Improving the appearance of your skin
It is now widely accepted that indiscriminate exposure to the ultra violet radiation of sunlight contributes to permanent skin damage and visible signs of ageing. Depending on certain genetic characteristics and skin type, a percentage of incident ultraviolet radiation will be directly absorbed in a way that affects the growing cells. Sunburn is the skins immediate response to an overexposure of ultraviolet radiation. Under microscopic investigation, cells from sunburned areas reveal evidence of damage similar to those in cancer cells. Tanning is caused by increased production of melanin. It is the skins delayed response to overexposure of ultraviolet radiation.
One of the surest ways to minimise wrinkles and lines associated with ageing is to avoid frequent or extended exposures to sunlight. Because this type of restriction is impractical in countries like Australia, most individuals need to consider strategies to minimise the absorption of ultraviolet radiation. When used appropriately, broad spectrum sunscreens will provide a high level of protection against the damaging components of sunlight. By preventing initial damage and enabling already damaged skin cells the opportunity to repair themselves, sunscreens and protective clothing will ultimately contribute to healthier and more youthful looking skin.
Avoid toxic substances
The toxic substances absorbed through cigarette smoking and other recreational forms of smoking are known to contribute towards a complicated sequence of adverse health effects. Within this context there is a definite risk of damage to the circulatory system. One of the major physiological effects of nicotine and other chemicals is to cause a restriction of the blood vessels that supply major organs including the skin. In this case the long term effects of a restricted blood supply will be decreased availability of essential nutrients and a progressive failure to eliminate toxins and repair skin damage.
Cigarette smoking is also a major source of free radicals. These inherently unstable molecules will cause damage to cells in a chain reactive fashion. Free radical molecules are linked to many types of cancer and degenerative disease processes. By choosing to avoid or break the habit of smoking, it is always possible to improve the appearance of ones skin and be healthier.
Develop a daily cleaning routine
A daily cleansing routine will help to improve the appearance of your skin. Most modern soaps are chemical based and contain fragrances and other additives which are likely to dry out the skin. The alternative is to try natural ingredients or organic products based on these. The best ingredients for cleansing are those which can gently remove the exterior layers of dead skin without disrupting the moisture protective barrier of healthy skin. A handful of oatmeal in a muslin bag can be used as a soap substitute. When added to water, a fine paste known as mucin is released. In addition to its gentle cleansing action, mucin has a soothing and protective effect on the skin.
After cleansing, it is important to moisturise the skin. Despite the claims of some manufacturers, moisturisers do not really add moisture or rejuvenate the skin. Their basic purpose is preventing the moisture loss caused by heat and atmospheric dryness. With so many moisturising products available, it can be difficult separating the safe and effective ones from the unsafe and less than adequate stocks. A helpful rule to follow is that of simplicity. Whenever possible, favour products containing a restricted number of carefully selected natural ingredients rather than a multitude of synthetic compounds. Remember that the chance of developing sensitivity or an adverse skin reaction is decreased with products containing fewer ingredients, particularly when these are derived from plants and natural sources which are raised or extracted in accordance with organic principles.
For most individuals, a regular program of exercise will enhance the overall appearance and quality of their skin, particularly when this is accompanied by sensible dietary intake. The exercise can be structured, such as circuit classes at the local gymnasium, or spontaneous, like walking or jogging steadily along the beach. The important thing is to maintain an increased heart rate for at least three quarters of an hour and to attempt this at least three times each week. In most cases there will be a visible improvement in general skin tone and overall appearance after six to eight weeks.
Regular exercise helps to increase the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, enabling oxygenated blood and nutrients to reach the matrix of skin cells below the epidermis. In addition to nurturing newly developing cells, the improved blood supply will be more efficient at removing toxins and waste products. Before commencing on any exercise program, overweight individuals and those with existing medical conditions or symptoms must consult their General Practitioner to determine its overall suitability.
Choose high quality cosmetics and toiletries
While the key ingredients for great looking skin at any age are optimum health, daily moisturising, and a clean environment, it is possible to conceal skin blemishes and soften wrinkles using a good foundation and makeup.
A professional beautician or makeup consultant can offer advice about the latest light reflecting foundations, concealers, and mineral based powders. There is currently a new generation of organic cosmetics including lipsticks, eyeliners, blushers, and powder. Safer to use than conventional products, they are based on simple formulae containing natural mineral clays, plant oils, and extracts. Lacking chemical dyes that produce intensely saturated colour, the new organic varieties are mostly available in a subtle range of earth shades.
Pamper yourself occasionally
An occasional session of pampering will reinvigorate tired or stressed skin. Attending a natural beauty clinic for a luxurious massage, facial or hair treatment can be a personal reward for important achievements or occasions. For those who prefer relaxing nights at home, facial masks containing natural clays, oils, and organic herbal extracts can be purchased from suppliers of natural beauty products. These help to exfoliate the skin by removing the outer layer of cells. When choosing these products, it is important to consider individual suitability for your skin type. Some contain additional plant oils and moisture protective treatments for dry or combination skin while others are predominantly composed of mineral clays and are more suitable for oily skin. Evaluate the product carefully and always avoid those containing harsh ingredients that may irritate the skin. Where uncertainty exists, it is safer to test a little on the arm before applying on the face.
Protect against the elements
To look its very best, skin requires protection against the external elements, particularly pollution and extremes of heat and cold. Dry and sensitive skin types are extremely vulnerable to colder weather conditions which slow the metabolism and enable less oxygen to reach the cells. Depending on atmospheric humidity, extremely hot, cold, or windy conditions can all cause dehydration. Loose clothing made from natural fibres is the ideal protection. Merino wool, mohair, organic cotton, linen, and hemp are all suitable choices. Several light layers are a better option than a single heavy layer. The light layers hold pockets of air between them, providing comfortable warmth that should not inhibit circulation or irritate the skin.
Gentle treatment is an important factor for individuals trying to maintain the natural beauty of their skin. With limited supplies of collagen and elastin, the delicate skin around the eyes, forehead and throat can be easily stretched and damaged. Care must be taken when cleansing, or applying moisturiser, makeup, and other treatments. Wherever possible, combine a light touch with smooth upward strokes. Try to avoid any dragging, pressing, or rubbing of the skin.
Eating to maintain a recommended balance of the five main food groupings is essential for healthy, beautiful looking skin. A varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, protein, carbohydrates, some dairy foods, and cold pressed oils will ensure that the essential vitamins and minerals are readily available. Most reputable manufacturers of health supplements have products specially formulated for skin, hair, and nails. These should not be depended on as a main source of nutrients but will serve as an insurance policy and protection from mild nutrient deficiencies which can occur from time to time. Health experts recommend adults drink at least three litres of fresh water each day to maintain healthy kidneys and clear skin. Very active individuals and those living in hot climates may require twice this amount or more.