Summer beauty SOS!

Our natural beauty experts are here to solve some of your most common beauty concerns

Summer is here and our winter coats and jumpers have been banished to the back of the wardrobe. But just as we’re getting ready to dust off the floaty dresses and swimwear, it’s often the case that niggly little problems like cellulite, skin breakouts and stretch marks start rearing their ugly heads. Don’t suffer in silence though as our natural beauty experts are here to help! No matter what your beauty problem may be, we have all the tips and advice you need to feel confident and happy all summer long.

Cellulite

“Let’s be honest, cellulite is one of those conditions that gradually appears slowly, creeping up over time,” says Denise Rabor, founder of Wow Beauty (wowbeauty.co). “The thing is that once you have it, it’s difficult to get rid of, but the good news is that you can try to improve the look of it. Drink more water and reduce consumption of sugary drinks, reduce saturated fat intake and increase consumption of essential fatty acids like omega-3. Avoid white bread and products made with white flour and increase fibre. Also, reduce salt as it leads to water retention that can make cellulite look worse.

“Dry skin brushing is a popular practice that devotees swear by for improving the texture of the skin. It is said to improve blood circulation and encourages lymphatic flow, ultimately helping to improve the look of cellulite. Always brush up towards the heart. Try using a coffee scrub – some people say that it has a firming and tightening effect on the skin. Lastly, try using creams and lotions designed to improve skin texture. It’s said that creams that contain caffeine can be helpful as caffeine makes the cells shrink by dehydrating them.”

Thinning hair

“The most common causes of diet-related hair thinning are: low iron levels, unhealthy dieting, the general intake of poor quality (low nutritious) food, and foods that cause specific problems,” explains Tony Maleedy, a leading trichologist and creator of the Juniper Scalp Therapy range (www.tonymaleedyhair.com). “When we don’t eat the right foods our hair can be one of the first parts of the body to suffer, so it is enormously important that we have a good, well balanced diet, one rich in protein, fruit, vegetables, minerals, vitamins, water and fruit juices, and low in fats, carbohydrates and synthetic substances. Dieting, particularly crash dieting, can be disastrous on the hair. To suddenly stop eating food can cause hair loss by the hand full; this type of dieting should never be undertaken unless it is required for medical reasons. Anaemia, or simply just low ‘normal’ iron levels, is another common cause of hair loss. In some cases, leading to a marked thinning of the hair. Women are more susceptible to this problem than men because of the loss of iron in the blood during their menstrual periods. It is therefore very important that this iron is replaced either by way of iron tablets or iron-rich foods such as almonds, asparagus, bran, celery, egg yolk, kidney, lettuce, liver, oatmeal, soybeans and whole wheat, or by taking iron supplements. It is also useful to take zinc supplements as these help to metabolise iron.”

Problem skin

“A healthy gut equals clear, glowing skin,” says Shann Nix Jones, gut health expert, nutritional therapist and director of Chuckling Goat (www.chucklinggoat.co.uk). “Putting it simply, if you want to clear the skin, you have to heal the gut! Researchers as far back as 1930 suspected a link between gut and skin health, and modern research has now confirmed the importance of this relationship. This is because both stress and gut inflammation can impair the integrity and protective function of the epidermal barrier. This leads to a decrease in antimicrobial peptides produced in the skin, and an increase in the severity of infection and inflammation in the skin. The good news? Probiotics like kefir, which contain lactoferrin, work to heal both the gut and the skin, improve intestinal barrier function and reduce inflammation in breakouts. The most effective protocol is to combine drinking a probiotic like kefir, while also applying it to the skin in the form of kefir soaps and lotions. This means that you’re healing from the inside and outside, at the same time.”

Wrinkles and fine lines

“Growing older is a fact of life,” says Kathryn Danzey, founder of Rejuvenated (www.rejuvenated.com/uk). “However, we can do much to delay the effects of advancing years to stay looking and feeling youthful. Scientists are becoming increasingly aware that what we eat and drink has an impact on our skin and the way to easing those lines might just lie in your fridge. Think Mediterranean; the Continental lifestyle is good for health but it also provides all the key nutrients for vibrant, glowing skin. Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants which help to nourish and protect cells from the harmful effects of our environment. Add a variety of nuts for a range of nutrients, including omega-3 essential fatty acids. You’ll also find omega-3 in oily fish, including salmon, sardines and mackerel. These precious essential fatty acids are in every cell in our body and moisturise naturally from the inside out. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body; it boosts skin softness and elasticity. Unfortunately, as we age, our collagen levels start to deplete, which can be seen as fine lines and less vibrant skin. A collagen supplement can help to replace diminishing levels to give fresher and brighter skin. Also, start your day by drinking two glasses of water and keep topping up your water bottle to naturally plump out fine lines.”

Stretch marks

“Stretch marks can appear at any age and often look like thin silver streaks on your skin, especially around the thigh and tummy area,” says Jo Morris, the UK brand manager for e’lifexir Natural Beauty,(elifexirnaturalbeauty.co.uk/) a range of natural and vegan body-targeted creams. “They can also appear as red, purple and even blue marks. They are generally caused by the skin stretching, often due to rapid weight gain or loss, especially during puberty or pregnancy. Their severity is affected by several factors, including genetic traits, degree of stress on the skin and cortisone level. Cortisone – a hormone produced by the adrenal glands – weakens elastic fibres in the skin, and consequently corticosteroid creams and pills can cause stretch marks by decreasing the skin’s ability to stretch. To help lessen the severity of stretch marks developing during pregnancy, the best advice is to try to maintain a healthy weight throughout and use rich oils with high levels of moisturising ingredients to help keep the skin supple and elastic. Shea butter, rosehip oil, Scotch thistle and Centella asiatica are all good ingredients to look for. Make sure you eat a diet rich in vitamin C, to help support healthy collagen production, plus vitamin E and D and protein to help repair damaged skin cells.”

Water retention

“Quite simply, water retention is when excess fluids build up inside your body and often causes swelling in the abdomen, legs, ankles, feet and hands,” says Denise. “Many women retain water around the time of their period, for example, but hormones, hot weather, and gravity can also be the cause. Water retention can also be a symptom of serious medical conditions so if you have concerns, see your GP. There are several steps that you can take to reduce water retention, including reducing your salt intake and reducing your intake of coffee and tea as they can lead to dehydration which then causes the body to retain fluid. Drink more water, the idea being that when you drink enough water, you encourage the body to eliminate more and retain less. If you suffer from PMS, try taking a magnesium supplement as it’s been proven to help. Try natural diuretics like dandelion tea, cucumber and parsley. Get more exercise as movement helps with improving circulation, and try lymphatic drainage massage as it encourages the body’s natural drainage of unneeded fluid via the lymphatic system. Finally, if you’re prone to swollen feet and ankles, try elevating them at the end of the day.”

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