After the age of 40, most of us experience a thickening of the stratum corneum, the final protective layer of the epidermis. The stratum corneum is the portion of the skin you see, mainly composed of dead skin cells and some collagen, and it tends to get direr, flakier and denser with age. While beneath epidermis, the dermis begins to thin. It also loses cells and elasticity, giving skin a translucent and saggier appearance.

These are all things which happen as part of the natural ageing process, which unfortunately is unpreventable (so far!), but there are other factors which can influence how your skin ages. We know that exposure to UV rays and pollution damages and ages the skin, but role do exercise and diet play? With regular workouts and the right foods, could you eat and exercise yourself to better skin?

The short answer is yes! Healthy skin is directly linked to a healthy diet, and what you will eat has a major impact on the health and appearance of your skin. Eating a balanced diet will help ensure your skin remains soft, supple and blemish free for longer.

It’s essential that you try to get your ‘five-a-day’ as fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants which help protect the skin from cellular damage caused by free radicals. You should try to avoid high GI carbohydrates, like biscuits and sugary drinks, as they lead to the production of insulin, which may damage collagen and accelerate ageing. If you struggle with oily skin the opt for zinc-rich foods like oily fish, lean red meats and whole grains, as zinc is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands, and helps repair skin damage. Also it’s important to make sure you drink plenty of water, as this helps the skin remain supple and flexible. Even mild dehydration makes the skin look grey, dull and dry. Finally don’t be afraid to include some fat in your diet. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, the kind found in avocados, fish and nuts, provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturiser for your skin, keeping it supple. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are also vital to include in your diet, as these essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body. You can find omega-3 fats in oily fish and plant sources, and they encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds.  

Regular exercise is also one of the key things for healthy skin, as it helps promote healthy circulation. Exercise increase blood flow and helps keep cells nourished and vital, by carrying oxygen and essential nutrient to working cells and carrying away waste products and free radicals. Exercise has also been shown to reduce stress, which has been shown to improve inflammatory conditions like acne and eczema. Research has even found that starting exercise later in life may even reverse ageing. But other factors including genes, diet and lifestyle still influence the condition of your skin.

Remember, when you hit the gym it’s important that you go make-up free. Your pores open up when you sweat, so you don’t want to block the skin’s ability to breathe by wearing heavy foundations or powders. Ideally you should try remove your make-up before your workout using the Lift Off Purifying Cleanser. Plus don’t think you get away with wearing a lighter foundation or mascara during your workout, as both will simply slide off once you start to exercise – even waterproof mascara can get in your eyes and irritate them. After exercise is also the ideal time to exfoliate, as heat and perspiration warm the skin, making it easier to dislodge pore-clogging material.


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