Summer is well on its way and as we peel off our layers of jumpers and coats, we all want to look fabulous. We pay a lot of attention to losing weight for the warmer months, but often neglect our skin, which is more on show when we’re treated to a bit of sunshine!
If you want to glow from inside out, then good news! I have some great lifestyle tips to start ensuring your skin maintains its glow – but it’s not just about appearances. Our skin is the body's largest organ and acts as a barrier to protect us from the environment, fights infection and regulates our temperature.
Look after your skin and it will look after you – and looking radiant is an added bonus. 1 - Sun Protection We know that being in the sun makes you feel good and that Vitamin D is essential but be careful not to overdo it. UVA rays age your skin, increasing your chances of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots and both UVA and UVB rays contribute to the development of skin cancers. So, don’t forget to apply sunscreen on the body as well as the face to protect against skin cancer. It is crucial that you never allow your skin to burn. Try to stay in the shade when the sun is at its peak between 11am and 3pm, ensuring that you make use of sunglasses, a hat and protective clothing. Sunscreen does not offer complete sun protection as it can easily come off through sweating or swimming and patches can be missed, so you will need to reapply frequently.
Sun Protection Factor – or SPF as it is more commonly known – gives an indication of the protection from UVB rays. The higher the SPF the higher the protection and most of us need to use SPF 30 and above. When purchasing your sunscreen, look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with both UVB and UVA protection. The UVA logo indicates UVA protection. 2 - Moisturize It is important to remember that our skin needs moisturising to maintain skin elasticity. For some skin types, a heavier moisturizer is needed but for others, a lighter moisturizer will suffice.
The best moisturizer is often the one you like and will actually use! Make a habit out of using a moisturiser – if it’s part of your routine, you’re more likely to remember to do it. 3 - Good Sleep and Relaxation It’s well known that a good sleep routine helps our skin – which is why we call it ‘beauty sleep’! When we sleep, our skin cells go into repair and regeneration mode. In fact, just as our brain houses a body clock, which determines our circadian rhythm, our skin cells too have their own internal clock! A chronic lack of sleep can reduce the barrier function of the skin and accelerate skin aging.
So, book in some early nights and some time to yourself. Exercise, meditation and a good bedtime routine help with sleep quality and duration... so you'll feel well and look well!
4 – Try give up smoking
Research shows that smoking speeds up the ageing process of skin, contributing to wrinkles and fine lines. We think smoking damages the skin by increasing the rate of breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres as well as generating free radicles which damage DNA in skin cells.
Smoking is also linked to various skin diseases; certain types of skin cancer, psoriasis and hidradenitis suppurativa. The benefits of quitting smoking are multifaceted – for our skin as well as other organs. 5 - Control alcohol consumption Summer simply is not summer without a cold beverage in hand - personally, I am partial to a glass of Prosecco! However, drinking alcohol dehydrates the skin and you may notice this after an evening out.
As with other lifestyle advice it is about balance and being sensible. The guidance from the Chief Medical Officer is up to 14 units per week for both men and women. That's six pints of average strength beer or ten small glasses of low strength wine spread evenly across the week.
Also consider the type of alcoholic drinks you are consuming. Cocktails are one of the worst culprits for the combination of alcohol and sugar!
6 - Feed your skin from the inside
No single food can supply all the essential nutrients for your body, no matter how expensive the latest "superfood" is! So, the key is a balanced diet.
We already know we should eat fruit and vegetables for both our skin and general health but if you try to maintain a rainbow of colourful vegetables, you’ll benefit from the many different nutrients, as well as antioxidants which are essential to protect your cells from damage. Oily fish and nuts and seeds contain good sources of protein, Omega 3s, vitamins and minerals. Variety is a must for that healthy glow and anti-ageing. 7 - Water Just like the other organs in our body, our skin is made of up of hundreds of cells. It’s important that you make sure you drink at least six glasses of water a day! Water has huge health benefits and will help keep your skin in good condition too. Try to cut out all the sugar loaded drinks and stay hydrated.
Follow these simple tips and step out and enjoy your summer!