Everyone has a favourite face cream or treatment, but beautiful skin
starts with nourishment from within. Older cells are constantly shed and replaced by younger ones and a steady supply of micronutrients is essential to support this rapid growth. Eat the correct balance of foods and you'll feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to help it stay soft, supple and blemish-free.
Eat your five-a-day
Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are caused by smoking
, pollution and sunlight and can cause wrinkling and age spots
. Eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables and aim for at least five portions a day. Betacarotene, found in pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes, and lutein, found in kale, papaya and spinach are potent antioxidants, important for normal
skin cell development and healthy skin tone.
Vitamin C is also a super antioxidant. It is needed for a strong immune system, radiant skin and helps blemishes heal
properly. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes. They all help to produce collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the skin.
Cut out crash diets
Repeatedly losing and regaining weight can take its toll on your skin, causing sagging, wrinkles
and stretch marks. Crash diets are often short in essential vitamins too. Over long periods of time this type of dieting will reflect on your skin.
Stock up on selenium
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. It works alongside other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and is essential for the immune system. Studies suggest that a selenium-rich diet
can help to protect against skin cancer
, sun damage and age spots. One way to boost your intake is to eat Brazil nuts. Just
four nuts will provide the recommended daily amount (RDA). Mix Brazil nuts with other seeds rich in vitamin E as a snack or salad sprinkle. Other good sources are fish, shellfish, eggs, wheatgerm, tomatoes and broccoli.
Vitamin E protects skin from oxidative (cell) damage and supports healthy skin growth. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower and corn oils.
Skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Even mild dehydration
will cause your skin to look dry, tired and slightly grey. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day - all fluids count towards your daily allowance, but water is the best. If you work in an office
, keep a large bottle of water on your desk to remind you to drink. Herbal, caffeine-free teas are good too. Try to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
consumption, both can age the skin.
Don't be afraid of fat
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats - the types found in avocados, fish, nuts and seeds - provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturiser for your skin, keeping it supple. These fats also come packaged with a healthy dose of vitamin E (a vitamin many of us lack), which will help protect against free radical damage.
Eat more phyto-estrogens
Phyto-estrogens are natural chemicals found in plant foods (phyto meaning plant). They have a similar structure to the female sex hormone oestrogen and have been found to help keep our natural hormones in balance. There are different types, some
are found in soya bean products (isoflavones), whereas others are found in the fibre of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and flax seeds (lignans). Include phyto-estrogen rich soya, wholegrains, fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.
Opt for omega-3
Make sure you get
enough omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These are essential fatty acids which mean they cannot be made in the body and must be obtained through the diet. You will find omega-3s in oily fish and plant sources such as flaxseed oil, linseeds, walnut and rapeseed oil. Omega-3 fats encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help skin, particularly inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema
Go for low-GI carbs
Eat plenty of beans, pulses, porridge and other slow-releasing carbohydrates. These release sugar
into the blood stream gradually, providing you with a steady supply of energy and leaving you feeling satisfied for longer and therefore less likely to snack. Avoid high GI carbohydrates like biscuits and sugary drinks, as they lead to production of insulin, which may damage collagen and accelerate wrinkles.
Don't forget zinc
Zinc is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (which produce oil) and helps to repair skin damage and keep skin soft and supple. Zinc-rich foods include fish, lean red meat, wholegrains, poultry, nuts, seeds and shellfish.
Yogurt for Skin Lightening
Lactic acid is a known remedy for natural skin lightening. This acid is the most gentle alpha
hydroxy acids (AHAs). Alpha hydroxy acids act as exfoliants by contributing in rapid shedding of dead skin cells on the surface. This leads to cell renewal which in turn removes dullness from your skin giving you a brightening effect. As a skin lightening agent, lactic
acid helps bleach the hyperpigmented skin by suppressing the production of melanin
. Therefore, using yogurt loaded with lactic acid, makes sense when it comes to skin lightening with natural remedies.
Ways to use yogurt for skin lightening
1. Take some plain, unflavored and unsweetened, yogurt. Rub this gently on to your skin for a couple of minutes. Then leave the yogurt on your skin for another few minutes. Now wash off using lukewarm water. Repeat this daily.
2. Mix yogurt, lemon juice and oatmeal to get make a face mask. Apply this to your skin. Leave it there for 15-20 minutes before washing off with water.
3. Add 1-2 tsp of honey to 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Apply this to your skin. Leave it for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with water. Repeat daily.