Our skin is the largest organ of the body. The outer layer of the skin is called the Epidermis, which has the ability to constantly regenerate itself, producing new cells and shedding the dead ones.
The appearance and the condition of your skin are essential to your overall health. When your body’s skin is healthy it works harder to protect your body. The condition of your skin will also reflect in its smoothness, hydration, and even its colour. There are a number of different internal and external factors that affect your skins health. Some of these factors are out of our control, but there are many others that we are in control of to keep our skin healthy and looking good. Factors affecting skin are genetics and hormones (puberty, pregnancy, menopause). Some controllable factors affecting skin are UV radiation, aggressive products, workplace chemicals, washing too much, nutrition (a poor diet is one of the leading causes of dry skin, when you consume a well-balanced diet with all the right minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, you will help keep your skin healthy and in good condition. Make sure your diet has a mix of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean sources of protein), therapeutic treatments, lack of exercise, and smoking.
Just drinking more water isn’t enough to clear dry skin. There is more and more evidence supporting healthy food choices to improve the skin’s overall health and vibrancy. Eating a well balanced diet can shave year’s off your appearance. The right balance of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins will not only repair damaged skin it will also maintain its health and enhance it’s appearance.
Some common skin problems and how to deal with them are:
Dark circles under your eyes, is caused by too much sodium/salt. Increasing your potassium levels (bananas, coconut water) is very helpful, because potassium turns sodium to waste.
Acne is often caused by a poor diet. A diet high in sugar, specifically refined sugar, and heavily processed foods.
Eczema is also diet related. Reducing sugar and dairy intake can greatly reduce or even eliminate eczema.
There are many great foods that you need to be adding to your diet to increase the nutrients that are essential to healthy skin and hair. The nutrients that are essential to healthy skin and hair are Vitamins A, C, E, K, Biotin (B7), Calcium, Zinc, Omega 3, Inositol, Glutamine, and Selenium. Here are just a few foods packed full of these nutrients to get you started:
- Egg yolks
- Leafy green vegetables
- Seeds and nuts
- Fermented foods
- Fresh garlic
Tomatoes are also great for skin, high in Vitamin C and Lycopene. Lycopene is the skin’s natural SPF.
Having a healthy gut flora is very important to beautiful skin and hair. It is important for the production of many nutrients that we keep our “friendly” colon bacteria active and doing their job. To aid this process we should minimize our use of oral antibiotics, avoid excess sugars and processed foods, and occasionally evaluate and treat any abnormal organisms interfering in our colon, such as yeasts or parasites. See my blog post Let’s Talk Probiotics and Prebiotics to get your gut flora healthy.
The next best thing you should be considering is to eliminate the chemicals from your beauty routine. There are a wide range of natural skin care products out there (I make some myself that can be purchased). Always be sure to do your research and read labels. Many makeup companies that claim their products are mineral based, but only contain 10% or less minerals and the rest is a chemical disaster. You can’t always control what your skin is absorbing, so it’s essential to be conscious of what you are putting directly on your skin. Over-washing your skin and hair will strip away the natural oils and make your skin and hair extra dry, and lack luster. Do what works for you, and add some of these tips to get beautiful skin and hair!