By Gareth Boden, The Harley Street Skin Clinic & Co Founder of Monroe London Men’s skincare
Ok guys, this is really important. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can actually make yourself look older by doing regular exercise. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it, but there is overwhelming scientific evidence that shows regular and sustained physical exertion can cause something called oxidative stress.
I don’t want to get too geeky here, but stick with me. When you exercise, you produce something in your cells called free radicals. This is not some one-hit wonder band from the late 90s; they are nasty little over-charged oxygen cells that thrash around inside you, bumping into good cells and destroying them. Lots of things can cause this kind of stress: sun damage, processed food, smoking, drinking, pollution in the air, stress, lack of sleep, etc.
The irony here is that guys who work out on a regular basis are usually guys who actually care about their appearance and believe that a trip to the gym will keep them fit and looking their very best. Now, I’m not saying cash-in that membership and sit on your sofa instead of on your rowing machine. No—you are not getting off that lightly. What I am saying is that whatever your exercise routine, you need to make some effort to balance the free radicals you produce with antioxidants.
Antioxidant has become a real buzzword within the health and fitness industry over the past few years, and with good reason. I have recently read about a study in China that noticed the population in the cities was aging ten times faster than the people in the countryside. This was attributed to the airborne toxins produced by pollution. These are easily absorbed into the skin and damage the layers deeper down in the dermis. They actually degrade the collagen within the skin, making skin dull and more prone to lines and wrinkles as it loses its natural elasticity.
Goji berries, wild blueberries, dark chocolate, and pecans nuts are all excellent ways to get antioxidants into your body, but what can you do to protect your skin? The answer is simple: use products that are packed with antioxidants every day to keep your skin balanced. At Monroe, we have developed an antioxidant spray. It has green tea, cucumber and aloe vera in it, and I use it every day, all day. Just pop it in your gym bag and use before and after your workout. Don’t stop there; if you travel into areas that have high pollution, use it as you would a sunscreen. Think of it as face protection.
Another great way to fight tired and fatigued skin is to carry a bottle with you on all flights. Make sure your antioxidant spray of choice is within airport guidelines, and once on board, spray to your heart’s content. You will reach your destination feeling fresh and hydrated.