An introduction to diet and lifestyle
Diet and lifestyle habits often have the power to make or break your skin, influencing everything from your immune system to your digestion. This can make these factors valuable assets or your Achilles heel, especially if you suffer from a pre-existing skin condition or infection. However, making a few simple and easy changes can make the world of difference when it comes to improving the health of your skin.
Diet and skin
Your diet is extremely important when it comes to your skin.
This is because your skin relies on a number of essential nutrients, such as vitamin C and zinc, to formulate collagen and repair damaged skin cells. Different skin conditions may require different foods but below are a few recommendations that are important across the board.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Your skin needs plenty of water to keep your skin cells nourished and hydrated so it really is important that you drink plenty of fluids. Please note that by ‘fluids’ we don’t mean enjoying a glass of red or a cup of coffee. Plain old water is all your skin really needs and it definitely doesn’t contain any inflammatory chemicals that may upset your immune system. If you really want to branch out though, we’d recommend trying a range of herbal teas as these tend to be rich in anti-oxidants and can give your immune system a quick boost
- Get your vitamins: Vitamins are essential nutrients that your skin will crave. Vitamin C, for example, is vital when it comes to the formation of collagen, a protein that forms over 70% of your skin tissue! Vitamin A and vitamin E can also encourage the growth of new skin cells and repair any damage inflected by UV radiation or common irritants. Given how important your circulation and digestion are to your skin’s overall health, we’d also recommend a good supply of B vitamins as well as the elusive vitamin K. You can find these nutrients in most brightly coloured fruit or leafy green vegetables, or, if you’re struggling for ideas, you could try whipping up one of our nutritious smoothies
- Include essential minerals: Minerals like magnesium and iron are pretty important when it comes to the health of your skin. Magnesium, as well as being a mood-enhancer, can also help to reduce the symptoms of skin conditions like acne, while iron help to support the growth of new skin cells and can improve your circulation. Zinc is another must-have mineral as it can help skin cells to heal and prevent free-radical damage
- Try a probiotic: Probiotics are great at improving your gut environment and supplying you with friendly gut bacteria, improving the health of your digestive system as well as keeping your populations of unfriendly bacteria and candida yeast under control. This can help to prevent fungal skin infections such as ringworm, and keep you from developing a secondary bacterial infection.
Lifestyle and skin
How you treat your skin can make it more vulnerable to irritants and pathogens. If you don’t look after your skin or are careless when stepping outdoors, eventually your skin cells will become damaged, encouraging a variety of symptoms such as dry skin, even making you more susceptible to certain skin conditions.
- Use sunscreen: We cannot stress this enough – if you plan on hitting the beach or soaking up some vitamin D, make sure you put on a good coat of sunscreen first. UV radiation can be extremely damaging for your skin, especially if you already suffer from a pre-existing skin condition like rosacea or eczema. If you are worried about the chemicals contained in conventional brands, please check out the organic and natural alternatives available at Your Health Food Store
- Moisturise: It’s often recommended that you try and have a good skin care routine, including plenty of moisturiser. This can keep your skin hydrated, preventing problems like dry skin. If you are concerned by conventional moisturisers, then you could always try incorporating some coconut oil into your evening routine, as this can reduce inflammation and has natural anti-bacterial qualities
- Avoid irritants: If you are aware that your skin is susceptible to irritation from a particular chemical or allergen, then try to minimalise your contact with the offending party. If you know that your skin is vulnerable to low humidity, try to protect it during the winter months by using a humidifier and wearing a pair of sturdy gloves. Don’t wear nickel or use conventional cosmetics if you know that they will cause an outbreak – try to find natural solutions instead
- Exercise: Gentle exercise can be great at improving your circulation as well as reducing stressful emotions like anxiety or apprehension. Try taking a brisk walk at least once a day and make sure you are getting plenty of fresh air. If you fancy it, you could even start attending yoga classes or involve yourself in a sport that is easier on your body, like swimming or tai-chi
- Take precautions: Gym changing rooms and communal showers are a breeding ground for unfriendly bacteria and fungal yeast. Take care when visiting these places and make sure you don’t share any towels or articles of clothing. Remember to wear flip-flops to prevent bacterial or fungal yeast from penetrating the epidermal layer of skin on your feet and try to wear gloves if you plan on doing any gardening.
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