A Holistic Guide to Optimizing Your Skin Health

We’ve all heard the expression “you are what you eat”, and your skin is the best example of how this works.  

Let’s review a few facts about skin health and how you can decrease the toxic load on your system. Take charge of your skin care routine and change what you put on your skin.Simple Fact: Your Skin Is Your Largest Organ

It is our protective covering and our first line of defense to fight illness and disease. It is also a passageway to our bloodstream. That being said, what you apply topically on your skin, as well as what you eat, will affect the overall health and appearance of your skin.Let’s get started from the inside out.

“Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keep skin supple and smooth and help fight age-related damage”, says Nicholas Perricone, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and author of “Ageless Face, Ageless Mind”.

First off, we need to HYDRATE the skin. That means drinking plenty of water. You need at least the recommended 6-8 glasses/day. If you are physically active, live in a warm climate, or feel thirsty, you may need to up your daily intake. Also, as we age, skin tends to become dehydrated a lot more quickly, causing wrinkles to be more noticeable, so ample hydration is key.Eat Your Superfoods!

If it’s good for your health, it’s good for your skin too!Some examples:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, such as herring, sardines, and salmon. Other sources of omega-3s include flaxseeds and walnuts. Omega-3s are known to decrease inflammation and may reduce the risk of acne and other skin problems.
  • Vitamin C helps to produce collagen and prevents cells from damage caused by free radicals. Great sources are oranges, pineapples, tomato, strawberries, & bell peppers.
  • Vitamin E helps limit sun damage and signs of aging. Almonds are a terrific source of Vitamin E.
  • Vitamin A revitalizes skin by increasing cell production and rebuilds tissue. Eggs and dark leafy greens are good choices.
  • Beta-Carotene is needed for growth & repair of tissue. It is found in abundance in orange foods like carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, and cantaloupe. Other fabulous foods to boost your skin health include dark leafy vegetables, avocados, mushrooms, berries, and (surprise!) dark chocolate.
  • Did you know that your skin is a “breathable” organ?

Toxic Chemicals in Mainstream Skin Products

Up to 60% of what you apply topically on your skin will be absorbed into your bloodstream, and children absorb even more than that!! Imagine that those products you’ve been using for years actually contain harmful ingredients and could damage your health. If so, your first instinct should be to find a healthier alternative, pronto!

Heightened awareness of potential dangers has caused consumers to take a closer look at what they put on their skin and demand safer alternatives. Many cosmetic companies do NOT list their ingredients (aka toxic chemicals) because they are not required to do so.

Several of these toxic chemicals are linked to a host of problems including allergies, skin rashes, cancer, headaches, fertility, and reproductive issues, birth defects, hormone inhibitors, and more.Some toxic chemicals that should be avoided:

  • Parabens – often found in deodorants and moisturizers, parabens are hormone inhibitors and are believed to accelerate tumor growth.
  • Artificial fragrance and color – may trigger allergies, asthma, and some colors contain lead and harmful dyes.
  • Toulene – found in nail polish, hair color products, and some fragrances, this chemical is linked to kidney and liver damage, which may affect fetal growth.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate – a foaming agent found in shampoos and body/facial washes, it dries out the skin and is linked to eczema, hair loss, rashes, and dry and scaly skin.
  • Formaldehyde – used as a preservative, formaldehyde is known by several different names and should be avoided at all costs, as the side effects are numerous.
  • PEG’s – found in numerous skin personal care products, this is anti-freeze and should be used in your car, not on your skin!
  • Paraffin/Mineral Oil/Petrolatum – clogs pores, causing toxic build-up.
  • Phthalates – found in plastics, it is a known hormone disruptor!
  • Triclosan – used in anti-bacterial products, it is a pesticide, harmful to the environment, and a suspected carcinogenic.
  • How about Sunscreens?  Google some of those ingredients and you will see that they cause possible damage to DNA and many are known carcinogens!

Of course, there are many more harmful ingredients, but you get the point. If you wouldn’t EAT it, it doesn’t belong on your SKIN.

You can look up what’s in your skincare products by visiting one of my favorite sites: http://www.ewg.org

Carrie Andrews, HHC

Carrie Andrews, HHC

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