Loving your skin

By Jo Finzi

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and also its defence against infection, and the many problems of the outside world.

How your skin looks to others is important. Skin diseases such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, while not life threatening can nevertheless ruin the lives of sufferers. Other skin problems such as skin cancer can be fatal, so with more and more cases being diagnosed every year, it’s vital to keep a watchful eye for any changes in the appearance of moles or patches.

UAEasy.com pictureThe good news is that there are plenty of ways to take care of your skin, and maintain a beautiful covering. One of the most important is to make sure that your diet is healthy enough. This means avoiding simple carbohydrates such as white bread, rice, cakes and sweets and sticking to their slow release cousins – wholegrain bread, brown rice and wholegrain pasta.

Keep away from smoking and over exposure to the sun to avoid premature skin aging. Smoking speeds up the breakdown of collagen, and the sun damages the collagen and elastin that keep your skin looking young.

Traditional Chinese herbs and acupuncture help rebalance the body and can be really effective for conditions like psoriasis.

If you’re worried about looking flushed, avoid spices, monosodium glutamate and red wine. These dilate blood vessels, and as one inch of skin has nearly six metres of blood vessels, the effects can be dramatic!

Make sure you get some fat though, as this helps the skin absorb vitamin A, which protects against skin aging. Olive oil, avocados and nuts are all good sources of the right type of fat.

Finally, if the body is properly hydrated, the skin will remain glowing, so two litres of fluid a day are vital – ideally water or fresh juice.

Extras that work

There are a few daily maintenance tips that can really help keep your skin in tip-top shape.

Multivitamins taken regularly are a must. Your skin loves a formula with extra A, C, E and zinc. It’s great for your hair and nails too.

Blood purifying antioxidants such as burdock root, echinacea and selenium (found in brazil nuts) help with skin complaints like acne and eczema.

Hydrolysed collagen supports the skin’s natural collagen production

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) found in fish oils, flaxseeds and almonds combat thinning and wrinkling

Hyaluronic acid found in starchy root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, boosts the skin’s elasticity and helps fight wrinkles

Home made skin treats

A gentle scrub will exfoliate the skin’s dead layers and encourage regeneration of skin cells.
For sensitive skin, try soaking slices of cucumber in bottled water for an hour, then, mash together with some oats to form a paste.

Cleanse your face, using warm water to open the pores, then rub the mixture in gently. Finally wash off with warm water. The light exfoliation effect of the oats with the added moisturising effect of the paste, and the cooling effect of the cucumber will leave you refreshed and glowing.

For stronger skin, mix some refined sea salt from your local health food store with organic cold pressed sweet almond oil. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil (such as lavender for its cooling effects). After cleansing your face with warm water, apply the mixture and gently rub. This scrub will leave your skin soft, supple and smelling divine.

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