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Article: What is your face telling you?

What is your face telling you?
Dr Nigma Talib

What is your face telling you?

This may surprise you, but when it comes to the ageing of our skin, protecting the lining of your gut from damage is as important as applying SPF.  That valuable advice comes from world-renowned naturopathic doctor, aesthetician and leading holistic health and skincare expert, Dr Nigma Talib.  In her book ‘Reverse the Signs of Ageing’ Dr Nigma shares insightful information about her unique approach that combines natural and complementary therapies, including traditional Chinese face mapping. For Dr Nigma and her clients, eating for beauty is the most important step to take for inside-out glowing and youthful skin.

Natural ageing is inevitable, however according to Dr Nigma, premature ageing is optional and the best method to ward off premature ageing involves taking care of your gut health. 

The first in our latest series of blogs around ‘digest-ageing’ focuses on tell-tale signs in our face of what’s going on in our body, as we’re all aware the food we consume has a significant impact on our health (“you are what you eat”), but by becoming more in tune with our skin we could start to identify how that’s reflected in our complexion and quite possibly be accelerating the ageing process.

The last few months for many have involved a little too much of many of the things we love, so as we transition back into our routines it could be the perfect time to “grab a mirror and spend a few minutes checking your face” as Dr Nigma would advise.

Dr Nigma’s knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine together with years of experience treating clients has enabled her to home in on the main offenders; what she calls ‘the four faces of ageing’; Gluten Face, Dairy Face, Sugar Face and Wine Face. After figures revealed in the Health at a Glance 2019 report, highlighted that Brits are among the highest consumers of wine in the Western world, averaging 108 bottles of wine per year.  We thought it fitting to start with Wine Face.

Dr Nigma has shared with us diagrams and things to look out for to help identify those key indicators:

 Signs of wine face, Dr Nigma

  • Pronounced lines or spots between the brows
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Pronounced fine lines and wrinkles under the eyes
  • Dehydrated skin with feathery lines across the cheeks
  • Visibly enlarged pores
  • A reddish skin tone
  • Deep nasolabial folds (our smile lines)

Wine Face is so called as it is one of the most common alcoholic drinks consumed, but truth be known the above symptoms can be triggered by any kind of alcohol.

Alcohol is renowned for accentuating dehydration in the skin, which always makes our fine lines and wrinkles look even worse!  On top of that, alcohol is high in sugar (we’ll come to Sugar Face in a later blog), which can trigger the skin to sag, quite often initially in the areas of our face with finer, more vulnerable skin, such as around the eyes. 

The eyes really don’t come out well when it comes to alcohol, as darkness around the eyes is a sign in Chinese Traditional Medicine that the kidneys are over working – which if we’re consuming too much alcohol it’s inevitable that our kidneys are going to be under additional pressure.

When it comes to alcohol it is our livers that work the hardest, fine lines or spots between the eyes can signify the overload of our liver meridian – again a common occurrence when we drink too much.

It’s not all doom and gloom!  There are ways we can make better choices and work to reverse the symptoms of Wine Face.  As you can imagine, it will involve evaluating  the amount of alcohol you consume, including starting with a complete break to give the gut chance to re-balance, then start to introduce the odd glass of something you enjoy, in moderation can be enough to help soften the damaging and accelerated ageing process.

Dr Nigma’s Top Tips for Wine Face:

  • Have regular alcohol-free days

At least four days a week should be alcohol free and avoid drinking two days running to give your body a rest

  • Choose the purest alcohol you can

Try to avoid alcohol that contains gluten – beer is the obvious one but some gins, vodka and whiskey contain gluten too

  • Mix alcohol with soda or water, not sugar mixers

Sugar is really bad for our gut lining!

  • Drink water

For every glass of alcohol, drink a glass of water

  • Choose red wine over white

Red wine contains more magnesium, antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols, plus levels of resveratrol that are good for the skin


  • Choose Organic Wines

Normal grapes are often treated with pesticides, so moving to organic wines is a positive, as they will also be free from commercial yeasts.


Keep an eye out for Dr Nigma’s lovely recipes which we’ll be sharing on our social channels. Not only are they really yummy, they are also nourishing and help you to build a complete defence against “digest-ageing”.

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