LQ nutritional expert Helen Drake gives her advice on how to maintain healthy skin, looking at external factors and how to keep your skin healthy from within.
Over the period of our lives our skin is exposed to a multitude of stressors such as UV light, pollution, cosmetics not to mention things we consume such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar or simply a lack of water and nutrients.
All of these things cause oxidative stress and inflammation which can contribute to the ageing process and also other skin conditions. Oxidation and inflammation causes damage to the structure of our skin, and can weaken the protective layers and also damage collagen beneath the skin leading to wrinkles and a loss of tone.
It is therefore high time we give our skin a little TLC that will not only leave our skin healthy but it will also look amazing.
External factors play a role in skin health
Although we cannot prevent our skin from being exposed to everything the world throws at it, we can minimise the amount of exposure our skin has to stress. We need to be exposed to UV light to make vitamin D which is so important for health, but 15 minutes per day on our forearms is adequate. Avoiding the sun at peak times (11am-3pm), using an organic sunscreen or covering skin will help to minimise damage. Also a lot of skin products, soaps and cosmetics contain harsh chemicals some of which can be absorbed through the skin and cause problems within the body one of which can be inflammation which we have already talked about. Choosing organic products that are free of parabens will again reduce the amount of toxins getting into our skin and therefore or our bodies, coconut oil for example is an excellent moisturiser.
Skin health from within
However the majority of skin health comes from within; so diet is crucial. Getting enough water is a must as we lose a lot of water from the surface of the skin and dehydration leads to dry wrinkled skin that is more prone to damage, aim for 1.5-22 litres per day. Try to reduce the amount of foods that cause inflammation such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, red meat, dairy and gluten. Also increasing food that contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants – basically as many different colours of fruits and vegetables as possible – and also nuts and seeds which are particularly high in selenium and vitamin E; all of which are key nutrients and anti-oxidants involved in protecting and repairing the skin. It is also important to remember that our skin is predominantly made up of fat so getting sufficient healthy fats in the diet is important. Healthy fats include fat from fish, nuts and seeds, avocado and coconut oil.
Look to supplements to maximise your skin health
Finally supplementation has been shown to have excellent benefits to skin health.
Vitamin C helps to regenerate collagen and when taken along with collagen, silicon and hyaluronic acid it has a remarkable effect on rebuilding the collagenous layer beneath the skin. Biotin is also essential as it helps to manufacture the fats that go into the skin, and as the skin is regenerating all of the time we can use up a lot of it.
The skin is our first line of defence – so look after it.
Helen Drake (CNM Dip) is the in-house nutritional expert at LQ Liquid Health Supplements. Helen is CNHC accredited and a member of BANT. If you have any questions please email her at email@example.com