Let’s face it, we all have something that we could do without when we stare at our reflections in the mirror. We can’t help comparing ourselves to the airbrushed, glowing images of perfection that populate billboards and commercials everywhere we look. The trouble with self-image is that it doesn’t adapt to time very well. Thus, when we look in the mirror we expect to see the pert 19 year old we’d like to remember ourselves as rather than the older, wiser and equally beautiful but slightly more shelf worn version of you. It’s a perfectly natural phenomenon, and while we all want to look gorgeous whatever our ages, often our lifestyles and the harsh realities of the ultra-hectic 21st century aren’t always conducive to looking our best.
Working long hours, not getting as much sleep as we should, drinking too much coffee when we should be drinking water, over reliance on heavily processed convenience foods and living in a near perpetual state of stress certainly don’t do much for our bodies or for our self-image. Thus, when we see something in the mirror that we don’t like we want to do something about it, we want a fix and we want one fast… And that’s a pretty big part of the problem.
The problem with consumer culture
The trouble with quick fixes is that they seldom work, yet we never seem to lose hope that the next neatly packaged solution will all our problems. It makes sense that since our lives are so busy and we have so little time to spare that we should gravitate towards a quick and easy prepackaged solution to alleviate our insecurities. Of course, things are a lot more complicated than that, but we so desperately want a pill, or a serum, or a cream or a shake that will solve all our problems… And the beauty industry knows it. But the beauty industry didn’t become a multi billion dollar leviathan by selling long term solutions. There are a lot of companies out there that will wow you with pseudoscience, dazzle you with celebrity endorsements and leave you with an expensive product that, despite being used as directed, seems to be making no difference at all.
Just to be clear, we’re not saying that all beauty products don’t work!
There are a lot of products on the market that work very well, but trying to catch up with the latest and greatest miracle cure for everything from crow’s feet to cellulite isn’t just unsustainably expensive, it’s shovelling money into a black hole if you continue to live a lifestyle that completely negates what effect these products may have. The most potent anti-wrinkle cream in the world will fall short of you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, live on fast food and struggle by on 4 hours’ sleep a night.
Thus, here we’ll look at some fixes for some of the most egregious beauty ailments that we all face every day that won’t require you to buy a single product.
It’s all about food
We all know the phrase “you are what you eat” but few of us live it the way we should. While diet is not the only factor in these fixes it plays a pretty big part in most of them. Whatever your lifestyle, the chances are that you’re not getting enough vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains and pulses. Switching to a plant based diet is proven to be the best diet for weight management and general health but also for physical fitness, hormonal balance and a range of other health issues that can lead to our exacerbate our physical imperfections like…
Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process, but they’re not one that we need resign ourselves to before our time. The truth is that most of us don’t help ourselves by smoking, drinking too little water, and failing to protect ourselves from harmful UV rays. Fortunately we can slow the ageing of our skin by staying hydrated and loading up on the following foods:
- Tomatoes- Which contain lycopene which protects your skin from UV damage.
- Berries- Which have the antioxidants to promote cellular regeneration in your skin.
- Almonds- Which contain vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids which will help your skin retain its moisture.
The very word is enough to send a shudder down the spines of the 90% of women (and 10% of men) who are afflicted by this condition. In order to combat cellulite it’s important to know what causes it. You can find a lot of information about this on the cellulite blog but we’ll give you a brief rundown… Cellulite is a deformity of the subcutaneous fat under our skin caused by the weakening of collagen bands between layers of fat, resulting in the infamous orange peel look. Topical treatments can help but you can do a great deal by eating thermogenic foods that will burn fat and stimulate circulation. Foods like ginger, chilli and cayenne are helpful for this as are barley, bananas and rosemary.
Muffin Top and Mother’s apron
Nobody likes when their wobbly areas spill over the belt line at the front and sides resulting in mother’s apron belly and / or muffin tops. These conditions are caused by a combination of subcutaneous fat (the fat beneath our skin) and visceral fat (the fat around our organs). Both can be burned away by cardiovascular exercise and kicking sugar and refined carbohydrates. Getting plenty of sleep and taking steps to alleviate stress will also reduce your body’s cortisol levels which will prevent fat storage on the belly. Visceral fat, however, can be an absolute pig to shift. High Intensity Interval Training is proven to be the best measure here.
Applying topical ointments to acne is to address the symptom of the issue rather than address the issue itself. Acne is a hormonal inflammatory condition and as such it is best fought off my foods that will balance your hormones with a healthy dose of anti inflammatories for good measure. Omega 3 fatty acids found in nuts are useful here but the best acne busters are pumpkin seeds which have high concentrations of zinc. Probiotics like those found in pickles or sauerkraut are also helpful in regulating gut bacteria.