Forever young: tip 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 2.

Welcome back youth hunter for episode 2 of my guide to a more youthful you!

Episode 1 covered the sun and how overexposure can damage the skin short and long term, it also suggested ways of protection in terms of product use and provided 2 options.

So after sun damage, what is the number 2 cause of ageing of the skin, according to the International Dermal Institute?

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Number 2 – the effects of smoking.

Back in the old days smoking was the height of fashion, it was seen as something very sophisticated and honestly, with those fabulous cigarette holders in your hand I’m inclined to agree! According to my mother, back in 1957 the hospital would give my grandfather cigarettes to calm his nerves even though he had a heart condition! Amazing how times change and knowledge is gained.

We all know that the typical cigarette contains tar and various harmful chemicals that damage us inside, including blackening of the lungs; but it can also have a damaging effect on our skin, leading to a variety of ageing issues.

One of the chemicals found in cigarettes is called carbon monoxide, commonly known as ‘the silent killer’ a    tasteless and odourless gas that replaces the oxygen in our blood and slowly suffocates us from the inside. The small amount of carbon monoxide inside the cigarette is doing exactly that but on a small scale and constantly; starving the skin of oxygen and vital nutrients to maintain a youthful appearance. This lack of oxygen is also having an effect on our collagen levels, destroying them and causing the facial contours to sag due to a loss of elasticity.

Oh, and one more thing; we all know that we gain expression lines on our face from, well, using facial expressions but the constant action of inhaling the fumes from a cigarette causes vertical lines around the mouth and hollows the cheeks giving a skeletal appearance to the face.

So what’s the solution? The most obvious is to quit smoking altogether but in most cases it is easier said than done, so we need an alternative.

With regards to skincare, we must ensure that we are getting blood to the surface of our skin. This can be done in 2 main ways.

1. Exfoliation – depending on our skin types, this should be done at least once a week to remove dead skin cells, reveal new ones and promote blood flow to the skin’s surface. Exfoliating products can come in 2 forms, chemical (usually enzyme peels and fruit acids, perfect for sensitive and dry skins) and physical (your typical seeded scrubs, these are better for oily, combination and male skins).

2. Massage – gentle massage stimulates the blood and can assist in desquamation, the skin’s natural exfoliation. This can be done as part of a cleansing routine or when applying moisturiser.

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OK, so product time! Here are 2 of my picks of exfoliation products with one being chemical and the other physical. 

* A chemical product, Gatineau’s gommage gentle exfoliator. Effective and gentle, perfect for even the most sensitive of skins. Contains essential and botanical mint, boasting an anti-ageing and moisturising formula. Can be purchased here: http://www.qvcuk.com. 

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* A physical product, Liz Earle’s gentle face exfoliator. Containing natural jojoba seeds to gently remove dead skin, eucalyptus and cocoa butter. Not suitable if you suffer with sensitive skin or rosacea so would be better suited to oily, combination and make skins. Can be purchased here: http://www.uklizearle.com. 

Liz Earle facial exfoliator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the above products should be used weekly, but with you being a smoker or suffering from sallow, dull skin is it possible to exfoliate gently daily? Yes it is!

Dermalogica offer a product called Daily Microfoliant, a gentle chemical based exfoliator that can be used daily on any skin type. Perfect for use in the morning to brighten and awaken tired and dull skin. You can purchase it here: http://www.dermalogica.co.uk. 

Dermalogica daily microfoliant

Dermalogica daily microfoliant

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So now we know that smoking is bad for outside of us as well as the inside and if we can’t quit altogether we can at least help our skin by exfoliating, helping to maintain a youthful appearance.

Remember, it is incredibly important we moisturise straight after any exfoliation, otherwise we risk drying the skin out and causing more damage!

Stay tuned for episode 3!

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Forever young: top 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 1.

Welcome to episode 1 of my guide on how to maintain a youthful you all year round!

This 10 part series will highlight the main factors that cause us to age faster and prematurely but most importantly, how we can fight back without breaking the bank balance and how it can fit it into our busy lifestyle routines.

Please note, I think it’s important to remember that despite how many lotions and potions we use we will never stop ageing in its tracks. Unfortunately, we’re all destined to age but it’s how we choose to do it that we can control…if you catch my drift!

So let’s kick off with, according to the International Dermal Institute, is the number 1 cause of premature ageing and how you can control it.

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Number 1 – overexposure to the sun and harmful UV rays.

How deep do they go?

How deep do they go?

In the UK, we don’t tend to see much sun throughout the year, so when it does make an appearance we flock outside and make the most of it!

But do we ever think about the harm it can do to our skin and the long-term damage it can cause?

So how does the sun age us? Well there are 3 types of UV rays; UVA, UVB, and UVC, which are each responsible for different things.

Let’s start with the one that is least familiar, UVC. UVC rays are unheard of because they don’t pose a huge threat to us, if any threat at all. The vast majority don’t even penetrate the earth’s atmosphere so don’t reach us to cause us any harm. That’s one ticked off the list!

The next ones on the list are UVB waves. Here we start to see some damage to the skin as these generally are responsible for tanning, or if you’re like me, burning of the skin but they also age us too. It is important to think about protection before during and after sun exposure as, believe it or not, a simple burn can cause internal problems that cause us to age prematurely!

I thought I’d save the worst until last, the UVA rays. These rays do the worst damage, damage you can’t always see straight away, this damage can take effect over time and lead to serious problems. These waves go deep into our skin releasing free radicals and changing the structure of our DNA! This can create moles and tags and potentially lead to skin cancers.

(A good way of remembering what each type does is this: UVCan’t catch me rays, UVBurning rays and UVAgeing rays. Works for my students!)

Visual depiction of the UV rays.

Visual depiction of the UV rays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what can we do about it?

An example of an SPF product by Dermalogica.

An example of an SPF product by Dermalogica.

We must ensure we include an SPF or sun protection factor in our skincare routines, this can be in a foundation, concealer or moisturiser and can be either mechanical (UV reflecting) or chemical (UV absorbing). Dermalogica’s range of skincare offers a variety of multifunctional products with SPF included and accompanying after sun products to help soothe the skin after exposure.

Though if you’re like me and can’t remember or are too lazy to reapply every 30 minutes or so then try Ultrasun. Their unique single-application formulas are great for those on the go as you apply once for the whole day! This depends on climate and you may need to reapply if you’re abroad but for everyday it’s a no brainer

Ultrasun single-use sun protection.

Ultrasun single-use sun protection.

Other tips include keeping covered by wearing hats, sunglasses, appropriate shawls and even driving gloves! You have no idea how much damage is done to you by the sun when you’re driving! The car does not protect you!

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One final note: don’t be afraid of the sun, we need it after all for vitamin D because without it, it can lead to brittle bones and Ricketts, which has been on the rise in recent years. The idea is to create awareness, not fear and that a little in moderation never hurt anyone.

Stay safe in the sun and stay tuned for episode 2!