7 basic tips for a healthy skin

Your skin is the body’s largest organ and the fastest-growing one. Unless your skin is damaged or cut, your skin protects your whole body. Basically, a healthy skin reflects a healthy body on the inside.

The skin has the ability to absorb active compounds that you use with lotions, but at the same time can use compounds that you introduce with the diet.

Here there are a few tips, simple and easily adaptable to everybody’s life. I will go through basic tricks, good for both the stressed student and the busy mom. This is just the first of some posts that you will be able to read on these pages about skin health..so, stay updated!

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What you eat influences not just how you feel internally (bloated, fat, constipated, skinny, etc) but also how you look on the outside. A healthy lifestyle can also be helpful if you have a skin condition like acne, rosacea, or psoriasis: obviously, in this situation, you should be extra careful with your make-up, lotions, and beauty routine in general. Also, sometimes there are specific treatments to follow given by a dermatologist, considering that the reason behind these conditions can be different.

Remember that what worked for someone can be useless for you, or your skin can even react badly. That’s why is always better to do little patch tests on an arm when buying a new cream or make-up. Don’t mix: putting too many products on your skin won’t make you look great faster – just find a few that work well for you and have a good list of ingredients, and use them on a daily basis. It’s like a healthy diet, you need to be constant and you will see results, but the body needs time to adapt!

1. Drink plenty of water: seems like the most useless advice, but it’s actually something good to remind. We are reading everywhere something different related to health: drink this, drink that, drink those daily, a healthy shot of this, 10 glasses of that. Go back to the basics: are you drinking enough water? Your skin can tell you, also your lips, your digestive system, your ability to concentrate, your tiredness, and much more. Sometimes your body is telling you in many ways that you need more water – you should just pay more attention to the signs! There isn’t a fixed amount of water that is good for everyone, the classic rule of 8 glasses may not work for you. Consider how is your day, diet, exercise routine, etc. You will notice a big difference by start drinking more water: one of the first positive effects will be on your face’s skin!

2. Green tea: you can use it both as a beverage and as a skin treatment. It’s rich in antioxidants, that will help you fighting free-radicals and keeping a younger skin. Much research has been done about green tea, and the powerful effect of its catechins and polyphenols both for skin cells and protection from environmental damages has been proved. Using it topically, it will also help with inflammation and will give a good cleanse: you can make a concentrated cup of green tea, cool it down, and mix it with some aloe vera, then use as a cleanser with a cotton pad (after removing the makeup).

3. Good fats: this is an important part of a balanced diet. Your body needs good fats: they are important for things like cells, metabolic processes, and vitamin absorption, just to name a few. Of course, you need them in the right amounts. Use extra virgin olive oil (that is also rich in vitamin E, great for skin), or nuts (for example almonds, that contain also minerals, vitamin A and E), or avocado (source of vitamin E, C, antioxidants, and vitamins from the B group), or seeds (source of omega-3, vitamins, and minerals).

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4. Minerals: reduce sodium, go for fruit and vegetables rich in potassium (to keep a healthy sodium-potassium balance). Include foods rich in magnesium (that will also help with stress), and iron (lack of this mineral can give you a dry, itchy, aged skin). Overall, a good amount of minerals will help in keeping a radiant and hydrated skin. Green leafy vegetables, beetroots, spirulina, dried apricots, nuts, whole grains, cocoa powder, etc. are good vegetable sources of iron. Magnesium can be found in oats, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, legumes, cocoa powder, etc. Examples of food rich in potassium are bananas, sweet potatoes, peas, beans, apricots, etc.

5. De-stress: high levels of stress can mess up with your whole body, skin included. Find some relaxation techniques that work well for you, whether it’s yoga, meditation, cooking, reading, exercising, massage, or walking..find the effective one (or ones) and include it in your daily routine. Stress is often related to emotional eating, digestive issues, lack of absorption of nutrients, high blood pressure, skin problems, etc. Also, exercising boost your happiness-related hormones, helps to keep your digestive system working well, helps the body’s natural detox by sweating, etc.

6. Healthy gut: the more we know about our gut, the more we understand that there is a deep relationship between its health and our well-being. Your skin health is related to your internal balance because it’s related to diet, absorption of nutrients, hydration, hormones. Embrace a healthy lifestyle rich in fibre, fresh fruit, and vegetables, together with a variety of foods to get all the nutrients that you need daily. Include also healthy sources of probiotics, fermented foods, spices (like turmeric), and herbs.

7. Exfoliate and massage: when doing a simple scrub, the important thing is using just a few basic ingredients that you know are good for your skin and don’t do this deep cleanse too often. You can easily prepare your own face scrub: taking inspiration from Ayurveda, you can use gram flour, honey, and rosewater. Or the simpler and cheaper option is using sugar as base. You can add spices like turmeric, but use small quantities and try it first on a small hidden piece of arm’s skin (it may be too much for a pale skin). By exfoliating, you will help your skin giving a breath of fresh air from dying cells, and you will also do a nice massage to stimulate the micro-circulation. To massage, or for a face mask (maybe together with honey), you can use coconut oil or ghee (they are both oils rich in nutrients, that will help your skin in re-build a good external protective layer and will deeply nourish your skin): there are several oils that you can use on your body or face skin, but among many options, these two are good alternatives both for nutrients (ghee is a staple in Ayurvedic treatments) and for adaptability to sensitive skin.

Below there are a few links to studies related to skin health and some of the foods that are mentioned in the post.

Green tea:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22792414
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26454512
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21525260
Cocoa: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25116848
Honey: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24305429
Carotenoids: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23053552
Fermented foods:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23311666
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25179904
Turmeric:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24066236
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23825622
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26785336
General: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11333837