Skin is the body’s largest organ. As such, its integrity is essential to good health. When our skin’s health is impacted by environmental toxins, chemicals, malnutrition and other factors, it shows. Maintaining healthy, beautiful skin takes takes a little work, but it can reap real dividends.
So how can we eat and drink our way to healthy skin? Below is a list of foods that can go a long way towards maintaining supple, healthy skin.
Rich in polyphenols, green tea's antioxidants can help minimize environmental damage. Drink with just a little lemon for maximum effect.
Clean, clear water - it's essential. Not only does it help the kidneys flush out toxins, but by staying hydrated, your skin will feel smoother and dewier than without it.
Organic cold-pressed olive oil is a powerhouse, containing Vitamins A & E, and squalene, which makes it good for nourishing skin and hair. Not to mention the cholesterol-lowering benefits imparted by its polyunsaturated fat content.
Avocados are rich in many Vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A & E. It is also high in monounsaturated fat, a water-soluble fat that makes it great in homemade hair and skin masks.
Tomatoes and Peppers - Rich in Lycopene and Vitamin C, these foods help protect against environmental stress.
Aside from their health benefits, berries are high in antioxidants like Anthocyanins and Vitamin C. They're also shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Nuts and seeds are rich in Vitamins E, protein and essential minerals like selenium, magnesium and zinc. Essential fatty acids like omega-3s help keep skin supple. And they sure taste good!
Citrus fruits offer soluble fiber, Vitamin C - a natural skin brightener with antioxidants to prevent cell damage.
Of course, it goes without saying that buying organic whenever possible will help minimize the accumulation of pesticides in the body. It’s great to know that you really can eat (and drink) your way to better skin.
Here’s proof that what’s old is new again. Multi-purpose body oils have been on the scene for the past few years, and their popularity hasn’t diminished. From Dry Oils and Face Oils to Massage Oils and Cleansing oils, there’s no denying that an ancient practice is here to stay.
History is full of stories of ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians who used oils like castor, sesame, olive, and sweet almond to keep skin supple and beautiful. They were an integral part of their skincare rituals and some were even precursors to modern formulations like Pond’s Cold Cream.
Some might still believe that oil-based skincare is only good for dry skin, but that’s not so. The vast variety of plant-based oils available today promise benefits to all skin types, from dry to oily to problem skin. How can these oils provide benefits to the skin? I’ll begin with a few major carrier oils:
Dry or mature skin can benefit from olive, coconut, almond and sesame oils. Their fatty acids provide effective moisturization. Coconut oil may clog pores in some individuals, so test them with small amounts to find the one that works best.
Normal and combination skin can benefit from avocado, hemp seed, meadowfoam seed, argan, and babassu oils. These oils can penetrate the skin quickly and nourish skin with oleic and linoleic fatty acids and Vitamins C and E. Argan oil has been used in Morocco for centuries.
Oily skin can benefit from jojoba, pomegranate, flax seed and baobab oils. They help maintain the skin’s acid mantle and help prevent cell membrane breakdown. Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax that closely resembles our skin’s own sebum.
Other oils that have come on the scene can treat specific skin problems. Rosehip oil is rich with antioxidants and can help restore moisture to stressed, tired skin. Black cumin oil is anti-inflammatory and can help with skin conditions like acne. Tamanu oil from Madagascar has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Oils can be good for the hair, as well. While the keratin structure of hair is different from living skin tissue, many problems with frizzy, dry, or flyaway hair can be remedied with just a few drops of a nourishing oil like olive, coconut, castor, or argan oil. You can also find oil combinations that lend various properties to a product. The secret is in experimenting to find what works best for your particular hair type.
There are many ways to use the new multi-purpose oils, which is what makes them so handy to have around. They can be used as gentle cleansers, for makeup removal, and to hair wet or dry. Our own Dry Oil with Lavender and Bergamot oils works as a multi-purpose oil – good for massage, to condition dry strands, or as an after-shower oil. A little goes a long way, saving busy consumers times and money. By trying them out, you’re bound to find one that you love. Find out for yourself why body oils can be good for all skin types.
We’ve often heard that “you are what you eat.” When it comes to your skin, the same is true. While many “fad” diets were developed to help people lose weight, little consideration is given to the impact that they have on the skin. The best diet consists of health-promoting foods that keep our skin healthy, too.
Our bodies function optimally at a very narrow pH – 7.3-7.5, which is slightly alkaline. Our diets can often create an acidic environment which can contribute to disease states in the body. The same can be said for our skin. Normal skin has an “acid mantle” somewhere near a pH of 5. Our skin produces sebum which creates a barrier. This prevents drying and protects the skin from harmful bacteria, while supporting beneficial bacteria. When this natural barrier is stripped away by harsh products, it creates an imbalance that can contribute to skin problems.
Our diets may also contribute to skin imbalance by creating an imbalance in the body. Our modern diets are often low in fiber and fresh vegetables, which can make our bodies work harder to digest food and can lead to kidney and gallstones. We often don’t drink enough water, which is needed for proper muscle, kidney and skin function. It also allows the body to flush out toxins and prevent dehydration. Fresh fruits and vegetables also have a high water content. The following foods can contribute to a healthy body and glowing skin:
1) Foods high in antioxidants like berries, spices, dark leafy greens, and green tea, help reduce free-radical damage on the skin as well as in the body.
2) Foods rich in Vitamins C (orange, pineapple, papaya) help to maintain skin integrity and promote healing.
3) Foods high in beta-carotene (squash, sweet potato, kale) can help protect against sun damage.
4) Foods irhc in Vitamine E (nuts, wheat germ, leafy greens, cold-pressed oils, fish oil) can help protect the body’s lipid-bearing membranes (including skin).
5) Drinking adequate fluids (purified water or herb tea) help prevent dehydration, which can cause skin drying and helps maintain the body’s normal functioning.
6) Foods high in fiber (wheat germ, beans, dark leafy greens) can help the body remove toxins from the body, while supporting beneficial gut bacteria.
By taking the time to find the right diet and skincare regimen, we can go a long way towards maintaining optimal health, inside and out.
There’s a lot of confusing information out there regarding lifestyle changes that may help to slow the passage of time. Some make perfect sense; avoiding cigarettes and too much sun, or drinking lots of water, are important for maintaining supple skin and preventing wrinkles. However, there are other steps that we can take that may not immediately come to mind. These steps can go a long way towards holding back the clock when it comes to your face. Below is a list of anti-aging tips you may not have thought of.
Exercise your face.
Many of us exercises our bodies regularly in order to keep our muscles strong and toned. Regular exercise can certainly benefit our skin by improving circulation, which can speed cell turnover. But our facial muscles need exercise, too. A few simple moves can help to tone the jaw line and minimize sagging. You can find instructions on how to exercise your facial muscles by going to the Livestrong page on how to tone your face.
Avoid pulling or tugging around the eye area.
The skin around your eyes is thin and delicate. It’s important to avoid tugging at this delicate eye area when putting on or taking off makeup in order to avoid making bags and wrinkles worse. There are many natural eye makeup removers that are gentle, while cleaning off makeup thoroughly. If you aren’t sure what to use, try soaking a cotton pad in olive or coconut oil and using this to remove makeup. Oil attracts oil, so makeup should come off easily without a lot of effort. You can then follow this with a mild detergent-free cleanser or eye cream. Always use a light touch when applying eye cream or serum. Avoid vigorously rubbing your eyes or squinting, as well.
Pay attention to how you sleep.
Your sleep habits may be contributing to the development of wrinkles. For example, do you sleep on your side or on your stomach? If so, the friction caused by your sheets can cause it to develop creases that can become permanent wrinkles over time. Sleeping on your back can certainly help. If this doesn’t work for you, look for satin sheets and pillowcases. A satin pillowcase can reduce friction and help prevent creases to your face. It can also be good for your hair by minimizing static electricity and minimizing friction to the hair’s cuticle.
Cut down on sugar intake.
It’s well known that excess sugar consumption causes a phenomenon known as glycation. When this happens, sugar molecules attach themselves to protein and lip molecules in the skin, resulting in loss of elasticity and damage to collagen and elastin. This can lead to sagging and wrinkle formation. Try to limit your total sugar intake to between 6 an 9 teaspoons per day. Read labels to determine how much added sugar is in your food. Limit sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice. Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is also important.
Eat a healthy diet.
“You are what you eat” was never more true than when talking about our skin. Often the foods that we eat may be lacking in essential antioxidants, which are needed to fight free radical damage to our skin. Environmental toxins can also create free radicals, and too much sugar or processed foods can affect our immune system, lowering our skin’s ability to heal. In fact, there are often a combination of factors that together can contribute to lowered circulation, hormone disruption, illness, and ultimately dull, lifeless skin.
By making a few simple lifestyle changes, we can go a long way towards keeping the largest organ in our body as smooth and supple as possible as we age.