Yes, this week’s blog cover photo is of yours truly. If you’re going to talk about skin, you might as well show some. Not bad for a 55-year-old birthday suit!
I’m doing okay now but if you knew me between the ages of 13 and 24, you wouldn’t believe the acne! You could have played connect the dots on my forehead! But I didn’t do myself any favors with diet or skin products, and we all have to navigate the crucible of adolescence!
Even into adulthood, there were issues that only time, information, and good food could solve.
Have you ever heard anyone describe something as being, smooth as a baby’s bottom?
Yup, that’s the skin we all want (except for the “all day in a diaper” bottom), but you know what I mean.
Many of us have skin challenges and most of us were not born with them. It’s what we’ve done to our skin since entering the world that has gotten us a bit off track.
How do we get back on? First, we need to realize that skin is not just about what you put on your body (makeup, lotions, potions, creams, jellies, salves, balms), but also about what you put in your body. Think about it. If you put bad gasoline into a car, you get poor performance and the same goes for your skin. What goes in, must come out, and likely as a pimple. Ugh!
So where does that leave us? Eating kale and drinking water for the rest of our lives? Hardly.
All we need to do is learn the foods, habits, and products that work best for the health of our skin and make more of an effort to eat those foods, apply these habits, and make the effort to focus on what we use daily.
How does that happen? Knowledge, repetition, and consistency. The pay off? Better skin.
Wanna Look Good and Healthy? Learn the Three Keys to Skin Success!
#1 – Eat Good Food
Come on, you know I was going to say that! LOL
Going back to the car analogy, you need the “good” gas for optimum performance. That’s good food for your skin.
So, we can’t know the “why” of our bad skin unless we know the “what.” Figure out what you’ve got and when it typically happens.
Do you break out after eating fried foods?
Do you start to itch after eating diary?
There’s a story here. If you can figure it out, you’re on your way to solving your skin issue.
The Best Food for Your Skin
The online wellness site Healthline states that “a diet rich in healthy fats and vitamins can support skin health. Many fruits and vegetables, including red grapes and tomatoes, contain compounds that can benefit your skin.”
And this is true! They provided a list of the 12 Best Foods for Healthy Skin and they are…
Fatty Fish – The big seller here, the Omega-3 fatty acids for smooth skin.
Avocados – Taco Tuesday? Yes please, but also bring on the hydration and flexibility.
Walnuts – Another vote for Omega-3 fatty acids and bonus, Zinc.
Sunflower Seeds – These little guys bring Vitamin D, Selenium, and Zinc to the party.
Sweet Potatoes – Contain Beta Carotene which functions as a provitamin A. Natural sunblock and antioxidant action going on here.
Red or Yellow Bell Peppers – The peppers follow the sweet potatoes' lead and bring on the Vitamin A along with Vitamin C which has been shown to reduce wrinkles by making collagen!
Broccoli – Works overtime by providing Vitamins A, C, Zinc, and UV protection.
Tomatoes – Great source of Vitamin C and winkle prevention!
Soy – Isoflavones found in soy help with wrinkles and improved skin elasticity.
Dark Chocolate – How can you go wrong? Hydrating, UV protecting, and tasty!
Green Tea – Contains powerful compounds that protect the skin from sun damage and aging while packing an antioxidant punch. Drink it hot or cold.
Red Grapes – Have Resveratrol which has long been associated with reducing the signs of aging. This doesn’t mean that wine is the liquid of long life though. Moderation please.
I encourage you to visit the Healthline site to get the full rundown of all the benefits these foods bring to the table.
What Not to Eat
We’ve seen the list of good foods for our skin, now, what should we avoid?
Eating Excessive Sugar and Processed Foods – Consuming foods loaded with processed sugar can cause your insulin levels to spike. This can result in inflammation and negatively impact your skin’s clarity. It also weakens collagen and elastin fibers, which can accelerate the aging process. Excess sugar leads to the formation of advanced glycation products (AGEs), which increase the breakdown of collagen, contributing to sagging and wrinkling. So limit the sweets and bag the boxed foods.
Trigger Foods – Dairy products (from cows) have long been linked with acne. Some feel it may be a result of the transference of hormones from cows to humans, but the link is still not completely clear. Many people have mild allergies and food sensitivities to milk and dairy products can complicate skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Caffeine has long been associated with dehydration so it’s best to stick with water and autoimmune issues can flare with gluten intolerance or sensitivity. It you itch or break out after eating certain foods, get tested for sensitivities or allergies. Take note of what you’ve eaten to pinpoint the culprit.
Excessive Alcohol Intake – Hangovers aren’t the only issues you have to deal with when you drink excessively. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, with the drying effect showing up in the form of wrinkles and a dull complexion. It also increases inflammation, resulting in redness or an inflamed appearance which can become more prominent over the years. Also, it compromises sleep, which negatively affects the body’s regenerative processes. That glass of red wine is not always worth it.
Avoid Inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids and trans Fats – These can cause dry, itchy, scaling, or flaky skin. This is where your Omega-3 fats come in. Eating foods that contain Omega-6 trigger inflammation and other unpleasant body reactions. Better to stay away.
This list is tricky because they seem to contain all the good stuff. There’s good foods out there that taste great too so make the switch. Remember, what goes in your body shows up in your skin. Choose wisely.
#2 – Gain Knowledge and Adopt Good Habits
By doing the inner work, you impact your outer appearance as well. That means balancing not only the food you eat, but the actions you take to achieve your goal of healthy skin.
This is where knowledge accumulation comes in. Above all else, get curious about your skin, do the research so you know the “dos” and “don’ts.” Then, adopt good habits to apply that knowledge every day.
Find out which foods, skin routines, actions, and products work for you. This includes all the physiological good habits as well.
Here’s a list of healthy habits and activities that do just that.
Exercise and Sweat Regularly – I know what you are thinking, “Yuck. Doesn’t sweating make you breakout?” It can if you don’t shower after! Exercising is good for the skin because sweating helps get the toxins out of your body through sweat. If you don’t want to do that in a gym, hop in a steam bath or a sauna. Anything to raise your core body temperature and get things moving.
Cleanse Your Skin Gently – Unlike a baking pan with day old lasagna stuck to it, you don’t need to scrub your face and body. Use a gentle or natural soap and a soft washcloth or skin brush. A little lather will do and don’t linger too long. Also, wash off chlorine after swimming. You don’t want to dry out your skin.
Sleep Well – I wrote a blog post back in July entitled, “Respect Your Sleep!” I wasn’t kidding! Poor sleep quality and lack of sleep increases signs of aging, diminishes skin barrier function, and lowers overall satisfaction with appearance. Eight hours of sleep does more than just rest your mind and body.
Reduce Your Stress – Stress has been shown to be a major impact to skin aging and contributes to skin disorders like rashes. Meditation, yoga, walking, journaling, and even sleeping will help. Find a way to unplug and slow down.
Balance Your Gut – If you have leaky gut, bad stuff (from bad food) is loose in your blood stream wreaking havoc on your health and skin. Researchers have found probiotics impact gut microbiota and influence various conditions including inflammation, oxidative stress, glycemic control, and skin conditions like acne. Dermatologists will prescribe steroid creams, peelers, antibiotics that ruin the gut microbiome and only mask the problem anyway. Take those pre-biotics and pro-biotics to balance your gut and help with managing your inflammation and support skin health.
Avoid Tanning Beds and Sunlamps – These machines emit UV rays which contribute to wrinkles and skin aging. Get natural light and Vitamin D from the sun in small amounts (wear sunscreen or protective clothing).
Don’t Smoke – This is actually one of the worst things you can do, not just for your skin, but for overall health. Smoking and the chemicals in it accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin, resulting in premature aging, sallow complexion, and fine lines and wrinkles. It also ruins your gums and teeth and increases your risk for cancers, lung diseases, and other serious health effects.
Finally, Don’t Pick at Your Skin – I know, it’ tempting, but just don’t do it. The satisfaction of popping that pimple is never worth the scar it leaves.
Again, it’s not just what you eat, but what you do as well that impacts your skin. Adopting healthy habits that benefit your whole body will pay dividends for your skin.
#3 – Use Healthy Products and Supplements (When Needed)
Another way to support skin health is using healthy products and supplements when needed. Healthy products and cosmetics should be all natural and not contain parabens, petrochemicals, lead, or other toxins. Drugs and chemicals are easily absorbed through your skin and cause issues, including leaky gut.
So, how will you know if your products have these kinds of things? Check the label. A good rule of thumb, just like food, there should be limited ingredients and you should be able to pronounce them all.
If you like Apps, you can try the 6 leading applications that help you identify cleaner beauty and cosmetic products by scanning the label and getting a report of rating:
EWG Healthy Living
I started using the Think Dirty App about 4 years ago and was truly surprised to find out what ingredients were lurking in my prized products. Needless to say, a few changes were made.
As for supplements, a variety of nutrients play a role in healthy skin. Zinc deficiencies can contribute to eczema, acne, and other skin rashes and vitamin D can help treat skin problems like psoriasis and acne. At a minimum, go with a high-potency multivitamin/
mineral that provides baseline amounts of the of these and other nutrients.
A few other “skin saver” supplements you may want to explore include the following:
Probiotics – Good for the gut, fights inflammation and leaky gut. In cosmetics, probiotics can be applied to the skin microbiota directly and increase selectively the activity and growth of beneficial 'normal' skin microbiota. Some probiotic cosmetics targeting scalp disorders like dandruff, skin care like acne, and body care in hygiene are already on the market.
Omega-3 (fish oil) – Regulates the skin's oil production, improves balanced hydration, subdues breakouts, and minimizes signs of aging. Omega-3 can also help soften rough, dry skin, and have a soothing effect on irritation and dermatitis.
Vitamin A – Helps to speed up healing, prevent breakouts and support the skin's immune system and it promotes natural moisturizing - which means it helps to hydrate the skin effectively, giving it a radiant glow.
Vitamin C – Is an essential part of skin health both as a small molecular weight antioxidant and as a critical factor for collagen synthesis. Vitamin C contributes to photoprotection, decreases photodamage, and is needed for adequate wound healing.
Vitamin E – Is an anti-inflammatory agent in the skin, as several studies have supported its prevention of inflammatory damage after UV exposure. As mentioned above, topical vitamin E can reduce UV-induced skin swelling, skin thickness, erythema, and edema — all signs of skin inflammation.
Collagen – Collagen works with other substances, such as hyaluronic acid and elastin, to maintain skin elasticity, volume, and moisture. It also helps make up proteins such as keratin that form skin, hair, and nails.
CoQ10 – Coenzyme Q10, is full of antioxidant properties that protect the skin from environmental stressors, energizes the skin, and helps your skin retain moisture. In addition to its ability to help even out skin tone, it helps reduce dullness and tightens up the skin.
You should always aim to get what you need from the foods you eat. Additionally, always take your vitamins with a meal. Why you may ask? Supplements are not a replacement for good, but they can “supplement” what you may be missing in what you are eating. Also, many vitamins require food to work. So, taking vitamins without food is just like not eating. Read the label, follow the instructions.
Want more information on how to get the best skin possible, while improving your overall health? Book a complimentary consultation call to discuss all the tips, tools, and info you need to be Better4U and Better4All!
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Take care and be well,