Keeping your skin looking and feeling healthy during winter can be quite the challenge, with months of dry indoor air and harsh weather leaving skin looking and feeling dull and a bit blah. With the daffodils a sure sign of warmer times ahead, now is the perfect time to SPRING into the new season and give your skin a deep spring cleanse. Here are my top tips to help you unleash your most radiant skin in time for summer.
What we put into our bodies impacts not only our inner being (our mental and spiritual self) but every aspect of our outer selves, with the appearance of our skin directly affected by the foods we put in our bodies – be they the healthy or not-so-healthy kind.
Eating a diet rich in healthy skin foods is key to good skin. A natural plant-rich or wholefoods diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, organic wholegrains, legumes and organic protein will go a long way to providing all the necessary good fats, fibre, vitamin C, antioxidants, omegas, collagen and amino acids that your skin needs. Winter eating can sometimes be lacking though, so spring is a great time to add more of these essential nutrients into your diet and create lots of nutritious skin boosting recipes (see recipes below and more on my website www.revealyourself.co.nz).
I eat a mainly vegetarian plant-based diet and ensure my daily eating is packed full of nutritious wholefood meals. I love starting my day with a Super Green Smoothie or Beauty Nourishing Bowl (recipe below). I load my smoothies/ smoothies bowls with lot of nutrient-dense fruits, veges and add skin boosting superfoods like organic berries, spinach and kale, fresh lemon and omega 3 oils such as flaxseed or chia.
For lunch I make a nourishing green salad such as my Super Kale and Avocado Salad (recipe below). Avocado is one of my favourite skin boosting superfoods as it’s packed full of antioxidants, healthy fats and phytonutrients. Between meals I like to snack on fruits with a high water content such as strawberries, apples and water melon. Another favourite snack is my homemade bliss balls (recipe below), packed full of omegas, plant based protein, fibre and healthy fats.
Dinner usually consists of a big, fresh colourful salad, baked kale crisp or homemade kumara fries, steamed broccoli and organic protein such as grilled tofu/tempeh or grilled organic salmon which is packed full of omega 3s, another good fat that does wonders for your skin.
Reveal Yourself Beauty Nourishing Bowl:
2 frozen bananas
1 handful of spinach
1 serving of frozen acai pulp
Juice of one lemon
1 cup frozen mixed organic raspberries and blueberries
2 scoops Nutra Organics collagen and beauty powder
1 Tbsp flax seed oil or chia seed oil
1/4 cup coconut water and ice
Add to blender and blend until smooth and thick
Top with homemade muesli, sliced banana, fresh raspberries, freeze dried blueberries
Super Kale Avocado and Micro Green Salad:
3 large bunches of kale leaves (can add a mixture of kale and spinach leaves)
1 grated small beetroot
1 handful of fresh parsley chopped
1 handful of fresh mint chopped
1 chopped avocado
1-2 small radishes sliced thinly or grated
1 cup of fresh micro greens
1 Tbsp of dried goji berries
2 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds
1 pitted prune
Juice of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
Himalayan pink salt and pepper to taste
Wash, rinse and de-stem kale leaves. Chop kale leaves and place in salad bowl. Add all dressing ingredients into a blender and mix. Pour over kale leaves and massage into the kale leaves for about 1-2 minutes.
Finely chop parsley, mint and add to kale leaves. Add in grated beetroot, sliced radish and micro greens. Finally add pumpkin seeds and goji berries.
Mix all together and serve
Beauty Bliss Balls:
I cup walnut nuts
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup organic rolled oats
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
1 Tbsp hemp or flaxseed oil
1 scoop of organic pea protein
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp almond butter
Add all ingredients to food processor and process until the mixture comes together.
Roll into balls and enjoy
Add a skin boosting supplement
To stay healthy your body needs a balance of nutrients and your skin – the largest organ in the body – is no different. While you can certainly get most of the nutrients you need through a healthy lifestyle and (plant-based) diet, sometimes and often seasonally (winter) a supplement can be helpful.
My daily vitamins and supplements include zinc to help support healthy immune function, healthy hair, skin and nails. I also add natural extracts such as Resveratrol and an Antioxidant Complex which help support healthy collagen levels and skin elasticity.
I order all my vitamins and supplements through Wondermins who create personalised, daily vitamin packs, delivered once-a-month to your door.
Over winter we tend to not drink as much water as we do during the warmer months and this can lead to skin looking dry and flaky. Keeping hydrated is one of the easiest things you can do to help improve your complexion.
I aim to drink at least 2 litres of filtered water per day and start each morning with a large glass of warm water and a squeeze of lemon which helps with digestion, gut health and detoxifying the body – all important for healthy skin. I also like to sip on detox water throughout the day, which I make with fresh lemon juice, sliced lemons and oranges, fresh berries and a pinch of cinnamon. A tip for monitoring your water intake is to refill a reusable water bottle throughout the day. Eating high water fruit and vegetables also helps, so try snacking on watermelon, cucumber, oranges and strawberry, carrots and apples throughout the day.
Make everyday a spa day
Over winter we often tend to neglect our skin and by the time spring arrives it can be left feeling dry, dull and flaky. With the days finally warming up and the layers coming off, now’s the time to get your skin looking smooth and hydrated again with regular dry body brushing, exfoliating and moisturizing. Think of it as a ‘spa day everyday’. Dry body brushing every day or second day helps to exfoliate dead skin cells and remove flaking. Adding a weekly exfoliating session to your skin regime also helps remove dullness and flaking. And moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, that’s my No.1 beauty tip for hydrated skin.
I like to dry brush the body before my shower each morning and use a medium-soft cactus bristle brush which is gentle on my skin when I am brushing. After a shower I always use organic botanical body and face oils which are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants to help balance and nourish. On Sundays I love to run a hot bath, add some epsom salts and lavender essential oil and apply a natural organic face mask. This helps to relieve stress, an important factor in achieving beautiful skin, and to purify and deep clean skin leaving it seriously smooth and hydrated.
Months of hibernating indoors over winter can take their toll on skin, so spring is the perfect time to get outside in the fresh air and be active.
Getting your sweat on and being active helps to nourish skin cells, detoxify and boost circulation – almost like a mini facial. While exercising outside helps boost natural endorphins which not only assist with physical and mental wellbeing but are essential for healthy skin.
In spring I love to get outside and take daily walks or enjoy yoga on the beach. Not only is it good for my mental health but allows my skin to breath and absorb some vitamin D. Just be sure to wear (a natural) sunscreen.
Other musts for glowing skin
Sleep – we’ve all heard the saying ‘get your beauty sleep’. Sleeping is the time when your skin repairs and replenishes so be sure to get a good (8 hours) night’s sleep. Go to bed at regular time, keep phones and other devices out of the bedroom, diffuse essential oils such as lavender in your bedroom, and always take your makeup off before bed.
Manage stress – stress can wreak havoc on our hormones, digestive system and gut health, leaving the skin looking dull and tired. To manage stress, try keeping a gratitude journal and each day write down three things you are grateful for in life. Have a daily meditation practice, take up yoga, laugh and have more fun, have some me-time (a weekly bath with essential oil, face mask and a good book for example), get out in nature, and be more present.
Protect your skin – now the sun is shining again, protect your skin from UVB and UVA rays with a good natural sunscreen or a foundation with SPF factor – preferably SPF 25 or over.
Christina Leon from Reveal Yourself, Food Columnist for Good Health Choices Magazine New Zealand & Australia. Whole Food & Wellness Blogger. Whole Food Recipe Creator for Huckleberry & Wahiki Coconut Ice Cream Ltd. Presenter & Healthy Food Workshop Facilitator. Product Brand Ambassador. Creator of Reveal Yourself Whole Food Products.
Always read the label and use as directed. Vitamins and minerals are supplementary to and not a replacement for a balanced diet. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Wondermins, Auckland. MR5825.