Take care of the skin you're in!
Our skin is our largest organ. It functions as a protective layer, a sensing organ, an oil producer and an elimination organ. It requires good circulation and good nourishment for its many functions.
The skin helps to clear toxins to maintain our internal balance. As the skin is the "in-between" for our external and internal environment, it can reflect the health of the underlying organs and internal body function. Furthermore, the general skin health may tie into the functions of the lungs, colon, kidneys and liver. In Chinese medicine, skin problems are treated by strengthening the function of these organs.
To keep our skin healthy, it is important to take care of ourselves as the skin is dependent on the health of the rest of our body.
So what are some things we can do to keep our skin healthy?
Water is needed to carry nutrients throughout the body and flush out toxins. This is important for our skin health. Fluid intake requirements differs from person to person depending on things like activity levels, environment, and diet (ex. The more active you are, likely you will require more water).
The smoke and chemical irritation from smoking can age your skin. This is mostly from increased free radicals which damage your skin and have a drying effect.
Avoid Chemical Exposure
To the best of your ability, reduce your chemical exposure as much as you can. This includes beauty products, sunscreens, cleaning products at home or at work, etc. They can contain harmful ingredients that impact your skin health. Choose to use natural products and alternatives whenever possible.
Choose to Eat Nourishing Foods
Eating a whole foods diet that is high in nutrients and includes high water content foods like fruits and veggies promotes good skin health. Below I include more specifics on foods and nutrients that support your skin:
Eating fruits and veggies daily. Especially chlorophyll-rich foods as it has antioxidant properties and stimulates new cell growth.
Essential Fatty Acids found in vegetable oils, seeds & nuts can nourish the skin.
Cold Pressed Olive Oil and Flaxseed Oil are some of the best options (*note: olive oil is stable to moderate heat, flaxseed oil should not be cooked.)
Adequate protein intake to ensure vital amino acids are available for tissue building and repair.
A High fiber diet is helpful to promote regular bowel movement and reduce the chances of toxin accumulation in the body.
Antioxidant vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and selenium to counteract free radical damage.
Zinc is also a mineral that supports good skin health as it is needed for cell repair, and to keep our immune system function strong.
Probiotics can support our gut microbiome which can aid in the wellbeing of our skin.
Reduce Stress and Exercise Regularly
Stress brings on changes in our hormones, can impact digestion, immune system function, and can deplete antioxidant vitamins. All of which can impact the health of our skin. Therefore, practicing ways to manage stress may benefit the overall health of our skin. Also, consistent and frequent movement is never a bad thing and supports the lymphatic system which can promote healthy skin (& a well-functioning immune system!).
Prone to Acne?
Acne can be a combination of hormonal fluctuations, stress, dysbiosis in the gut, and poor diet. Food allergies can also impact acne. Increasing your water intake, eliminating fried foods and hydrogenated fats from the diet, and including more vitamin A and zinc rich foods may reduce acne outbreaks.
A fellow CSNN Grad, has a great blog on this topic and also offers a free guide to clearer skin if you're looking for more guidance in this area!