What is the best way to have younger, healthier, more vibrant skin? There are so many options out there, confusion and overwhelm can take over your brain in the beauty isle. It’s just too hard to know what to do. What type of skin calls for which kind of product? What are truly safe ingredients?
When you think about your skin, it’s more about what you put into your mouth rather than what you put on your skin that makes a difference. Our skin reflects what is going on inside our body. Skin is the body’s largest organ. Don’t get me wrong, high quality, preservative free skin care is essential, but I want to share with you a few tips on what can help from the inside out.
Your Skin Layers
There are 3 layers of skin. The outside layer (epidermis) is made up of dead skin cells that have migrated to the surface from the inner layers. Once those cells are exposed to the air, they die. That’s good because it provides protection for our body. This process happens every 28 days. So, if you take care of what’s going on inside your body, you’ll see the changes on your skin in just 4-8 weeks.
The middle layer (dermis) is like a great big sponge that hydrates your skin. So, my first tip is to DRINK WATER and plenty of it. I use a filter that gets out both chlorine and fluoride. How much water is good? Well, if you weigh 100 pounds, then shoot for 50oz of water per day. So that’s about half your body weight in ounces. The easiest way to start is by beginning your day with warm lemon water as that will hydrate you and also help aid in digestion. Good digestion is key to good skin.
The bottom layer (subcutaneous) is where cellulite, which is bands of fat, get trapped and hangout. To make a difference in that layer you need to stimulate the lymphatic system. The lymph glands move the waste of the body to your liver to be detoxed and then eliminated by the kidneys.
I use something called a Chi machine. It’s relatively inexpensive and I ordered it on Amazon. What is does is move the body in a slight back and forth motion thereby stimulating the lymph to drain. I find it quite relaxing and do it every night before bed and use it as a time to meditate and release everything from the day.
We all have the power to make a difference in our skin by aiding our skin’s natural ability to eliminate toxins. When the elimination systems of the body, the liver, kidneys and digestion, are not working properly, then the toxins come out on the skin in forms such as acne. If the acne is on the chin, it’s related to digestion problems. Around the jaw line relates to sex hormone imbalances.
Stress and Skin Health
Stress can wreak havoc on our skin. Living in an amped up adrenaline state, the fight or flight hormone, whacks out our body’s ability to function normally. Adrenaline communicates to every cell in the body that you are in danger even though that danger may be just a inbox full of emails. Your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up and your pupils dilate because the body thinks it’s in danger.
When you are in a state of stress response, the blood flow gets diverted away from digestion to your arms and legs so that you can run from danger. Since we don’t run from our emails, or maybe some of you do, the adrenaline just keeps pumping out. Digestion slows down as a result and you start to see acne on the face or you’ll have dry, brittle hair and nails because the nutrients are being diverted elsewhere to save your life.
Focus on optimizing digestion to improve your skin. When living with stress, you need to add restorative processes in your life, like deep breathing. Take a moment to download the link to this Dan Tien breathing exercise. I’d like to suggest doing these daily, if not several times a day. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing actually stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and calms everything down. This tells your body that everything is ok, and you are not in danger.
Eat Fat. Yes, I really mean it and it won’t make you fat. It’s a wonderful fuel that nourishes the skin and reduces inflammation that causes aging. Our body does not produce fatty acids so they have to be consumed. There are 2 types, omega 3’s and omega 6’s. Most people get too many of the omega 6’s. Examples are poultry, eggs, cereals, wheat, most veggie oils, corn oil, safflower oil, and coconut to name a few. Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory. They nourish the skin and increase softness and decreases wrinkles. Examples of omega 3’s are flax seeds and oil, chia seeds, walnuts, pecans and oily fish. USANA has a clean and safe fish oil supplement that contains lemon oil so you don’t burp fish! Eat avocados. They are a great source of fat and have 19 different vitamins and minerals. They are a “good” fat.
Omega 3’s are incorporated into the outside layer of every cell in the body. It keeps cells flexible and it drives the anti-inflammation process, which literally slows down the aging process from the inside out. Signs of deficiency include cracked elbows, cracked heels or generally dry skin. Focus on getting more omega 3’s into your daily diet.
Vitamin C. We know it’s good for colds, but how does it help your skin? It increases circulation, which helps you grow healthier hair. It makes collagen and elastin, which help tendons and ligaments repair and stay healthy. So this is essential for people who work out or do sports.
Vitamin C decreases free radical damage. As you breathe, you take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. That leaves a single oxygen molecule roaming around your body and that generates something called free radicals. Antioxidants donate a single oxygen molecule, the two pair up and damage stops. You also get oxidative stress with sun exposure and pollution. Those free radicals consume collagen and fibrinogen causing wrinkles and aging.
Some signs of vitamin C deficiency are premature aging, broken capillaries, easy bruising, hair breaking easily, and hair loss. Some natural sources are berries, kale, and parsley. It’s also essential to take a pharmaceutical grade nutritional supplement that has optimal levels of antioxidants.
Dark circles. You get 8 hours of sleep and yet you still wake with those dark circles that make you look like you’ve been out partying all night. What causes those dark circles under eyes? They reflect what is going on in the elimination and detoxing systems of the body. The liver and kidneys are the main organs involved. To support the digestion process, decrease or eliminate the following:
- Alcohol, more than 5 drinks per week increases oxidative damage
- Gluten, not easily digested
- Casein, in dairy products
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep! It’s essential to our health and beauty. Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. It’s also important that those hours begin by 10pm. In Chinese medicine as well as western clinical studies, it has been found that sleep in the earlier part of the night rejuvenates and replenishes the body more effectively than going to bed later and sleeping the same amount of hours. Create a bedtime ritual where an hour before your bedtime, turn down the lights, turn off the electronics and do things that are relaxing. If you like to read in bed, read from an old school real book, no electronic devices. Don’t sleep with any electronics in the bedroom. Get one of those old-fashioned battery operated alarm clocks so there is no light in the room while you sleep.