A girl can hardly avoid beauty bombardment from television, radio, and even the internet. Ads are everywhere talking about botox, skin creams, tanning lotions, and more. It’s easy to see why so many ladies struggle with low self-esteem.
While these companies are trying to make their mark by erasing wrinkles, blemishes, and scars, it often leaves a woman feeling deflated and not pretty enough.
It’s a shame. Most women don’t need all of the makeup and products out there. Sure they can help, but they certainly aren’t necessary. A healthy natural glow doesn’t need to be faked by creams and cake. Instead, learning how to nourish skin naturally and taking preventative steps to keep it healthy is far more beneficial than other options out there for skin care.
The Skinny About Skin
Many people are surprised to find out that their skin is an organ, just like the heart or lungs. It is the only external organ on the human body, and it is the largest. Often beauty products focus on the face, but the key to healthy skin is focusing on the skin as an entire system.
National Geographic states that the average person carries around eight pounds of skin. That is the equivalent of almost 25 square feet! That is a lot of space to have to slather with lotion and cream to keep healthy! For this reason, proper skin care requires attention on the inside as much as the outside.
The Building Blocks of Skin
The skin is made up of protein, but there is a lot more that goes into it than that. Just like any other organ in the body, the skin requires certain nutrients to keep it healthy. For the most natural and healthy looking skin, there are several things that are needed. Think of the following as the building blocks of healthy skin.
- Healthy Fats
- Food sourced nutrients
How to Nourish Your Skin From the Inside
Getting all of the nutritional supplements that your body needs to keep the skin healthy naturally is the first step towards maintaining a healthy glow and natural elasticity. The way that this is done is by getting the right amount of each of the building blocks listed above.
There are certain fats that are actually good for the body. Incorporating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats into a well-balanced diet will give the body the tools that it needs. These fats are what provide that glowing attribute that women often want. While cosmetic companies claim that shimmering powder and certain creams will cause the skin to glow, a far simpler approach to attain this is by adding leafy greens, nuts, and avocados to a well-balanced diet.
Other good choices to make healthy fats part of a well-balanced diet include:
- Chia seeds
- Dark chocolate
High protein as part of a well-balanced diet do two things for the skin. First, they tone muscles, so the skin sits as it should and has a palate to keep it elastic yet firm. Additionally, protein helps to keep a clear complexion and keeps the skin, as an organ healthy overall by repairing cuts and reducing scars.
This doesn’t mean that one needs to eat a high protein diet, such as the Atkins diet. It does mean that the menu should include protein dense foods that allow the body to absorb as much of the vital building blocks as it can. As part of a diet, proteins are increasingly beneficial when combined with healthy fats. In fact, many foods that are considered high-protein are also ones with naturally occurring healthy fats.
Some healthy high protein options for great skin include:
- Walnuts and almonds
- Dairy products including milk and butter
- All varieties of meat
- Fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel
- Minerals, vitamins and other food sourced nutrients
- Minerals are essential as part of a well-rounded diet. Especially so for the skin because they help the body to absorb and process nutrients, fats, and proteins. By helping the body process what it intakes better, the result is seen in improved elasticity, fewer wrinkles, and better hydration.
Some essential minerals for skin care include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B Complex
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
Each of these aids the body in normal processes, but have their own unique benefits. Read on to see how they help and what kinds of food to eat to get the most of each vitamin or mineral.
Found in foods such as mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and organ meat such as liver. Selenium is an essential mineral for the health of the skin. It helps with the absorption of protein and is considered vital to the cellular membrane. This means that when selenium is included in a diet, it helps to keep the skin firm.
This vitamin is commonly known as beta-carotene and is most popularly found in carrots, but the best source to digest it from is cod liver oil or organ meats. These aren’t always the most popular menu items for their strong tastes. Thankfully, this vitamin can be found from other sources as well. It is also in dark greens such as collard greens or asparagus. Additionally, sweet potatoes are another excellent source.
Vitamin A works with the body on a cellular level and helps to deflect free-radicals that degrade collagen, which is needed to keep skin looking firm and reduce wrinkles. Additionally, when paired with healthy fats to increase absorption levels, it can promote the benefits of fats in a diet.
Vitamin B (Complex)
There are a few numbers of B vitamins which include:
- Riboflavin (B2) which helps firm the skin around the mouth and prevents lesions or sores on the face.
- Niacin (B3) which reduces free-radicals and helps to detoxify the body so that skin remains clear.
- Pantothenic Acid (B5) helps to reduce acne and other skin blemishes.
- GABA (B6) which reduces the feeling of itching and helps to alleviate picking at the skin or scratching.
- Biotin (B7) helps to regulate fatty acids.
- Folate (B9) helps to detoxify the skin, and deficiencies in this vitamin can cause dermatitis.
- Methylcobalamin (B12) aids with detoxification.
This vitamin is an excellent antioxidant and perhaps one of the easiest for people to include in a western diet. Many foods have this vitamin added, and it can also be found in citrus, dark leafy greens and bell peppers. Orange juice is perhaps the easiest way to get the vitamin C that is needed, with only one cup having over 100% of daily intake required.
Vitamin D is essential for processing protein and also works with calcium to keep both the bones strong and skin healthy. It is easy enough to include in a diet by drinking milk or including dairy. It is also in fish such as tuna and egg yolks. Often, vegetarians have an issue with getting enough vitamin D, but it can be easily found in fortified soy and rice beverages.
Perhaps one of the most popular vitamins for skin care, Vitamin E is not only needed for healthy skin; it is the one that is most at risk by its very nature. The body supplies this vitamin to the skin, but then is attacked by free-radicals and damaged by sun exposure. The body loses most of this vitamin by the sun, and when levels are low in the body, this can result in damage to the skin and put people at risk for skin cancer. Having adequate levels in your body can make a huge difference, so this is one that should be replenished often.
Good sources of Vitamin E include the same places that people often get fatty acids in their diet. It should be no surprise that there are high quantities in walnuts, fish, avocados and leafy greens.
Found most commonly in shellfish and organ meat, zinc is essential to keep cell membranes strong.
Other Minerals and Vitamins
Additionally, there are other minerals and vitamins that have importance but play a minor role in skincare but are important to include none-the-less. For this reason, it can be beneficial to add a supplement that includes all of the vitamins such as a multivitamin for women.
Hydration is key when it comes to keeping the skin healthy. Experts suggest drinking 8 – 10 glasses of water daily. Additionally, during certain times of increased stress, during the menstrual cycle and when the weather is exceptionally hot, water levels should be increased.
Water helps to keep cells strong and prevents skin from looking dry or cracked. When included as part of a healthy diet, it will also promote all of the other benefits listed above.
Working on the Skin: Outside In
Aside from eating certain foods, there are a number of things that women can do to help their skin look stellar. Of course, daily cleaning, making sure to remove makeup before bed, and using moisturizer can help keep skin looking healthy. Additionally, some of the minerals and above items can be used topically to keep skin looking great.
When there are concerns, such as blemishes or imperfections of skin color, consider lotions and creams that include GABA or that are made from natural fatty oils. For example, Vitamin E can be used by applying directly to the skin to decrease wrinkles and help aid in healing. Masks made of coconut oil and avocado can provide much-needed nourishment and hydration, increasing the natural glow and elasticity.
Just remember that working on healthy skin is not something that is done instantaneously because the skin is an organ in itself, it will react to long term care. The best defense is a good offense. This includes eating right as well as including a good routine that is used on the regular to not only enable healthier looking skin but keep it in a well-functioning state.
Special Considerations and Routine
Since skin care is not an immediate action, rather, it is something that you need to maintain overtime to get the best results, it is important to have an established routine.
A few things that you may want to consider when caring for your skin include:
- Skin type – Certain types of skin require different care. Use products that are designed for your unique skin type.
- Ethnicity – While skin is universal, different ethnicities tend to have different issues for their skin. For example, those with Asian heritage or fair skin are more likely to have sensitivities to coloration from the sun and should use sunscreen or avoid the sun more regularly. Those with African or Jewish descent are more likely to have ingrown hair and should incorporate a defoliator into their routine.
- Age – Older individuals are more likely to be battling wrinkles and dry skin, while teens are prone to acne.
The final defense for healthy skin is regular care. Consider this easy three-step process for daily care.
Wash skin at least once per day all over the body. For the face, it is suggested to wash two to three times a day. Use a simple cleaner that is formulated for specific skin types. It is better to use a cleanser for the face rather than bar or body soap, as this skin is more sensitive and traditional soaps can dry it out.
Skin takes a beating every day. Pollution, chemicals, and cigarette smoke are just some of the toxins that can affect skin health that most people encounter every day. Additionally, blemishes can become infected if not cared for, leaving unsightly scars. Repairing the skin is simple enough, thankfully. For standard repair, vitamin E and C are excellent options to use topically. For wrinkles or dryness, consider an antioxidant lotion or serum as well as peptide infused tinctures. Peptides help to repair the skin and are the base of many fatty oils. Apply repair lotions at night, before going to bed.
Apply preventative solutions in the morning. Sunscreen, lotions with antioxidant properties should be used daily. For standard purposes, SPF 20 to 30 should be enough, but those with sun sensitivities or that spend a lot of time in the sun, SPF 50 or higher should be selected. Additionally, be sure to wash the face in the evening, removing dirt, pollutants, and makeup before going to bed. For additional benefits, add a light moisturizer that has no sunscreen in the evening.