For your skin
1. Invest in active ingredients
Re-energize tired skin with what's known as a 'progressive' moisturizer, such as Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream which contains a highly concentrated amino-peptide complex to boost skin cell renewal and make it look clearer and younger. Look out, too, for formulations containing roxisomes. These are liposomes (tiny bubbles made out of the same material as a cell membrane) that contain a special enzyme which counteracts inflammation fast and can repair cellular damage in just two hours - your skin would take a day to do the same on its own.
2. Check your sugar intake
If your skin is looking tired, avoid sugar and processed foods because of the inflammatory effects these substances have on the body. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin - the proteins in the body that keep skin looking plump and youthful. Instead, focus on a healthy diet that includes lots of vegetables, fruit, protein and whole grains - and olive oil! Studies show that consuming more olive oil than average (more than two teaspoons a day) is associated with 31 per cent fewer signs of aging, thanks to the polyphenols (antioxidants) it contains.
3. Up your healthy fats
A diet rich in healthy fats omega 3 and 6 (found in oily fish, nuts and seeds) provides antioxidants that are able to protect the cells and fatty acids that lubricate the skin from the inside out.
4. Get supplement savvy
Evening primrose oil is high in a fatty acid called GLA, which helps improve skin elasticity. Biotin is a compound that helps to break down fatty acids and is essential for combatting dryness, while marine collagen helps the formation of new connective tissue. And don't underestimate the role of gut-friendly supplements such as acidophilus - if the gut is working efficiently, the whole system is healthier and skin will be clearer.
5. Stay hydrated
Can't stomach liters and liters of water? Turns out you can ignore the oft-quoted 'eight glasses a day' rule guilt-free. A study published in The Journal Of Nutrition revealed that people consuming green tea daily for 12 weeks had smoother, more elastic skin. The antioxidants the tea contains boost blood flow to the skin, which delivers key nutrients to enhance your complexion.
For your hair
1. Check your hormones
Worried about hair loss? It's very common after pregnancy as your hormones change and you're more likely to be low in iron, which, combined with the stress of looking after a young child, can affect the quality and growth of your hair. Ferritin is a specific form of iron that is particularly important for hair health and can be taken as a supplement. Red meat, spinach, pulses and broccoli are great dietary sources. Additionally, vitamin B12 encourages hair regrowth and can be useful if you're worried about hair loss. It's found in salmon, eggs and fortified cereal.
2. Get outside
Now spring is here you can top up your levels of vitamin D naturally - it's important because it helps create new hair follicles, and re-energize dormant ones. Try 10 minutes in the sun without sunscreen (avoid the hottest part of the day and be careful not to burn). Sunshine also helps to regulate sleep hormones, which mean you're more likely to benefit from a deep, restorative sleep during which the body rests and repairs.
3. Watch stress
Looking after a family, running your career, being a good friend and an attentive partner means life is full and rich - but potentially exhausting. Hair loss can occur following periods of stress - the 100-200 hairs we lose a day naturally can double or even triple after a stressful event. Be mindful, too, that some medications, including those used to treat acne and high blood pressure, can also interfere with the normal cycle of hair growth, resulting in something called telogen effluvium, which causes the hair follicles to go into their 'resting' phase and fall out too early. Prioritize stress-busting activities, from long baths to walks in the park. Every little bit helps.
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