With the impact of 21st century living, our increased understanding of the skin, plus ever-more sophisticated skincare solutions… does the cleanse-tone-moisturise routine cut it anymore?
Most probably not, is the simple answer. We have access to all sorts of knowledge and interventions that can help to keep our skin as healthy and youthful looking as long as possible.
The first step is not to take our skin for granted. How many of us do? Probably most of us. Unless it starts hurting (as acne and eczema sufferers will tell you), or it’s only as we age and start seeing the consequences of our neglect or abuse that we wish we’d taken better care. Not so simple, however – taking good care of it isn’t always a straightforward task.
Our skin, besides being our largest organ (a fact that in itself deserves respect) is incredibly hard working. It’s at the frontline of our defences against the outside world, acting as a protective barrier between us and the myriad of assaults that come from the environment. We know that up to 80 percent of what we see as ageing comes from external factors – chief among them sun damage from UV rays. And so this kind of ageing is avoidable to a certain extent.
From the inside out
However, the remainder comes from internal factors. Natural or intrinsic ageing is caused by internal factors such as hormonal shifts , genetics and changes in skin metabolism, which contribute to the appearance of wrinkles, loss of firmness, and crepey skin. That used to be impossible to avoid, but new skin treatments can also counteract this.
We’re also understanding more about the unnatural ageing that’s caused by what’s going on inside our bodies. Our skin, of course, also acts as a barometer of these problems. The effects of an unhealthy lifestyle usually become visible on the skin before anywhere else.
The solution is to look after our body holistically: As our entire system works in harmony, no issue can be treated in isolation – for example, stress, late nights and alcohol will result in dull, lifeless skin.
Positive lifestyle choices will go a long way towards helping to keep us well: this means maintaining a balanced diet with plenty of fresh veggies, lean protein and good fats, and minimising our sugar and high GL carbs. We’re also understanding the critical importance of getting enough deep, restorative sleep for most of our healthy body processes, including that of our skin. And, of course, regular exercise, and the proper management of stress levels.
All of these factors contribute to being healthy, and when the body is healthy, the skin will reflect that too.
Caring for the skin from within
In times when something is out of kilter, it’s important to get to the root cause of what is affecting your health so the actual issue may be treated, as opposed to just the symptoms. Integrative medicine is becoming increasingly available as it looks at what’s making you ill, rather than merely treating symptoms This could, for example, involve being tested for sleep apnea, analysing your gut health (any imbalances in the gut or hormonal changes can also affect the skin), or having a blood test to assess your body’s levels of stress hormones, inflammation or any other deficiencies, etc., to help the doctor prescribe correct supplements to help your body recover.
As with most things in life, the more committed you are, the greater the rewards. If you take the time to invest in your skin by making healthy choices and using the right products and treatments, your reward will be a healthier, more radiant-looking complexion.
For more information on skin care from the outside in and from the inside out, visit Skin Renewal on www.skinrenewal.co.za or contact 0861 SKIN SA (754 672).