Beneath the skin

Top: Josh Goot

I treat my body like a temple and never feel guilty for doing things for me.

I don’t think there is one singular fix to achieving great skin. I’ve experimented with a lot of skin treatments, food, exercise regimes, vitamins and at-home remedies to see what makes my skin amazing. Not one ingredient has the answer. That beautiful ‘balance’ word comes into play. There are some great cleansers and creams I love to use, but I want to talk about the internal elements that impact on my outer shell.

Our car requires the service of a good wash, oil change, new tyres, engine touch ups and a lot more that goes on under the hood at the mechanics. I think the same applies to our bodies, the more love we show from within the prettier the result. I used to drink a lot of diet softdrinks, thinking they were a lot better for me because there was no sugar or calories. I didn’t realise how bad they really were until I decided to go without for a week and had a migraine every. single. day. Yuk. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label, ditch it. Everyone’s genetic makeup is different so I believe experimentation is the key, although my view is to stick to a diet rich in whole foods – mainly vegetables and fruits – limiting the amount of processes you add to the ingredients (eg. sauces, salts, sugar, oils etc). Some key questions I like to use as a guide to get my skin in check are:

How much coffee/ black tea/ alcohol/ stimulants do I drink a day?
All of these add to the ageing process and ‘tired’ effects of the skin as they simply stimulate on a cellular level. I have one espresso every morning and try not to have any other stimulants throughout the day. I may have 1-2 glasses of good quality red wine on special occasions like a birthday which I think is good for the soul.
How much fresh water am I drinking?
I think approximately 1 litre of good quality filtered water is a great amount each day, although it depends on your activity levels. If I’m training for a sports event that amount increases. In winter I drink less than I do in summer. I have a glass the moment I get up in the morning. Water helps flush out toxins in the body and our blood cells require oxygen which is obtained from water. A lot of the time we think we’re hungry but in fact we are simply thirsty.
What’s my WHOLE food count?
Only you hold the honest truth about your diet. Clean eating = clean body. The more deep fried, refined carbohydrates (white bread, rice, pasta, sweets, chips etc) you eat the less chance your skin has at clearing and ‘glowing’. Think about what happens if we put cheap fuel in our car. When eating out I always ask for no dressing on my salads or no sauce in my stirfrys. Most restaurants are used to catering for healthy requests now – we live in a modern world so don’t be shy to ask. When cooking I always think how I can eat food closet to it’s natural state. I make plain food tasteful by adding other ingredients like avocado, ricotta cheese or home made hummus. I drink lots of fresh juice and ensure I’m getting enough variety from the colour wheel. Those ‘superfoods’ are great for the skin, for positive cell growth and collagen building. These include all berries, chia seeds, kale, broccoli, almonds, salmon + lots more. LOTS OF GREEN! Never underestimate the power of a green vegetable. Of corse there are days where I indulge and have a ‘cheat’ meal but they are pretty rare because I prefer to feel good!
How active am I?
I don’t believe in torturing myself at the gym every day. In fact I think that also adds to the ageing process if overdone. I listen to my body and give it what it needs which is a weekly balance of yoga + pilates classes, dancing, swimming and floor exercises including squats, lunges and pushups. I like running outdoors because I love what fresh air does to me! I do what makes me happy.
How much sleep am I getting?
If I get under 7 hours of sleep a night I start to notice changes in my skin including dark circles, blotchy patches, redness and red eyes. It’s hard with a baby but I make time management a priority and organise myself and my family so I’m in bed early.How happy am I?
Our nervous system plays a massive part on our appearance and over time, stress and anxiety can have damaging effects on our skin. I constantly think about doing things in my spare time that make me happy including playing with Violet, getting a massage, laying on the grass outside, playing my favourite music. Feelings of happiness and contentment are just as important as the food we eat.
What extras do I take?
Taking vitamins, supplements and extra boosts of nutrients is incredibly individual. Listening to your own body and trying to asses what it needs more or less of, is key. At present I don’t take anything but in my cupboard I have everything from magnesium, fish oil, a multi B, Vitamin C (during winter months), spirulina, probiotics and lots of herbal teas.
Do I smoke?
One of the biggest attributes to ageing skin.
What am I using ON my skin?
My advice would be to talk to a trusted skin specialist or naturopath on what may work for you. I see Dee at the Clear Skin Clinic in Double Bay, Sydney and she has been amazing to me over the years! She certainly knows her skin!
What season are we in?
Climate, temperature, wind, sun, etc play a huge part on skin. In winter I find myself wanting more root vegetables like sweet potato and pumpkin and I use a thicker cream on my face morning and night. In summer I crave light, fresh salads, juices, smoothies and use a light cream.