19 Mar Is Beauty only Skin Deep?
Wow is that a painful question! With the rise in sexy magazine covers and the desire to look like the cover girl or guy, Americans are constantly looking for the way to look and feel better. Is beauty only skin deep? My experience is that you need to work at your outer appearance two ways; what you put in your body and what you put on your body. Let’s start with what you put in your body. The foundation of my four pillars is supplementation, which is designed to make up for what is missing from your diet. Healthy skin grows from the inside out-right? Well, then proper nutrition is the best way to achieve the skin you have always wanted-regardless of your age. Antioxidants are a great start. Antioxidants can help your body fight the free radical damage that causes us to age. Free radicals cause us to “rust” and that “rust” leads to break downs in your skin (the largest organ of the body). Wrinkles, age spots, skin cancer all have links back to free radical damage and the one thing we know is that consuming antioxidants helps neutralize free radicals. The following are a few of the more popular antioxidants I would use to help reduce free radical damage:
• Alpha Lipoic Acid
• Co Q10
• Grape Seed Extract
• Green Tea
• Mixed carotenoids
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
This list could be endless because many of the herbals like Green Tea are high naturally in Antioxidants.
Another important supplement for skin health is Water. (Why do you think they use the phrase “dried up old person”?). If you want to literally “see” what I am talking about, place a raisin (dried up old grape) into a glass of water tonight when you go to bed. In the morning it won’t be a shriveled up raisin, but it will look more like the young grape it used to be. It may sound funny, but most of us don’t consume enough water and therefore I call water a supplement. How much depends on you and your activity levels. The bare minimum should be ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day. Example: 150lbs x ½. = 75oz of water/day. If you are an active person, then you will require more. Since your body is made up primarily of water, it is important to make sure you are well hydrated. I have seen many people have wrinkles disappear just by consuming more water alone. Give it a try; your body will thank you.
The last internal supplement suggestion is to use EFAs (Essential Fatty Acid) supplement. Vegetarian products containing Chia, Flax, Borage or Evening Primrose oil are very effective and provide the extra good fats needed for healthy, smooth and supple skin. Fish oil is another favorite in my skin health supplement program. It can also provide you with the EFA’s needed for healthier skin. On a personal note, many of my friends and family have used EFAs to eliminate the dry skin and other skin issues that have affected them for years. How much to take depends on your needs. I tend to need more EFAs and judge my need on how my skin feels.
Externally there is also an abundance of things you can do to support healthy skin. Many of these topical products contain moisturizing agents such as palm oil, almond oil or shea butter. They even taught us about these in my pharmacy school program. Often time’s herbal extracts will be added to these types of ingredients to achieve other benefits. I usually recommend adding calendula, lavender or chamomile if you have itchy or irritated skin. Adding antioxidants like Co Q10, Green Tea, E, Alpha Lipoic acid and even berry extracts has become popular now. The belief is that by applying these directly to free radical damaged skin (from sun, chemicals, perfumes etc) you can attack the damage at the point of contact. To date, there is limited research showing that this will work effectively. Having said this, I am still a firm believer in using antioxidants topically to assist in the fight against free radical damage.
On top of the nutritional benefits of using these natural skin care products is the fact that most of them will NOT contain harmful chemicals that can and will contribute to destroying your healthy skin cells. Your skin is like a large sponge and will absorb the toxins in anything that touches it. These toxins will not only harm your skin, but will eventually make their way into your blood stream. Once in your blood stream, these toxins can cause damage to any part of your body. You should also look into purchasing a shower filtration device. Your skin will feel smother, hair silkier and your lungs will thank you too.
Other aspects that will positively impact your outer appearance are:
Limit exposure to UV rays (Sun)
Avoid applying products with synthetic colors or fragrances
Avoid petroleum-based products
Avoid methyl- ethyl- and propyl- paraben containing products
Avoid foods that may trigger skin conditions such as: wheat, dairy and eggs)
Finally, it is important to stress that beauty is not just skin deep. You are on the outside what you are on the inside. There is a philosophy in natural medicine that your skin is a direct reflection of your bowel health. This may sound gross, but I believe it to be true. If you are having other issues like acne, eczema or psoriasis you may wish to cleanse. Using the pre-packaged products like Cleanse Smart, Ultimate Cleanse or even the tea Flor*Essence are great for eliminating toxins from the body and can have remarkable effects on skin health. Even if you don’t have “bad” skin, it is recommended to cleanse internally at least two times yearly.
Remember, looking young is not something that happens overnight. It takes weeks and even months of taking care of yourself inside and out to achieve the looks you want. Be patient and committed to the program. You will love what you see in the mirror.