Simple Steps for Healthier Skin
At some point in every woman’s life she will be obsessed with her skin. It may start as early as adolescence with acne, eczema, or dry skin. It may be stretchmarks that arrive during pregnancy. Or she could have great skin until she reaches forty and notices that wrinkles have arrived seemingly overnight. Another woman may wake up in her sixties and become dismayed at the lack of elasticity in her skin.
Whatever the age skin plays a huge role in our confidence, self-esteem, and even job potential. I had a patient in her late fifties ask me about Botox and fillers. She wanted to interview for a new position and was concerned about her hire ability because she didn’t want to be passed over for looking “old”.
Western medicine has Dermatology, an entire specialty dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions. In the last 15 years, medical aesthetics and plastic surgery have become the new normal for addressing skin conditions that do not respond to topical treatments, anti-aging creams and moisturizers.
This is the world we live in, people whom we do not know make decisions about us based on external appearances. This feeds into the greatest myth of all time…which is that self-satisfaction comes from things outside of ourselves.
The desire to appear younger than we are doesn’t help. Sixty is the new fifty and fifty is the new forty etc.
Skin health much like self-satisfaction is an inside job.
Simply put it has less to do with the outside and more to do with the inside.
While a decrease in the hormones estrogen and testosterone does attribute to some of the skin laxity that comes with age it is not the whole enchilada. There are other forces at work behind the scenes that affect the health of your skin.
Liver feeds the skin – Blood rushes into the liver. The liver cleans the blood. The liver then pumps the blood back to the heart to be sent out to the rest of the body. It makes sense then that the blood that is cleaned by the liver feeds the skin.
Here are some essential nutrients that your skin needs: Vitamin C, Zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, silica, and beta carotene.
Silica is found in artichoke, cucumber, asparagus, all berries, and cherries.
Beta carotene is one of the varieties of carotenoids that give fruit and vegetables their pigment. It is found in deeply colored yellow or orange fruits and vegetables. It is also found in leafy greens.
Leafy greens include kale, spinach, all lettuce varieties, and chard.
Fruits include mango, papaya, cantaloupe, and watermelon.
Vegetables include carrots, sweet potato, tomato, broccoli, and winter squash including pumpkin.
When I think about Mangos, I can’t help but remember that line in the Jimmy Buffet song, “You can shake the hand of the mango man as he meets you at the Border.”
Have you ever been to a place that has a mango man? I met one while I was traveling in Ecuador. He had a little cart and sold mangos for fifty cents. He would peal and cut the mango for you and hand it to you in a paper cup.
Mangos are very high in beta carotene. For living on the Equator, Ecuadorians have very low levels of skin cancer. Skin cancer weighs in as the 47th cause of death for them.
I have an idea, maybe we should swap out the food trucks filled with pulled pork and opt for mango trucks instead.
If you have liver spots that is a sign that the blood coming from the liver to your skin is deficient and maybe even toxic. Liver spots are darkened patches that develop on the skin with age. They develop with age because they are a result of long standing deficiencies in a body. Deficiencies that develop over decades as your body waits patiently for nutrients to arrive. My patients typically see their liver spots start to fade after a 3-week detox or a high plant based change to their eating habits.
I’ve said this before and I will continue to say that you should shoot for five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. If you really want to help your skin focus on the foods I have listed above and eat them consistently for two months.
To help your liver reduce animal fats, processed fats, fried foods. Fats slow down your liver’s ability to detoxify. You want to speed up your liver crank not slow it down.
Some of the easiest ways to add in fresh fruits and vegetables to your day are to eliminate dairy and snack foods such as crackers, chips, pretzels, and protein bars. I call these “crutch foods”.
Crutch foods are foods that you lean on in a pinch to satisfy hunger. (Kind of like a pair of crutches) They act as filler. Once your stomach is filled up with filler there is no room for fruits and veggies.
Instead of a crutch food reach for a fruit, a smoothie, fresh pressed juice, a salad, or sliced veggies dipped into hummus or guacamole.
At my house, I keep the fruit bowl completely stocked at all times. I notice that my husband and son are way more willing to reach for fruit if is washed and stacked nicely in front of their face.
Let’s face it we’re all lazy and when it’s there we eat it and when it’s not we don’t. (My family is so lazy they weren’t even washing the fruit, that’s why I wash everything before I put it in the fruit bowl.)
Hydration is very important for skin
Drinking plain water is not enough. Most of us are walking around chronically dehydrated. Think about what you drank this morning? Coffee? Tea? How many cups? How much water did you drink? How many cups of water will you drink before lunch today? Will you reach for another iced tea this afternoon?
All coffee, tea, soda, and fake beverages contribute to the dehydration.
When you sweat, you release concentrated salts. You need to replenish these salts.
Plain water does not replenish the electrolytes needed for water to be properly absorbed by the cell wall.
Good hydration comes from water combined with electrolytes from fruit.
A good example is lemon or lime water. Squeeze ¼ of a lemon into 16 oz. of water and drink 2 glasses each day.
Fruit provides some of the best hydration money can buy for dried out, sagging skin. This is because when fruit absorbs water into it those water molecules are transformed into something your cells can readily absorb.
Coconut water is a great example of this.
Consider Fresh pressed juices that are high in water content and mineral salts. Celery juice, cucumber juice, watermelon or lime juice.
Another great way to hydrate is with chia seeds.
To make chia seed water you must grind the seeds and then soak them in water. A good ratio is 2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds to 8oz water. Shake and drink.
Healthy looking skin develops from the inside out. When you improve your health on the inside it shines through to the outside.
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