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Spot That Glow

Good skin care – including sun protection and gentle cleansing – can keep your skin healthy and glowing for years to come. Get started today with these no-nonsense beauty tips:

1. Shade up!

A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, freckles, age spots and rough, dry skin. Sun exposure can also cause more-serious problems, such as skin cancer. For the most complete sun protection:

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats (if you can). You might also opt for special sun-protective clothing, which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays while keeping you cool and comfortable.
  • Use sunscreen when you’re in the sun. Apply generous amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, after heavy sweating or after being in water.

2. Don’t smoke

It’s indisputable that smoking ages your skin. It narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients, such as vitamin A, that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin – fibres that give your skin its strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking – such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke – may contribute to wrinkles. So bid farewell to your last puff today. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.

3. Be gentle and kind

Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin, so keep it gentle:

• Limit bath time. Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time, and use warm – rather than hot – water.

• Avoid strong soaps. Strong soaps can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild cleansers.

• Shave carefully. To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it.

• Pat dry. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin.

• Quench your thirsty skin. Find a moisturiser that fits your skin type and makes your skin look and feel soft.

4. Eat a healthy diet, include greens

Need we say more? Eat your greens! A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. A diet rich in vitamin C and low in fats and carbohydrates may promote younger looking skin. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables can protect against heart disease, cancer and wrinkles. Research also suggests that carotenoids, including beta-carotene, found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables such as carrots, peppers and mangoes, can help protect the skin from sun damage. Experts recommend that we eat at least five varied portions of fruit and vegetables daily.

5. What Goes In, Must Come Out

In alternative medicine, good skin equals to a good digestive system. People with skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis often suffer from constipation, imbalanced “good” vs. “bad” bacteria, leaky gut, and other digestive conditions. The two most common sluggish digestion culprits are:

Not Enough Water

Water bathes cells and eliminates waste products, preventing constipation. Water acts as an effective internal moisturiser. It plumps up the skin cells and helps ease dry skin problems. To look and feel our best, some experts say we should drink at least one-and-a-half litres a day – i.e. six to eight glasses. A good test of whether you are drinking enough is the colour of your urine – it should be pale yellow or clear.

Not Enough Fibre

Most people lack fibre in their diets – the average person eats only 12g of fibre a day. Here’s the recommended fibre intakes: For men aged 19-50 years, 38g of fibre, and for men over 50, 31g of fibre. For women aged 19 to 50 years, 25g of fibre, and for women over 50, 21g of fibre is recommended.

Add whole grains

Choose whole grain products over refined. Have brown rice instead of white or make your own 50:50 combination.

A fruit a day

Have a high fibre fruit as a snack.

High-fibre snacks

Snack on nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, such as dates, figs, and prunes.

Eat beans and legumes

Eat your favourite beans or legumes. Rinse them well and add them to your meal.

Ground flaxseeds

For an easy fibre boost, sprinkle ground flaxseeds (available at health food stores) on rice, salads, oatmeal, or any other meal.

6. Brush Up!

A dry brush exfoliation can be done in the morning before you shower. It eliminates dead skin cells and allows the skin to detox (skin is the largest organ of elimination). Dry brush exfoliation also improves lymph and blood circulation and decreases puffiness. An added benefit is that the gentle pressure is calming to the nervous system. To give yourself a dry brush exfoliation, you’ll need a soft, natural bristle brush.

7. Move It, Baby

Do you sit at your desk for hours, only getting up to go to the bathroom? One of the best things you can do for your skin, stress level, and overall health is to get moving! Inactivity may affect skin and promote bloating and puffiness, acne, cellulite, and loss of muscle tone.

9. Eat Some Good Fats

Essential fatty acids are simply fats your body cannot live without. They are needed to make cell membranes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Essential fats are thought to keep your heart healthy, fight inflammation, and possibly prevent cancer. They are also particularly important to people with inflammatory conditions such as eczema and acne, and also for people with dry skin. People with essential fat deficiency sometimes notice bumps on the backs of their arms. Here are ways of getting more essential fats minus the guilt:

  • Flaxseed and walnut oil – Use flaxeed oil or walnut oil with balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing. Be sure to keep these oils refrigerated. They should not be heated or used for cooking.
  • Cold water fish – Sardines are a good source of essential fats. Salmon is another good source, however these salmon accumulate toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (otherwise known as PCBs) in their body fat during the 95 percent of their lives they spend at sea.
  • Supplements – Consider fish oil supplements.

10. Get Some Beauty Sleep

There is a reason why Sleeping Beauty was called a beauty. Sleep is crucial for cell renewal which takes place mostly at night when you are asleep. Sleep helps improve the texture and the luminosity of our skin. If you do not get sufficient sleep (6-8 hours), your skin suffers! If so, it is clearly noticeable in the fragile skin under the eyes – fine lines, dark circles and puffy bags.

11. Goodbye Stress

Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin – and a healthy state of mind – take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. Set aside quiet time to meditate or daydream. The results may be more dramatic than you expect.

12. Exercise

A good exercise programme such as aerobics can activate and rejuvenate the skin and improve circulation and blood flow. Also, body sweat triggers production of sebum, which is the skin’s own natural moisturiser.

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