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Feed your skin
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 15 - 07 - 2010

Amany Abdel-Moneim discovers that having healthy skin begins with what you eat and drink
Our skin is often a reflection of what's going on inside your body. Everything you eat becomes a part of not only your inner being but the outer fabric of your body. "The healthier the foods you consume, the better your skin will look," guarantees dermatologist Samia Ali.
The real secret to beauty is no secret at all, she believes. Eating healthy foods will provide the nourishment your skin needs, from the inside out. It is the first step to soft, supple skin and a glowing, radiant you, adds Ali.
For overall beauty, Ali advises to heal skin by giving it more nutrients and fewer toxins by eating whole, unprocessed, organic foods like whole grains, dark leafy greens and fruits. And drink plenty of water and get enough fibre to help flush out toxins.
Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients give the skin the desired youthful glow, especially as the skin is under constant assault from external factors. "To get the skin you've always dreamed of, devote some time each day to getting the necessary nutrients to stay hydrated and fight the signs of aging," Ali says.
Here are some tips that will help you achieve your goal:
- Drink plenty of water: the exact amount will vary from day to day, but it's agreed that when hydration comes from pure, clean water - not soda or fruit drinks six to eight glasses a day should be aimed for.
- Sip green tea daily: this contains polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties that protect and benefit the skin. Enjoy one or two cups per day.
- Avoid carbohydrates: foods such as cookies, pies, cakes, candies and pastries can increase acne breakouts due to insulin spikes.
- Nourish your skin: by eating healthy foods, you can protect, repair and slow the aging process.
Natural recipes:
Using homemade skincare recipes can give the best results over time, and Ali picks out tips that have proved to give good results when used on a regular basis. So, start to pamper your skin with these fruit caring masks:
Grapes mask for sensitive skin :
Peel and mash some whole grapes. Strain the mix and apply what is left in the gauze on the face. Gently massage the face, as the mask's exfoliating properties will start to act. Rinse with cold water to close the pores. Grapes are rich in alphahydroxy acid, so they are a great way to remove dead skin cells.
Watermelon :
Deseed two slices of watermelon. Mash the slices and apply on the face. Leave on the face for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water. Watermelon is a strong antioxidant that cleanses the face thoroughly.
Carrot mask :
Grate a carrot and mix well with one spoonful of honey. Apply on the face and leave for 15 minutes. Wash and you'll feel the difference after regular use.
Punch of pineapple :
Mash a pineapple slice and mix with the juice of an orange or lemon. Apply the ingredients with wheat flour on the face and neck. Scrub off after some time, and you'll have fresh, smooth skin.
Guava grace :
Mash a guava and stir well with a mixture of oatmeal and lemon juice. Apply to the face for about 20 minutes and wash off to see a healthy glow.
Healthy honey treat :
Mix a spoonful of honey with the white of an egg and grated potato. Apply on the face and let dry. Wash off with cold water and feel the magical freshness.
Sunburn
NO DOUBT, glowing sun is the first gift of summer that gives us that feel good factor and wonderful natural Vitamin D. However, dermatologist Samia Ali advises us to limit our exposure and avoid the hottest times of the day when the sun is at its highest. "Long exposure to ultra-violet rays (UV) burns the skin and cause wrinkles, freckles, age spots, rough, dry skin and even more serious problems such as skin cancer," she adds.
For extra sun protection points, Ali recommends eating plenty of fruits -- cherries, nectarines and watermelons. "These juicy treats cool your mouth and shield your skin from warm weather," she said. The unique protective benefits of fruits may boost the skin's natural resilience against wrinkles and sun damage, particularly cherries which, according to Ali, have a good catharsis effect on the kidneys detoxification.
"Still, the most important way to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun," says Ali. Tanning can cause common skin problems caused by long exposure to direct sunlight, including sunburn. "Sunburn varies according to skin type," Ali explains. "Fair- skinned people are more susceptible than those with a darker complexion."
For complete sun protection Ali recommends the following:
- Avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, which is when the sun's rays are at their strongest.
- Wear cotton clothes to prevent sunburn. Try to reduce the amount of skin exposed to the sun, and wear wide-brimmed hats.
- Lip care is important. Always wear a sun- protective lip balm.
- Apply generous amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, after heavy sweating, or after being in water.
- Don't forget the sunscreen: make sure it has a high SPF value and that it guarantees protection against UVA and UVB rays.
- If you are going to spend most of the day outdoors, remember to re-apply the sunscreen every two to three hours.
- Try to balance the pH of the skin, since the summer sun disturbs the skin's natural pH balance.
Forget what you did last summer with your skin. Pamper your skin the right way this summer.


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