Image source: Pinterest
It’s fair to say my body’s been through the mill a bit and I’ve had my fair share of weird health ups and downs. One of my best pals always used to call me the Allergy Kid in our teens, and for good reason. I was always run-down, had skin woes and pretty bad asthma.
One of the biggest issues I’ve had though, has been with eczema, a painful skin condition which stopped me from doing a loads of things as a kid. I had a couple of particularly bad episodes when I was around 11/12 (thanks body for giving me this awesome look when becoming a teen, really thank you), when eczema all over my legs became infected after a summer holiday; I shudder thinking about it now. It was not pleasant.
Even though my skin on the whole calmed down into my late teens/early twenties, it then pretty much thought “What can I do next to piss Alice off?” and prickly heat then ensued after every tiny bit of sunshine I came into contact with, leaving me with giant itchy red patches in my elbows creases and behind my knees. I badly wanted to cover them up so that I didn’t look like a ‘freak’ (<<<this? ridiculous) but it just made it worse.
Over the past 5 years, since my love for wellbeing, cleaner eating and fitness has grown, I can’t even begin to tell you the difference this kind of lifestyle this made to my skin, confidence and general life. So, here I thought I’d share with you some of the best things that have helped calm my skin issues and how they could help you too if like me, you’ve suffered and/or are suffering with a skin complaint. (Disclaimer: I’m in no way a skin expert. These are things that from my own personal experience have helped my skin get healthy).
Cut down on processed foods
Processed food. Where do I begin. I 100% believe in a balanced diet, and yeah, it’s hard to avoid processed foods altogether. I eat some processed foods here and there, and they’re totally fine in moderation but in the long term, over-consuming these foods with all those chemicals and nasties can aggravate your skin leading to inflammation and stimulation of reactions. Where you can, eat as many whole foods including as many green veggies as possible and make your own meals from scratch (bin that microwave lasagne). This will be massively beneficial in the long run.
Get some nuts
You know me, I’m all about then almonds; butter, roasted, erm…butter. Did I mention I loved almonds? They're brilliant for the skin; packed with protective vitamin E and lovely oils to maintain the skin’s elasticity and collagen fibres, and keep it moisturised. You can bulk buy bags of raw almonds at Amazon and Tesco do a pretty good deal on their larger packs, so stock up to keep your skin looking beautiful.
Aim to cut stress and try to relax (easier said than done, I know). Stress and eczema were trapped in a vicious circle for me when I was younger, I was stressed because I had eczema, and my eczema kept getting worse because I was stressed. We’re all busy. I get that. But stepping away from it all even just for 10 minutes and doing something calming can have a bigger effect than you think. Apps like Headspace are a good place to start.
Chemical-free skin care and SPFs
If you have tempestuous skin, buy the best skincare you can afford. Seriously, it’s worth it. Organic and chemical-free ranges are your best bet to make sure you’re not aggravating any skin issues you might have further. For general skincare (moisturisers, eye creams etc), brands like Origins and Pai do fantastic ranges of products (a little pricey but a small amount goes a long way!). I’m also a huge fan of Dermalogica; if you visit one of their counters, they do a quick and affordable skin-mapping session and produce a tailored skincare plan for any specific issues. Like seeing a dermatologist without the hefty price-tag, and it only take about 5 minutes. Avene is also a super brand for simple, calming skincare staples.
As far as sun protection and SPFs go, it’s been pretty much like finding a needle in a haystack to find the best one for my skin. Bog standard sun creams have always reacted badly with my skin in the heat and never fully absorbed (told you my skin was weird). Thanks to beauty high priestess Lisa Eldridge, I looked into Institut Esthederm’s range of sun protection and have found the holy grail for my skin in their Sun Intolerance High Protection Body Spray. It’s light, calming and praise the lord, kills any prickly heat dead in its tracks. Green People’s chemical-free range is also a winner for something a bit more affordable.
Teaching granny to suck eggs, yeah, but get some water down your neck. Hydrating, cooling and superdrink; it’s the simple things that work the best.
I hope some of these tips have been helpful. Have you suffered from any skin issues? How have you overcome/how are you treating these? I have a huge interest in any products that can be helpful for difficult skin - let me know what’s worked for you. I’ve also started a Pinterest board with skin saviours - hop on over to see foods, products and recipes that can all help to keep your skin in good nick.