beauty

Get younger looking skin

By Marni Dixit August 14, 2013

Are you 'In in the middle of a chain-reaction?' Here's how to eat your way to healthier, younger looking skin…

Ever heard the life tip, “For every action, there is a reaction?” Well, in the case of your skin, there is no truer philosophy to apply.

You see, just like life, every time we put certain things in our system, there is a reaction that shows up in our complexion. Some of these responses are instantaneous, as your skin makes it’s feelings known through responses such as acne, rosacea, dry skin. Other reactions can take longer to show up, but much, much longer to leave… In particular, wrinkles and signs of early ageing.

Without a doubt one of the biggest reactions in our skin is ageing and looking unhealthy due to things we are feeding into our system. Think of it this way:

Action: Treat your system the right way.
Reaction: Your skin will respond in turn with happy, healthy, glowing skin.

Action: Treat it in a way that leaves it missing out on nutrients, or aggravated.
Reaction: Experience the wrath of reactions, one major one being looking older than you actually are.

Beware of using Band-Aid cures

Injectable treatments, facelifts and anti-ageing creams may well be successful and useful tools to looking younger or having healthier skin, but it has to be said that they are Band-Aid cures which mask the signs of ageing.

To really combat the reaction of ageing, we need to look at our contributing lifestyle factors and what foods we are feeding our bodies so we can fight the process from the inside out.

Often, the ageing process starts before we even notice the physical manifestations appear on our skin.

So what reactions should we look out for?

There is a strong connection between ageing and inflammation in the body, which can result in lines, wrinkles, skin discolouration and pigmentation. But inflammation is the body’s normal response to injury and is necessary for healing. This type of inflammation is referred to as acute, and is a normal response.

However, chronic inflammation is a reaction in the body that is triggered. When your skin is chronically inflamed, or you get a rash, your skin is telling you that the reaction has been triggered by both genetic and lifestyle factors. And while we can’t control our genetic disposition, we can control our lifestyle.

The biggest factors contributing to chronic inflammation are obesity, poor food choices, cigarette smoking, UV radiation, stress and environmental toxins such as pesticides.

What are some of the foods that cause negative reactions in our skin’s appearance?

Glycation is a big cause of early ageing reactions in our skin. Glycation is a chemical reaction that happens within the body naturally when foods are overcooked. When a sugar molecule binds to a protein, lipid or nucleic acid it creates a mutated molecule that is not recognised the body and therefore cannot be metabolised normally. This process occurs in our bodies slowly over time. In fact the longer a protein lives the more chance it will be exposed to the glycation process. In reality, we are all slowly roasting away at 37 degrees C, much the same as a rotisserie chicken!

Caramelised onions, sticky toffee pudding, crispy roast potatoes, well-cooked meats and the brown hue of beer all involve this chemical process.

How can we make our system go from reactionary, to responding with happy, healthy skin?

These are my top five:

1. Reduce your intake of pro-inflammatory foods
2. Increase antioxidants (omega-3s, fruit and vegetables, berries)
3. Make the body more alkaline
4. Maintain a healthy weight
5. Reduce stress (yoga, smiling, and not stressing your body with too much alcohol and sugary foods)

Photo: Getty / Getty Images Entertainment / Stephen Lovekin