Navigating the skincare world can be tricky. How do you know what products to choose, and how do you get your skin to look and feel healthy? Here, we’ve collated our best advice to help familiarise you with your skin and the many different ways to cleanse, treat and manage it.
Choose your skincare products wisely
It’s important to remember that it takes a combination of ingredients to keep your skin in its best condition; there is no one-best-product. Talk to a skincare specialist about a broad spectrum cosmetics program which should include sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30, a moisturiser with hyaluronic acid, peptides day and night for collagen stimulation, retinol for fine line prevention, and a serum brimming with antioxidants for daily protection from free radical damage. There’s more you can do…but that’s a good start!
Protect against the elements!
The hole in the ozone lies literally directly above New Zealand, and it should come as an obvious choice that products with a high SPF are a must.
Hyaluronic acid for plump skin
Hyaluronic acid is a clear, gooey substance that is naturally produced as a carbohydrate by your body, whose main function is to retain water and keep the skin, eyes and connective tissue well-lubricated and moist. Just like collagen and elastin, the amount of naturally-occurring hyaluronic acid in our bodies decreases as we get older.
Skincare containing hyaluronic acid (which is one of the safest ingredients that does not harm the endocrine system)
When used in skincare products such as creams and serums, hyaluronic acid brings moisture to the surface of your skin. “Because of its ability to draw and hold water up to 1,000x the molecular size,
Hyaluronic acid can be found in food sources too, such as bone broth (the best source of HA), soy-based foods, starchy root vegetables, citrus fruits and leafy greens.
Peptides day and night for collagen stimulation, retinol for fine line prevention
Known as the anti-ageing power duo, these are key actives to look out for if trying to reduce the appearance of fine lines that are already in existance, and to keep most lines at bay.
An antioxidant serum filled with vitamins
A broad-spectrum sunscreen is a great first line of defence, but it’s not an impenetrable shield. And that’s where antioxidants—for example, green tea, resveratrol, and vitamins B, C and E—come in. A serum with antioxidants will help prevent and repair environmental damage from sun and pollution that destroys skin cells and collagen.
Get across these vitamins, which are up there when it comes to delivering the best skin benefits:
1. Vitamin A: The holy grail of anti-ageing and skin health, a derivative of vitamin A called retinol (Vitamin A1) is efficient at treating and keeping wrinkles at bay. Be wary however, as they can cause skin irritation in some people and need to be weaned on to gradually. Only use retinol at night, as it can make you pre-disposed to sunlight too. Eating plenty of foods rich in this vitamin will protect your vision and certain ailments such as lung cancer. Vitamin A can also be found abundantly in foods like beef, eggs, dairy, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and mangoes.
2. Vitamin C: Protects the skin from free radical damage, stimulates collagen production, and can reverse the signs of photo-ageing such as hyperpigmentation.
3. Vitamin E: This oil-soluble vitamin protects the skin from free radical damage, and studies have shown that it may be the perfect solution for those wanting to combat acne. Find this in nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
4. Vitamin D: Most people who live in Northern climates and who don’t spend much time in the sun are not getting enough vitamin D also known as the “sunshine vitamin.” This is because our skin can synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. If you want to ensure you are getting enough vitamin D, you can take vitamin D supplements or look for fortified products. Most milk is fortified with vitamin D as are breakfast cereals. Natural sources of vitamin D are mushrooms, fish, and eggs. Research shows that vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to acne most likely because this vitamin plays a big role in fighting infections.
5. Vitamin K: Vitamin K is essential for healing wounds and bruises. This is because, without enough vitamin K, your blood wouldn’t be able to coagulate. When it comes to the skin benefits of vitamin K, it’s a vitamin that can tackle any problem causing your skin to look dark due to circulatory problems such as dark circles and spider veins but also stretch marks and scars. To reduce the appearance of these imperfections, eat plenty of cabbage, liver, kale, and milk.
6. Vitamin B3: Vitamin B3 is also known as niacin, and it can be found in many foods, both animal, and plant. This vitamin is essential for healthy skin, but also for your brain, nervous system, and blood cells. You’ll often found a derivative of this vitamin called niacinamide in many beauty products, and this is because research shows that this vitamin can significantly reduce the appearance of aged skin and it is often added to top skin brighteners. What you can expect from taking such products are a mild exfoliating effect and reduced redness.
7. Vitamin B5: Another vitamin from the B family of vitamins, vitamin B5, is also known as pantothenic acid and panthenol. Skincare formulations containing this vitamin provide some of the best skin hydration out there. Studies on this vitamin show that it prevents skin water loss and improves skin barrier functioning. So, if you find a beauty product with vitamin B5 at the top of the ingredients, know that it’s a good bargain. You can also get plenty of this vitamin from whole grains, avocado, and chicken.
8. Choline: A vitamin found in foods like eggs, peanuts, and milk but the body can make this vitamin on its own. The vitamin is most important for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and normal brain functioning in general. But a study published in FASEB Journal also found that this vitamin plays a crucial role in skin cell membranes. Although your body will make most of the choline, it needs, getting this vitamin from food sources can only be a good thing.
9. Folic acid: You are probably familiar with the importance of taking enough folic acid during pregnancy for a baby’s development. This is because folic acid is vital for the creation of new cells. But folic acid also plays an important role in skin health and appearance. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that topical application of a mixture containing folic acid and a type of amino acid called creatine improved the firmness of skin by boosting collagen synthesis.
Have a good facial oil on hand, especially in winter
We’ve been using EO in our beauty and wellness routine for quite some time now. We diffuse them, use them in our DIY recipes, pour them in our baths (mixed with carrier oil, of course) and even add them to our favourite skin hydrators.
Massage to stimulate blood flow.
Don’t forget to gently massage your skin to stimulate blood flow. Jade rolling is an ancient beauty remedy that can improve the complexion’s circulation, de-puff the eye contour, detoxify the skin, and enhance inner glow.
Get a facial
Book yourself in for a facial once every 4-6 weeks (or quarter at the very least if you're able to maintain a fabulous skincare routine at home) to make sure your skin is steamed, thoroughly cleansed, exfoliated, massaged, and left well-hydrated. (Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP lifestyle brand has introduced the GOOP facial, which appears to really stimulate blood flow to the face!)
Healthy and beautiful skin is achieved when you pay as much attention to your nutrient intake as much as you do to skincare. Vitamin deficiencies often manifest on the skin, so it goes to show that vitamins play a vital role in skin health. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will keep your vitamin levels optimal and your skin glowing as a result.