You are what you eat isn’t just a myth. And, what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. These two things we do know. Foods like sugar and trans fats, and chemicals like fragrance and parabens, all have effects internally in your body and topically on your skin.
There are certain chemicals that I always avoid in my beauty products, which is why I make my own. Not only do I get to control the consistency and texture of a product, but I also get to control exactly what goes into it. My rule is if I can eat it, then I can smear it on my skin. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so what you put on it can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream.
Nutrition, beauty regimens and lifestyle habits all play a part in glowing skin. Here are my top dietary and lifestyle tips for healthy skin:
Exercise: As you exercise, you increase blood flow which carries oxygen and nutrients to your cells. At the same time, blood carries toxins away from your cells and out through elimination via perspiration, respiration, and elimination. Speaking of perspiration, sweat is antibacterial, so it helps to kill off unwanted germs living on your skin.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: aka good fats. Fatty fish, flax and walnuts reinforce your cell membrane which helps to hold in water. Consuming a good ratio of both Omega 3 and Omega 6 EFAs work from the inside out by repairing the cell membrane and reducing inflammation.
Vitamin C: Antioxidants, especially vitamin C, are important for collagen production. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body, helping to strengthen and support our tissues. Try adding vitamin C-packed berries and citrus fruits to your water, smoothies or healthy baking.
Avoid these chemicals: I started investigating ingredients in skin care products after the birth of my first baby. Not only are babies born with chemicals already in their system, their little organs are not quite ready to process and eliminate toxins. These chemicals that I discovered and still choose to avoid today, are fragrance, parabens, talc, colour, sodium lauryl sulfate, dioxin, and more. Many I cannot pronounce, and those are the ones I really stay clear of. Worse, most of these chemicals are considered toxic because they can cause cancer (carcinogenic), destroy tissue, cause dermatitis, irritation, are hormone disruptors, and worse. Many are added as fillers, foaming agents, for texture, or smell. Do your skin a favour and use pure, natural ingredients that you would feel comfortable eating.
Exfoliate: Skin cells rejuvinate quickly, which means the dead cells have to be sloughed off. Dry brushing helps, and weekly exfoliation with a mild sugar scrub or mask works. Lactic acid in yogurt naturally dissolves dead skin cells, and sugar plus coconut oil luxuriously sloughs off dead skin. It is important not to over exfoliate. The skin produces oil to protect itself. The more oil you remove, the more oil your skin has to produce. This can result in an over-production of oil, or dry flaky skin. Your diet and other factors will determine this.
Sleep: During REM sleep, your body secretes HGH, or Human Growth Hormone. HGH promotes cell turnover, is responsible for metabolism, skin health, collagen synthesis, muscle strength, bone healing, and more. HGH deficiency shows as many different symptoms, but relating to the skin, you might see dryness and wrinkles. Our HGH levels start to decline with age, so keep your sleep at a quality level.
Herbs: Tinctures are my favourite way to get wonderful plant constituents into my system. Herbs like horsetail, nettles, gotu kola (aka Fountain of Youth), oatstraw and alfalfa keep skin supple, nails strong, hair shiny and connective tissue building. Topically, Calendula, or marigold, which you might have in your garden, is healing and makes a great herbal-infused oil for daily moisturizing, especially on problematic skin.
Facial Steam: Steaming your skin with flowers and essential oils allows the toxins to release and the aromatic benefits of the flowers enter your pores and do their magic. Flowers like chamomile and calendula are soothing and anti-inflammatory, lavender and rose petals are calming and healing and rosemary and citrus oils are uplifting and invigorating. Steaming your skin weekly will help to remove bacteria, clear up skin conditions and leave it glowing, hydrate, help you relax and stimulate circulation.
Choose your flowers, boil water and prepare to relax your mind, body and spirit.
Boil water and add it to a heat safe bowl with about 1 cup of flower petals. Add 5 drops of essential oil to either soothe, relax or uplift. Place a large towel over your head and tent yourself over the bowl of steaming flowers. Don’t get too close or you may burn your skin. If you already have very sensitive skin or broken capillaries, avoid steams or do them with cooler water. Allow your skin to steam for about 5 minutes, then take a break, then repeat. Remember to breathe deeply to receive all the benefits of relaxation and aromatherapy. Repeat 3 times.
After steaming, this is a good time to exfoliate while dead skin cells can be easily sloughed off. Rinse skin with cool water to close pores and moisturize skin while it is still damp for better absorption. Apply a light layer of pure coconut oil or jojoba oil, which is closest to the skin’s natural sebum, or try other edible oils that you might have in your pantry.
As facial steams are a treatment, they should only be done once per week or twice per month. Avoid certain essential oils if pregnant, epileptic or nursing. Consult your healthcare practitioner prior to using any herbal remedy, if you have a medical condition.
Be sure to do a patch test before trying any remedy or treatment. Should you experience any irritations or negative effects of a food, internally or topically, discontinue use.
Do you have a favourite home remedy or DIY skin care recipe? Share it with us and maybe we can try it on our Instagram Live segments, #nextbitecookingclub