Living & Lifestyle

Tuesday, 07 February 2012

Bright and beautiful

While ageing might be inevitable, lifeless skin certainly isn’t. Nicola Smith tells you how to eat your way to luminous skin (and there’s chocolate on the menu, too!)

Woman at spa

Did you know…?

The average woman uses 12 skin products a day containing an incredible 168 ingredients, so it’s little surprise that the smorgasbord of cosmetics applied can also cause harm. Yet taking an ‘inside out’ approach, by combining diet with the right skin products can reap results. “Look at foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as berries, green and white tea, dark chocolate - in moderation - sweet potatoes and red peppers, which will all mop up youth scavenging free radicals,” says Louise Thomas-Minns, skin therapist at U and Your Skin.

Vitamin A - your best friend

Anti-ageing products containing retinol, a form of vitamin A, which plays an important role in regenerating and rejuvenating skin, can help to minimise the effects of skin damage.

It is also important to protect against further damage by applying cosmetics with UV protection.

Healthy eating will help the ageing process

On top of boosting antioxidant intake, Thomas-Minns advises increasing your quota of essential fats from oily fish, raw nuts and seeds. “This is vital to prevent inflammation, and to strengthen the delicate cell membrane and replace the building blocks of the skin.” Reducing your sugar intake is just as important, as sugar causes a process called glycation to occur in the body, attacking proteins and leading to the formation of wrinkles.

Beauty treats

Looking after your skin inside and out is the most effective way to treat and prevent skin damage, but it is still important to choose the right lotions and potions. When it comes to selecting from the mass of anti-ageing creams available, Thomas-Minns recommends cosmeceuticals — a blend of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. “These contain higher levels of active ingredients than over-the-counter products, and also have clinical and medical evidence to support their effectiveness.”

Such active ingredients include peptides, which stimulate collagen production; copper peptides, which heal skin; and alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), which promote cell growth.  Most beauty products that are currently available fall under the category of cosmeceuticals, so if you’d like to find out more, the beauty counter of your local department store is your best starting point.

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