w&h's Beauty Editor, Ashleigh Van Der Westhuizen, keeps you up to date with what's happening in and around the world of beauty...
With the festive season around the corner, there are some steps you can take to prevent your skin from taking a knock while still being able to enjoy all your favourite things. Follow these tips from the Laserderm Aesthetic Centre and your skin will look flawless – from the inside out.
1. Probiotics: When your stomach's natural flora is disrupted by stress, infection, diet or antibiotics, your skin will soon reveal the imbalance. Dullness, breakouts and skin irritations will soon come to the serface. Taking a good probiotic supplement will create a barrier to prevent this from happening. Also try to incorporate foods such as kefir), yoghurt, buttermilk and sauerkraut into your diet.
2. Build good bacteria: Foods such as bananas, garlic, onions and whole grains stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the gut and keep imbalances at bay. Try to eat at least two of these foods a day.
3. Omega 3: Omega 3 is imperative to your body's overall wellbeing. It also keeps your skin looking soft and supple. Take a good-quality Omega 3 supplement and try to include foods such as salmon, mackerel and sardines in your diet. If you're vegetarian, chia and flaxseeds are alternative sources of this essential fatty and acid, so simply sprinkle them over your salads or morning oats.
4. Antioxidants: Have you ever wondered how and why skin ages? One of the major contributing factors is when molecules in your body that are exposed to pollution, stress, infection and UV rays causing them to, causing your skin to age.
One of the best ways to neutralise free radicals is to eat food that pack an anti-oxidant punch. Berries, beans and leafy greens will do the trick, but purple is the power colour when it comes to skin. Purple potatoes, cabbage and cauliflower as well as raspberries and blueberries are rich in anthocyanin – an anti-oxidant that helps to improve circulation. Increased blood flow brings nutrients to the skin to form new cells, collagen and elastin.
5. Limit sugar intake: We know this is one of the most difficult things to achieve – but more than your waistline suffers when you consume too much sugar. High sugar intake can cause inflammation and can lead to glycation – a process that causes skin to age prematurely. The breakdown of collagen and elastin, contributes directly to wrinkles, sagging and uneven skin tone. Eliminating all sugar from your diet may be extreme, but even limiting your intake will offer visible all-round results.
6. Spice it up: A recent study reported that turmeric (oral or topical) helps reduce skin irritation and increases photo-protection in skin. Add this skin-savvy spice, also found in curry powder, to your diet and supplement plan to help prevent further sun damage. Perk up your meals with inflammation-fighting spices like ginger and cinnamon. These are full of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce bloating and puffiness and work to reduce inflammation on the surface of your skin.
7. Limit dairy: There are over 60 hormones in the average glass of milk (organic or not) and some of those androgens, like testosterone, increase sebum production, causing breakouts. Dairy also stimulates insulin production, which is known to cause pimples. If you do decide to skip dairy, be sure to supplement your diet with other sources of calcium and vitamin D.
8. Check your acidity levels: An unbalanced diet could mean that your system becomes more acidic. Alkaline minerals such as calcium calcium, potassium and magnesium will be leached from your system, slowing down your body's natural detox functions – which are necessary to reduce skin irritations and flush out toxins.
Reach for foods such as parsley, almonds, kale, pears, lemons, and apples to increase your system's alkalinity.
Red meat, alcohol and all refined or processed starches are known to increase acidity.
9. Scrub up: When your feeling run down, your skin will suffer. Olive Leaf extract is one of the most potent botanical, anti-fungal and anti-virals around.
10. Drink plenty of water and limit your caffeine intake to one or two servings a day.