When it comes to flawless, wedding-day skin,
there's just one rule: what happens inside your body is just
as important as what happens on the outside. The good thing
is that, with a bit of thought and effort, you can balance your
body's needs to make sure you walk down the aisle with gorgeous,
naturally glowing skin.
So what can you do to make sure you don't spend the morning
of your wedding painting on concealer? When you're working towards
a perfect complexion - no matter what your skin type - it's
important to think about what you eat. Food literally feeds
your skin so opt for nutrient-packed foods that are as close
to nature as possible to build strong, plump, firm skin cells.
Having healthy skin means you've got less chance of developing
spots, pimples, flakiness or trickier disorders such as eczema.
Check your shopping list and strike off any hydrogenated (hardened)
fats such as palm oil, and damaged fats such as margarine, both
frequently used in processed foods. Eating too much of them
can slow down cell renewal and lead to dull-looking skin. Replace
these bad guys with beneficial vital oils such as olive, walnut
and rape-seed oil. These natural skin-strengtheners are high
in essential fatty acids and work from within to promote a smooth,
healthy glow from top to toe. Use these plant oils liberally
in both cooking and salad oil dressings. Essential fatty acids
work well to improve skin tone so I advise taking at least a
150mg daily dose of GLA, which occurs naturally in evening primrose,
blackcurrant seed or borage oils. Other skin-nourishing nutrients
include vitamin E, an essential anti-oxidant that maintains
overall skin health. This vitality vitamin is found in high-fat
plant foods, such as avocados, olives and nuts, especially peanuts.
Feed Your Skin
If, like many newly engaged girls, you're watching what you
eat in order to drop a dress size for the big day, you may be
short-changing your skin! Remember, if you're eating less, you
are also absorbing fewer nutrients and this can result in less
radiant, rougher skin. A good quality multivitamin and mineral
supplement is a good insurance policy (with minimal calories).
What you swallow it with is important too - caffeine in tea,
coffee and soft drinks may bring a temporary lift, but in the
long-term will deplete your body's B-vitamin supplies, which
can give you rough, scaly patches of skin and a sallow tinge.
Switch to herb teas, hot water with slices of ginger sweetened
with honey and plenty of water to keep nutrient and hydration
levels high. It's an old chestnut, but drinking one and a half
liters of water each day does bring a glow and clarity to your
skin that a cappuccino can never achieve!
A brisk walk is one of the fastest ways to put a glow in your
cheeks as well as releasing feel-good endorphins. Rather than
a romantic stroll with your fiance, aim for at least 20 minutes
at a sharpish pace to boost circulation. As blood flows around
the body it carries oxygen and nutrients to cells, so speeding
up this process will revitalise your skin. Continual movement
also boosts the flow of fluids that carry away waste material
from cells, helping to clear problem skin. Exercise helps to
clear the mind as well as the skin and encourages better sleep
patterns. Skin has been scientifically shown to repair itself
while we slumber. The deeper we sleep, the more our skin can
rest and renew. Aim for the optimum eight hours a night.
On The Spot
Sometimes even the best-laid plans go astray, especially with
the fluctuating hormones and emotional ups and downs of the
Big Day. With attention focused on you, then last thing you
need to worry about is how you look. Break-outs are a bride's
biggest beauty nightmare, but much less likely to happen if
you've been eating well, taking vitamins, drinking plenty of
water, exercising often and enjoying quality sleep. But should
the worst happen, it's not too late to stop the spot!
The important thing is to take preventative measures before
spots get a chance to break through the epidermis. Do this by
mixing a blend of purifying essential oils and dabbing the area
several times a day at the first sign of a blemish. Use equal
quantities of tea tree, lavender and a rape-seed based oils.
If you have a visible blemish, invest in a professional cream
concealer such as Dermablend. A sample kit of colours costs
£5 from www.garden.co.uk
Cover with a light dusting of skin-toned setting powder to hide
even the reddest marks. Using a skin-toned concealer on your
chest is also useful for low necklines as wedding nerves can
cause this area to flush.
Hormonal upsets can lead to increased puffiness around your
eyes - as can joyful tears. The best way to control this is
to fill a basin with cold water and use a flannel to splash
up and over each eye ten times, before patting dry with a soft
towel. This boosts the delicate lymphatic system around your
eyes and speeds up the removal of toxins that cause swelling.
This technique is also useful for reducing dark, under-eye shadows
and is a good way to 'wake-up' wedding-day eyes. Follow with
a dab of nourishing eye cream that contains light-reflective
particles to subtly conceal signs of tiredness, such as Liz
Earle Naturally Active Skincare Daily Eye Repair, £10.50.
For serious radiance, pamper your face and neck with a daily
massage using a pure plant-oil blend. Mix together a few drops
of vitamin-rich plant oils and use light, circular, fingertip
movements to work the oils into the skin before tissuing off
any excess. The best blends for faces include Moroccan argan
oil (one of the richest natural sources of vitamin E), organic
rosehip oil (excellent for fading scars if used regularly) and
apricot kernel oil (light enough for a daily massage). Add a
drop or two of pure neroli essential oil, extracted from heavenly
fragrant orange blossoms, for a visibly radiant glow.
Liz Earle, 'Brides' Jul/Aug 04