Whether your main concerns are skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and acne), scars and blemishes, dryness and oiliness, aging (wrinkles, spots and sagging) or sun damage, there are common practical ways to support the skin, from both in and out.
Oxidative Stress: The Aging Culprit
Free radicals are unstable molecules that steal electrons from stable molecules, causing a chain reaction of cell damage. This is one of the main causes of premature aging. They are caused by factors such as toxic buildup, poor diet (processed/fried foods), as well as stress/insomnia, blood sugar imbalances, etc. Oxidative stress is defined as an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects. Antioxidants are used to neutralize free radicals and end this harmful chain reaction, protecting cells from damage. These can be found in both food and supplement forms. Great ingredients include organic, colorful produce (i.e. berries, greens), herbs and spices, green tea and cacao.
Other Underlying Factors That Impair Skin Health
- Nutrient Deficiencies: from poor diet or malabsorption (i.e. Protein, Fibre, Iron and B12, Essential Fatty Acids, Skin Nutrients – Vitamins A/E/C, Zinc, Selenium)
- Congested Liver: an overloaded liver (from external toxins, constipation, candida/parasites, etc.) cannot keep up with detoxification, resulting in skin eruptions as toxins spill over into the bloodstream and the body tries to eliminate through the skin.
- Poor Gut Health: poor digestion, inadequate gut flora and food sensitivities lead to inflammation that manifests itself in the skin. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body.
- Hormonal Imbalances: both estrogen/testosterone fluctuations and underactive thyroid are connected to skin issues.
- Topical Factors: things such as dirt, dust, oils and chemicals clog pores and irritate skin.
Key Natural Ingredients to Look For In Skin Care Products
- Hyaluronic Acid: “the moisture magnet” – can hold 1000x its own weight in water. It works to strengthen, soften, plump, smooth and reduce/prevent signs of aging.
- Vitamin A: “the skin vitamin” – speeds up cell renewal, improves skin tone and texture, reduces the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles and increases collagen.
- Vitamin E: a natural moisturizer, antioxidant and healer that protects skin’s fatty acids.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: “the universal antioxidant” – protects skin cells, helps fight future damage and repair past damage, while boosting effectiveness of other antioxidants.
- Vitamin C: encourages collagen and elastin production, while regenerating Vitamin E.
- Glycolic Acid: derived from sugar cane – encourages mild exfoliation, helping to lift away aging cells (increases cell turnover by sloughing dead skin cells) and helps lighten pigmentation, stimulate collagen production and fight bacteria that causes acne.
- Astaxanthin: red microalgae from Hawaii – has 500x the antioxidant power of Vitamin E.
- Pycnogenol: a bark extract from the French maritime pine tree – has 20x the antioxidant power of Vitamin C. Protects skin from UV damage, addresses and soothes irritated rosacea-prone skin, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- Argan Oil: rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids, has antioxidant and anti-aging benefits.
- Jojoba Oil: rich in fatty acids, is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic.
- Activated Charcoal: eliminates and draws out toxins from skin down to the pores.
- Bentonite Clay: absorb excess oils and impurities, relieving skin congestion.
- Green Tea: a potent antioxidant, is anti-inflammatory and helps slow signs of aging.
- Chamomile: has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, plus helps soothe irritation.
- Lavender: has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, plus helps calm swelling.
- Aloe Leaf Juice: revives the skin with hydration, and has antibacterial, healing, conditioning benefits.
- Tea Tree: a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal ingredient.
- Salicylic Acid: exfoliates dead skin cells, penetrates and de-clogs pores, reduces redness and irritation.
- Willow Bark: works as an astringent (tightens and closes pores), and has anti-inflammatory, soothing and conditioning properties.
- DMAE: helps reduce facial sag, increasing firmness and strength, as well as reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Also has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Supplements to Consider
- Collagen and Elastin – collagen is the main structural protein found in skin/connective tissues and forms a matrix with elastin to lock in moisture and make skin smooth, elastic and firm. Building blocks include Silica, Biotin, Vitamin C, Zinc, and Sulfur.
- Essential Omega Fatty Acids (EPA and GLA)- part of all cell membranes and necessary for nourishing skin, retaining moisture/hydrating, fighting inflammation, managing oil production, preventing/improving signs of aging, stimulating production of new cells, treating skin conditions, regulating hormones and protecting from damage/sunburn.
- Probiotics – improve digestive health and gut flora balance to protect from inflammation, support the immune system and counteract harmful bacteria.
- Multivitamin (with Vitamin D) – ensure you are getting core nutrients your skin needs.
- Balance blood sugar (ensure adequate protein and fibre)
- Manage stress and sleep, avoid toxins (from food/environment/smoking/body care and cleaning products)
- Use sun protection, consider a liver cleanse (and ensure regular bowel movements)
- Balance hormones if necessary
- Fight infection/overgrowth if necessary
- Improve digestion (consider enzymes and avoid sensitivities)
- Drink plenty of water and improve diet (focus on whole, raw, alkalizing, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich, nutrient-dense, organic, naturally-grown/raised ingredients and avoid sugar, refined/processed foods, alcohol and excess caffeine)