The sk:nsiders Guide to Veganuary

By [email protected] 26th January 2022 Category: Advice

The benefits of a vegan diet are by now well-understood; however veganism is not just a diet, it’s a lifestyle choice. From fashion to the cosmetic and skincare industry, recent years have seen a marked increase in the breadth of vegan products and brands now available to consumers.

Moreover, there is a body of research which suggests that a healthy plant-based diet[1] can have a beneficial impact on the skin, and so, with the arrival of Veganuary, there’s no better time to give it a trial run.

To help you get started, Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Shaaira Nasir, has shared her top tips on how to make your five a day work for your skin, along with expert insight into the regular skincare rituals to obey for your best skin ever.

Can your five a day keep skin problems at bay?

Fruit and vegetables are packed full of natural antioxidants and vitamins, which can have a powerful impact on the skin, along with giving your overall health a boost.

There are some key ingredients you should try to include within your five a day which have a particular benefit to the skin. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be all kale and cucumbers!

Omega-3

Seeds and nuts, such as flaxseeds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids. These oils serve the skin by promoting hydration and regulating oil production. By improving the skin barrier function and keeping out irritants, some studies[2] have also found that Omega-3 fatty acids help to fight red, dry, or itchy skin caused by skin disorders like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

Vitamin C

Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruit, and lemon, contain vitamin C, which provides antioxidant protection from UV radiation. This is not only key for keeping wrinkles at bay but is also thought to improve skin tone and texture, hydrate the skin, and reduce the visible signs of ageing.

As well as upping your dietary intake, vitamin C can be included in your regular skincare regime. Available in moisturisers and serums, topical vitamin C is absorbed directly into the upper layers of the skin, helping to reduce fine lines and dark spots, and protecting against free radicals. For optimum results, apply vitamin C topically twice a day, morning and night.

Vitamin K

Dark ‘circles’ under the eyes are a common skin complaint, which can occur due to age, hyperpigmentation, genetics, hay fever and eye strain. It is thought that foods rich in vitamin K (including dark green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli) can help to stimulate blood circulation and lessen the appearance of visible blood vessels. Vitamin K may also improve wound healing by helping the formation of collagen and blood vessels.

Vitamin A

There are two types of vitamin A: retinoids and carotenoids. While retinoids are found in a range of animal products, carotenoids can be found in many plant-based foods, such as carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy green vegetables, and fruits, such as mangoes and plums.

Vitamin A can help to improve skin’s tone and promote hydration. Vitamin A is an essential part of the diet. However, it can also be applied topically through cosmetic products (such as oils and creams) to benefit problematic skin conditions, like acne, or to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Daily skincare rituals

If you’re taking on Veganuary this year, remember that a new lifestyle choice doesn’t necessarily change what the skin consistently needs. An unhealthy vegan diet could still be high in inflammatory foods which can exacerbate certain skin conditions. When it comes to diet, it’s important to make healthy choices and combine this with an effective daily skincare routine to take advantage of the benefits!

Cleanse, hydrate, SPF repeat are the golden rules of skincare. And for Veganuary, you can give this a twist by opting for vegan-friendly products…

Cleanse

Maintaining a regular cleansing routine is a fundamental skincare rule. Double cleansing daily will give you the best results, as it ensures all makeup, dirt and excess oils are removed from the skin each day. Avoid using products that are too harsh, as this can impair the cell structure of the skin and diminish the barrier function of the epidermis layer.

Try a vegan option such as Medik8 Gentle Cleanse. The pH-balanced formula is free from drying soaps and sulphates, while added humectants, such as Glycerin, leave skin feeling soft, soothed, and hydrated. It is infused with rosemary leaf oil, a powerful botanical antioxidant which protects against free radical damage, which can contribute to premature ageing.

Hydrate

Along with increasing your fruit and veg intake, invest in a good moisturiser to restore the skin’s barrier and prevent water loss from the skin. Look for a moisturiser with occlusive ingredients, such as petrolatum, or ingredients that attract moisture from the surrounding environment.

A fantastic vegan option is Avant Supreme Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Oxidising Duo Moisturiser. This contains hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil to deliver deep-down hydration, along with vitamin E and avocado oil which softens, locks in moisture, and helps to protect skin from free radical damage.

SPF, always

Sun damage is caused by exposing unprotected skin to the sun for too long. We need some exposure to sunlight as it is an important source of vitamin D, but over-exposure to UV rays damages the skin’s cellular DNA and can cause pigmentation, wrinkles, dryness, sunburn – and even cancer.

While including UV fighting foods into the diet during Veganuary will help your body produce the enzymes needed for repairing sun damage, applying a SPF daily, all year round, is the most important step. This is an easy habit to drop in January, with the short days and plummeting temperatures, but don’t forget that intermittent winter sun can still cause damage, even when it’s cloudy, so keeping up this routine is crucial.

Try the vegan-friendly Heliocare Oil-free Dry Touch Gel SPF50. This features a combination of mineral and non-mineral sun filters, in addition to a Bioshield system, which protects against visible light.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5454980/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133503/

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