As a teenager my skin was fine - it wasn't until adulthood that I started to suffer frequent nasty breakouts. I had no idea why my skin looked so dull and uncared for. So, I embarked upon a mission to get better skin, do a little research and try anything that promised I'd be blemish free with a fresher face in a matter of weeks.
I started off by trying everything from very expensive designer hot cloth cleanser and toning treatments to spending a couple of dollars on the products you find at the drugstore, the ones that promise they'll unclog pores, clear blackheads and zap zits.
Nothing really changed, but some products did dry my skin out, causing it to go flaky.
Gradually, I began to realize that artificial products made from weird chemicals with impossible-to-pronounce names weren't helping at all. So, I gave up my mission for healthy skin. Then a year later, totally by accident, I noticed my face looked clearer all of a sudden.
So what was I doing differently now? I reviewed my lifestyle, did some research and found the answer: Nature. I was eating delicious fruit and veggies, washing my face with only water and Id started to include more exercise in my diet. Id dropped the junk food and stopped drying out my skin with harsh chemicals.
As a result of my journey to a clearer face, plus my hours of research online into getting healthy skin, I thought Id pen this article and share some of the tips I've learnt along the way.
1) Jack In The Junk Food
I gave up junk food recently on a mission to lose a few pounds. I tried to cut out anything too fatty or unhealthy - such as garlic bread, biscuits, etc. - and instead I added plenty of fresh salads and fruits to my plate at mealtimes. The main, remarkable difference is how less oily my face is - which I think has contributed to my blemish-free skin!
Medical professionals certainly agree that eating well can improve skin:
"Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being, but the outer fabric of your body as well. The healthier the foods are that you consume, the better your skin will look,"
Samantha Heller, MS, RD, a clinical nutritionist
at NYU Medical Center in New York City. Via WebMD.com
But one thing I didn't know is that eating lots of low-fat dairy can help pave the way to clearer skin. Dairy products such as low-fat yogurt are packed full of true vitamin A (not beta carotene, contained in carrots for example). Dermatologists say vitamin A is vital to our diets - it can improve the health of skin cells drastically. So, on your next trip to the grocery store, grab some low-fat natural yogurt!
Medical professionals also suggest we eat a lot of blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and plums due to their high antioxidant content. Other top foods for skin health include salmon, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, whole-wheat bread, tuna, turkey and Brazil nuts.
2) Drink Your Way To Healthy Skin
We all know that keeping hydrated plays a role in keeping skin supple and looking good. But I had no idea studies have shown that drinking pure, clean water can make skin look healthier! This is in contrast to taking in the majority of your daily fluid from drinking soda or juice. So make space in your daily routine to swig a bottle or two of spring water I know I will be!
I'm also a bit of a tea fanatic and have recently started sampling green teas, white teas and herbal teas. So, imagine my surprise to find that green tea has many positive skin boosting properties! Experts say this wonderful beverage can even protect skin from UV rays and help stave off cancer. Ill put the kettle on!
3) Get Those Running Shoes On
A little exercise is great for your skin, as it keeps your skin nourished by increasing blood flow. Your blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to cells all around the body, including your face. Blood cells also carry away waste and nasty free radicals.
"By increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system. You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside."
Dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD.
I've already started following the NHS podcast Couch to 5K, starting with walking and building up my stamina for running every week, over a period of nine weeks. Who wants to join me?
Those who will follow point #3 above and take up exercise will find a little vigorous activity can help to reduce some of the emotional intensity associated with stress - jogging, dancing and boxing will all relieve tension and release endorphins into your system, making you feel happier.
If you don't have time to exercise, or you'd like to find another way to reduce stress, here are three great guides from trusted online sources:
It's well documented that breakouts can be caused by stress. On my research journey, I found that emotions can have a big impact on your skin, so learning how to relax and control your stress levels will ultimately help your skin look clearer and healthier too.
Take acne, for example. When you are tense, your body releases stress hormones including cortisol, which may increase the skin's oil production, making you prone to pimples.
5) Take Natural Supplements
I've learned more about Pycnogenol, a popular natural supplement in the United States, revered for its wonderful skin-related properties:
Pycnogenol helps your skin rebuild elasticity, essential for smooth and youthful looking skin. Pycnogenols skin care benefits help protect the skin inside and out
The supplement is a natural substance extracted from French maritime pine bark. The bark comes from pine trees grown exclusively in Les Landes de Gascogne forest in southwest France. The forest is unspoiled and natural, and the trees are not treated with pesticides or herbicides.
The Pycnogenol company regularly run clinical trials, they believe the supplement can help keep skin healthy in a number of ways: by fighting wrinkles, reducing over-pigmentation, repairing damage from sunburn, generating new collagen and protecting proteins in skin cells from free radical damage.
The natural supplement has many high profile fans too: Rosemary Ellis is the editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping magazine. Recently, on the Doctor Oz show, Ellis revealed she swears by the all-natural supplement to keep her skin looking young.
In the interest of balance, its worth saying that medical professionals note there's currently only limited data from clinical trials supporting Pycnogenols claims. However, the FDA do rate the supplement as possibly safe if you take it in doses of 50-450 mg for 6 months so its worth a try!
Other vitamin supplements of note: Zinc, Omega-3 supplements and Vitamin A & E tablets.
Do you have any tips of your own to add? Have you found a natural approach is better too, or do you have products you swear by? Let us know in the comments section below - wed love to hear what you think!
Looking for 100% chemical-free, all-natural nourishing face and body oils? Check out Earth & Elm Nourishing Face Oil and Earth & Elm Nourishing Body Oil. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral care, skincare, body care and foot care. If you are looking for more health resources check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
This article was written by Carly Wood on behalf of NaturesBest.co.uk
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.