Jul 10, 2013
WHY YOUR SKINS APPEARANCE HAS LITTLE* TO DO WITH YOUR SKINCARE BRAND
I get it. I'm female too. The promises of no fine lines, plumper cheeks, pigmentation reduction, acne be-gone, luminous skin, the list goes on. This is what good marketing teams do so well, so good on them right. Put that new (chemical laden) product on A Current Affair, and it's sold off all shelves around the country by noon the following day.
But I'm not here to outline all the crappy nasties in certain products out there. What I am going to get into detail about is what skin care brand you use on your face actually has little* to do with how your face looks.
Your skin is one of five eliminatory organ's we all have, along with our liver, kidneys, lungs and colon. These organs eliminate from our body the stuff that we shouldn't be keeping - toxins, chemicals, waste products and so on. From our skin, these nasties mostly exit via our sweat glands, in the form of sweat (and why it's essential to exercise and throw in a sauna sesh here and there), but they can also come out looking like boils, bumps, rashes, eczema, acne and more. So, hypothetically speaking, if your liver is not working so well from excessive binge drinking and a bad diet, your colon is in bad shape and you're suffering constipation, and you're not drinking enough water to flush crap out your kidneys, then your skin will definitely be getting over worked big time and likely not looking so hot.
MY TIP: Make sure your eliminatory organs are all working super well. See a Nutritionist if you are unsure.
The gut-skin connection. Your skin has a direct relation to your gut. Epidemiological evidence shows a clear association between gut problems and skin disorders. And here's some juicy stat's for you --
+ Studies suggest that increased intestinal permeability ("leaky gut") is an issue for a significant number of acne patients (ie. people with acne are likely to have leaky gut issues)
+ Studies have shown that both stress and gut inflammation can impair the integrity and protective function of our top skin layer. This in turn leads to a decrease in anti-microbial proteins produced in the skin, and an increase in the severity of infection and inflammation in the skin (ie. gut issues and stress can result in less anti-microbial helpers, and more infections and inflammation in and on our skin)
+ Another line of evidence suggesting a connection between the gut and skin is the observation that probiotics improve skin conditions (ie. pro-biotics for our gut also helps our skin people!)
+ The beneficial effect of probioitics on skin may explain why pasteurized, unfermented dairy is associated with acne, but fermented dairy is not (ie. dairy is crappola for skin, but raw dairy may be ok, if not actually beneficial - no studies have been done to show relationships between gut/skin/raw/fermented dairy) (1)
MY TIP: Eat foods that agree with your gut - if you get bloating, cramps, aches, wind, or other abdominal symptoms from particular foods, stay away from them. Additionally if you notice your skin break out with certain foods, avoid them also. Keep stress levels down. Take a daily probiotic. But even better is to consume fermented foods such as saurekraut, kim chi, kefir, kombucha.
Dehydration means more than you think. Our bodies are made up of somewhere between 50% and 75% water (2) so it goes without reason, that we need to make sure we're getting enough to maintain optimal health. When we don't drink enough, our skin is one of the first places we will notice it. Why? Because youthful skin is full of plump, water-filled cells. Without water, they are not plump now are they? In addition to this, our skin is not an "essential" organ. By that I mean, we wouldn't last very long if our heart, or our lungs, or our colon stopped working. Water plays a part in their functioning. Our skin however, can still perform its function as acting as a barrier of protection from the outside world, even without sufficient water and moisture content. So it gets kicked off the water panel first. Unfortunately for our appearance, we notice it. Crepey lines take the place of gorgeous plump skin, dry skin comes in, along with itchiness. These are all signs of dehydration.
MY TIP: Aim to drink 2-4L filtered water each day (this variance depends on your height/weight, activity levels, and climate). IF you're not used to this, work your way up to it slowly. If you're peeing it all out, add a pinch of sea salt or himilayan salt as these both contain loads of minerals so your body is more inclined to wanna hold onto it all instead of peeing it out. Also cut back on diuretic drinks such as coffee, black tea, and fizzy drinks.
Aussies love the sun and continuing on from the point above, sunshine is one of the biggest dehydrating factors in our lives. As we spend more and more time in the sun, say a Summers day at the beach, our skin is losing it's moisture as it is literally heating up from the inside out. Ouchies. In this country it's hard to totally avoid the sun, and the vitamin D and natural healing effects from the sun are of huge benefit to us in my opinion, that you shouldn't be avoiding the rays all together anyways.
MY TIP: Drink your 2-4L of water each day, wear a SPF and a good moisturiser, and top up on both water and moisturiser top-to-toe when you get home.
We were all in a fat-phobia age for quite some time. Remember that? We're only just sort of coming out of it now. Our bodies needs fats for almost everything - from manufacturing hormones, obtaining certain (fat soluble) vitamins, maintaining nervous tissue... without fats we are not very healthy at all. And additionally, our facial skin (and the rest) does not glow or sparkle. Beautiful skin requires essential fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids are some of the “good fats” that our body needs for healthy performance. ‘Essential’ means just that - but we can only get them through food as our body cannot make these types of fats. These fatty acids are responsible for regulating cell function. They maintain the integrity of cellular walls, and allow transference of waste and water. This function plays a big part in skin health.
Youthful skin is full of plump, water-filled cells. A skin cell’s ability to hold water decreases with age. A healthy skin cell has a healthy membrane, which keeps good things in, like water and nutrients, and allows waste products to pass out. It is a fatty acid’s job to keep that cell healthy and its membrane functioning (3). Skin nourished with EFA's is smoother, feels softer, shows less of the conditions such as acne, eczema, pimples, dry skin, greasy skin, bumpy skin, etc, is infected less easily and looks radiant. It will also age slower and remain wrinkle-free longer (4). Woo-hoo! And from my personal experience and from what I've observed in others, flaxseed oil seems to be the winner of oils when it comes to skincare.
MY TIP: Ensure you're getting your essential fatty acids each day (omega 3s from oily fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, and omega 6s from plant oils and nuts), as well as good quality saturated fats (coconut oil, raw butter, raw cream, ghee), monosaturated fats (avocados, nuts), and a little polyunsaturated fats (nuts and seeds). 1-2 Tbsp of Flaxseed oil can additionally be taken daily in orange juice or on salads, etc if you're skin is very dry.
Reason # 6
Our thoughts play a bigger role than we may (like to) think. Ever since I stopped looking for acne on my face, there has been a significant reduction in them. And sure we could hyopthesise and say maybe it's the facials I'm getting, more green juices I'm drinking, the list goes on. But my coach once directly said to me "Christie if you keep looking for them they will always show up". The same goes with wrinkles, eczema, pigmentation, fine lines, dark circles, puffiness, etc. So stop looking for what you don't want to appear. No fancy cream can fix this.
So what should you use on your face? Whatever you like really. The choice is your after all. If you'd like my opinion, then again it will depend on your skin type. But there are so many natural organic products for our skin on the market these days, there's no excuse to at least not try one. If you're on a tight budget for whatever reason, there are loads of cheapies around too. Or make your own.
* Little because there is still room to play with this here. And it works both ways. If you're using cleansers, toners, moisturisers and masks full or parabens, fragrances, colours, alcohols, petrochemicals, and who knows what else, this stuff might be making your skin look trim, taught and terrific now, but all those nasties are slipping their way through your skin and into your body. This is where they cause problems. And later down the track, they might stop doing their magic who knows?
In contrast, if you use facial products that have no nasties and instead choose to use essential oil, plant oils and fibres, fruit enzymes, minerals, superfoods and more, then all these ingredients will be healthi-fying your skin on application, but will also be sinking in and not causing havoc internally. Your body knows what to do with these ingredients because they are nor foreign. Slap on some avo once a week and I guarantee that will keep you looking fab right through to old age!
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1 - Chris Kresser, 2013, <http://chriskresser.com/the-gut-skin-connection-how-altered-gut-function-affects-the-skin>
2 - Wikipedia, 2013 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_water>
3 - Fit Day, 2011, <http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/fats/how-essential-fatty-acids-keep-skin-healthy.html>
4 - Erasmus, U, 1993, Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill, Alive Books, Canada