1. Protect yourself from the sun
Taken straight from Skincare 101 – this should be a no-brainer, however, most people still underestimate the effect the sun has on the skin only to pay the price in their later years.
A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems – of course, it also increases the risk of skin cancer.
For the best protection:
- Use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or perspiring.
- Seek shade. Avoid the sun between 10 am and 2 pm when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also consider laundry additives, which give clothing an additional layer of ultraviolet protection for a certain number of washings, or special sun-protective clothing — which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays.
2. Don’t smoke
Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health.
Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — the fibres that give your skin strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — can contribute to wrinkles.
If you smoke, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.
3. Treat your skin gently
Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin. To keep it gentle:
- Limit bath time. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time, and use warm — rather than hot — water.
- Avoid strong soaps. Strong soaps and detergents can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild cleansers.
- Shave carefully. To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it.
- Pat dry. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin.
- Moisturize dry skin. If your skin is dry, use a moisturiser that fits your skin type. For daily use, consider a moisturiser from the K2A Skincare range.
4. Eat a healthy diet
If you want radiant skin, the old saying ‘you are what you eat’ has never been truer.
Eating the correct balance of foods will feed your skin with the vital nutrients it needs to help stay soft, supple and blemish-free.
Make sure you get your 5 a day. Fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre and are high in antioxidants which help to prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Eat a variety of each and visit your local grocers to buy locally sourced fruit and vegetables that are in season.
Add colour to your diet, include blueberries, raspberries, red peppers, pumpkin and kiwis and eat foods high in omega oils such as salmon, mackerel, chia seeds, walnuts and soya beans. Foods rich in omega fatty acids moisturise the skin and aid in inflammation helping to create a barrier on the skin’s surface.
Eat your greens – Green leafy foods are full of nutrients to help combat disease and protect our skin. Try blending them into a smoothie – a favourite is an apple, cucumber, spinach, ginger, celery, pear, avocado, parsley all blended together.
Drink-up, skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Even mild dehydration will cause your skin to look dry, tired and slightly grey. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day – all fluids count towards your daily allowance, but water is the best, add slices of lemon, lime or cucumber for a refreshing taste.
5. Manage stress
Stress plays a major part in the health of our skin. When we are stressed, a hormone called cortisol is released which can increase oil production in the skin making us prone to acne and breakouts.
Stress can also trigger skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, hives and psoriasis and make our skin more sensitive.
There are many ways that stress can be managed such as taking a walk in nature, eating foods high in Vitamin B – which is good for the nervous system – exercise, join a social group, avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking and drinking, learn meditation and ensure a good work/life balance.
If you feel that you are suffering extreme stress and feel unable to cope, then it is advised to visit your G.P who can suggest further guidance.