How to Maintain Healthy Skin at Any Age
Dr. Olivia Rose | Naturopathic Doctor
The health of your skin is affected by many factors including the environment, genetics, lifestyle and hygiene. If you have sensitive skin or chronic skin concerns, understanding what it takes to improve your skin’s appearance can be a confusing and downright frustrating. In this blog, we hope to provide some guidance to help you identify the aspects of your healthy skin journey that are within your control so you can achieve glowing skin at any age.
Cleanse your Skin Regularly
Employing the appropriate hygiene regimen and using the correct skin care products are importantin order to maintain a healthy skin barrier for optimal moisture retention. In general, cleansing your facial skin twice per day, and avoiding over-cleansing is be beneficial, especially if you suffer from a skin condition such as eczema . If you wear makeup, removing it before bedtime will preventthe clogging of pores which can lead to inflammation and the development of white heads and black heads.
Choose Skincare Products Wisely
If you have sensitive, acne prone skin, look for skincare products that are slightly acidic (pH between 5.5-7), which will match the pH of the skin’s acid mantle – the thin protective layer on the skin’s surface. An intact acid mantle will provide the best environment for the protective bacteria on the skin to thrive.It’s also important to consistently wear a mineral-based sunscreen with an SPF of 25 or higher year-round, on cloudy days and even during the winter months to prevent damage from ultraviolet radiationwhichcan accelerate skin aging and cause hyperpigmentation .
Lifestyle Factors to Consider
In terms of lifestyle, it is important to make sure that you are drinking enough water to maintain good hydration status of the skin. Current recommendations can range depending on your activity levels and size, between 2 litres to 2.5 litres per day. Another important reminder is to wash your pillow cases, keep your hands away from your face and to disinfectyour phone screens regularly to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria and the build-up of oils and pore-clogging debris on the skin.
Feed your Skin the Right Foods to Thrive
“You are what you eat” is a key phrase when it comes to skin health. Your external appearance is a direct reflection of what is going on insideyour digestive tract, according to the gut-skin axis. This is why it is important to nourish your body with the appropriate whole foods.A typical Australian diet can be high in junk foods, alcohol, sugar and simple carbs (white breads, pasta), saturated fat and low in fiber. To optimize the health of your skin, choose to include plenty of serves of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day. The skins of vegetables and fruits contain polyphenols and antioxidants; plant chemicalsthat directly support the structure of skin, aiding in daily repair and the prevention of damage caused by environmental pollution and ultraviolent radiation.
Maintain the Right Fatty-Acid Profile
The Australian diet is typically higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which are more pro-inflammatory than omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in processed and fried foods, nuts, cereal grains and meat. For optimal skin health, focus on foods that are higher in omega-3 fatty acids such as cold-water fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring, rainbow trout).
Vegetarian sources of omega-3s do not contain the long chain fatty acids which the body uses (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid), but the shorter chain fats in vegetarian sources get converted to those forms in the body, although in lower amounts than animal sources. High omega-3 vegetarian foods include algae, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and leafy green vegetables. Consuming more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids are not only important for inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, but can reduce overall inflammation that can lead to premature aging .
Collagen for Optimal Skin Structure and Health
Protein is important for the structure and function of all bodily functions, including the production of your skin cells. Collagen is a specific type of protein that is found all over your body with a high concentration in the skin. You’re born with the most collagen that you will ever have – think of how soft and supple a baby’s skin is – and sadly, you consistently lose it as you age. Collagen maintains the structure and flexibility of your skin to prevent fine lines and wrinkling.
Supplementing your diet with collagen and eating collagen-rich foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, tofu and legumes can help maintain the health of your skin and combat the signs of premature aging. However, depending on your skin’s condition, you may benefit from more. We have formulated“My Beauty” which is aconcentrated powdered collagen supplement. It also contains inulin, a prebioticfibre thatacts as food to support the health of the bacteria in your digestive tract for optimal nutrient absorption. The better youprocess and absorb your nutrients, the healthier your skin will be. Read more about collagen in our blog here.
Beauty Sleep is the Key to Radiant Skin
As a rule, sleep qualityis just as important as quantity. Create a routine and stick to it so that your body can form the habit of knowing when to shut down and go into recovery-mode. Chronic poor sleep quality is related to increased skin aging, as the body does not get enoughtime to fully recover and regenerate . To improve your sleep, start with reducing your screen time (TV, cellphone, tablet) and blue light exposure at least one to two hours before bed. Sleep in a cool and completely darkened room and wear an eye cover if you have to. Remember, any amount of light peeking through into your room can disrupt the quality of your sleep. Check out our blog on natural ways to support healthy sleep. We have also created a product called “U Dream” which is formulated to promote relaxation and improved sleep quality.
No health journey is linear, and as we have reviewed above, having healthy skin requires a holistic approach. For those with chronic skin conditions, after visiting the basics of lifestyle, nutrition and sleep quality, if there are no changes in your skin, there may be an underlying cause. This could include hormonal imbalances, dysbiosis, or altered immune function. Please contact your healthcare practitioner if you think this relates to you.
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