How many of you have woken up in the morning only to see a stranger in the mirror looking back at you? Years of good or bad choices can contribute to the quality of not only your body, but your largest organ - your skin. The epidermis - or outer layer of skin- can be the first sign of how well you take care of yourself. As the evidence of our lifestyle choices will eventually show up in far more than our skin, it behooves us all to take the best care of our body and skin that we can.
If your motivation for good skin care is to look more youthful, than taking proper care of your skin will have the added bonus of creating a healthier body. If you wish to reduce acne breakouts, then a slight modification of diet might be necessary as well. Whatever your desired skin result, your overall health will be much improved by following a few easy steps.
Your everyday decisions shape how healthy you and your skin will be - it is that simple.
Here are some simple tips for basic skin care and a healthier body:
- Keep your skin clean so that it can breathe
- Give your skin plenty of moisture to keep it looking young and healthy
- Feed the skin key nutrients that it requires to rejuvenate and repair itself repeatedly
- Rid only the top layer of dead cells to promote rapid birth of new cells
- Protect against outside elements to prevent deterioration and/or damage
- Live a healthy life style
Skin is a living, breathing organ that regularly moves thousands of layers of skin cells each day. The skin is comprised of three layers - the subcutaneous layer - where fat cells are produced; the dermis - where you can find sweat glands, nerve endings and hair follicles, and the epidermis - the final outer layer of skin where pores and oil glands reside.
When new skin cells are ready, they start moving toward the epidermis. This trip takes about 2 weeks to a month. As newer cells continue to move up, older cells near the top die and rise to the surface of your skin. So what you really see on the surface of your skin are dead skin cells.
Keeping your skin properly cleansed and moisturized is vital to healthy, glowing skin. It is the basic of all skincare routines. Be sure to choose a cleanser and moisturizer best suited for your skin type. If you aren’t sure what that is, ask your friendly pharmacist or dermatologist for help. You skin can be acne-prone, oily, dry or a combination of the two. There are hundreds of specialized products out there to suite every skin type.
Feeding the skin means feeding the body. A good skin care regime will always include a healthy diet full of nutrients and vitamins. Whole, organic foods are best if you can get them. Leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains will keep your skin in top shape. Try to avoid junk foods or processed foods as much as possible. These foods rarely contain any real nutrition and can actually overload your skin with sugars and toxins to process.
A weekly light-exfoliation or facial scrub will do much to slough off the top layer of dead skin cells and reveal newer, healthier skin underneath. You can use a soft facial brush found in cosmetic counters, a rough washcloth or a light scrubbing pad as well as pre-packaged facial scrubs or facial masks.
Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure: While some sun exposure is necessary to produce vital Vitamin D, excessive sun exposure is very harmful to the skin. Without protection from the sun’s rays, more than 10 minutes of exposure each day can cause freckles, age spots, and spider veins on the face, rough and leathery skin, loose skin, a blotchy complexion and even skin cancer. If you must go outside, be sure to wear a good UV-blocking sunscreen like Zinc Oxide or wear protective clothing such as hats and long sleeves.
LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE STYLE
Although you have no control over intrinsic factors of aging, such as genetics, you are largely in control of the extrinsic factors. This is where you can make life-altering choices.
Don’t Smoke. You cannot have truly vital skin if you smoke, period. Smoking depletes your body of essential vitamins, which means you can’t have a healthy body either. If you do smoke, try your best to quit. Plenty has been reported and verified on the dangers of smoking and there are now numerous programs, patches and nicotine replacement therapies that can help you quit.
Exercise: Exercise gives you vitality. If you want fresh and youthful skin, physical activity is a must. It not only tones your muscles, but it increases blood flow to all areas of your body, especially your skin. Regular exercise reduces your stress levels, increases levels of oxygen circulating throughout the body, promoting rejuvenation and repair.
Avoid or Moderate Alcohol: Overindulgence of alcohol causes a decrease in the body’s level of vitamin A. This is a very important antioxidant vitamin that supports body and skin health. Alcohol also dilates small blood vessels in the skin’s surface, creating blemishes and red blotches. Drinking too much alcohol can exacerbate acne-rosacea. Due to the dehydrating effects of alcohol, skin wrinkles can occur after an extended period of alcohol abuse because the water in the body and skin is continually evaporated.
Reduce Stress: A good skin care routine and way of life can include meditation, yoga, relaxation, saunas, regular steams, exercise and most importantly, self love.
Get Plenty of Rest: Lack of sleep shows up on the face in forms of dark circles, baggy eyes, and saggy skin. Research has shown that most adults function best with eight to nine hours of sleep each night. While we sleep, our skin gets a chance to rest and rejuvenate. Your skin truly does need its “beauty sleep.”
You’ve only got ONE body. Healthy choices that you CAN make every day will have tremendous effect on the quality of your life and health. The body has amazing repair capabilities, and once you stop or reduce toxic behaviors, it will be better able to heal itself. Taking good care of yourself is the most important step in your skincare routine.
Author: Rachelle Dupree
Vivoderm Natural Skincare
Tip 1: Give Yourself a Dry Brush Exfoliation
A dry brush exfoliation can be done in the morning before you shower. It eliminates dead skin cells and allows the skin to detox (skin is the largest organ of elimination). Dry brush exfoliation also improves lymph and blood circulation and decreases puffiness. An added benefit is that the gentle pressure is calming to the nervous system. To give yourself a dry brush exfoliation, you’ll need a soft, natural bristle brush.
Tip 2: Rev Up Your Digestion
In alternative medicine, good skin is a reflection of a good digestive system. People with skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis often suffer from constipation, imbalanced “good” vs. “bad” bacteria, leaky gut, and other digestive conditions. The two most common sluggish digestion culprits are:
* Culprit #1: Not Enough Water Water bathes cells and eliminates waste products, preventing constipation.
* Culprit #2: Not Enough Fiber Most people lack fiber in their diets - the average person eats only 12 g of fiber a day. In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board established recommended fiber intakes. For men aged 19-50 years, 38 g fiber is recommended, and for men over 50, 31 g fiber is recommended. For women aged 19 to 50 years, 25 g fiber is recommended, and for women over 50, 21 g fiber is recommended.
* Some suggestions:
1. Add Whole Grains - Choose whole grain products over refined. Have brown rice instead of white or make your own 50:50 combination.
2. An Apple a Day - Have an apple, skin on, as a snack.
3. Eat Cauliflower - Try this delicious Roasted Cauliflower recipe!
4. High-fiber snacks - Snack on nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, such as dates, figs, and prunes.
5. Try a “Prune Power” Smoothie - Prunes are a great source of fiber. Start your day with this tasty Prune Power smoothie.
6. Eat Beans and Legumes - Open a can of your favorite beans or legumes. Rinse them well and add them to your meal.
7. Ground Flaxseeds - For any easy fiber boost, sprinkle ground flaxseeds (available at health food stores) on rice, salads, oatmeal, or any other meal. Store flaxseeds in the fridge.
Tip 3: Invigorate Sluggish Circulation
Do you sit at your desk for hours, only getting up to go to the bathroom? One of the best things you can do for your skin, stress level, and overall health is to get moving! Inactivity may affect skin and promote bloating and puffiness, acne, cellulite, and loss of muscle tone.
* Take a quick break to go outside and walk around the block.
* Book a massage therapy appointment.
* Close your door and stretch.
* Go to the gym.
* Start each morning by stretching.
* Get a skipping rope - raise your heart rate and do some good cardio.
Tip #4: Avoid Excess Sugar
Most people do not realize this but excess sugar is considered one of the main causes of premature aging. The more sugar we eat, the more sugar we have entering our bloodstream. Over time, this can result in a process known as glycation, which is when a glucose (sugar) molecule damages a protein molecule by sticking to it. The new molecules formed are called advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs. AGEs damage collagen in skin, cartilage, and ligaments and promote a loss of elasticity. Wrinkles form and skin begins to sag.
* Try This - It may seem impossible to reduce your sugar intake, but it can be done! A gradual approach works best. In the next week, choose one thing you’re going to do to decrease the amount of sugar you consume. For example, start by cutting the amount of sugar in your daily coffee or tea by half. Every week, find another way you can decrease your sugar intake. Pretty soon, you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come!
Tip #5: Eat Some Good Fats
Essential fatty acids are simply fats your body cannot live without. They are needed to make cell membranes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Essential fats are thought to keep your heart healthy, fight inflammation, and possibly prevent cancer. They are also particularly important to people with inflammatory conditions such as eczema and acne, and also for people with dry skin. People with essential fat deficiency sometimes notice bumps on the backs of their arms. Here are my suggestions on getting more essential fats:
* Flaxseed and walnut oil - Use flaxeed oil or walnut oil with balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing. Be sure to keep these oils refrigerated. They should not be heated or used for cooking.
* Cold water fish - Sardines are a good source of essential fats. Salmon is another good source, however these salmon accumulate toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (otherwise known as PCBs) in their body fat during the 95 percent of their lives they spend at sea.
* Supplements - Consider fish oil supplements.