Body

Gemma McCaw's 6 steps to the best skin of your life

Don't spend big bucks on expensive products - good skin starts from within.

By Gemma McCaw

As we head towards the summer months, it's a good time to think about how we look after our skin. Yes, we can spend big bucks on fancy products, but there really is no substitute for the basics – a healthy diet, plenty of water and sun protection. Getting plenty of exercise and sleep are also important, as is not smoking.

De-stress

Stress can lead to acne breakouts and skin issues. To encourage healthy skin, try to manage your stress load. Have a self-care plan – get enough sleep, make time for the things you enjoy and avoid overloading your schedule.

Get your sweat on

Exercise increases circulation and the flow of nutrients to the skin, so to look your best, aim to work out for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. In one study, a group of sedentary people found a reversal of ageing signs just six weeks after taking up exercise.

Opt for fake tan

If you love to be tanned, there are plenty of ways to achieve this that do not involve sunbathing. Baking yourself in the sun can cause irreparable damage and should be avoided. How about treating yourself to a professional spray tan or applying your own at home? A daily moisturiser with a dash of tint is a great way to stay golden all summer long without putting yourself at risk.

Stay out of the sun

Research shows that 80% of visible signs of ageing are caused by sunlight. Look for broad- spectrum sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB light, and invest in a wide-brimmed hat.

A healthy dose of vitamin D is fine, but try to avoid direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm. And even when it's cloudy, it doesn't mean you're covered. Make sunscreen a daily habit and reapply every two hours. Melanoma in New Zealand is deadly and sun protection shouldn't be taken lightly.

Try using an eco-friendly organic sunscreen brand like Coola.

Drink plenty of water

Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of premature ageing. Start your day with a big glass of water or two and aim to get around two litres in. If you're exercising, you should always increase your water intake.

Cut back on the sugar

Sugar isn't just detrimental for your waistline, but it can also accelerate signs of ageing. Junk food activates a process in your body where sugar binds to collagen to weaken it. Instead, aim to eat a rainbow of foods.

Fruit and vegetables that are rich in colour are packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which are all great for skin. Instead of sugary snacks or highly processed meals, opt for fruit such as oranges, lemons, mangoes, purple grapes and strawberries.

When it comes to veges, choose kale, spinach, asparagus, avocado, eggplant, red cabbage and capsicum. Your skin will thank you for it!

Get your beauty sleep

Dark circles under your eyes are caused by sleep deprivation, so aim for early nights to give your skin a much-needed boost.