Ageing is a problem we all face, and cosmetic products can make us forget that simple changes to diet and daily routines can make more significant differences. Several foods have anti-ageing properties that can go a long way towards helping you maintain youthful-looking skin without using chemical-ridden cosmetics.
• Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids help keep the skin supple and free of wrinkles – try saltwater fish (specifically salmon) and nuts. Soy is believed to counteract skin damage done by the sun; regular consumption could show positive results in a few months’ time.
• Many of us are dependent on a morning caffeine kick, or midday pick-me-ups. Simply substitute your daily cup of coffee with hot chocolate (or any other beverage containing cocoa), and your skin has a better chance of hiding signs of ageing. Cocoa has epicatchin and catechin, each of which promote blood circulation and keep your skin looking young. The wonder food also hydrates and clears your skin – no wonder chocolate scrubs and facials are gathering steam.
• The skin needs to stay moisturised to stay supple; hydration is the key. The best sources, aside from water itself, are fruits and vegetables with high water content. They work wonders, all thanks to their antioxidant properties. Watermelon and cucumber go down easy.
• Foods with a hearty amount of vitamin C go a long way. Lemons and lemon juice, and green tea are great sources of the stuff. Colourful foods are the healthiest; red apples, yellow and red peppers, lettuce, oranges and spinach are great ways to keep your skin supple.
• Aloe vera is excellent for the skin, whether you apply it cosmetically or consume it via food; it’s a miraculous thing. From reducing marks and dark spots to reversing skin damage, aloe works wonders. Regular use will also improve elasticity.
• There’s no two ways about the important role sleep plays in your life. Enough ‘Zs’ will keep your skin fresh, bright and wrinkle-free. Maintain a regular moisturising regime, and remember to exfoliate.
In order to further reduce signs of ageing, remember these words to the wise-
• Your skin is like a rubber band. When you stretch it too much, the elasticity goes and causes folds. One of the first areas to show signs of ageing and wrinkles are the eyes. Rubbing your eyes due to strain or dryness causes the elasticity of the skin around them to wear thin, especially since it’s a very delicate area. A good way to avoid this is to gently run your fingers over your eyes, soothing them and saving your skin. You can also try hot water fomentation or apply a cooling crème or gel.
• Tap water contains all kinds of contaminants, sapping the skin of its natural oils, and leaving it dry and lifeless. Don’t wash your face too much!
• Though your body needs its daily dose of vitamin D from the sun, too much does your skin great harm. It’s the leading cause of wrinkles, and while most anti-ageing foods try to undo this damage, it doesn’t get all of it. If you can’t avoid the sun, use a good sunscreen.
• Studies show that smoking causes the skin to look older as a result of broken-down collagen and elastin, both important ingredients for youthful skin.
• Avoid over-stretching your facial muscles. Squinting and sleeping with your face against the pillow may cause your skin to develop permanent lines.
• Stress can contribute to older-looking skin. A relaxed body is one that looks and feels younger. Stress lines are very common, making appearances on the forehead and around the eyes. Aromatherapy and yoga are great ways to reduce stress.