We’ve all heard the expression “you are what you eat,” and your skin is no exception.
Simple Fact: Your skin is your largest organ. It is our protective covering and our first line of defense to fight illness and disease. It is also a passageway to our bloodstream. That being said, what you apply topically on your skin, as well as what you eat, will affect the overall health & appearance of your skin.
When looking to improve skin texture, reduce wrinkles, clear up acne or just support your skin overall, it’s important to start from the inside out, not the outside in.
A quote from one of my favourite skin docs: “Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keep skin supple and smooth and help fight age-related damage”, says Nicholas Perricone, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and author of “Ageless Face, Ageless Mind.”
So, how do we support the skin from the inside out?
First off, we need to hydrate the skin. That means drinking plenty of water. You need at least the recommended 8 glasses/day, but if you are physically active or live in a warm climate, you may need to up your daily intake. Ideally, you want to drink 1/2 an ounce of water per pound of body weight.
Also, as we age, our skin tends to become dehydrated a lot more quickly, causing it to wrinkle, so ample hydration is key.
Secondly, support your skin by eating superfoods! And I’m not just talking about the superfoods that come from the amazon or cost lots of money, I’m talking about simple, accessible fruits and vegetables. Food that you can fill your plate with today!
Fruits and veggies are loaded with incredible antioxidants, vitamins and essential fats that support the health of our skin and our body.
Here are my top picks:
- Omega-3 fatty acids – found in fatty fish, such as herring, sardines, and salmon. Other sources of omega-3s include flaxseeds & walnuts. Omega-3s are known to decrease inflammation and may reduce the risk of acne and other skin problems.
- Vitamin C – helps produce collagen & prevents cells from damage caused by free radicals. Great sources are oranges, pineapples, tomato, strawberries, bell peppers and kiwi’s (which actually contain more vitamin C than oranges!).
- Vitamin E – helps limit sun damage & signs of aging. Almonds are a terrific source of Vitamin E, so are, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.
- Vitamin A – revitalizes skin by increasing cell production and rebuilds tissue. Eggs and dark leafy greens are good choices as well as tropical fruits, peppers and dried apricots.
- Beta-Carotene is needed for growth & repair of tissue. It is found in abundance in orange foods like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.
- Monounsaturated fats – such as olive oil, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans and avocados, all provide essential nutrients that scavenge free radicals. Plus they support the cardiovascular system.
Other fabulous foods to include to boost your skin health: dark leafy vegetables, mushrooms, berries, and my favourite, dark chocolate!
It’s important to note that your skin is a “breathable” organ. Yes, it literally breathes, which is why it’s so important to be cautious of what you put on it. Typically, we slather on thick creams to help us moisturize, deodorants to stop us from sweating and makeup to cover up pores.
All we’re really doing is stopping our skin from naturally releasing toxins (sweat is one of the ways we release them!), and absorbing chemicals directly into our fat cells (which is where toxins like to accumulate).
Up to 60% of what you apply topically on your skin will be absorbed into your bloodstream, and children absorb even more than that!
Imagine the products you’ve been using for years actually contain harmful ingredients and could damage your health. If so, your first instinct would be to find a healthier alternative, pronto!
Heightened awareness and potential dangers have caused consumers to take a closer look at what they put on their skin and demand safer alternatives.
Many cosmetic companies do not list their ingredients, aka. toxic chemicals, because they are not required to do so.
Several of these toxic chemicals are linked to a host of problems including: allergies, skin rashes, cancer, headaches, fertility & reproductive issues, birth defects, hormonal issues, and more.
Some toxic chemicals that should be avoided are:
- Parabens – often found in deodorants & moisturizers, parabens are hormone inhibitors & believed to accelerate tumor growth
- Artificial fragrance & color – may trigger allergies, asthma, and some colors contain lead & harmful dyes
- Toulene – found in nail polish, hair color products, and some fragrances, this chemical is linked to kidney & liver damage, which may affect fetal growth
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate – a foaming agent found in shampoos and body/facial washes, it dries out the skin & is linked to eczema, hair- loss, rashes, and dry and scaly skin.
- Formaldehyde – used as a preservative, formaldehyde is known by several different names & should be avoided at all costs, as the side effects are numerous
- PEG’s – found in numerous skin & personal care products, this is anti-freeze and should be used in for your car, not your skin!
- Paraffin/Mineral Oil/Petrolatum – clogs pores, causing toxic build-up
- Phthalates – found in plastics, it is a known hormone disruptor
- Triclosan – used in anti-bacterial products, it is a pesticide, harmful to the environment, and a suspected carcinogenic
These are just some of the harmful ingredients to watch out for. You can look up what’s in your skin care by visiting one of my favorite sites: http://www.ewg.org
You can search ingredients and companies, which will help you to become an informed consumer.
Lastly, don’t beat yourself up over this information. If you’ve been using toxic products for years and didn’t know it, now is the time to make the switch to something cleaner and more natural.
Stay tuned for next week’s post where I’ll share some of my favourite beauty care companies to check out!
In the meantime, I want to hear from you! Are you using an toxic beauty care products? If so, what are you going to ditch from your cupboards or make up bag today? Share in the comments below.
P.S. If you’re looking for more info on holistic skin care, check out these articles here: