Beauty is skin deep, and skin health is a big deal. Your skin is your largest organ and helps your body rid itself of toxins. The health of your skin on the outside is a good indicator of your health on the inside.
Everyone genuinely likes to look and feel their best. It's hard to be fully in the moment when you have a painful and obvious breakout.
Giving a big presentation at work with a giant zit in the middle of your forehead distracts you and leaves an impression on your audience. Nothing kills a romantic vibe like trying to keep your clothes on and the lights off to hide deep and painful cystic blemishes.
If you're at your wit's end with your skin, tie a knot and hold on a little longer. There's a lot that healthy life choices, especially good nutrition, can do for you.
1. Get rid of chemical culprits.
When was the last time you looked at the ingredients in your laundry detergent, fabric softener, skin care products or the scented candles in your home?
Artificial fragrances have a way of messing with hormones, which, in turn, mess with your skin. No one needs their hormones messed with. Furthermore, the dyes and other harmful chemicals in these products can irritate and inflame your skin, causing breakouts.
Choose laundry detergents that are fragrance-free and dye-free. Swap out chemical fabric softener and dryer sheets for natural alternatives such as wool dryer balls or coffee filters dampened with vinegar. You can add a few drops of essential oil, too, and now you have soft clothes that are fragranced with something good for you.
As for those skin care products, dig deep and look up each ingredient on the label. Diethanolamine (DEA), homosalate, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and formaldehyde are generally no good. To get the full low-down on the chemical crud to avoid, check out SafeCosmetics.org. Caution: It's a bit traumatic just how many awful things are in skin "care" products.
Check your lotions, body scrubs, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and even soap. Then, swap out the scented candles for a diffuser and essential oils.
2. Stress is evil.
Ahhhh, freak out! Stress can destroy your skin. In fact, stress can do a ton of damage to your body inside and out. Hell, stress kills. Stress is rampant for many of us who are living in these tense times.
Put your shoulders down -- they're not earrings. Close your eyes and take a couple deep, calming breaths. The great news is stress is something you can get rid of if you put in the work.
Like everything else in life, there's an app for that -- if not a few 1,000 apps for that. Check out yoga videos on YouTube, such as Yoga with Adrienne. Download a meditation app or two. Get a couple audio books to listen to while stuck in traffic on your morning commute.
Nothing makes a day better than an app that blocks you from wasting your entire day on social media. Except maybe counseling. Yeah, try out some counseling IRL, too.
As you get to the root of your issues and tackle your stress, your body can start to function better and your hormones can return to a healthy state leaving you with clear, beautiful skin.
3. Watch your diet.
You are what you eat, so don't be cheap, fake, greasy or loaded with chemicals. One of the worst culprits to skin breakouts is fried simple carbs. Breaded acne, anyone? If you're consuming a “golden brown” diet, chances are you're dealing with bright red cystic acne from head to toe.
All that grease oozes out your pores, and those carbohydrates love to feed acne. That's after they get done causing damage to the inside of your body.
Fried foods are a "sometimes" food – an occasional treat. Kick them to the curb until your skin is clear and stick to enjoying a small amount here and there upon occasion.
As for sugar, 74 percent of all food products on the market have added sugar. Much of it goes under the radar as organic rice syrup, apple juice concentrate, high fructose corn syrup or some other nonsense. Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?
Simple sugars cause a lot more problems than destroying your skin, so when you kick them out of your diet, you'll notice many other health benefits.
Scale way back ASAP and never equivocate naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables to processed, added sugar. That leads to an unhealthy relationship with food and can result in strange logic that has you opting for a skin-ruining sugar cookie over a nutrient-rich bowl of berries.
4. Avoid food additives.
For overall health, watch out for toxic food additives.
An easy way to avoid the hundreds of potentially toxic chemicals in our food supply is to avoid high fructose corn syrup, carrageenan, monosodium glutamate (aka MSG), hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors and dyes (red 40, blue 3, caramel coloring, etc.). If you avoid those, you're generally going to dodge the bullets of many other rotten food additives.
When it comes to healthy skin, avoiding those artificial food dyes is an absolute must. Made from chemicals or actual bugs (yeah, look up red 40), artificial dyes are not going to agree with the human body.
We have limited ways to excrete toxins out of our body and the skin provides a large, easily-accessible route to get rid of a large amount. Those dyes come up to the surface of the skin, causing irritation, inflammation and breakouts. The last thing you want is the dye from your soda getting trapped into your skin for all to see.
5. Eat more foods that heal.
There are tons of healthy, delicious foods out there to heal your skin and keep it healthy. Foods rich in vitamins A, C and E can give you that complexion you seek. The key is choosing real foods over supplements.
To find foods with vitamin A, look for produce items that are fall colored: red, orange, yellow and dark green. They contain skin loving precursor carotenoids. Examples of these foods include apricots, berries, carrots, kale, nectarines, oranges, peppers, spinach, squash and tomatoes.
Interesting fact: Bell peppers and strawberries have just as much, if not more, vitamin C than citrus fruits. They're all great choices and happen to have a healthy dose of vitamin A, too.
Other foods with vitamin C are cranberries, kiwi, lemons, peppers, pineapple, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon.
Vitamin E is amazing for skin and overall health. It's readily found in many plant oils, as well as seeds and nuts. Foods rich in vitamin E are almonds, avocados, hazelnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Most foods with vitamin E happen to be rich in skin-nourishing, heart-healing healthy fats. Healthy fats are good for you inside and out. Great sources include avocados, seeds, nuts and fatty fish. All of these foods are going to contain other healthy nutrients that are great for your skin and overall well-being.
6. Stay hydrated.
Drink your water! Aim for 10 or more cups a day. Having a glass of water can solve most of your issues in life. Dehydration can make you irritable, illogical and headache-ridden.
When it comes to your skin, water can help flush out toxins from your body through your urine instead of them coming out of your skin. Additionally, water will plump up your cells and give your skin a full, youthful look.
Warm lemon water first thing in the morning can help flush out toxins. Many claim it also boosts energy levels. Sounds like a win-win to me. Lemon water throughout the day is a great alternative to soda. Heads up -- it REALLY helps flush toxins from the body, which may having you flushing in the bathroom a lot.
7. Give your skin time.
Making all these changes will take time to show through your skin. Set yourself up for success by reminding yourself of your end goal, and be patient. We are our own worst critics, and being a real hard ass on yourself won't clear up your skin.
Start today by having a nice glass of water to sip on while you go through all your food products, laundry detergents and skin products. Check those labels for toxic chemicals.
This article was originally published on the author's website NutritionSheila.com - an awesome website loaded with health, nutrition and wellness information.