Winter’s setting in and that healthy summer glow is but a dim memory. So here are our six handy hints for protecting that all-important shield between you and legions of germs.

 

  1. Drink eight 250ml glasses of water a day. This keeps you hydrated, helping to flush toxins through your kidneys rather than your skin.

  2. Smooth a couple of drops of olive oil over your face, elbows, knees and the backs of your arms every evening. It contains monounsaturated fat, which refreshes and hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy residue.

  3. Wear sunscreen all year round. We know, we know—there doesn’t seem to be much call for it in November! But just because the skies are grey doesn’t mean your skin can’t be damaged by the sun, especially between 11am and 3pm. So get plenty of fresh air, but smear exposed areas with factor 30 or more.

  4. Cook with garlic every day. A 1996 Danish study found that skin cells grown in a culture dish and treated with garlic had seven times the lifespan of cells grown in a standard culture. They also looked healthier and more youthful than untreated cells. What’s more, garlic extract dramatically inhibited the growth of cancerous skin cells.

  5. Have short showers. Hanging around in the shower for too long can damage skin. Long steamy showers will strip the skin of its moisture and wash away its protective oils, so opt instead for a cooler spray lasting no more than ten minutes.

  6. Start the day with a glass of orange juice. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C, essential for the manufacture of collagen, which helps keep skin smooth and youthful. Other foods packed with vitamin C include kiwi fruit and red peppers.

is it Eczema or psoriasis?

These are both inflammatory skin conditions related to immune system abnormalities, but psoriasis tends to appear as thick silvery-white scales on the elbows and knees, while eczema sufferers’ skin becomes dry, red and irritated. Unlike eczema (also called dermatitis), psoriasis isn’t usually itchy and may be accompanied by nail pitting and discolouration.

Both conditions can be treated with steroid and other creams, as well as oral drugs. People with eczema and those with psoriasis can be susceptible to picking up skin infections, but psoriasis sufferers are also at greater risk of metabolic syndrome—a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.