Beautiful Skin From the Inside Out and the Outside In
The health and beauty industry is a billion dollar machine dedicated to mostly chemical potions promising a solution for every skin ailment. However, growing evidence shows these chemicals often do more harm than good. If you want beautiful radiant skin, it’s best to take a two pronged approach: avoid chemicals in your products and focus on creating skin health from the inside – what you eat and drink. Below are 5 tips for diet changes to improve your skin. But first let’s talk about the nasties in many of the skincare products on the market today.
Four of the worst chemicals to look for in your cosmetics, lotions, creams, and soaps
- phthalates, a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products to increase the flexibility and softness of plastics, they are known to be endocrine disruptors and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.
- parabens, widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products, parabens possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer.
- Triclosan, another chemical used to limit the growth of bacteria and mold, it is found in antibacterial soaps and deodorants. This chemical, which is classified as a pesticide, can affect the body’s hormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development.
- Fragrance, an intentionally vague word that covers a host of “proprietary” chemicals that make products smell nice. The problem is that according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database, fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory problems and potential effects on the reproductive system. “Fragrance” can be found in perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturizers.
There are thousands of chemicals used in skin care products, many of which are absorbed into our body through our skin, putting great strain on our livers and kidneys. With chemicals everywhere, you may want to throw in the towel, figuring there’s no way to avoid them. But there is something you can do.
I highly recommend converting your cosmetics and skin care products to a certified organic line that doesn’t use any chemicals and uses essential oils as the fragrance. I use and sell Neal’s Yard Remedies, a 34 year old company out of the UK. They offer amazing certified organic health and beauty products and it’s nice to know I’m not putting anything nasty on my skin.
How does food factor in?
Many skin issues like acne, psoriasis, and eczema, can have their root cause in food intolerances or allergies. A dairy allergy is very often the cause of acne, and a gluten intolerance is often the cause of psoriasis and eczema. Eliminating either dairy or gluten from your diet for a minimum of 3 weeks, may show surprising improvements in these conditions.
The bacteria in the gut may also be a factor. There are millions of bacteria in the human gut that need to be in balance for our bodies to function properly. Taking antibiotics can wreak havoc on this balance, as can eating foods you are allergic to. To bring back balance to the digestive system, try taking a course of probiotics and/or eating probiotic rich fermented foods like yogurt or kefir (unless you are allergic to dairy!), sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and get this: high quality dark chocolate, which can have up to 4 times the probiotics of many forms of dairy!
Here are more good foods to eat for beautiful skin:
- Drink enough water. Water is vital to help flush out toxins and keep skin clear and hydrated. It will also help plump up dry wrinkles.
- Eat good fats especially Omega 3’s. All good fats are great for your skin as they help to repair the protective barrier that keeps moisture locked in. Some good fat sources are extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado, and for Omega 3’s eat wild caught Alaska salmon, ground flax seeds, and chia seeds.
- For blemish-prone or sensitive skin, first try eliminating dairy and adding a probiotic as I mentioned above. Good foods to eat include a diet rich in greens, including watercress, spinach, collard greens. The Vitamin A in these leafy greens helps normalize the production of excess oil.
I drink the Superfood Organic Greens Complex from NYR to make sure I’m getting plenty of healthy greens.
- Load up on antioxidants. Fresh fruits and vegetables and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger are great sources of antioxidants that help maintain healthy skin. These foods fight free-radical damage that can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, and sagging skin.
- Eliminate Sugar. This is possibly one of the best things you can do for your skin. Sugar is not only highly inflammatory making problem skin worse, it also eats away at the collagen in your skin, making wrinkles worse.
So get the nasties out of your skincare for improvements from the outside in, and make a few diet adjustments to help create radiant skin from the inside out. Please let me know what changes you’ve made to improve your skin condition.