What small changes can we make to improve our skin’s appearance?

Our lifestyles have a big impact on the condition of our skin. But, says Auckland-based Dr Joanna Romanowska from Clinic 42, making small changes can have a rejuvenating effect on our appearance:

Do we need to apply sunscreen during winter?
It is critical to apply sunscreen all-year-round – every tan is a scar. We still get incidental exposure to ultraviolet rays from driving and walking and also from fluorescent lighting. Sun exposure produces vitamin D in the skin, so that needs to be compensated. About seven minutes of sunlight on a bare back and legs every few days is sufficient for adequate vitamin D production. When it comes to sunscreen preference, use a zinc-based product.

What are the latest treatments to help soften lines?
A good-quality vitamin A applied topically is still the cornerstone of effective skincare to reverse and prevent the deterioration of skin quality. Also dermal needling, coupled with vitamin infusions or even PRP (platelet-rich plasma therapy), where your own blood is withdrawn, spun at high speed to separate the plasma, and then injected into targeted areas, such as around the mouth or the back of hands.

What is worse for skin, a diet high in sugar, fat or salt?
There is more and more research being presented about the damaging effects of sugar on our bodies. Salt in small quantities is essential to keep our bodies functioning well but excess salt can dehydrate the tissues, which is unhealthy and shows up in the skin. There is currently no consensus on the dietary fat question, but omega oils are beneficial for inflammation and dry skin.

Sitting is the new smoking in terms of its harmful effect on the body. How do sedentary lifestyles impact on skin?
Moving around enhances circulation, lymphatic drainage and oxygenation of tissues, it strengthens muscles and has myriad other benefits. Our internal health is reflected in healthy-looking skin.

What’s your best beauty tip?
It’s difficult to pick one thing. In my experience it’s cumulative and doing little bits regularly add up to ongoing improvement. Sleep on your back, as this prevents creasing of the skin during sleep and creating lines.

From the editors of Simply You.