It’s often said that you only have a few seconds to make a first impression and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is no wonder that acne, wrinkles, and age spots appearing across the face can induce an instant feeling of insecurity. In a society that spends millions on health and beauty products chasing vogue-esque perfection and timeless skin, it’s worth considering some of the causes and natural cures behind the madness.

It is probably no surprise that stress can wreak havoc on your body, hormones and subsequently, your face. The body naturally releases a hormone called cortisol during a stressful situation coined the “fight or flight” response. If the body maintains a constant level of stress without allowing for drops in cortisol levels, a chronic state of stress is maintained. This high-cortisol state can have adverse effects on the body. One such side effect is inflammation and lowered immune response.

Adequate hydration plays an important role in vibrant, healthy skin, by acting in digestion and absorption of vitamins and nutrients. It is also responsible for regulating body temperature, eliminating wastes and toxins and even lubricating joints.

Diet, nutrition and exercise all contribute to the overall vitality, youthfulness and appearance of the skin. Exercise allows toxins to be released from the body through perspiration. It has been shown that a diet high in saturated fats, preservatives and milk products can irritate blemishes. Another source may be iodine, which has been shown to aggravate acne.

Smoking, though more recently becoming less fashionable, is still one of the most skin damaging toxins around. Not only does smoking make skin appear more aged and wrinkled, but the average cigarette releases over 43 carcinogens when burned that enter your lungs and eventually your bloodstream. Do yourself a favour and forget the smokes.

Recently, scientists have suggested that sun exposure is a fantastic immune booster. For years, doctors have promoted the use of SPF as protection from potentially dangerous skin cancers. Only recently have they discovered that 15 minutes in the sun several times a week, without sunscreen, actually increases the body’s immune system. Just be sure to apply sunscreen if you intend to stay longer than the recommended 15 minutes.

Eating a diet high in green leafy vegetables, getting plenty of exercise and sleep will go a long way towards staving off early signs of ageing and problematic skin. Consider a daily face moisturiser with SPF of at least 15 as part of your morning routine. Also, create a routine that allows you to rid your body of stress and toxins that can build up over time and increase your chances of adverse health conditions.

Author Alexi Gibbs ©