5 Natural Ways to Great Skin in Time for the Festive Season
December 18, 2013
By Kelly Stuart
5 Natural Ways to Great Skin in Time for the Festive Season - Photo by Anton Belovodchenko
"Glowing, luminous skin that looks lit up from within." We all want it – and it would be especially nice during this extra social time of year to feel we are looking our radiant best.

Although there are many things you can do to the surface of your skin to improve its appearance, great skin really begins from the inside. That's why we say lit up from "within".

You can spend a fortune on skincare products, but if your diet is poor, these are just a band-aid solution. Stress, processed foods and a diet lacking nutrients results in lacklustre (and faster ageing!) skin.

Eating the right foods provides your cells with the fuel they need for structural integrity, protection against toxins, and environmental pollutants and will do more for your skin than any expensive cream.

At this time of year, our bodies may be under increased stress with late nights, over-indulgence in alcohol and perhaps extra caffeine to keep us going during the day. Follow the tips below to offset negative effects and reward yourself with a party-ready glow!

1. Eat your Vegetables for Radiant Skin

Vegetables provide antioxidants such as vitamins E, C, beta-carotene (precursor to vitamin A), as well as many other essential nutrients. Antioxidants defend us against free radicals – molecules that are produced from normal metabolism, as well as environmental toxins.

Without sufficient antioxidants, these molecules damage the structure of your skin and impair the cells' ability to produce collagen and elastin. Late nights, alcohol and stress increase circulating free radicals, so eating a "rainbow' of vegetables and fruit each day is the best way we can defend ourselves against these damaging molecules.

Vegetables will also provide the necessary fibre to aid with elimination of toxins, and help prevent your skin from becoming congested. Be sure to include lots of orange and red beta-carotene containing vegetables, as this is one of our skin's best friends.

2. Keep Hydrated for Glowing Skin this Festive Season

Aim to drink 2 to 3 litres of water (including herbal teas) a day. When you are dehydrated, the body diverts water to higher priority organs such as the heart and liver. This can result in a drawn-looking face, with dry skin which emphasizes wrinkles.

Water helps circulation, flushes out toxins, and plumps out your cells for dewy looking skin. Different herbal teas have different properties – including blood cleansing, detoxifying, aiding with digestion and stimulating circulation – all of which will promote a healthy complexion.

Also, anything that decreases stress is a bonus for the skin, so make it a daily ritual to enjoy a calming tea from a beautiful teacup at least once a day.

3. Good Fats are Good News for the Skin

Fats are not your enemy! Oily fish such as sardines and mackerel, as well as seeds and nuts like almonds and walnuts, and olive oil provide omega-3 essential fatty acids that are vital to the health of our cell membranes.

These healthy fats improve the structure of skin cells, as well as help absorb fat-soluble antioxidants like vitamins A and E. They help your skin to retain moisture, resulting in a more plumped out looking complexion, and are anti-inflammatory, so can be very useful for reducing redness in irritated skin.

4. Do Exercise to Improve your Skin

Getting your heart rate up for 30 minutes can work as much or more magic for your skin than most masks will be able to bring about.

Exercise improves circulation, delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the skin, aids elimination of complexion-dulling toxins and decreases fluid retention.

Set the alarm a little earlier to go for a brisk walk, fit it into your lunch break, find an evening walking buddy, or dance at home. Get moving for at least half an hour most days of the week – NO EXCUSES!

5. Try Dry Body Brushing for Great Looking Skin

Dry body brushing is brilliant for attaining smooth, glowing skin. It works to stimulate your blood and lymphatic circulation, so improves immune function, decreases fluid retention, exfoliates the surface of the skin and prevents ingrown hairs.

Dry body brushing opens pores, so is fantastic to do before a shower to release stored toxins. It is best to use a plant bristle skin brush and perform on dry skin only. Start from the feet, working upwards (always towards the heart), using long and light upward movements.

This follows the body's natural lymphatic flow. Use clockwise movements on the tummy. This can be a lovely everyday ritual, performed morning or night, but best to start off 3 times a week.

Kelly Stuart has a BHSc in nutritional medicine and a particular interest in allergies and mental health. Kelly is the mother of two sons, aged 9 and 10, and it was her experience with her children, their eczema and other allergies that led her to pursue studies in nutritional medicine.
"You can spend a fortune on skin-care products, but if your diet is poor, these are just a band-aid solution. Stress, processed foods and a diet lacking nutrients results in lacklustre and ageing skin."