Clodagh Finn: Eating your way to glowing skin

WE can’t stop the clock when it comes to ageing, but we can certainly slow the ticking, renowned skincare specialist Liz Earle tells Feelgood.

Caring for skin has been a lifelong passion, she says, and now she has condensed 30 years of research into a six-week wellbeing plan that literally tells you how to eat your way to better skin.

“I want to put a new focus back on to beauty from within,” she says.

“We hear so much about beauty from the outside, but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we create our own skin cells from the inside and we do this largely by providing our skin with the building blocks of good nutrition,” she says.

Her new book Skin is packed full of practical skincare tips and includes 70 skin-friendly recipes.

“Our skin, just like the rest of our body, responds to what we eat”, she says, underlining the importance of eating well.

That means cutting out, or cutting down on, sugar, which is a real enemy of the skin. “It increases inflammation and contributes to skin ageing, so avoid it as much as you can. Your skin will thank you,” Earle says.

Instead, make sure that you are packing your diet full of good protein. Try to include small amounts in every meal — lots of vegetables and fruit, and good fats.

“Don’t be scared to eat good fats either,” she says. “The body and the brain needs fat to function properly, and we also need fats to absorb the all-important skin-friendly, fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K,” she says. Good fats include olive oil, rapeseed, avocado and nut oils, and nuts and seeds.

Her list of skin-friendly foods includes almonds, avocados, beef (grass or pasture-fed), brown rice (organic, short-grain), dark chocolate (minimum 80% cocoa solids), eggs (organic), fish (oily varieties), green leafy vegetables, seeds (especially pumpkin and sunflower) and yoghurt (plain, live, organic).

She says skincare continues to be a big concern among women. “In a new survey commissioned exclusively for my new book, we found that, staggeringly, around half of all women are currently suffering from a serious skin complaint, from acne to eczema, rosacea to psoriasis,” she says.

People should not be reluctant to take medication, particularly for serious skin complaints, such as acne, she tells Feelgood.

“It think it’s really important to ensure that those who need proper medication for something as potentially damaging as acne, with its lifelong skin scarring and all the self-esteem implications of this, obtain swift and helpful prescription medication,” she says.

It was very important, too, to dispel common skin myths, she says, referring to “the biggest skincare scare story” of recent years claiming a group of preservatives called parabens were dangerous, a presumption made on one flawed study.

In an interview for the book, the author of the original study admitted to her that there was no conclusive link between parabens and breast cancer, she says. And so, to her own personal secrets. What is her daily skincare routine?

“It has been the same for the last 30 years — cleanse, tone and moisturise twice a day, every day. It’s a bit like brushing your teeth, little and often is by far the best approach, instead of saving skincare up for the weekend or as an occasional treat.”

Here are Liz Earle’s top dos and don’ts of skincare:

Do cleanse every day.

Do use a plant-oil based moisturiser.

Do eat well and get plenty of minerals for stronger skin.

Do drink 1.5-2 litres pure, filtered tap water daily.

Do use a mineral-filter sunscreen when out in strong sunshine, especially on your face, neck and backs of the hands

Don’t use anything that foams on your face (gels. Facial washes).

Don’t avoid moisturiser if you have oily skin, just switch to a lighter formulation.

Don’t ignore your requirements for calcium and iron, especially if you avoid dairy products (high in calcium) and meat (rich in iron).

Don’t waste money and valuable natural resources by buying bottled water.

Don’t obsess over every UV-ray and remember that we need some exposure to synthesise vitamin D to keep skin and bones stronger for longer. 

Skin: Delicious Recipes and the Ultimate Wellbeing Guide for Radiant Skin in Six Weeks by Liz Earle is published by Orion Spring, €31


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