In part one of our guide, we discussed what to eat and drink to get the skin you’ve always wanted. Now, let’s talk about what to avoid in your diet and other lifestyle changes you should be making for all-round wellness that reflects on your skin.
WHEN TO SLEEP
Scientists estimate between 7-9 hours for a full night’s rest as sleep cycles vary. Sleep deprivation shows on your appearance e.g. puffiness, fine lines and dark circles around your eyes that make you look tired and older. Studies have shown that those who get quality sleep every night heal much faster from skin problems than those who don’t so if your skin is acne-prone for example, then neglecting sleep may worsen your breakouts.
HOW TO BE ACTIVE
We spend most of our working days sitting at a desk, staring at our computer and not only is this bad for our health (a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of cancer) but it also affects how our skin looks. Exercise improves blood circulation, giving your skin a healthy glow. When we sweat, our skin flushes out toxins that could have caused inflammation in our body. If you’re not always able to do intense physical activity, try standing up and walking around anytime you are on the phone or take the stairs instead of the lift.
WHAT TO LIMIT
Sugar: Sugar comes in many forms and does not refer only to the stuff you add to your cup of tea. Consume less white rice, white pasta, white bread, sweetened cereal, chocolate, sweets, baked goods, juices and soft drinks which quickly convert to sugar in the blood after being ingested and cause collagen and elastin degradation. In short, cut down on your sugar to prevent saggy skin and wrinkles.
Dairy: Most dairy products are made from milk produced by lactating cows and therefore contain high levels of hormones. This can lead to hormonal acne in humans due to an overproduction of sebum. To avoid this, replace cow’s milk in your diet with non-dairy alternatives such as coconut/almond/oat/cashew milk and you’ll still get your daily dose of calcium.
Coffee: The caffeine which is found in coffee is a diuretic which means it causes your body to lose water, leading to dehydrated skin. Simply substitute coffee for green tea which has 80% less caffeine and is packed with antioxidants.
Alcohol: Alcohol also causes dehydrated and dull skin, and in excess, cellular damage. Alcoholic drinks with sugar added are even worse for skin because not only do they dehydrate skin, they also raise insulin levels and lead to inflammation in the body. Reduce your alcohol intake to preserve your youthful glow.
Habits are hard to break so instead of avoiding these completely, try to limit them as best you can. Start gradually so that your body can get used to being without them for long periods of time to avoid binge eating. Over time, you’ll watch cravings slowly reduce and you’ll have clearer skin, a smaller waist and a rested mind.