Putting your best face forward

Our faces are what we show the world, and one of the first things people notice about us – which makes a glowing complexion all the more important.

Coco Chanel summed it up beautifully when she said: “Nature gives you the face you have at 20; it is up to you to merit the face you have at 50.”

While beauty might be only skin deep, putting our best face forward helps us in myriad ways.

“In a better world, beauty would be irrelevant,” says University of Melbourne professor of dermatology Rodney Sinclair.

“Unfortunately, in our world it’s one of our most valuable assets.

“In 2018, we find ourselves living longer, working later and remarrying more. We have to trade on our beauty much later in life.”

Beauty can also equate to higher status.

Statistics show people with “plain looks” earn about 10 per cent less than people who are average-looking, who in turn earn around 5 per cent less than good-lookers.

flawless skin

What is ‘beauty’?

Prof Sinclair says legions of scientists have explored this question over the ages and “the skin is of utmost importance”.

“We’re all attracted to a beautiful face. We like to look at them, we feel drawn to them and we aspire to have one,” he says.

“What we humans identify as ‘beautiful’ is symmetry, large evenly spaced eyes, white teeth, a well-proportioned nose and of course, a flawless complexion.”

What causes skin problems?

For some a beautiful, clear complexion comes easily but most of us have to work at it.

Skin problems are usually linked to four primary areas – environmental factors, hormonal imbalances, medications and nutrient deficiencies or toxicity, says Prof Sinclair.

“The main environmental factor is sunlight, which produces pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles and skin ageing,” he says.

“However over-heating, especially in bed at night, can also cause breakouts, blemishes and rosacea.”

flawless skin

Creating a flawless complexion

The dermatologist says top ways to protect our complexion are:

  • Protecting against sun damage
  • A diet rich in healthy nutrients
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Getting lots of sleep

“There are lots of ways to protect your skin from the sun, but sunscreens are effective, inexpensive and simple to use. A simple moisturiser is adequate for the winter months,” says Prof Sinclair.

Just as important is accepting that some skin conditions require professional help and prescription medicines.

“While topical remedies or a ‘detox diet’ might bring you temporary relief chances are the issues will resurface, often at the worst time,” he warns.

Written by Liz McGrath