Despite it being our largest organ, we often take our skin’s health for granted. Giving it the right nourishment will make a huge difference in keeping its health and good looks in peak condition.
What are you feeding your skin today? Who of us thinks about this? All those delicious comfort foods we’re eating during winter and lockdown may not be best for our waistline or our skin, for that matter. So what should we do?
How do I nourish my skin?
1. From within
It’s a blessing that we’re able to nourish our skin from the inside through the food we eat. It goes without saying that a diet that contains good quality protein, vitamin- and mineral-rich fresh vegetables and low-GI fruit, healthy fats from seeds and nuts translates to a sound body and a healthy skin. A well-nourished skin maintains its elasticity and youthful complexion for longer.
Conversely, empty-calorie, carb-laden foods are as bad for our skin as they are for the rest of us – sugar causes our skin’s elastic fibres to become stiff and inflexible. It also affects collagen, triggers free radical activity and inflammation… read accelerated ageing.
But wait! It also stimulates insulin, which increases your testosterone levels (in both men and women), which can cause acne. So our message to you is please try to curb your sugar cravings if your serious about your skin’s health!
2. From the top
Despite its size, the skin is often last in the pecking order of needs when the body dishes out nutrients. We are lucky, then, that it allows us to feed it from its surface with topical creams and serums. Using topical skin care is essential as it ensures our skin receives the nutrition it needs.
Here, again, what we feed it is important. An over-the-counter product range will do the job of keeping your skin fed, but the nourishment gained from a medical skincare product range is much greater. These medical ranges are developed for particular skin types and are prescribed by doctors.
They use quality, concentrated active ingredients that work best together, at levels that are optimal for the skin, so they work harder and show effective results.
Think of using these products as being similar to taking the body to the gym. They work on a deeper level, constantly challenging and activating the skin, thus maintaining elasticity and suppleness.
Which nutrition is right for my skin?
Identifying your skin type and needs first is a good starting point, as not all active ingredients are suitable for all skin types.
From there, you will be able to select the correct homecare products for you. We recommend you get assistance from a skincare professional, who will identify your skin type and recommend the correct homecare products to use on a daily basis.
There are two ways of identifying skin types – the Fitzpatrick scale identifies your skin tone, which ranges from fair skin to dark skin. The second is related to the condition of the skin:
Some of these may be permanent conditions, while our skin may also change due to external and internal circumstances throughout our lives.
Dry vs oily skin
The skin’s sebaceous glands produce natural oil as a natural moisturiser to nourish hair and skin.
Underactive glands lead to dry skin, which tends to be flaky and tight and can appear blotchy. You may be born with dry skin and will need to use nourishing emollient creams to keep the skin comfortable and prevent itching and irritation.
If you have over-active glands, this leads to oily skin, which tends to be shiny, specifically on the t-zone. And, of course, this can lead to acne.
The level of oil the skin produces can change due to hormonal fluctuations (the teen years especially), stress and poor diet.
Combination vs normal skin
It’s fairly common for many of us to have a combination of an oily area – an oily t-zone over the chin, nose and forehead – with slightly drier cheeks.
If there are no excessively oily or dry patches, your skin can be classified as a normal skin, as more oil is naturally produced in the t-zone areas.
Truly sensitive skin is skin that is dry and fragile, flushes easily and has little bumps or pustules on it. Of course, it is easily irritated by contact with many different substances, and needs to be treated with TLC.
More commonly, skin can become sensitised, where it develops a reaction to particular skin-care products, with stress, medication, etc. This is treatable by a skin doctor and using the right skin care.
The skin has a marvellous hydrolipidic barrier layer which helps it retain water. When this layer is damaged – due to ageing, incorrect product use, UV exposure, etc., it becomes porous and the skin becomes dehydrated.
This is why dehydration can happen to any skin type – you can have oily skin which is also dehydrated.
Fine lines indicate that the barrier of the skin is disrupted, and this skin type tends to become more fragile due to the compromised barrier.
After forty, as our oestrogen levels decline, our skin starts producing less oil, so it becomes drier. Our levels of collagen and elastin and key functions also decline. This is why it is important to keep our skin nourishment topped up before this happens, as well as to support it nutritionally as we age.
Next time, we discuss the nutrients essential for your skin needs.
To find out more about Skin Renewal and how we can help you select the correct topical products for your particular skin type, visit www.skinrenewal.co.za. It’s one of the many ways we can help you enjoy firmer, more youthful-looking skin for longer.
Take the quick Beyond Beauty Survey and you could win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher to spend in our online store, with free delivery within South Africa. T&Cs apply.