Basking in the Glow
As the season for fashion, parties and glamour begins, it is imperative that we pay attention to our skin and rediscover our glow. Amy J Fox, personal trainer and health and skincare therapist shows us how we can achieve the radiance we deserve
When it comes to radiant skin, the foods in your kitchen are just as important as the products in your bathroom. According to Leslie Baumann, a Miami Beach dermatologist, “Good nutrition is a fundamental building block of healthy skin.” The natural ingredients in certain foods help with everything from speeding up your skin’s natural process of exfoliation to protecting your skin from UV rays that cause wrinkles and pigmentation. So, what is the recipe for complexion perfection you ask? Well, it starts with a balanced diet that includes healthy fats, sufficient protein, lots of vegetables, some fruit and a whole bunch of super foods. The ‘must-includes’ to your next shopping basket are:
- Berries: They’re filled with antioxidants, which protects the elastic fibers that keep skin from sagging and make them our favourite super food.
- Tomatoes: These little red bundles are filled with lycopene, which helps protect your skin against the sun, as well as help clear acne.
- Walnuts: The heaps of Vitamin E and Omega 3 found in these crunchy snacks not only help give you smoother, brighter skin but also help strengthen your hair and bones. And according to the University of Texas Health Science Centre, walnuts contain melatonin, resulting in better sleep.
- Dark chocolate: I can’t imagine life without chocolate and now I don’t have to. Dark chocolate keeps your skin hydrated and protects it from sun damage. One little piece of heaven per day will also keep away those chocolate cravings. Just remember that the dark chocolate you choose should be at least 60% cacao.
- Salmon: Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps moisturize your skin and keep it supple.
- Sweet potatoes: You can call this super food the ‘age fighter’ from now on thanks to the antioxidant beta-carotene it’s filled with.
- Spinach: The antioxidants and nutrients found in this green veggie are endless. It’s a great source of vitamin B, C and E, potassium, calcium, and the list goes on. Spinach is sure to keep your skin glowing and eyes sparkling.
Regular exercise is essential for healthy looking skin. Dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Women’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin says, “We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant.” By increasing your heart rate you are increasing blood flow, causing oxygen and nutrients to rush to the surface of the skin, giving you that post workout ‘glow’. Haven’t you ever heard the saying ‘Ladies don’t sweat, we sparkle’? In addition to providing oxygen and nutrients, increased blood flow also helps carry away waste products, including free radicals.
If you really want to notice the benefits of training on your skin you need to be increasing your heart rate at least three times per week.
Along with eating right and exercising, there are also some at-home cures you can do to get the glow. Why not treat yourself to a mini facial? It will cost you nothing and you’ll end up looking and feeling like a princess in under an hour. Here’s a home routine you can follow:
- Cleanse your skin using your day-to-day cleanser with lukewarm water
- Exfoliate your skin using a home-made, all natural, facial scrub (mix 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt/sugar, honey, baking soda and your favorite essential oil together)
- Rinse the exfoliator off your skin and dry your face thoroughly
- Apply a home-made, all natural, facial mask (blend together 10 strawberries, 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 2 tbsp. of honey) and leave on your skin for 10-15 minutes
- Rinse off with lukewarm water
- Enjoy the effects of smooth, beautiful, glowing skin!
This can be done twice or even three times per week to maintain your skins natural glow. There are so many different ingredients you can add to your scrubs and masks so get creative with it.
A few tips
- Never leave the house without sunscreen. “A broad-spectrum sunscreen is imperative,” says Kirby, who is a spokesperson for a skin-care company. You need a minimum SPF factor of 30, especially if your work requires you to be outdoors. But don’t be fooled into thinking that working indoors doesn’t require sun protection. Go for a broadspectrum sunscreen, meaning that it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays, and be sure to re-apply every 4-5 hours.
- Instead of turning to Botox and fillers, fight the signs of aging with retinol. “I can always tell when a woman uses these [retinol]. She’ll have that dewy, fresh-faced look— like she just had a facial,” says Emmy Graber, MD, a dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine. Retinol, or better known as vitamin A derivatives, have been proven to boost collagen production, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, speed up cell regeneration, unclog pores and brighten skin tone.
- Don’t fall for fads. Your focus shouldn’t be the latest trends in skincare but rather on what works and has been tested with proven results. The more natural the product the better. New skincare products are great if you know the ingredients work. Don’t be scared to do some research.