Genes I got from my Cook Island father… Height, yes! Full lips, yes! A sense of humour, sure! A Cook Island tan and that flawless complexion…. Um, no!!
While it appears it took me some years to work out how to use fake tan, and then some years to work out how damaging fake tan was, I am now quite confident that I understand that this mishap in my DNA coding is a wee blessing in disguise. It means sun damage is at an all time low for me, because there just isn’t any point in baking myself for zero positive effect. I’ll leave my opinion about the high use of chemical sunblocks potentially adding to our skin cancer issue for when there is a bit more science on this topic, but in the meantime, let’s look at how to really keep our biggest organ; our skin, happy and healthy.
The fact that what we put on our skin is understandably just as important as what we eat, we are now more than ever craving quality skin care that nourishes our body from the outside in, alongside the whole food we are choosing to eat.
Some of us will have to settle for the fact that Cate Blanchett (and her perfect non-existent pores) will always be an unattainable skin goal, but we can at least reach our own healthy glow with some pretty simple steps. These cover a range of influencing factors that will help you get delicious skin this Summer.
Things to avoid
- Cigarettes – not only do these suffocate your skin, they leach aging and cancer causing chemicals and free radical species that cause direct damage to skin cells (and the rest of your body) although I wonder why I still have to remind people of the dangers of smoking.
- Parabens – these are becoming less and less mainstream now that we understand the dangers of estrogen-mimicking hormones in relation to reproductive cancers but cheap brands still add these to their products.
- Harsh exfoliating or chemical peels – your skin is a protective organ, and if you damage it, you open your body up to all sorts of toxins and also limit its role in immunity and protection of your body. Dry body brushing lightly once a week, or a facial from a natural facialist are much safer ways to rejuvenate your winter skin.
- Petrol-chemicals most commonly known as mineral oil and paraffin aka Bio Oil literally offer no skin nutrition whatsoever and is a very expensive way to clog your pores.
- Prolonged sun exposure and chemical sunblocks – vitamin D by sun exposure is important but that leather tan on the beach is no longer attractive (if it ever was?) and the unknown risks of nano-particles in most sunblocks are worryingly on most scientists radar. Take some cover when required, and find a natural sunblock like Invisible Zinc, Natural instinct, or Coola instead.
- Palm oil and its products – because nothing we put on our skin is worth killing oxygen supplying rain forests and homelands of other species for.
Things to do
- If you can eat it, then it’s usually safe for your skin – this is such a handy rule and just look at the foods we know are fantastic sources of topical nutrition: Coconut oil, citrus fruits, avocado, honey, almond oil to name a few, so aim for products that contain edible ingredients like these.
- Choose natural products – Look for companies who provide products blended with ingredients you know. I’m currently in love with a vanilla chai lip balm and body serum from Honest Skincare which has been saving my skin with these changing conditions and trips on the boat the past few weeks. I also love organic rosehip oil a few evenings a week.
- Drink water – your fine lines are often caused by dehydration so before you spend half your wage on treatments in a clinic, try upping the H2O first.
- See a professional for tailored skin advice – first hand experience as shown me the benefits of having an enthusiastic professional treat you and tailor your skin regime. My top pick for the most relaxing, nourishing and yet educational treatment by a mile is Keely Watson. She’s booked out well in advance and for good reason!
- Sleep is your friend – we all know those late nights and 3 long blacks show on our face so now imagine what you’ll look like after 5, 10 or 20 years of that. Take magnesium, drink your herbal tea, and go to bed at a reasonable time! Let your body and therefore your skin repair and recuperate.
- Get your moles and spots checked – An annual check by a specialist alongside your own careful self-checking regime gives you a much greater chance of catching changes early. Encourage your partner, family and friends to do the same!
- Exercise and sweat – increase blood flow, toxins out, nutrients in, build tone, look great!
- Eat a variety of quality, clean, and whole food. You should be aiming to eat your fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colours, eat fatty fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, herbal teas, green smoothies and avoid the processed crap that will make you look and feel terrible.