It's time to glow from the inside out
They say beauty is only skin deep, but what you put into your body is just as important as the lotions and potions you lather on your skin's surface. So if you feel like you’ve lost your glow, or simply want to brighten up your complexion, then our top food and lifestyle tips are here to help save the day.
What is skin made up of?
Before we get into the dos and don’ts of how to look after your skin, let’s delve into its deep layers to see what it’s made up of. Your skin has three layers – epidermis (the top layer of skin) which we see and touch every day, the dermis (the second layer) which is made mainly of collagen, and helps skin to keep its elasticity and strength, and also helps to grow hair follicles and produce sweat. The third layer is the not-so-nicely-named subcutaneous fat, but it plays a very important role in storing fat and controlling your body temperature.
Your skin goes through a lot in one day, including:
• Skincare routines
• New face masks (hello bubbles)
• Sweating at the gym
• Office air conditioning
• Hot and cold weather conditions and much more
So it’s important that you take good care of it to help your skin look and feel good.
The science behind good skin
If you’ve ever been envious of your friend's glowing skin and wondered what their secret is, then spoiler alert… they might not have one! Some people’s good skin can be partly down to their genes, but we’re 99% sure they probably take good care of their skin in other ways too.
When we’re born our skin is supple and healthy but as we age and encounter daily skin battles, our skin can lose its ability to cope with everything that’s thrown at it. So what’s the magic formula for helping your skin look fabulous? There’s no bottled formula for perfect skin, but you can help your skin look and feel great by enjoying a healthy balanced diet, keeping hydrated, stopping smoking, keeping well protected in the sun, exercising, trying to reduce stresses and getting your forty winks.
Why is my skin looking less than glowy?
We’ve listed the skin sapping culprits above, but how do they stop you putting your best face forward?
As the saying goes ‘everything in moderation’ and the same goes for your diet. Despite the myths and hype, you don’t have to completely cut out any foods to help your skin look flawless, and there aren’t any secret skincare recipes or foods alone that will give you a selfie-worthy glow.
It’s all about making sure you eat foods from a variety of different groups, as this will help you hit your quota for nutrients that help your skin stay healthy. These are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to name a few. All can be found in a healthy balanced diet that includes eating your five-a-day, enjoying wholegrain starchy foods (potatoes with skins, wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholegrain pasta), milk and dairy foods, protein (beans, pulses, fish, lean meat, nuts, seeds and eggs) and cutting down on saturated fats and sugar. If you’re bamboozled by a balanced diet, then check out our nutrition wellness advice.
Lack of sleep
Have you ever wandered into the office after a bad night’s sleep only to be greeted by the comment "You look tired"? Sleep is a time for your body to rest and renew, and your skin is no exception, as sleep has been found to help regenerate new cells. Therefore a lack of sleep can result in tired looking skin and pesky dark circles, leaving you looking less than your best, so getting your beauty sleep is important.
Lack of exercise
Whether you choose to run, dance, swim or walk at pace it will all get your heart pumping and increase blood flow around your body – meaning your skin will have more of a healthy, natural glow.
This can make your skin lose its elasticity and age your skin beyond your years. Smoking also limits blood flow and means your skin loses out on oxygen and vital nutrients, such as vitamin C. For tips on how to help stop smoking take a look at our handy stop smoking guide.
Too much alcohol
Too many tipples can make your body dehydrated, which means your skin is more likely to develop wrinkles and look tired. Cutting it out completely or cutting down by drinking non-alcoholic drinks or alternating water between alcoholic drinks can help you stay hydrated.
If you drink alcohol try and stick to the recommended guidelines of no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, have two non-drinking days per week and avoid binge drinking.
Keeping yourself hydrated is one of the quickest fixes for frazzled skin, so try to drink the recommended six to eight glasses of fluid per day – but do drink more if it’s hot or you are exercising. Where possible you should try and drink water, but if you struggle to then low-fat milk, tea, coffee, fruit juice, smoothies* and sugar-free drinks all count too.
*Fruit juice and smoothies are a source of free sugars so should be limited to 150ml a day.
How can I help keep my skin safe in the sun?
You may think that the best way to sun kissed skin is catching some rays, but the powerful UV rays from the sun are the main cause of ageing skin and skin cancer, so it’s important to make sure you wear the correct sun protection and clothing (including a wide brimmed hat), and limit your time in the sun too. It’s not recommended that you use sun protection with a factor less than 15, or that you spend time in the sun between 11am and 3pm, so make sure you’re being sun-savvy!
Do I need beauty supplements?
‘Inside out beauty’ is a hot topic, but that doesn’t mean you need to start taking vitamins to help make your skin look great. A healthy balanced diet is the best way to give your skin and body the nutrients it needs to function well and feel its best. However, if you’re concerned about the amount of vitamins and minerals you’re getting from your diet then speak to your GP.
What about moisturisers?
If you’re a skincare junkie, that’s a good thing! Moisturising your skin on a regular basis can help to protect it from the environment and give it an added boost of hydration when needed. Boots is brimming with skin friendly skincare ingredients, such as vitamin C, collagen, honey and more! Find out about skincare ingredients with our need-to-know guide.
Now you’re a skincare buff, keeping your skin looking and feeling its best will.