The party season is very nearly upon us and a number of factors can take their tool on our looks; Late nights, cold weather, central heating, party food, a touch too much alcohol, lack of exercise and more – all these can really compromise our skin, making us look older and also making us feel pretty uncomfortable too. So, what can we do to nip these issues in the bud and actually come through the party season looking and feeling better than we did before?
Bottoms up to keep your skin glowing right through the party season! Yes, really – a number of yoga positions or asanas that improve blood flow to the skin can really help. One of the best anti-ageing asanas to really get skin glowing is the famous headstand – although this is a pretty advanced position. However one of the things I really love about yoga is that it is infinitely adaptable – and virtually each asana has an effective adaptation of the position, so that one can get the advantages of the pose, no matter how initially unfit or un-stretchy we are. There are a number of other asanas which also promote blood flow (and thus nutrient delivery) which also have amazing anti-ageing effects. Why not speak to your local yoga teacher to see what they suggest for you – in general, yoga teachers are so well trained that they will be able to provide you with a specific set of positions that are suited to you and your unique physical abilities.
In the winter it is all too tempting to be seduced by the wicked carb-monster as we begin to crave high-carb comfort foods. Of course we need some carbohydrate to be healthy – and these are best in their complex carbohydrate state – think delicious root veggie stews, healthy veggie and pulse curries with organic short-grain brown rice (full of B vitamins), lentil dhal, and so on – all of which have low glycaemic impact. Incorporate lots of orange veggies too – so that you are getting a goodly dose of beta carotene – the pre-cursor to vitamin A, and bear in mind that a study last year showed that if we eat lots of orange foods; sweet potatoes, carrots, red and orange peppers, apricots etc. we take on a ‘golden’ glow which, in trials, was deemed to be very attractive! Remember, there are huge advantages in not loading up on simple carbs such as sugary drinks, chocolates, biccies and so on; in the short term, you’ll avoid the dreaded puffy, swollen ‘carb-face’ and you won’t get as many spots. However, in the long term, you’ll be investing in your looks and your health as lower blood sugar levels will help to reduce the cross-linking and stiffening of proteins in our skin and other organs which happens when proteins like collagen for example are exposed to sugars, in the presence of oxygen, leading to the creation of Advanced Glycation End-products or AGEs.
Hydration is the key – we always think of hydration in the summer – because we get hot, we perspire and are aware of losing fluid. However in the winter it is really very easy to become dehydrated – especially if we’re inside much of the time, in a centrally heated environment. Drink lots of fluids. I swear by water and herbal teas and one of my firm favourite beauty drinks is hot water with half a lemon squeezed into it. It’s an acquired taste but once you get used to it it’s very refreshing. We know that water with lemon juice is very healthy as it helps to alkalize our systems, thus supporting many areas of health and well-being – including reducing bone loss as the alkalinity of the lemon juice buffers acids in our system which can cause bone loss leading to osteoporosis.
Your skin is your largest organ and it’s helpful to remember this so that when we come to put lotions and potions on it we have to bear in mind that skin does absorb much of what we apply. There is currently a huge controversy over the use of synthetic chemicals versus those found in nature. In fact, I was involved in a debate at the `Royal Society of Chemists’ only a couple of weeks ago on this precise subject. There was solid argument from both camps – but I left the event feeling that I was not yet totally convinced of the safety of ingredients such as parabens and SLS, so I personally choose to avoid them, opting instead for products containing natural products which have been used for many thousands of years, without people coming-a-cropper.
As regards topical skin beautifying products, there are some very exciting new ranges which have therapeutic properties that are just coming to the forefront right now an dwhich I’ve added to my little black book: A couple that spring to mind are some lovely Christmassy soaps from The Bakewell Soap Company, which include gold, frankincense and myrrh and a beautiful glittery snowflake one – to make you feel like the belle of the ball. I’ve also just come across B2 Skin Labs who have an amazing range of extremely advanced, yet natural, skincare products featuring essential oils, and beehive extracts which are getting amazing results and have numerous celebrity followers. And, most importantly these lovely people are kind to the bees!
Enjoy the party season, I know that you’ll weather it with aplomb – and come out the other side looking and feeling better – especially if you stick to these few easy tips.