If you're consistently fighting dullness, battling breakouts or at war with wrinkles, it might be time to take stock. According to Tabitha McIntosh, clinical nutritionist and naturopath from Awaken Your Health in Woollahra, Sydney, the appearance of your hair, skin and nails is significantly linked with your overall internal health. "When the body is dehydrated or lacking nutrition, it can manifest as sallow, congested skin that suffers blemishes, sensitivity, dryness or premature lines," she explains.
Nutritionist and founder of holistic beauty range Be Genki, Sam Sample, adds that while skincare products play an important role in helping to promote a healthy, radiant complexion, it's crucial to nourish your skin from the inside, too.
And it's not just about your diet: "Incorporating rituals into your everyday life to help reduce stress and promote happy thoughts and 'inner' emotional health has a significant effect on outer beauty," says Sample.
DRINK MORE WATER
It's no secret that increasing your intake of H2O is one of the cheapest and most effective beauty treatments you can try. "Your skin is reliant on good hydration - unmanaged, dehydration will definitely accelerate the ageing process," warns McIntosh. But how much is enough? "Your exact requirement depends on your body weight and physical activity - approximately 1.8 litres is a good goal for a 60 kilogram individual; consider bumping that up by another litre per hour of moderate-intensity exercise," she says. While you can't count caffeinated drinks as part of this intake, you can include herbal teas, which may offer an anti-oxidant boost as well. "A wonderful habit is to start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon to aid cleansing and boost your hydration," adds McIntosh.
EXERCISE FOR YOUR SOUL
"Get up 30 minutes early and go for a brisk walk" is Sample's recommendation for an easy way to get glowing. She explains that you can use a regular morning stroll to wake up your body and mind and feel more energised. "It's also a great alternative to needing that coffee hit," she remarks. Use the time to breathe the fresh air, make the most of your natural surroundings and take half an hour for yourself, free from mobile phones, emails and the demands of the day ahead, she suggests.
It's a fact - diet makes a difference. "To keep your skin looking soft and supple, include plenty of good oils in your diet - omega-3s from oily fish, raw nuts and seeds, flaxseed and chia seed - as well as anti-oxidant-rich foods, such as berries, red capsicums, dark green vegetables, fresh herbs, turmeric and green tea," advises McIntosh. She adds that anti-oxidants work to neutralise skin-harming elements, and can help to prevent wrinkles, resist infection and keep your complexion looking fresh and clear. In addition, she cites zinc as an essential mineral for healthy skin - find it in oysters, mussels, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. You should also consider cutting back on alcohol and sugar, and remember that excessive caffeine consumption "depletes the body's natural reserves of vitamins, especially vitamin C, which is responsible for collagen formation", points out McIntosh.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT REST
"Hitting the sack before 10pm for eight hours of quality sleep is a wonderful gift to your skin," enthuses McIntosh. "It can improve your complexion and boost your immune function." Maximise your repose with this simple ritual that Sample swears by: "An hour or two before going to bed, add a few drops of sleep-inducing essential oils such as lavender to an oil burner in your bedroom; brew a small cup of calming herbal tea and relax on the couch with a good book," she says. "When it's time to go to bed, your bedroom will be filled with a sleep-inducing aroma. Remember to blow out the candle of the oil burner before relaxing into a tranquil sleep."`
From top to bottom, left to right: Skin O2 SPF 30+ Facial Tint Light Moisturising Cream, $39.95; Naked Tan Goddess Bronze Self-Tanner, $29.95; Garnier Bodytonic Sugar Scrub, $11.95; Avado Sensitives Body Lotion, $11.85; Burt's Bees Therapeutic Bath Crystals, $24.95; Manicare 100% Natural Loofah Bath Brush, $12.95; Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Body Oil, $10.60.
TRY A DIY TREATMENT
Once a week, create a mini spa experience in your own bathroom by dimming the lights, lighting a scented candle and filling the bath with warm water, plus a splash of fragrant bath oil or Epsom salts. Lay back, close your eyes for 15 minutes and focus on breathing in and relaxing, then breathing out all of your worries, suggests Sample. "I follow this by massaging a light layer of body oil into my skin and then relax with a pot of herbal tea," she says. It's the perfect guilt-free luxury after a busy week. Try Burt's Bees Therapeutic Bath Crystals, $24.95, and Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Moisturizing Body Oil, $10.60.
CONSIDER DRY BODY BRUSHING
Boost your glow from top to toe with this simple and cost-effective daily solution. Invest in a loofah or natural-bristle body brush, such as Manicare 100% Natural Loofah Bath Brush, $12.95, and set to work using long, upward strokes. "A five-minute dry skin brushing routine before your shower will bring nutrients and oxygen to the outer layers of the skin, leaving it with a natural and radiant appearance," says McIntosh, adding that it's also a great way to promote a more toned look. Be sure to apply moisturiser after your shower to stay smooth. Try Avado Sensitives Body Lotion, $11.85.
GUARD AGAINST UV RAYS
While fresh air and sunshine are essential to enhancing your wellbeing, be sure they don't cost your complexion. "Put on a hat and a small amount of 'physical' SPF 15+ sunblock before leaving the house to minimise any sun damage," advises McIntosh. "Physical" sunscreen is one that creates a block between your skin and the sun’s rays using UV filters zinc oxide or titanium dioxide - they're a smart choice if you have sensitive or easily irritated skin. And never be tempted to tan. Instead, opt for a fake tanner that will add radiance without the damage, and be sure to exfoliate with an oil-free scrub, such as Garnier Bodytonic Sugar Scrub, $11.95, before applying the most believable colour. Try Naked Tan Goddess Bronze Self-Tanner, $29.95, Skin O2 SPF 30+ Facial Tint Light Moisturising Cream, $39.95, or Wotnot SPF 30+ Sunscreen, $25.95, for natural-based options.
ENLIST ESSENTIAL OILS
"The power of scent is unbelievably effective when it comes to your mood," asserts Sample. "Essential oils stimulate receptors in the nose, which relay messages to the limbic system, the part of your brain that regulates emotions." Soothe your worries with neroli - it's regarded as one of the most effective sedative and antidepressant remedies in helping with states of anxiety and depression", states Sample. Choose lavender, which can help with insomnia, or boost your mood with the scent of lemon, reputed to lift the spirits and overcome mental fatigue. "Just remember to make sure that they are 100 per cent pure essential oils, and not fragrant oils," she adds. We like Be Genki Vitality Oil Blend, $22.
SPOIL YOURSELF SOMETIMES
While a healthy diet is essential for a flawless face, a little indulgence is also important. "Eating 90 per cent for the body and 10 per cent for the soul is a wise old adage," notes McIntosh. "By ensuring that the majority of the food you consume is within the healthy range, it allows for the odd treat to satisfy your mind, soul and social life." She lists an anti-oxidant-packed green or white herbal tea with 20 grams of dark chocolate as one of her favourite fixes.
TAKE TIME OUT
Stress can wreak havoc on your complexion, showing up as dark circles, dull skin, and even dermatitis. Ease anxiety by making an effort to be a little kinder to yourself. "Set aside some 'you' time to do something you enjoy; take a few moments each day to think of all the positive things you have in your life; smile," suggests Sample. Not only will you feel calmer, you'll look better, too.