Having beautiful skin is not only about what you put on it, but also about what you put in it. We’ve come to believe our skin can be categorized as dry, normal, sensitive, oily, acne-prone, or combination. Truthfully, these dermatological terms have been determined by cosmetic companies in an effort to sell you more products. This guide to natural skin care will help you get the radiant skin without the use of store-bought products.
Most dermatologists don’t even point out the importance that diet plays in having beautiful, clear skin. What you feed your body has an impact internally and externally. Eating the right foods will allow for your skin to become strong, resilient and naturally radiant.
Your skin is alive. It can regenerate and heal itself at quite a rapid pace given the right environment. This environment needs water, oxygen and nutrients in order to thrive.
Your skin is literally breathing; inhaling and exhaling. It needs fresh air, movement and oxygenrich fluids constantly in order to maintain it’s strong barrier. Water is essential for hydration and adding suppleness to your skin while nurturing your cells. Nutrition provides the building blocks that help repair the skin and make it resilient, strong and able to regenerate.
Better Skin Begins with Beneficial Bacteria
The skin and gut are bound with bacteria. There are billions of bacteria lining the skin and gut, some of which are good and some of which are bad. Healthy, beneficial bacteria help to boost our immune system and aid in absorbing nutrients. These nutrients not only support our body as a whole, but also play a vital role in the health of our skin.
You can boost the beneficial bacteria in your gut by eating fermented foods, such as kimchee, sauerkraut, drinking kombucha or taking a daily probiotic. Many foods and lifestyle factors can affect this delicate bacterial balance and cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria, such as:
- Lack of sleep
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed foods
- Fried foods
For beautiful skin, limit or eliminate these things from your diet and/or lifestyle. Our modern lifestyle can wreak havoc on our guts, causing our intestines and digestion to suffer. Pay attention to regular symptoms of gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, digestive upsets, and pain. Also make note of possible skin rashes, acne, or patches of dryness that may occur from eating certain foods. Keep a food journal and make note of what you eat and drink so that you can track what foods may be potentially harming you or causing intolerances.
(Related: 8 Tips for Better, More Effective Sleep)
Liver and Skin Health
Your liver is your main detoxifying organ. It literally has over 500 jobs, from metabolizing food and hormones, breaking down toxins and waste, producing bile, and so much more!
Optimal liver health is essential for skin health. If our liver is backed up with toxins, this can show on our skin in the form of acne, redness, dry patches, even eczema or rosacea. Because the liver’s role is so vital in hormonal balance and metabolization, often times we can experience hormonal acne around the jawline and chin. This is a sign that we must address hormones and support the health of the liver.
Proteins, pathogens, and toxins that are not processed through the digestive system and liver are often sent to the skin to be excreted. This can often show up as skin disruptions and discolorations.
Support the health of your liver by:
- Eating dark leafy greens. The more bitter the better, such as kale, rapini, dandelion and collards.
- Drink at least 2L of water a day to help flush toxic waste and buildup
- Include anti-inflammatory spices such as, turmeric, ginger, cumin,
peppermint and cinnamon
- Eat garlic, which contains compounds that help support detoxification and
- Drink green tea, which is full of plant antioxidants, which have been known to improve the function of the liver.
- Eat grapefruit, which is loaded with vitamin C and helps flush toxins from the liver
- Drink warm water with fresh squeezed lemon which helps cleanse the liver and aid in digestion
- Include walnuts, asparagus and avocadoes in your diet, which are rich in a powerful antioxidant called glutathione.
Acne is usually caused by hormonal and digestive issues. Estrogen dominance is typical in women, especially women who are taking the birth control pill, using generic cosmetic brands, drinking out of plastic bottles and eating foods high in antibiotics and pesticides. Inefficiency in the effort to eliminate excess estrogen
￼can cause acne and breakouts, especially around a women’s period.
Scientists are just now beginning to understand the vast and complex interaction of hormones in our bodies. Hormone levels affect all of our organs, including our skin physiology – its thickness, resilience, pH, repair process, and regeneration.
(Related: 9 Foods for Perfect, Glowing Skin)
Eat cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, kale and cabbage to help combat acne. These vegetables are rich in Indol3carbonyl, which helps to clear excess estrogen. Avoid soy products, as they tend to stimulate estrogen production.
If you are in your 40’s and 50’s and still suffering with hormonal acne, consider supplementing with hormone harmonizing herbs such as, wild yam, evening primrose oil or passionflower.
Botanicals and Acne
Avoid products that leave your skin “squeaky clean.” This will only disrupt the delicate acid mantle and lead to dry skin. Clean the skin gently with plant oils, such as seabuckthorn oil or jojoba oil. These oils help to kill acnecausing bacteria, soothe the skin and restore radiance. Once or twice a day, dab on the essential oils of rosemary, immortelle, and/or carrot seed oil. Frankincense and tea tree oil are also great antiinflammatory and antibacterial oils that help to fight acnecausing bacteria.
Aging and Wrinkles
Prematurely aging skin, fine lines, dark spots, and wrinkles are frequently blamed on the sun, but malnutrition may be the culprit instead. Researchers are discovering that many people benefit from a glutenfree diet as gluten proteins may set off a systemic inflammatory response. Gluten has also been shown to affect mineral absorption and assimilation in the gut, leeching important and vital minerals and nutrients that help to support the health of our skin.
(Related: 3 Anti-Aging Sea Vegetables You NEED To Try)
DIY Oils for Mature Skin
Rose otto, frankincense, and sandalwood oils are ancient botanicals that have been used for millennia to smooth and support aging skin. Essential oils of sandalwood, geranium, frankincense, immortelle, and rose can fade dark spots and protect collagen from breaking down. Coconut and cacao butters are rich, long-lasting moisturizers that will smooth the skin and are full of healthy fats that keep the skin supple and strong.
DIY Egg Yolk Mask
Ditch the chemical spa facials and instead, make your own egg yolk mask using free-range organic eggs. This helps to replenish stripped and dull skin. Yolks are
￼rich in phospholipids, ceramides, vitamins, and minerals, which are all important elements in the skin’s outer layer.
Phospholipids help to regenerate the skin and heal scars. In fact, egg yolks contain the same ceramides found in our skin. Ceramides are multitalented cells; they replenish the natural oils and act as signaling cells that direct cell growth and normal cell death.
Yolks also contain niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that helps to regulate natural oil production. Add 1 drop of frankincense, rose otto or immortelle to an egg yolk and gently whisk. Apply to skin and leave on for 10 minutes.
Feed Your Skin
Nourishment is the core of skin care and with every meal we have the opportunity to stack the odds in favor of beauty. Include in your diet real, whole foods and rainbowcolored fruits and vegetables.
Healthy, organic dietary fats like virgin coconut oil, olive oil, chia, evening primrose, and hemp are great sources of essential fatty acids and other lipids that keep skin soft and supple. Increasing the fat in your diet, especially omega 3 fatty acids, will moisturize your skin from the inside out. As a bonus, you’ll also support hair growth and sheen.
Animal fats are also rich sources of lipids and contain vitamins D and K2. Eggs and full fat organic yogurt, milk, butter, and cheese are excellent sources if the animals are fully pasture raised.
Eliminating polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) found in processed foods is essential for healthy skin and optimal health. PUFAs can go rancid quickly and researchers have demonstrated time and again that these oils excite skin cell mutations that can lead to lesions and dull, aging skin.
Keep your blood sugar balanced and avoid inflammatory foods such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, process foods, simple carbohydrates, and sugars. If you haven’t eliminated gluten already, try cutting back or eliminate it completely to see the improvement in your skin and health. This includes eliminating wheat, rye, and barley.
Consider adding cinnamon to your meals, which is warm and slightly spicy. Cinnamon has been shown to slow the rise of blood sugar levels after a meal and may help stabilize and lower blood sugar levels during the day. Include cinnamon in your tea, coffee, smoothies, and meals.
Focusing on diet is the best and most efficient way to improve overall health. By being conscious of what goes in your body, you will in turn have a beneficial
impact on your skin. Natural skin care starts from within. Eat vibrant, healthy organic foods, choose natural and unprocessed botanicals and plant oils to cleanse and support your skin, and stay hydrated with clean, pure water for the best skin ever.