Have you ever noticed that whatever is going on in your life seems to show up on your face? When you are stressed, eczema or acne can flare up. If you are dehydrated, your skin will often look dry and flaky. If you are fighting a cold or flu, you look pale. Eating too much junk food or alcohol you wake up puffy. Food sensitivities (dairy or gluten) can cause dark circles under your eyes. But eating the right foods, regular exercise and de-stressing can make you feel amazing and positively glow with health.
Our skin is the largest organ of the entire body by weight and surface area. In fact, our skin consists of 16% of the total body weight of an average adult, this being equal to 1.5 to 2 meters of skin. So often whatever is going on inside will show up on the outside.
The main function of the skin is to protect the internal body from its external environment; including bacteria, dirt and inflammatory molecules such as free radicals that can damage and mutate the DNA within our cells. The skin also provides a barrier to prevent of dehydration, helps to regulate our body temperature, is directly related to liver and gastrointestinal function, and is a primary organ of elimination and detoxification.
Here are 10 simple tips to keep you beautiful on the inside as well as the outside:
1. Keep well HYDRATED! Dehydration not only affects the skin’s appearance in the short term; but prolonged periods with inadequate fluid intake may affect the elasticity and smoothness in the lower skin layers. I often add fresh lemon, cucumber or mint to my water, especially on those hot summer days!
2. Skin health and protection is best nurtured from the inside out. Every cell membrane in the body can be strengthened by consuming fresh, unrefined essential fatty acids (EFAs). A good quality fish oil with a high EPA content contains nutrients that can act as protectors to your skin.
3. Stress can also negatively affect your skin and of course the rest of the body. In fact, a stress study revealed that collagen loss in the skin is ten times greater than in any other tissue during chronic stress. Find stress relieving techniques such as yoga or deep breathing exercises and remember to take your stress busting supplements such as: B vitamins, magnesium, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Siberian ginseng.
4. Cut out the SUGAR! It is already well known that excess sugar in the diet can lead to a variety of health concerns, but too much sugar can cause specific molecules in the body that cause inflammatory reactions in the skin. These compounds are called AGEs or advanced glycation end products and can accelerate aging.
5. Identify food sensitivities. Common food sensitivities such as dairy, gluten, soy, corn and eggs can cause extra stress on your immune system, digestive system and thus the outside – our skin. These foods are often connected to skin conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis. Food sensitivity testing is available from most Naturopathic Doctors.
6. Limit your sun exposure. Excess UV light can accelerate aging by activating enzymes that break down collagen and elastin. The sun’s UV rays also make skin rough, and can over-stimulate pigment cells, causing age spots and skin cancer. Wear protective clothing especially during peak UV radiation hours.
7. Be kind to your gut and liver. As mentioned above, many foods can aggravate skin through stress on the digestive system and immune system. Taking a probiotic daily keeps bad bugs away and strengthens immunity. I also recommend being kind to your liver as it is responsible for eliminating toxins and waste products from the body. A healthy gut and liver keeps the skin looking vibrant and glowing. One of my favorite liver protective herbs is milk thistle.
8. Clinical studies have demonstrated the impressive role of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid (ch-OSA) found in BioSil for healthy skin. In just 20 weeks, shallow wrinkles improved by 89% with the use of ch-OSA compared to the use of a placebo. This was seen in women ages 40 to 65, who had clear signs of sun damaged or prematurely aging skin.
9. Astaxanthin has earned a reputation as one of the most potent and powerful antioxidants. Research has shown that it has neuroprotective properties, decreases inflammation, protects the body from cellular damage and may help prevent UV damage to the eyes and help the skin resist UV damage from excessive sunlight exposure.
10. Finally, choose clean products for your skin. Many commercially available products contain chemicals such as phthalates and parabens that are not only hard on the skin but often disrupt hormones and cause more stress on the liver and detoxification pathways. Consult with your local health food store for clean beauty products.
Enjoy a Safe and Healthy Summer!