I believe that education plays just as important a role in helping our patients to feel happier in their own skin, as our comprehensive range of non-surgical cosmetic treatments does! At every stage of the treatment process – from initial consultation, to the actual treatment, to our follow-up reviews with patients – we try to provide clear, high quality advice on lifestyle changes that are easy to make, but which can allow patients to take back some level of control over the natural ageing process of their skin.
One of the key topics I like to cover with patients is the importance of diet, and the impact that the food we eat can have on our skin. So often you hear the phrase ‘you are what you eat!’ and in some cases, it really does make all the difference! There are so many vitamins, minerals and nutrients in our food that are essential in maintaining healthy skin: The Reader’s Digest Website mentions Vitamin A, which is found in sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark leafy vegetables, and is necessary for the maintenance and repair of vital skin tissue. It also mentions Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, leafy greens and cauliflower, and which can help boost collagen production. The Web-MD Website also cites the importance of Omega-3 Fatty Acids (found in Salmon, Sardines, Eggs and Nuts) which ‘help keep the top outer layer of the skin strong and intact so that external pollutants are kept out’ according to Dermatologist David Bank, M.D., Director of the Centre for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York. These are just a few examples of the vitamins and minerals found in our food, but clearly highlight the importance of a varied yet balanced diet if we want to keep our skin as healthy as possible.
It’s not only what we eat that has an impact on the texture and appearance of our skin – what we drink is important too. Adequate hydration is essential in keeping our skin looking at its best, a factor clearly explained by Julius Few, M.D., Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery at the University of Chicago, in an article for Women’s Health Magazine. He states that there are a number of structures in the skin that support collagen, and that require an adequate amount of water to work effectively. He suggests that sufficient hydration can help skin to ‘plump up’ and look smoother, reducing the signs of ageing. But how much water should we be drinking? European recommendations are that women should drink 1.6 litres of fluid a day (figure from www.nutrition.org.uk) to ensure that the body remains adequately hydrated, and so that the skin, as well as the rest of the body, can feel the benefit of sufficient water in our system.
In conclusion, a balanced diet and consistent and adequate hydration are two things that are relatively easy to control, yet can have a huge impact on the quality and texture of our skin. Other factors, such as responsible sun protection, and cutting back on alcohol and cigarette consumption, also have an impact on the overall health of our skin, as well as our bodies in general, which is why, at my clinic, education is such an important part of what we do. If a patient can comprehend the impact that diet or lifestyle has on their skin, and can work with us to reduce this negative impact, then we can work together to ensure that they feel happier in their own skin, for longer, without the need for unnecessary or inappropriate procedures or treatments.