Does ‘healthy lifestyle’ just mean eating your vegetables and going for a run? Or does it extend to what you put on your face? As I’ve become a bit skincare crazy during this Natural Instinct series, I thought I’d better ask someone who knows all about the health side of things. Dr Joanna McMillan is that person. She’s a nutritionist and health expert and when it comes to having a healthy and natural lifestyle, she knows how to do it. Seriously well.
That’s why I was so interested to find out what she puts on her skin each day …
A: I’m not fanatical about a skincare routine and I try hard not to be seduced by expensive packaging and dramatic claims. I am careful however about not putting a whole load of potentially harmful chemicals on my skin so I favour more natural products when I can. I cleanse in the morning and night using a cream cleanser or when I’m really tired at night I use the ready wipes – brilliant invention! Then during the day I always wear either a tinted moisturiser with SPF 30+ or a similar-powered sunscreen under foundation if I’m at an event. Before bed I use a richer moisturiser and add an eye cream. Although I’m not convinced it really does anything extra, I’m hedging my bets!
A: I eat really well! People often spend lots of money on their skincare but forget that what they are eating is just as and probably more important for the health and radiance of their skin. I eat loads of vegies including leafy greens every day, a selection of berries at either breakfast or for a snack, other fruits when I feel like something sweet and to top my muesli, oily fish or seafood at least twice a week, nuts every day, lots of natural yoghurt for protein and probiotics, and lean red meat probably three times a week for iron and zinc. I use extra virgin olive oil every day – it contains good fats, stacks of antioxidants and a compound called squalene that may reduce the risk of skin cancer. I also try to exercise on most days as this is essential for good health, but it also delivers nutrients and oxygen to the skin.
A: Enormously. Just like any organ the skin needs nutrients to be healthy. We replace our skin cells every few days, sloughing off the old ones, and so it’s a fast turnover of cells that needs nutrition to work effectively. That also means that poor nutrition can reflect quite quickly on the look and feel of your skin – and vice versa. One of the first things people notice when they deliberately think about their food and eat better is a change in their skin.
A: Kind of the same as I listed above, but good fats are certainly essential – think extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado, plus oily fish for omega-3s. Zinc is essential for wound healing – best sources are shellfish like oysters and mussels, meat and wholegrains. Lots of vegies and fruit as these boost the antioxidants necessary to protect the fast turnover of skin cells – squalene in extra virgin olive oil concentrates in the skin and seems to play an important role in preventing skin cancer. Then overall just a really broad array of whole foods so that you maximise your intake of nutrients and minimise over consumption.
A: Walking – simple but very effective since I also have a dog that needs to be walked. I properly walk meaning it really is exercise and not just a stroll. I walk briskly and include some long walks of 15km at least once a week. The rest of the time I try to hit an hour at least and add a few strength exercises in the park including push-ups, triceps dips, squats and lunges.
A: I have two mid-week go-to breakfasts; my homemade muesli topped with berries and whatever fruit I have (I love red grapefruit and papaya at the moment), then a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a splash of milk. Or I have soft boiled eggs with a bowl of wilted spinach, a sliced tomato and wholegrain toast with avocado. On the weekends I’ll make a fancier cooked breakfast for the family.
A: Yes but I do try not to get too worked up about it. I have certainly been more careful to always wear sunscreen on my face to help prevent aging. I’ve been lucky so far that my skin has not aged too much, but I’m certainly much more aware of it and do try to be more consistent with my skincare routine.
A: I’ve just tried to use more natural products just as I use earth-friendly products in my home, and I try to avoid having artificial chemicals around.
A: As above… but I guess I have been seduced by more anti-aging products now that I am in my forties.
A: My tinted sunblock moisturiser… it gives me protection through the day with light cover too which helps my skin look great. Plus it doesn’t go oily and shiny through the day as often happens if I wear foundation. It really feels as if I have nothing on my skin at all.
A: Keep it simple – cleanse, moisturise and wear sunscreen on your face!
BY MIA FREEMAN
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