Kiran Branch quizzed expert facialist Abigail James to find out her top tips for repairing and reviving worn-out skin. Follow her three-step solution for a beautiful, brighter complexion
Whether your skin is congested, lacklustre or a little on the puffy side, facialist extraordinaire Abigail James suggests feeding the skin from within with specific foods, supplements and skincare that will aid the elimination of toxins and revitalise you from the inside out.
Step one: NUTRITION
- Start the day with hot water and lemon with a slice of ginger. Try a fresh mint leaf tea and green or white tea mid-afternoon; they’re cleansing and packed with antioxidants.
- Considermaking a small changethat will be hugely beneficial to your health, such as having a green juice every day or every five out of seven days. Cucumber, lemon, celery, fennel, ginger, pear, spinach are all good for alkalising the whole body and adding brightness and clarity to your complexion.
- Your diet should include a good combination of greens, especially watercress and kale;coloured fruit, especially berries, and vegetables. Healthyproteinssuch as quinoa, nuts and healthy oils from brazil nuts, fish and avocado should also make up the basics of a healthy diet that boosts skin clarity. Avoid the obvious things like pasta, breads, cakes, cheese, and processed meats. If you feel the need for sweet treats opt for dark chocolate, which is high in skin-friendly antioxidants.
Step two: SUPPLEMENTS
- Spirulina works by supplying the skin with a rich source of protein and accelerates the removal of toxins just beneath the skin surface. It also has a calming, anti-inflammatory and balancing effect on the tissues and capillaries.Organic Burst Spirulina, £11.99, is packed with protein and amino acids - it’s so easy to add to juices and breakfasts and is ideal foralkalisingthe body and improving the immune system.
- Skin supplements should include vitamin D, as it’s essential for general health especially in the UK during the winter months.Biocare Liquid Vitamin D, £6.95, is very easy to take and absorb.
- Vitamin C is also a must as it works on so many levels, as well as assisting the liver to drive away toxins.
- Take milk thistle for liver function and to help keep those breakouts at bay, plus use an effective probiotic to help an overindulged stomach and rebalance good gut flora.
- Organic Pharmacy Phytonutrients, £29 are an amazing all round skin health supplement that are also great for digestion.
- Wild Nutrition Food-State Skin Hair and Nails, £30, has everything you need for general skin health.
Step three: SKINCARE
- The skincare you use on your face and body will impact on the clarity of your complexion, so try to avoid highly perfumed, heavy creams and synthetic ingredients. Try to go natural, organic, raw or just cold formulated - all this is going to give your lymphatic system the best space to be healthy.
- It’s important to cleanse morning and night -Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil Free Cleanser,£16.50, is a great cleanser for city skin.
- Aesop tea tree facial exfoliator,£27, is perfect. Powdered tea tree leaves; crushed nutshells and purifying clays tick all the boxes for a skin detox.
- Liz Earle Brightening Mask, £16, is just magical. It contains a blend of camphor oil, white clay which draws out impurities, mineral salt high in magnesium, calcium and iron - all really important for the skin - along with almond oil and aloe vera.
- Suki Pure Facial Oil,£32.95; I just love this - it’s non-complicated with a delicate chamomile scent, absorbs beautifully and is great for rebalancing and hydrating the skin without over powering. Use at night as a hydrator.
- Tamanu oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and an antibiotic when applied to the skin - it’s a very good skin healer.
- Body brushing and skin exfoliating is a tried and tested method of improving the body's natural detoxification process, sloughing off the tired dead skin cells on the surface to stimulate fresh cell growth, allow products to penetrate better and bring back some health to the skin’s surface.
- For an entire body and face detoxEpsom Salt Bath Soak, £4.99 works - it’s great for restoring the body after overindulgence, as it naturally rehydrates and restores.
- Ditch the morning latte- that amount of milk daily is just not good for the skin and not a great way to start the day.
- Book a facial and make it a regular appointment - ideally once every four weeks but six generally fits into people’s lives easier.
- Add in some retinol, either in the form of plant based vitamin A or something a bit more technical; it speeds up skin cell turnover renewing and keeping the skin fresh and youthful looking.
- Alkalise the body. A few tweaks to your daily food intake can make a huge difference, not just to your complexion but your whole health. Our blood pH level ideally should be between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. The more acidic our diet, the more we work against our natural body’s state. It can make us feel tired, and compromise our immune system and natural detoxification process. A good rule of thumb is that 60-80% of our diet is from more alkaline foods, and 20-40% more acidic.
- Cleanse morning and night – it doesn’t matter how late in the evening or early in the morning it is and a face wipe is not going to do the job. Skin needs to breathe; getting rid of the sweat from the day/night and starting with a clean base will give the skin the best start and allow the skin to do all its regeneration effectively.