Is it Time to Change How You Look After Your Skin?

August 1, 2020

Lockdown and face coverings can have an effect on your skin too, is it time to look at your regime?

Immune system health may have been the topic of the moment and is still an important consideration, but as things move on and change, we may need to think about updating our health regimes to consider other factors. Now that face coverings are mandatory on not just public transport, but also in retail outlets and takeaways, it might be a good idea to look at keeping your skin in good condition.

Over the past few months, we have seen many images of front-line staff showing bruising and reactions to wearing PPE for long hours. For the public wearing a face covering rather than surgical equipment, the problems will not be as severe. However, for some people, especially those with sensitive or irritated skin, there may be some irritations or changes in skin condition. The good news is that making some nutritional changes in your diet and supplement regime, could make a difference to how your skin copes with the new rules.

If you are considering making your own face coverings, there is a great real time tutorial from Fashion Rebellion designer Amanda Riley here. There are also simple ones from the Government here.

Wearing face coverings may create issues for some wearers, particularly if the they are not kept clean.

If you are using cloth coverings, one important fact to remember is wash them regularly. They can go in with your regular wash and washing detergent and ideally dry outside. If you repeatedly wear the same one without washing, oils, make up and debris from your skin can clog your pores leading to outbreaks of spots or irritation.

Our skin cells are constantly replacing themselves, when we wash the skin or even brush over it with clothes, we naturally slough off a lot of dead cells. New cells are produced in the lower levels of the skin and work their way to the surface as they mature. As the cells produce and grow, good nutrition helps keep the newly developing cells in good condition. They will result in healthier and better condition skin.

As always, diet can make a big difference to our skin condition, particularly the healthy oils such as found in olives, avocados and nuts as well as oily fish. Including a variety of foods that contain ‘good’ fats can have an ongoing positive effect on the skin. Try to include at least a couple of food sources every day. If you find it difficult to get a regular intake, you can top up your levels with supplements that will provide the essential fatty acids found in these foods. They can include flax, evening primrose oil and borage oil. Borage oil is one of the richest sources of an essential fatty acid known as Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA). Research has shown that regular intake of GLA can have a positive impact on the health of the skin. It can be a useful supplement in helping to keep the skin healthy.

Healthy skin is often the ‘side effect’ of a healthy and varied diet

Acne type problems can be distressing at the best of times, wearing a face covering may cause sufferers to experience a worsening of their conditions if the covering are rubbing on the affected area or not washed regularly and causing increased irritation. In some cases, the skin condition can have an effect on the mental health of the individual too. Self esteem issues are common and can lead cause extreme distress for the sufferer.

There has been a lot of research on supplements that may support and improve acne conditions. Various studies have found that those with low levels of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase have increase skin health problems. The mineral selenium can support levels of this important antioxidant and studies have shown that increased an selenium intake (400 mcg) along with 20 mg of vitamin E daily, can lead to improvements.

Acne sufferers also will often demonstrate low levels of zinc, again a supplement can be useful. If taking zinc as a stan- alone supplement make sure it also provides copper. They two minerals act in balance in the body and if you are increasing your zinc intake, it makes sense to support copper levels too.

Another good way to supplement important skin friendly nutrients is to use an antioxidant complex. Vitamin E, selenium, Co Q 10, NAC and resveratrol are all nutrients that support the body and therefor the skin, on various levels. An antioxidant supplement can be a simple way of adding to your nutrient programme.

Antioxidant combinations can be a good way of adding skin friendly nutrients to your diet.

Communities that consume a lot of oily fish, seem to rarely have dry skin conditions and acne type problems. Including oily fish in your diet two to three times a week, can help increase your intake of the omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA. Not only are the fatty acids important for skin health, they also play a role in cardiovascular health, eye health and mood levels. If consuming oily fish is not an option or difficult to achieve every week, again you can look at a supplement. Ensure the fish is from clean waters. A vegan source of omega-3 oils is now available from a micro algae, Schizochytrium oil is now available in vegan capsules for those that want the benefits of omega-3 oils without the fish.

Keeping hydrated is also important for skin, dry skin is not only reliant on oils, a hydrated body is also beneficial. Regularly drinking water or herbal teas is a good way to stay hydrated. Coffee is not always such a good idea. The caffeine content can overstimulate the body and cause a skin reaction. Many menopausal women can find that strong coffee can exacerbate their hot flushes and in turn cause the skin to be irritated. Spicy foods may also do the same. Green tea drinkers will be please to note that it is naturally rich in antioxidants and research suggests it could be beneficial for certain skin problems.

Vitamin E is important for skin health. Often in supplements we find just one part of the vitamin E complex, d alpha tocopherol. In nature and in unadulterated foods there is a full complex of tocopherols and tocotrienols, take a supplement that provides the full spectrum and in the natural ratio.

Eating a variety of foods rich in ‘good’ fats can help keep the skin in good condition.

Healthy skin can be considered a bonus of a healthy body. Keeping your diet varied, your supplement regime up to date and of course properly cleansing and moisturising the skin can help prevent the signs of aging as well as reducing dryness and conditions such as acne. If a problem seems severe or becomes infected, it is important to contact your health practitioner. The good news is that with good diet, fresh air, good skin hygiene and good quality supplements, you can make a positive difference. One final tip that is particularly relevant at the moment is try to avoid touching your face too much. It is easy to transfer all sorts of matter to your face from your hands, it’s not just about stopping viruses entering our system, it also stops us putting dirt and bacteria onto the surface of the skin. Keep washing your hands!

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