foods for the skin, this week we're focusing on the rejuvenators and deteriorators for our skin. Read on to find out how you can get that healthy glow, and make sure to tune in next week for the Clear Skin Meal Plan, which shows you how to put it all in to action.
WaterThe body contains approximately 70% water, but in order for the skin to look moist and wrinkle-free it needs to be well hydrated. Drinking water plays an important role by flushing out any toxins in the body via perspiration; toxins that may have a negative impact on the skin. To achieve this you need to drink at least eight glasses of water per day (more if you work out).
Another way increasing your fluid intake is to drink green tea. Green tea with its high level of antioxidants called polyphenols has been shown to reduce skin damage caused by external environmental factors, and delay the aging of the skin.
Physical activityRegular exercise is known to improve total body fitness and mood status. It can be seen to have the same impact on the skin. Exercise increases blood flow to the skin surface. This ultimately has two outcomes – elimination of toxins as well as transporting nutrients to skin cells. Both these processes create a healthy glow.
Less stressful lifestyleJust as exercise improves the overall body’s health, stress is known to have the opposite effect. By better managing the stress in your life you will minimise stress related flareups of psoriasis and eczema skin conditions. Adequate sleep may also be important for healthy skin. Take time out for massages, aromatherapy and any activity that relaxes you.
Deteriorators or skin enemies
AlcoholAlcohol ingestion is known to result in two major effects on the body (dehydration and vasodilation). The dehydration effects on the skin are well documented in that the skin appears visibly dry and with more fine lines and wrinkles. Alcohol also causes vasodilation where blood vessels become dilated. This results in increased redness of the skin and possibly even skin irritations.
CaffeineJust one coffee you say. Even one strong cup can have a dramatic effect on your hydration status. Dehydration caused by caffeine consumption has such a large impact, particularly if that is the only form of fluid consumed throughout the day. Be careful with these new age energy drinks, many of which have 2-3 times as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Dehydration causes the skin to look dry, wrinkly and dull. If you love your coffee, don’t forget to have a water chaser.
Saturated fat and trans fatty acidsSaturated fats which are high in foods such as fatty meats, full cream dairy products and coconut, and trans fatty acids predominantly in hydrogenated oils increase the production of free radicals. This process accelerates the aging process. These fats found in many high fat take-away foods may also play a role in initiating inflammation of the skin, thus tempting puffy pores and aggressive pimples.
Nicotine present in cigarettes increases blood vessel constriction. This reduction in blood vessel diameter decreases the blood flow toward the skin surface. Without blood flow to the skins surface there is a reduction in oxygen and nutrient deposition to the skin cells, creating a dull and lifeless tone to the skin. It is also believed that cigarette smoking uses up the body’s supply of vitamin C, thus preventing collagen repair and construction.