The New Zealand summer is glorious. We really have it good, don’t we? Beaches, green spaces, cafes, gardens, we have them and naturally we want to get out there and enjoy them! However, while we appreciate that you had surfing moves to show off, we’d also like to offer a gentle reminder that the NZ sun is famously harsh. Our latitude means we are very close to the sun during December and January while our ozone layer hole and, ironically, our less polluted atmosphere, means that more damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays make it through to land on kiwis enjoying the season.
Although you need some UV exposure to keep vitamin D levels optimum, excessive sunning is linked with serious health issues, including skin cancer and eye cancer. Scarily, 90% of skin cancer is linked to UV exposures. There are also less life-threatening reasons to be sun-smart. Yes, we are talking about UV skin damage, or ‘photoaging’, a major cause of sun spots and wrinkles. Of course you know to ‘slip-slop-slap: slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat’ (and don’t forget the sunglasses!), but it’s less well known that what you put INTO your body can also help protect your skin from those vicious UV rays that want to age your appearance and help undo some of the damage that may already be there. Here are some easy tips for protecting your skin from within as we move into the beautiful season of Autumn:
- Go easy on the alcohol. Not only does it dehydrate you, but it adds to the level of skin-damaging free radicals that your antioxidant defence systems have to deal with. Alcohol plus sun exposure is just bad news for skin elasticity and nobody will judge you for having drank too much when the days were hot. Perhaps now is the time to ease out of party mode and move into herbal teas, kombucha and sparkling water.
- Get your beauty foods! As if nature knew that our skin needs extra protection at this time of year, autumn coincides with an abundance of skin-loving foods. In particular the brightly coloured pigments in berries and grapes contain high quantities of antioxidant compounds such as carotenoids and anthocyanins that help counteract the collagen-destroying free radicals that form when UV rays attack. Berries also contain vitamin C which is not just an antioxidant but also helps boost collagen production. Other foods to enjoy in abundance for staying glowy are fruits, coloured vegetables, avocadoes, unroasted nuts and seeds and warming antioxidant spices like ginger, turmeric and cardamom (chai latte, anyone?).
- Go easy on the blackened sausages while making the most of these last warm evenings. The ‘maillard’ reaction that causes meat to brown on the BBQ also creates ‘advanced glycation end-products’, aptly nicknamed ‘AGE’s which can damage your skin from the inside. Although your skin needs protein, go for gently cooked meats and fish as well as lentils and beans. Get those chops off the Barbie before they go too far.
- Let’s talk treat foods. You don’t need us to tell you that refined and fried foods, full of sugar and trans fats are not ideal for your looks or your health. Think fresh with your daily nutrition, and keep the processed foods for a special soul-warming treat as the seasons change. And when you do indulge, how about breaking out the Edmonds book and doing some home baking? Freshly made beats pre-prepared every time, and makes you very popular too.
- Boost your beauty with supplements. Here, we definitely have you covered. In particular our Collagen Infusion, telomere health product, CoQ10, the multi and the astaxanthin in our krill oil are powerful allies in your mission to protect your skin and repair the damage of all those sunny days you enjoyed!
So please remember, balance is key, there is no need to deprive yourself and with a bit of planning, and following the simple tips above, you can get the most out of summer and still move into Autumn looking fresh.