Skin is the largest organ of the human body and is often a reflection of our overall health. Our skin has essential roles in immune function, removal of toxins and regulating body temperature. Skincare and cosmetics are often the first things we reach for to improve our skin, but these do not always address what is causing our skin to flare in the first place. Below are a few of my tips on how to get healthy, glowing skin naturally.
Water is an essential component in the skin. Studies have shown that increasing water intake has a skin-moisturising effect, making dry skin smoother and softer. You want to be aiming for 2 litres of water every day; this also includes herbal teas.
Green tea contains antioxidants which are known for their anti-ageing benefits. Green tea also contains EGCG which can inhibit the creation of the more potent form of testosterone, known as DHT. Increased levels of DHT is associated with excess oil production and acne. Another tea to help reduce levels of potent testosterone is nettle, which also helps with detoxification of hormones.
Increase your Protein
The skin is made up of protein, with collagen accounting for up to 80%. Increasing collagen intake has been found to increase skin hydration, skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Increasing your protein intake helps to provide your body with the building blocks it needs to make collagen, while also helping to repair the skin and create healthy skin cells.
Good sources of animal protein include organic grass-fed meats, fish and eggs. Bone broth is also an excellent source of collagen.
Vegan sources of protein include chickpeas, tofu, peas, nuts and seeds; you can also add in a vegan protein shake if you struggle to reach your protein goals.
Get your Healthy Fats
Omega-3 fats have numerous benefits to skin health. Studies have shown that increasing omega-3 intake can help to reduce skin inflammation, improve skin integrity and protect against sun damage (you always need to practice safe sun exposure). Common signs that you need to increase your healthy fat intake is if you find your skin is dry, flaky or itchy.
Good sources of omega 3 include oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout, extra virgin olive oil, chia seeds and avocado.
Eat more Nutrient-Dense foods
Our skin needs a lot of vitamins and minerals, with some essential ones being Zinc and vitamins, A, C, D and E. Deficiencies in these nutrients are often found in people with eczema, acne, psoriasis and keratosis pilaris.
Eating foods such as squash, carrots, sweet potato and bell peppers contain beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A by the body. Increasing food such as broccoli, citrus fruits and strawberries can contribute to healthy levels of vitamin C. The foods with the highest amount of vitamin E are mostly nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds and almonds. Although the best way to get Vitamin D is through sun exposure, you can obtain small amounts of Vitamin D from mushrooms and oily fish. You can also increase your Zinc intake by eating foods such as pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and oysters.
Get your Beauty Sleep
This is not just an old saying; studies have found that people who sleep less than 8 hours a night appear less attractive and less healthy compared to when they were well-rested. Sleep is when our body restores and repairs. Poor quality sleep has also been associated with increased skin ageing and lowered skin integrity.
Prioritising your sleep can be an essential step to healing your skin. Aim to be in bed at the same time every night, (around 10.30 pm) and wake up 8 hours later. If you do get disturbed nights sleep, make the most of naps the next day.