Seven-skin-savioursBeauty products and cosmetic procedures can help slow down ageing and improve the appearance of our skin but we also have to be aware of the environmental factors that accelerate skin ageing.

Avoid sun exposure. There are 75,000 new incidences of skin cancer in the UK each year. UV rays cause wrinkles, skin pigmentation (freckles, age spots), thickening of the skin, can lead to the apparition of small red blood vessels and ultimately, induce skin cancer (75,000 new incidences of skin cancer in the UK each year).

Choose the right sunscreen. One that protects against UVB (at least SPF 15) as well as UVA and use it every day on the parts of your body that are not covered with clothes. You should use at least a SPF 30 for your neck and cleavage as they are always exposed and prone to wrinkles and sagging.

Fight dull skin. Unclog pores and get rid of dirt, excess sebum and dead cells by exfoliating regularly with a good scrub. Some body scrubs are gentle enough to be used every day in the shower. Dry brushing every day before applying your moisturiser stimulates lymphatic drainage and the blood flow to the skin.

Quit smoking. Nicotine causes the small blood vessels to constrict, reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the skin. The result is dry and sallow looking skin. It also slows down significantly the skin’s natural healing process. Talk to your GP about NHS-assisted programmes to help you quit smoking.

Relax. High levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) cause a breakdown of the skin collagen and stimulates oil production from the sebaceous glands. Try relaxation, meditation and make time for yourself to do things you enjoy.

Watch your diet. The skin needs plenty of good (unsaturated) fats and proteins. Your diet should be high in lean protein, essential fatty acids (found in oily fish, eggs, nuts and seeds), fruit and vegetables. Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Remember to drink a lot but keep alcohol and coffee to a minimum.

Exercise. Exercise boosts circulation and an increases blood flow to the skin. This helps deliver more nutrients and oxygen. Sweating will also promote a healthy glow as it helps unclog pores by releasing the dirt from your skin. Complete your exercise routine with a light scrub in the shower and apply your favourite moisturising or toning cream.

Photo credits: Model: Victoria Yun, Make-up Artist: Lisa Mcphee, Hair Stylist: Julie Flury, Photography: Monica True


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