Honour yourself by looking after your whole body, not just to look good, but to feel good and live a longer, happier life. Food, lifestyle and behaviour have an effect on what you look like; the saying 'you are what you eat' certainly has a ring of truth to it.
DID YOU KNOW?
The first place to start the anti-ageing process is on the inside. The effect your diet has on your skin isn't just about gaining or losing weight. Eating too much sugar or high-glycemic food ultimately leads to a process in which sugar molecules in the blood bond to proteins and DNA. Over time this process affects collagen proteins, changing their shape, flexibility, elasticity, and function. The result is premature ageing and additional inflammation. Integrate the following in your diet for fantastic anti-oxidant power: ' Vitamin C (found in plant-based foods) ' Vitamin E, specifically high-potency tocotrienols ' Coenzyme Q-10 (or ubiquinol, found naturally in our cells but decreases after age 20) ' Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA, available from both plant and animal sources) ' Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE, found in fish) ' Carotenoids (phytonutrients found in the red, yellow, and orange flesh of plant leaves, flowers and fruits) ' Bioflavonoids (good sources include green tea, soy isoflavones, red wine, and other plant-derived foods) One of the easiest keys to health is hydration ' and it's great for your skin. Water is one of the most important beauty ingredients. Anxiety and stress alone cause you to dehydrate, so make sure you keep this life-giving liquid close by.
Of course, there's a way to help your skin along from the outside. There are a few great oils that help ageing skin, especially skin that's dry from the effects of stress, sun damage and dehydration.
- Jojoba Oil resembles sebum (the oily substance secreted by your sebaceous glands to keep skin and hair moisturised) and is great for dry, ageing skin, as well as sunburn, chapped skin and psoriasis. It's filled with micro-elements like zinc, copper, silicon, iodine, chromium, vitamin E and B.
- Grape-seed oil is light and odourless, and although it has a drying effect, it makes a great base for aromatherapy oil mixes. It's an antioxidant and loaded with flavonoids which play a role in enhancing collagen and maintaining elastin.
- Frankincense essential oil can be used to help reduce the appearance of large pores and wrinkles. Use this oil anywhere your skin becomes saggy, including your abdomen, jowls, or under your eyes. Mix six drops of oil to one ounce of unscented oil such as jojoba and apply it directly to the skin. Frankincense can strengthen skin and improve tone, elasticity, defence mechanisms against bacteria or blemishes, and appearance as someone ages.
- Lavender oil helps your body produce three powerful antioxidants; glutathione, catalase and superoxide dismutase. If you mix lavender oil with aloe vera or coconut oil, it'll have a major effect on your skin, mostly due to lavender's antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics.
Facial yoga: Numerous celebs swear by this type of yoga, saying it's better than botox by far. Created by New York-based yoga teacher, Annelise Hagen, it's the latest tool in combating wrinkles.
Try the following exercises, daily:
- Puff out your cheeks and transfer air from cheek to cheek until you're out of breath ' repeat three times.
- Widen your eyes without wrinkling your forehead and focus on the horizon for 10 seconds ' repeat four times.
- Upside down ' various different modalities advocate inversion as a great way to increase blood flow to your head, allowing a flow of oxygenated blood to the brain, ears, eyes and face, which can improve the health and look of your skin and muscles by stimulating your lymphatic system.
- Steamy ' using crushed basil leaves, which are antibacterial and fresh lemon juice in a large bowl of boiling water, hold your face about 30cm above the bowl and cover your head with a towel to trap the steam. This will give your skin a moisture boost and plump out wrinkles.
Your lifestyle has a huge effect on your skin's appearance. Of course, exercise is important for a healthy body and mind, but balance is also important. Remember that too much exercise can also have an ageing effect on your skin by stressing your body and causing dehydration and inflammation. Too many late nights, with a bit more alcohol than necessary, also contributes to the effects of ageing. Get enough good rest [try sleeping in a totally darkened room for at least two nights a week for a deeper and more intense sleep], and if you are indulging, remember to hydrate as well.