By nutritionist, exercise scientist and mum-of-four, Amelia Phillips. 

When it comes to the health of our family, our skin plays a massive role.

Not only is it our largest organ (yes, skin is considered an organ because it contains several types of tissues, glands, and specialised nerve endings), it also provides a protective barrier from the external environment.

If our overall health is compromised, or we choose the wrong skincare products, our skin will react (irritations, eczema, psoriasis, cracks).

When the skin barrier (acid mantle) is disrupted, our skin can’t provide the immunity protection we need.

Here are my top skin saving hacks suitable for little and big people.

8 ways to protect your skin

1. Choose natural skin protectors

There are so many effective, non-toxic, natural ingredients that protect our skin. Look for products that contain; zinc gluconate, slippery elm bark, aloe vera, milk thistle, jojoba, bergamot oil, and coconut oil.

2. ACV toner to protect skin pH and microbiome

Skin pH should be slightly lower (more acidic) than the body, sitting somewhere between 4.8 and 6.0 and if it deviates from this, skin flare ups can occur. This ensures your skin’s barrier function is active and guarding you against all toxins, bacteria and other external factors.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is excellent for regulating your skin’s pH levels. However, dilute it with water before applying it to your face. Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar with four cups of water. Mix well and store in a spray bottle. Use it as a toner.

Amelia Phillips is a mama to four kids under 5.5 years old.

3. Moisturise straight after a shower

The goal is to trap moisture in the protective skin barrier, so the best time to moisturise is right after your (not so hot) shower. Find a rich, non-toxic moisturiser paying special attention to the dry spots (usually the face, hands, elbows, knees and heels)

4. Manuka honey for the win

Choose skincare products that contain manuka honey with the UMF (unique Manuka Factor) labelled (10+ is ideal). UMF takes into account the level of MGO (or methylglyoxal) in Manuka (which is linked to antibacterial properties), the presence of DHA (or dihydroxyacetone), and the level of Leptosperin. Leptosperin is another naturally occurring chemical marker found only in the nectar of Manuka and some closely related species.

Amelia says if our health is compromised, or we choose the wrong skincare products, our skin will react.

5. Avoid toxic ingredients

These may contribute to irritated skin, and many are carcinogenic or endocrine disruptors (linked to endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism, PCOS, and endometriosis). Avoid; parabens, petroleum jelly, oxybenzone, phthalates, Formaldehyde, Ethanolamines, BHA, BHT.

6. Protect skin from the sun

Remember that winter sun can also be dangerous to the skin. Even in the winter, you should use a sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of 30 or greater if you plan to be outdoors for prolonged periods. Over exposure to sunlight can lead to premature ageing of the skin and skin cancer.

Even in winter be sure to wear sunscreen.

7. Avoid wind/extreme cold

Just ask anyone who’s been skiing on a cold windy day, it feels like you’ve had a chemical face peel! Cover your face, stay indoors and immediately moisturise after a windy encounter!

8. Keep products handy

It pays to buy a few of your favourite products and stash them in readily available areas: Lip cream and rich moisturiser in the glove box, office desk and handbag.

Amelia’s favourite winter-proofing products:

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