HEALTHY YOU, BEAUTIFUL SKIN, NATURALLY

www.abigailjames.com




Avocado for skin (Abigail James SkinFood)



These green bulbous creamy textured fruit might just be the ultimate skin friendly nutritious treat. When included in your diet as part of your regular meals it can do wonders for the complexion. 
They contain over 25 vital nutrients including vitamins (A, B, C, E, and K) and
minerals such as copper, potassium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.A great source of antioxidant carotenoids such as alpha carotene, beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. These free radical quenching compounds protect your skin from environmental damage that leads to the visible effects of premature ageing. Vitamin E is another mega skin antioxidant which is fat soluble so used by the body in a different way, It is great at assisting the healing process and research has shown vitamin E can reduce the effects of UVA and UVB radiation from sun exposure on skin.

One of the main avocado skin super benefits comes from their high oil content This monounsaturated fatty acid maintains moisture in the epidermal layer of your skin, helping to make it soft and hydrated. Omega-9 is key in regenerating damaged skin cells and reducing facial redness and irritation and one of the building blocks of healthy skin. 

I personally love adding to juices and smoothies for a natural creamy taste and texture, or simply smooshing up with a fork adding some lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper and spreading on raw crackers or corn thins for breakfast 



Facial Fitness

One of the most common requests I get from clients is “I want to look good for my age, not fake but healthy looking” Along side your home care and regular facials another addition to looking healthy and great for your age is facial fitness, also called Face yoga and facial fitness, loved by a number of celebrities.
This is a set of exercises, stretches and massage moves to help improve facial contour keeping the muscles firm, toned, and healthy as we would the muscles below the neck. The muscles on our face are no different to the muscles on our body, gravity and age are all going to have an impact as well as lifestyle. The face has the addition of holding so many emotions and expressions, you can look at someone and immediately see if they are stressed, angry, happy. 

Facial fitness can easily be fitted into your daily routine, whir your cleansing or in the shower or bath. It may take a little practise but over time the benefits can be felt and seen. Its good to start in front of a mirror so you can see what you are doing, 
Its not a magical cure to prevent ageing, but you can over time achieve a smoother, firmer facial contour, it can also improve your mood and energy levels. Don’t expect miracles, you don't go to the gym once and expect the body of a goddess and rresults are not instant, but stay with it, after a few months you should be able to see a difference.  



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 
Kale
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. 
Apricots
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
Carrots
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
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.