It’s Never Too Early Or Too Late To Improve Your Skin
Last month we partnered with beauty house Avène to host public skin health workshops in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Skincare has become a vast and globally profitable industry and with the plethora of choice out there. It is easy to see why it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make sense of what will work best for you. Our panel of experts explored some myths, ideas and key lifestyle strategies to enable healthier, better feeling and looking skin.
The Basics of Healthy Skin
Head of Dermatology at Stellenbosch University, Dr Willie Visser believes the rules to having healthy skin are actually fairly simple.
The key skin health daily steps are:
So how this is put into practice is simply by always having a reliable emollient and sunscreen in your bathroom cupboard!
That’s it! But first do your research…
Emollients are effectively moisturisers that provide a protective barrier for your skin. They keep your skin hydrated and strong. Which one you choose to use, really does not make much difference. However the best option will always be one that is unperformed or coloured and made by a reputable brand.
When you hear the criteria at hand, it is easy to assume an aqueous cream would be a good emollient. It couldn’t be further from the truth! Though it works fantastically as a wash off product, aqueous cream is actually not recommended as a moisturizer as it contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which is damaging to the skin.
Sunscreen is also an everyday must! Dr Visser says the sun is entirely unavoidable. “Remembering to use a reliable sunscreen no matter the weather will not only help you age more gracefully, but also decrease your risk of skin cancer.”
When choosing a sunscreen, you need find a product that has both UVA and UVB protection as well as a SPF30 or higher. Don’t feel the need to spend ridiculous amounts of money. Any reputable sunscreen should always be affordable, but still a separate entity from your make-up. Simply using a tinted moisturizer with an SPF is not enough!
Vitamin C is not just an immune booster for colds and the flu! It actually works as an antioxidant that helps prevent and treat UV induced sun damage and strengthens your collagen production which will reduce your wrinkles!
This brings us to the next crucial factor that affects everyone’s skin health;
How To Nourish Your Body…
Dietician Alex Royal at Alex Royal Dietetics, explained how balance key when it comes to eating properly. Being told that vitamins and minerals are essential for vitality; is normal. However what is often left out is, for them to be absorbed properly by your body, they need each other.
Vitamin A is vital for preventing rough, dry and scaly skin. Although it’s great on its own, it’s absorbed far better when your body is getting enough zinc as well.
Dietician Melissa Kelly at Scoop to Lose spoke about how knowing the amount of a supplement to take can make a big difference to your skin. It’s fairly common practice to walk into a pharmacy and buy an Omega 3 & 6 complex. However, chances are, that you have already taken in all the Omega 6 you need from your diet.
Omega 6 is actually an inflammatory fatty acid. This means it can result in inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and obesity.
Omega 3 is a completely neutral fatty acid. Not only are the foods containing it less popular, but they can also be more costly. Seafood is a fantastic source of Omega 3 and if you are able to eat it twice a week, it is a great start. Without it, you can quite easily end up with scaly, dry skin.
Another fantastic source of Omega 3 is pure, cold pressed, virgin olive oi. `It is one of the best oils to cook with, however only heat at a moderate temperature.
We know how many benefits coconut oil has, but says Kelly it’s very high in saturated fat and while it has the lowest smoking point of all oils, it needs to be used a lot more sparingly.
When all else fails, a simple, clean Mediterranean diet will always lead you to a healthy body and healthy skin.
Your Skin Can Reveal Your Emotions
Psychiatrist, Dr Danella Eliasov at the Akeso Clinic in Parktown, explained just how much influence your emotional state can effect your skin health.
Negative emotions and stress can regularly result in skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne. In fact at least 25-33% of skin diseases are affected by psychological factors!
What makes a situation like this even harder to manage, is the residual feelings of embarrassment you can be left with because of your skin condition. This will cause your stress levels to get worse, and in turn make your skin to get worse.
Psychiatrist Dr Eileen Thomas at the Akeso clinic in Milnerton presented the various theories on treatment options when faced with a situation like this. Making sure you follow basic skincare rules as well as being mindful of your own skin and your emotional is vital.
If you feel as if you could benefit from psychiatric help, it is essential you do follow through with it. Keeping a positive body image as well as finding a healthy way to validate your self-worth, will be your key to success.