Few people know more about great skin than Liz Earle MBE. After three decades in the industry, first as a journalist and then as the creator of her eponymous skincare brand – beloved by A-listers and editors alike – it's safe to say the entrepreneur has cemented her place as a world-renowned beauty expert.
Since selling her business in 2010 for an undisclosed sum, the mother of five has been busy running her organic farm, launching her quarterly magazine, Liz Earle Wellbeing, and now sharing the secrets to her enviable complexion in a new book, Skin. We caught up with the inspirational 50-something to find out more about nourishing our pores from the inside out...
What is your number one rule for great skin?
Feed your face! We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we create our own skin cells from within, so it’s vital to eat the best nutrients for stronger, firmer, clearer skin. I’ve spent the last 30 years researching and writing about the foods that feed the face, and am convinced small changes in our diet can make a big difference in how we look, especially for delaying the signs of ageing and helping sort inflammatory skin disorders, such as eczema and acne.
What is your top tip for ensuring skin stays youthful?
Our skin cells need to be fed top-quality fat in the form of essential fatty acids (EFAs) to maintain their fragile membranes and barrier function. Preserving skin cells boosts moisture within our skin by preventing trans-epidermal water loss, the number one cause of dehydration and premature skin wrinkling. Add high-quality plant oils to foods every day, especially cold-pressed olive and rapeseed oil, good fats from nuts and seeds and omega-3s from oily fish and grass-fed dairy, beef and lamb.
How can we achieve a more radiant complexion?
Drink more water (I favour filtered tap water over any other kind) than you think you might need (1.5 – 2 litres daily) and make sure you eat some of the aforementioned beneficial fats each day, as well as two-to-three portions of green and leafy plant food (juiced, powdered or served as a salad or vegetable dish).
What is your number one dietary rule for better skin?
Eat unprocessed foods (seasonal and mostly locally-sourced) and always cook from scratch – even if it’s just a simple dish. I’m really into batch-cooking, weekend baking and simple family (as well as skin-friendly) recipes.
Are there any diet no-nos that will harm the skin?
Refined sugars are the biggest baddie of all – not only are they devoid of any nutritional benefits, but they also trigger inflammation (which leads to premature skin ageing, as well as worsening dermatological disorders, including eczema, rosacea, acne and psoriasis). Sugar really has no place in your kitchen cupboards – move it to the bathroom and make use of it in a simple yet highly effective body scrub instead, using equal parts sugar and grapeseed or almond oil.
What are the best skin-friendly foods you advocate?
It is important to look at what we eat, eats. So choose grass-fed beef over grain-fed for its omega 3 content. Similarly, I buy organic pasture-fed milk (look for the new free-range dairy label from cows grazed outdoors on proper grass). Whole milk is fine, as even full-fat milk is only less than 4% fat – it’s a myth that we should use skimmed or semi-skimmed varieties. As well as this, try and eat something ‘live’ or fermented every day, such as plain live yoghurt and kefir or pickled cabbage (sauerkraut, kimchi) to feed your inner beneficial bacteria, as these also help keep skin clear by calming inflammation.
What is your own skincare regime, both in the morning and at night?
It is been the same since I created the now-iconic Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser more than two decades ago: cleanse, tone and moisturise, twice a day, every day.
Which products do you think every woman needs in her skincare regime?
A great creamy cleanser (never use anything that foams on the face, as it will disrupt the slightly acidic pH balance of your skin), a good plant-oil based moisturiser, plus an additional botanical serum for the morning and overnight facial oil as we get that bit older.
Finally, where do you go when your skin needs an extra helping hand?
I visit Abigail James in Duke of York Square – she has magic hands.
Skin: Delicious Recipes & the Ultimate Wellbeing Guide for Radiant Skin in 6 Weeks by Liz Earle is out now (Orion Spring).