Back to Basics
I thought a good way to start would be by going back to basics. Before we spend a penny on treatments there is a lot we can do in terms of lifestyle that can improve our overall appearance.
Nowadays, a good figure, great complexion and wonderful hair and nails are available to all, from the myriad salons and spas that are at our disposal, but we can give ourselves a head start.
The route to beauty is to be healthy on the inside as well. You know what Iím about to say, donít you? To really make the best of yourself nothing beats a good diet, regular exercise and sufficient sleep. And it only takes a tiny effort to achieve.
So letís start at the beginning.
What you knew all along
Give up smoking. You know it makes sense.
Imagine if the Government Health Warning on cigarettes read ďCigarette today, surgery tomorrowĒ or ďSmoking makes you look old.Ē What would you think then?
We all know the risks. Smoking honestly is the worst thing you can do to your whole body, let alone your face.
The chemicals in cigarettes use up oxygen so that too high a proportion of carbon monoxide is in the blood. This dehydrates, gives a flat grey texture to the skin and causes lines.
Cigarettes are so expensive, too, and no amount of treatment is going to work efficiently if you carry on smoking. Ultimately youíll be wasting your money!
If you manage to give up youíll see a difference in one month and a marked improvement in three. Itís got to be worth it!
Drink, drink, Drink
Is your skin dry as dust? Are the fine lines around your eyes becoming wrinkles? There is help at hand. In fact itís in the tap or the jug in the Ďfridge.
You must drink. Two litres a day is the recommended amount and you know Iím not talking wine and beer or even tea and coffee (though you donít have to give them up, just cut down). Before your body is totally pickled start drinking water Ė it does work.
Itís a daunting prospect and the first few days will be traumatic, (good exercise though, all that dashing about), but your bladder will become accustomed and very soon you will notice an improvement.
Not only will you be livelier and less tired, but your skin will be smooth and firm and have a lustre you haven't seen in ages. And yes, the lines will disappear!
Itís the most inexpensive beauty treatment you can buy!
Exercise is anti-ageing. Itís true!
Most doctors recommend at least three twenty-minute sessions per week. This doesnít mean you have to don jogging shoes and give your self a heart attack by running round the Common, nor does it mean you have to take up cycling or kill yourself at an aerobics class.
Three twenty-minute sessions can be three brisk walks. Thatís all. Just enough to increase your heart rate. And the effects are amazing!
When we exercise we produce endorphins. These are naturally occurring chemicals that enhance our immune systems, relieve pain and stress and most importantly create an enzyme that neutralises the toxicity in the body that causes ageing.
Fantastic isnít it? Three sessions of exercise can make you feel great and keep you young, so get going!
Stay Out of the Sun
The sun (as well as causing cancer) kills skin cells and this results in premature ageing. Weíve all seen those horribly leathery skins on people who have spent summer after summer lying on a beach.
Because of the depletion of the ozone layer, there is even less protection from the sunís harmful rays than there was twenty years ago.
If you want a tan that badly there are some fantastic products around Ė youíll find them on the site. Donít risk your health.
Itís important to wear a high factor sunblock, even when itís overcast, never sunbathe with your face exposed and cover up whenever you can. Pale is interesting!
Beauty from the Inside
Have you noticed that most anti-ageing creams contain vitamin A? So do eggs, milk, liver, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
Retenoids are a component of Vitamin A. If you read the labels, Retinol is now to be found in most anti-wrinkle and anti-ageing creams. So as well as buying the best creams (which weíll investigate later) help your skin stay young by eating good foods.
Not All Fat is Fattening Ė True!
Amazingly, foods with the same calorific values can have a completely different effect on weight.
We all need a certain amount of fat in our diets, but there is a difference. Essential fats that are found in fish and seeds can be used by the brain, the immune system and mostly by the skin.
Saturated fats, that is, anything that dries into a solid white lump Ė the ones that are in red meats, butter and coated every chip youíve ever eaten - can only be used to make energy.
If you donít use this energy, it ends up either clogging your arteries or in dimples on your thighs! So while both types of fat have the same calorific value, polyunsaturated fats are less fattening.
You are sweet enough
We donít need excess sugar. There is enough naturally occurring sugar in fruit (and Vitamins A and C) to satisfy our bodiesí needs.
Too much sugar causes fluctuating blood sugar levels, over-stimulation and stress. So the body works really hard to turn this excess into fat and you are left feeling lethargic and feeling the urge to eat more sugar. Wow! Ever decreasing circles!
This treasure canít be stored by the body, so itís vital to replenish stocks every day with apples, oranges, tomatoes or any type of fruit.
Itís necessary for great skin, helps fight colds, mouth ulcers and cold sores and if you have strayed from the two litres of water and drunk two litres of wine by mistake one night (none of us are saints) is a fantastic hangover cure.
Zinc is a cure for spots and blemishes. Now you can buy zinc in tablet form from your local health food store, but much of it is naturally occurring in eggs, wholegrain (good-bye white bread) and shellfish.
So indulge yourself for the sake of your complexion. Start with a prawn cocktail and finish with a dozen oysters. Share them with your partner!
Silica is a real help if you have thin hair or brittle nails. Itís a manufactured compound and is available in low potency tablets from any health shop.
There are lots of recognised and reputable brands around and itís really worth trying.
More tips coming up from,
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