SkinFood - Cucumber

Cucumbers are a great skin friendly food, packed with nutrients and lots of water, they are great when applied to the skin and also when eaten, they make a fantastic ingredient base for your juice, or when added to a jug of cold water. 

The flesh of the cucumber  is mostly water, containing vitamin C and caffeic acid, both help soothe skin irritations, reduce swelling and prevent water retention, which is why they are often helpful for puffy eyes, burns and dermatitis.  They amazingly have the same pH as the skin so they help restore the protective barrier called the acid mantle. They also have fantastic hydrating, nourishing and astringent properties making them great for treating sunburn 

Vitamins  They are packed with Vitamins such as vitamin C a mega antioxidant to help fight skin ageing.  Vitamin K beneficial for blood clotting and strengthening capillary walls making it great for  dark circles under the eyes. This is why a couple of cucumber slices placed over tired, puffy eyes in the morning makes you look refreshed. Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B-5, is amazing for holding water in the skin making it a great hydrating nutrients and  vitamin A helps control your skin's production of melanin making it beneficial in balancing dark spots, its also beneficial for cell turnover,  good eye sight and healthy bones. 

Minerals  The skin of a cucumber is rich in fiber and contains minerals such as silica, potassium and magnesium. The silica in cucumber is an essential component of healthy connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bone. Cucumber juice is often recommended as a source of silica to improve the complexion and health of the skin, plus cucumber’s high water content makes it naturally hydrating—a must for glowing skin.

Festival Beauty Essentials Top 10

I love a festival, and savvy packing is key, not just your wardrobe but your skin and body care essentials. Try to keep it simple, think multi tasking keeping the number of products to a minimum and or small bottles, you are going to have enough to lug around without a full bathroom cabinet in a bag to contend with as well. A trip to muji to stock up on small plastic pots to decant product in is a great space saving travel idea. 

1. A great cleanser is key, for that fresh faced feeling even if you cant shower and good for removing face paints and glitter, essential if you get a little carried away with the hippie vibe. 

2. A face balm is probably the most  multi-tasking of products, it can be used as a face cleanser, eye makeup remover, moisturiser, great for rough hands, body, lips and  good all round skin healer and good frizzy hair tamer. 

3. Facial spritz, handbag sizes are readily available you might not be able to find clean water to cleanse your face so a tonic or spritz to freshen the complexion keep you fresh feeling and waken you up is perfect, Evian, Liz Earle, avenue all do fabulous spritzes. 

4. Choose makeup that is essential to you, For me that's a lipstick, mascara and a good long lasting eyeliner

5. The weather may not be fully predictable but an SPF is in the essentials pile, a tinted SPF doubles as a touch of colour as well as a sun protection and an east to apply SPF 30 or 50 for the body. 

6. Dry shampoo - goes without saying 

7. Hand sanitiser or gel, you may not be able to get to running water to keep your hands clean.

8. Deodorant - go for a satin roll on, small to pack and work a treat 

9. Hair bands a plenty, pony bands, flower hippie bands, head scarf, what ever takes your fancy to dress up your tresses without washing them

10. Beauty miniatures, such as the Dr. Hauschka skincare kit or Liz Earle miniatures are a great way of taking everything you need for a few days and not being concerned if you just throw the empties away before packing up to get home. 

And the mother in me says don't forget plasters, antiseptic spray, and paracetamol, even if you don't need them, someone you meet will !

Skin Food - Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a key ingredients used in anti-ageing and acne skin care products, its one of nature’s natural beauty ingredients great for skin issues. It acts as a powerful antioxidant and aiding in preventing sun damage and slows down the ageing of cells.  Vitamin A is a great skin brightener, good for aiding wrinkle reduction, healthy skin cell turnover so great for a smooth surface and a key ingredient for aiding beat acne. You can usually bet that a food with a bright green, orange, or red colour is a great source of natural Vitamin A. 
Top foods for Vitamin A 
One of those super super foods, packed with Vitamin A, C, iron, and fibre, One cup of kale contains around 80% of your daily Vitamin A needs. Most leafy greens are mega high in Vitamin A, as are orange vegetables. Add to a smoothie, or personal favourite lightly oven bake with a touch of oil for home made Kale chips. 
Packed with vitamin A, C, fibre Iron and potassium regulating the water levels within and between cells, just as good dried as fresh, good for anti-inflammatory benefits making them great for acne and rosacea skin conditions. 
Sweet potatoes
Just one sweet potato gives you over 100% of your daily Vitamin A requirements!. Sweet n starchy root vegetable is high in potassium, magnesium vitamin C, D and iron all amazing skin friendly nutrients. Roasted, mashed, steamed added to soups and stews the list of how to enjoy them is endless
One of the best sources of Vitamin A there is. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is the form of Vitamin A found in food-based sources, also packed with Vitamin C, magnesium, just as good eaten cooked as raw. 
Spinach is such a great green! There’s almost no vitamin and mineral it doesn’t contain, Vitamin K, C, B2 and iron with Vitamin A being one of the most abundant of all. Spinach contains over 100% of your daily Vitamin A in just one cup. Add to juices and salads with nuts for a mega skin friendly meal. 

Tips for Sexy Spring skin

Clear out - A change of season into spring is a great time to freshen up your beauty bag. The shelf life of a skincare product is not infinite, best results are from the most active ingredients which will be achieved with fresh products, ones that have not been subjected to light, varying bathroom temperatures and humidity, it’s a good idea to swap out products that have not been replaced  since before winter or even older. 

Awaken the skin - A change in season, temperature and atmosphere are all good reason to review what you are doing to your skin. I often recommend to clients to to have a freshen up, in treatment this could be a really gentle fruit acid peel and oxygen. At home this could be adding in a brightening mask, changing their cleansing balm to a mild wash, adding in a bi-weekly exfoliation, all focusing on refreshing the skin and bringing back a bit of spring life to the complexion. 

Boost your cleanse - Increase your daily cleansing, this can be so simple as taking an extra minute to massage you cleanser in rather than just a quick wipe over or even not cleansing morning and night. My new favourite way of increasing the benefits of an at home cleanse is by adding in the Foreo Luna, a unique handheld sonic massage machine, totally waterproof it is the ideal way of increasing the benefits of your cleanser without being harsh and works with all types of cleanser, I personally find it gives a real clarity to the skin.

Nourish - Nourishing the skin with a good moisturiser is key, now the skin is cleansed and exfoliated properly, your moisturiser is going to absorb better, possibly the skin wont need the heavier moisturisers of the colder months so look at changing to a lighter texture during the spring months to allow the skin to later comfortably to the change. 

Way down - Don't forget your décolleté and neck, gone with the polo necks and scarves, this area is going to be more on show, take your cleanser and moisturiser all the way down to your chest. There are some fantastic products specific for this area such as the Liz Earle neck and bust serum. 

Allergens - With the arrival of beautiful blossoms, fresh flowers and green leaves come the arrival of allergens, which can cause sneezing and puffy eyes. To help combat this ensure you take of your eye makeup thoroughly every evening. Optrex eye revive is a handbag must to freshen up the eyes, it is actually intended to hydrate the eyeball as well as the outer skin. Cold used free Tea bags are a great at home eye mask. Brew them then place in the fridge cool then place over eyes for 5 minutes. 

Stress & skin health

Modern life can be at such a pace not many of us escape some level of stress, this can manifest in many different ways, irritable bowl, migraine, irregular sleep patterns, skin breakouts, eczema the list goes on. There is no denying a mind body and skin connection,  on a physical level nerve endings are connected to the skin so when an emotion is played out there is a physical reaction within the skin. Interestingly in the womb the brain and the skin are derived from the same cells! 

When we are stressed we release the stress hormone cortisol which is clinically proven to increase the ageing process and because it’s a hormone it will impact of the other hormones in the body such as oestrogen and testosterone and they try to re balance themselves. These hormones can trigger breakouts acne and eczema. We can look at someone and know from their expression if they are happy or stressed, the skin and face is a reflection of our mood, deep lines can form through frowning and muscles become tense, these tight muscles restrict the free flow of blood and nutrients reducing our natural supply of healthy new cells. 

There are lots we can do to help....

1. Meditate 
A few minutes a day can help ease anxiety and stress. Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress as well.
It only need be really simple, Sit up straight with both feet on the floor, or cross legged on a pillow on the floor. Relax your body, take a few deep breaths and close your eyes. Come up with a positive mantra or few words, such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” I was taught positive words through hypnotherapy when I suffered anxiety when i was 19, these have stayed with me and I still use them in “ Cool, calm, collected, confident and courageous” 

2. Breathe 
So many of us are not breathing correctly, shallow diagram breathing, we need to learn correct belly breathing. Give yourself a 5-minute break from whatever is bothering you and focus instead on your breathing. Sit up straight or lie down, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth, I like to combine this type of technique with meditation, multi tasking! 

3. Write it down 
Often I can be lay in bed with a head full of thoughts and things I need to do. I have a book by the slide of my bed, before I switch the light of I will empty my thoughts onto paper then very easily drop off to sleep knowing I wont forget anything because its there in writing. 

4. Cut out stimulants 
I love a good soya cappuccino, a glass of wine, dark chocolate, but lets do these things in moderation, I have on occasion enjoyed a bar of green and blacks before bed and wandered why I am wide awake unable to sleep! and lack of sleep in only going to creep those stress levels high the following day. 

5. laugh 
You would be amazed how helpful laughing can be, we release happy hormones when we laugh and it can be contagious also lifting someone else's mood. 

6. Massage 
A good massage obviously feels great, it is easing muscle tension, there are also nerve endings in the skin when send relax mental messages to the brain. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami is an amazing place they do many studies on touch, how it reduces stress in adults, pregnancy, and also children one study showed that a group of children suffering with skin conditions their mood and activity levels improved after massage, as did all measures of their skin conditions including redness and itching, interestingly their Parents’ anxiety also decreased! happy children happy mums. 

7: Take some me time 
Get outside for a walk, run a warm bath,  sit in the park, do a yoga class, find a cafe and sit outside,, draw, have a quite 15minutes for Tea break and a flick through a magazine, anything which is just you and you alone, no phone, computer, children, partner or work colleague. 

8: Find time to meet friends.
Friends can help us see things in a different way, just voicing your stresses can be therapy in its self, often friends can put a funny spin on things or even have some great in site from personal experience, they can also help you put your worries to one side and just be yourself. 

Top 5 quick tips for New Year skin health

1. Ditch the morning latte, that amount of milk daily is just not good for the skin, and this is what we are starting the day with.
2. Book a facial, not just on your birthday; make it a regular appointment, ideally once every 4 weeks but 6 generally fits into peoples lives easier. I have personally seen the benefit of this to many clients.
3. Add in some retinol, either in the form of plant based Vitamin A or something a bit more technical, it speeds up skin cell turnover renewing and keeping the skin fresh and youthful looking.
4. Alkalize the body; a few tweaks to your daily food intake can make a huge difference, not just to your complexion but your whole health. Our blood pH level ideally should be between 7.35 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. The more acidic our diet, the more we work against our natural bodies state. It can make us feel tired, and compromise our immune system and natural detoxification process. A good rule of thumb is that 60-80% of our diet is from more alkaline foods, and 20-40% more acidic.
5. Cleanse morning and night – It doesn’t matter how late in the evening or early in the morning it is, a face wipe is not going to do the job or not cleansing at all. Skin needs to breath, getting rid of the sweat from the night before and starting with a clean base is giving the skin the best start to be clear and function at its best. 

Detox tips for overindulged skin

Over indulgence can make the skin congested, lacking luster and on the puffy side. There are certain foods that are good for general detox which are going to benefit the skin as well, a detox is the best place to begin. Starting the day with a hot water and lemon with a slice of ginger, mid afternoon fresh mint leaves tea and green or white tea are cleansing and packed with antioxidants and a great replacement to a latte or good old British  cuppa. 
You could look at a one off cleanse program or how about a New Year life change to have a green juice every day or 5 out of 7 days.  Cucumber, lemon, celery, fennel, ginger, pear, spinach are all good for alkalizing the whole body and will improve the brightness and clarity of your complexion.
A good combination of nutrition is key, greens, especially watercress and kale, coloured fruit, berries and vegetables, with healthy proteins such as quinoa, nuts and healthy oils from brazil nuts, fish, avocado should make up the basics of a diet best suited to skin clarity. Avoid the obvious things like pasta, breads, cakes, cheese, and processed meats. And for sweat treats fill your boots with dark chocolate, high in skin friendly antioxidants.
New year skin supplements should include Vitamin D essential for all over health especially in the UK during the winter months, Vitamin C works on so many levels as well as assisting the liver drive away toxins. Milk thistle for liver function and will help keep those breakouts at bay, an effective probiotic to help re balance an over indulged stomach and re balance good gut flora.
Organic pharmacy - phytonutrients capsules are an amazing all round skin health supplements with MSM and good for digestion.
Organic burst – spiralina is so easy to add to juices and breakfasts, ideal for alkalizing, improving the immune system, packed with protein and amino acids
Wild nutrition – food stat skin hair and nails has the staple everything you need for general skin health and all ingredients the skin is going to recognise and use to its best.
Biocare - liquid Vitamin D, real easy to take and absorb

For skin detoxification its not juts what you are applying to the face, whole body is going to impact on the clarity of your facial complexion. You could go fully natural for a 6-week skin detox product period. Avoiding perfumed, heavy creams, synthetic ingredients and go natural, organic, raw or just cold formulated all this is going to give your lymphatic system the best space to be healthy and clear the skin. 
It’s important to cleanse morning and night Kiehls ultra facial oil free cleanser is a good city skin cleanser without stripping, or their ultra facial cleanser is more suited to a more sensitive skin.
Body brushing and skin exfoliating is a tried and tested method of improving the bodies natural detoxification process, sloughing off the tired dead skin cells on the surface to stimulate fresh cell growth, allow products to penetrate better and bring back some health to the skins surface.
Aesop tea tree facial exfoliator is perfect, powdered tea tree leaves; crushed nutshells and purifying clays tick all the boxes for skin detox.
Liz Earle Brightening mask is just magical, it really does do something, contains a blend of camphor oil, white clay which draws out impurities, mineral silt high in magnesium, calcium and iron all really important for the skin along with almond oil and aloe very.
Suki pure facial oil, I just love, non complicated with a delicate chamomile scent, absorbs beautifully and great for re-balancing and hydrating the skin without over powering, use at night as a hydrator 
For whole body and face detox Epsom salt baths are old fashioned but work, magnesium and sulphate absorbed through the skin. Great for restoring the body after over indulgence, they naturally rehydrate and restore.