Start by taking a look at what should go in the body. These are the building blocks of good skin care.
1. Glucosamine- Glucosamine helps repair damage done by free radicals and inflammation. This will help rebuild the matrix or connective tissue in your skin. Make glucosamine part of your good skin care plan and supplement it into your diet.
2. Amino Acids- Amino acids repair collagen and elastin, which are responsible for wrinkles and sagging skin. Collagen and elastin are also responsible for the health of your blood vessels that lie within the dermis layer. Healthy blood vessels mean better circulation of water and nutrients to your skin. We produce 11 of the 20 amino acids required by our bodies. The other 9 are found in our diet. Find them in:
• Omega-3 rich fish
• Vegetables-especially dark leafy greens
• White Poultry
• Whole Grains/Dried grains
3. Essential Fatty Acids- EFA help with skin structure, they keep skin smooth, and fight inflammation. Omega 3 and 6 are fatty acids. Omega-6 is high in our diets from red meats, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and margarine. Good skin care cannot happen without Omega-3. We often do not eat enough Omega-3 fats. Eat more Omega-3 rich foods:
• Nuts – walnuts
• Cold water fish – salmon, sardines, tuna, herring, mackerel, and halibut
• Seeds – flaxseed and flaxseed oil
• Olive Oil – uncooked
4. B Vitamins and Trace Minerals- Vitamins and minerals help amino acids metabolize, or get into, collagen and elastin. Vitamin C and E have also been found to prevent sun damage. Remember prevention is another part of good skin care practices.
5. Antioxidants- These are your skin warriors. They fight free radical and inflammation damage by donating one of their electrons. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a very powerful antioxidant found in small amounts in certain foods. Protect your collagen and elastin from becoming damaged. Enjoy younger looking soft skin.
Find antioxidants in:
• Vitamin A – Carrots and orange and yellow fruits and veggies
• Vitamin C – Citrus Fruits and Goji Berries
• Vitamin E – Whole Grains and nuts
• Bright Colored Fruits and Vegetables
• Red Beans
• Spinach- High ALA
• Broccoli-High ALA
• Potatoes – High ALA
• Polyphenols- green teas, red and purple grape skins, and pomegranates
6. Reduce Pro-Inflammatory Items and Fight Premature Skin Aging
• Refined Carbohydrates
• Trans Fats
A Note on Raw Foods
Many of the nutrients found in our food are lost when heated. Vitamins and amino acids are destroyed and the actual biochemical makeup of some nutrients is altered by heat. Water content of veggies is also reduced when heated via cooking. For some, the answer is to go completely raw; however, this is not for everyone. I suggest supplementing your diet with raw foods as snacks or a replacement of one meal in your day.
Water is vital to healthy glowing skin. The amount you need on a daily basis depends on what kind of climate you live in, how much sweat your body produces, and how many leafy greens you consume. However, the general rule is to take your body weight and divide that number by two. This will give you how many ounces you should drink in a day.
Example: A woman weighs 120 pounds. Her weight divided by two = 60. Therefore, she should drink 60 ounces of water a day.
Tips to get enough water:
• Have multiple glasses around your house or work. If you see the glass of water you will remember to drink.
• Use a measure or Mason jar to see how much water you are drinking
• Do not tempt yourself with other beverages by keeping them out of the house
• Increase water consumption with strenuous exercise or excessive sun exposure
• Don’t wait until you are thirsty. This means that you are already dehydrated.
If you do not drink enough water then your skin becomes dry and flaky. The body sends water to skin last because it is not considered a vital organ. Make sure that your skin gets enough water every day.
Choosing Good Skin Care Products
It is important to understand that what you put on your skin goes into your skin and into your blood system. Therefore, it is important to look for skin care products that are:
• Paraben free
• Ophthalmologist tested
• Allergy tested
• Botanically based
• Colorant free
• Fragrance free
• No synthetic oils
• No animal testing
Moderate Regular Exercise
Join a gym or local jogging/walking group. Get active with your kids or find a sport that is exciting. Whatever you do to get moving is great for your health and makes for good skin care. Just make sure that you do not go overboard. Exercise improves our cardiovascular system. This increases circulation of water and nutrients to the skin.
Unfortunately, one can have too much of a good thing. Excessive exercise produces high numbers of free radicals and inflammation. Give your body and skin a break by adding moderate exercise into your lifestyle on a regular basis.
Help your body and mind become rested and calm. Improve your stress level, circulation, and muscle tension. Lend a hand and oxygenate your brain and make your day clear. Stress leads to pimples, rough, dry skin, and inflammation. Practice good skin care by monitoring your stress levels with meditation and deep breathing exercises.
• Start with 5 to 10 minutes
• Find a quiet spot to sit
• Focus your thoughts on a calm idea or color
• Do not use this time to build a to-do list
• Relax your body starting from head to toe
• Let your breathing fall into a steady rhythm
• Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
2. Breathing– Our breathing is a reflection of our emotions. When we are upset we often take shallow quick breaths. When we are upset our breathing is irregular and when we are bored, long. Focus on your breath and improve your digestion, lower your pulse rate, and kick start your immune system.
Tips for breathing
• Start by taking in air for 5 seconds and out for 10 seconds
• Slowing increase your numbers
• Breathe from your lower stomach not your chest
Imagine you are blowing up a giant balloon or that the air is a color and you are inhaling all of that color into your being. I learned this from a Tai Chi class and love the idea.
Sleeping for Good Skin Care
I am a mother of a toddler and fully understand that sleep is a treasured commodity in my home. Regeneration occurs as we sleep. Therefore, try to get 8 hours of sleep per night.
• Do not eat or drink anything after 8pm especially caffeine
• Exercise regularly
• Get in bed at the same time every night
• Start a pre-bed relaxing routine
• Buy a comfortable pillow and mattress
• Make your room dark, cool, and comfy
• Do not rely on sleeping pills – they are very addicting