Keep skin glowing through the darker months with five tricks you HAVEN’T heard before…
We are always being told what to eat to make our skin clear and beautiful – avocados, walnuts, salmon, kale… we get it. Sometimes you can do all of this and much more yet still feel like you aren’t getting the results you want. Winter doesn’t help this process either, and many of my clients complain that skin gets worse between November – April. Slap on as much expensive skin products as you like, but it probably help you achieve the results you really want.
My clients and followers have heard me say it a hundred times – the skin is a very complex organ that relies heavily on the inner functioning of the body. If things on the inside need extra support then problems can often manifest in the skin as acne, eczema, psoriasis, redness; or simply as dull, listless skin. With issues like these we therefore need to look a bit deeper..
Here are five tricks you may not have heard before to try if you feel like you’re getting nowhere:
1. Vitamin D
Totally vital for so many things in the body – detoxification, immunity, brain function, hormones, digestion being but a few (all of which skin rely on too) we really need vitamin D to stay healthy. This can be a reason why skin conditions clear up when we migrate to hotter climates where the sun shines (and there is a distinct lack of stress!). At this time of year in the northern hemisphere vitamin D starts to dwindle, especially if we work indoors so we should take steps to get more in from other sources to prevent it dipping too much.
Solution: Supplement with D3 Cholecalciferol – ideally test your blood levels (most doctors will do this) first and get advice on best dose for you. The UK NHS in recommend most people take around 400 iu per day, with children and pregnant women needing special attention.
Best food sources: oily fish such as mackerel, mushrooms (leave them out in the light to increase vitamin D) avocado, egg yolk.
2. Silica – The Skin’s Secret Weapon
Collagen supplements are big business in the skin world at the moment, however don’t forget that the body is pretty well set up to make it’s own collagen as long as it has the right resources. Enter silica, a nutrient that often gets forgotten. Alongside vitamin C and zinc, this mineral is totally essential for that next-level dewy glow as it is needed to synthesise new collagen that helps keep our skin strong and elastic, reducing the tendency for fine lines to develop.
Solution – Rhubarb, leeks, green beans, celery, oats are good sources. Also try to eat more cucumbers (make sure you keep the skin as this is where majority is found) as these not only contain silica but are a fantastic skin food given they are mostly water, are a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. I love juiced cucumber with pear, ginger, lemon and mint – zing!
3. Sip, Don’t Gulp!
We all know that water is needed for skin to stay clear – but the problem is that actually getting the water to your skin to hydrate it isn’t as simple as just necking it. Your kidneys can’t keep up as you gulp and you often don’t absorb as much as you drink. We also tend to drink less in winter, but central heating and dry air inside can mean still make us dehydrated.
Solution – Sip throughout the day, always having filtered water on your desk at work to remind you. If you forget them buy good quality water and you will also be more likely to drink it. Warm water (with lemon, cayenne and ginger) is a great solution as you tend to drink it slower to avoid burning your mouth! Aiming for 2 litres and always ensure pee is transparent (beer doesn’t count!). Herbal teas such as ginger, green, detox blends, peppermint and chamomile also fall into this quota but black tea and coffee do not.
4. Get a Variety of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are synonymous with younger age resistant skin largely owing to their ability to protect text our cells from the damage caused by harmful free radicals (which we are all exposed to at every moment). Though the body is able to create antioxidants itself to balance intake of free radicals, there is no doubt that it needs a helping hand, especially if you frequently travel on planes, drink alcohol, smoke or don’t get enough sleep.
But it isn’t as simple as just eating blueberries. Different antioxidants protect our cells in different ways and shield us from different free radical compounds that can cause damage in different ways.
Solution – To really get next level beautiful radiant skin it’s vital to get a whole complex of antioxidants from different sources. The pigment in fruit/vegetables is largely owing to antioxidants, so the more colour on your plate the better. Also aim to get in sources from nuts, oily fish, beans, pulses, green tea, ginger, garlic, parsley, turmeric and other spices such as cinnamon.
5. Protect Your Bodies Army
There are trillions of bacteria living inside the body and we don’t have enough time to discuss all the multitude of reasons why we need them. Suffice to say it – they are very important. We wouldn’t naturally link them to skin but imbalances in the bacteria in the gut can contribute to skin issues in many ways owing to their involvement with detoxification, immunity, hormone balance, nutrient absorption, inflammation and anti-bacterial activity.
Remember our bacteria is incredibly sensitive to the environment so stress, air travel, antibiotics, too much sugar, alcohol and a whole host of other things can disrupt it quite easily.
Solution – Eat foods rich in probiotics such as natural sugar free yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled veg and tempeh. Also consider supplementing with a good quality probiotic as these top levels up properly. Essential also if you have taken, or are taking antibiotics.
Disclaimer: Certain supplements are used for different reasons and a one-size-fits-all approach shouldn’t be adopted. In addition, pregnant women and anyone on medication should always consult a doctor before embarking on a supplements programme. As with all articles on www.alicemackintosh.com, this is no substitution for individual medical or nutritional advice.