Great skin is one of the earmarks of good looks that we can all agree on. A youthful, blemish-free complexion is something you notice about a person. People care enough about the appearance of their skin to make skin care a multi-million dollar industry. And there is a dizzying array of products you can buy to balance, moisturize, deep clean, tone, or exfoliate your skin. If that isn’t enough, you can hire a specially training aesthetician to squeeze, steam, apply masks and fruit acid peels.
People will go to great lengths for great skin. But set all the topical treatments aside and one fundamental truth remains… great skin is built from the inside out. In other words, great skin is the outward reflection of a healthy internal body.
Before a person can begin to support and care for their skin, they should understand what their skin does for them and how it functions in the body. The skin is our body’s front line of defense. It shields us from millions of foreign particles in the environment that can cause us harm. The acid mantel of the skin inhibits the growth of disease-causing bacteria, preventing germs from getting inside. The skin is the largest organ in the body that, through regular evaporation and perspiration, can eliminate up to 2 pounds of metabolic waste a day.
If we are having problems with our skin, there can be many potential irritants, internal and external.
The kinds of foods we eat can have a powerful effect on the health and look of our skin. Here are the dos and the don’ts of eating for great skin.
The more fruits and vegetables we eat, the better our skin will be. They are high in water and also a great source of fiber. All fruits will help clear acid wastes from the body that can hurt the skin. Avocado is especially good for skin elasticity.
To maximize its cleansing properties have fruit for breakfast when the body is in its cleansing cycle.
In a nutshell, if you want healthy skin, avoid refined, fatty, fried foods, red meat, pasteurized dairy products, white flour, sugar, sodas, alcohol, and caffeine. And eliminate foods that contain hydrogenated oils. Increase vegetable protein foods: beans, soy products, whole grains, mineral rich foods like leafy greens, sea vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage), sesame and sunflower seeds. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Both are high in antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
In teenagers, as sex glands are developing, the body has to decide how to ration limited supplies of essential fatty acids and zinc – consequences of a junk food diet. Given a choice of supporting developing sexual organs or the skin, the body supports the developing organs and the skin suffers. Acne is not an inevitable part of growing up. The typical teenage junk food diet makes it seem so. Junk food diets, high in saturated fats and hydrogenated oils can congest the liver, reducing its blood cleansing ability. Sugar and refined carbohydrates, very common in teens and many grown-ups diets, feed unfriendly bacteria that can aggravate acne. Because these foods are empty calories, they draw on the body’s stores of the nutrients they require to be metabolized and rob the skin of the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.
A lot of kids and grown-ups are tempted to take antibiotics or the drug “accutane” for their skin. Antibiotics can make symptoms better temporarily, but because they damage friendly bacteria in the intestines, they worsen the condition in the long run. When antibiotics destroy friendly bacteria, pathogenic organisms begin to proliferate, releasing toxins into the intestines, the blood and the skin.
Acne can be caused by hormonal imbalances, a lack of nutrients or internal toxicity. Some of the foods someone should avoid if they’ve got acne include: red meat, white flour, sugar, soft drinks, chocolate, caffeine, fried foods, dairy products. Stay away from sugar, which feeds unfriendly bacteria that negatively affect the skin and liver. Avoid foods that clog the liver – fried foods, saturated fats, hydrogenated oils, and alcohol.
Combination skin (part dry, part oily) can result from eating trans-fatty acids like margarine, fried and processed foods. Eliminate them and add essential fatty acids, flaxseed oil, or EPO, magnesium and zinc.
Eczema often involves food sensitivities or allergies – especially to wheat or dairy, but other foods can be a problem. (see Allergies in self-help). Supplements that can help eczema include vitamin A, C, E, B complex, zinc, flaxseed oil and digestive enzymes.
Dandruff is often a result of overly active sebaceous glands that clog the pores and cause flaking. If a person has stubborn dandruff that doesn’t respond to a selenium sulfide shampoo like Selsun Blue:
These nutrients should help correct dandruff from the inside out: Vitamins A, B6, C, E, zinc, selenium and essential fatty acids.
At Rose Nutrition, we run analysis of hair samples to reveal imbalances in a person’s body. But if your hair is dry, brittle, damaged and dull, you don’t need high-tech analysis to tell you something’s wrong. The answer isn’t to spend hundreds of dollars on treatments that just hide the problem. Hair problems are never isolated conditions, they are the result of imbalances in the body and often are the first sign that something’s not right. If you want to improve your hair naturally:
Hair loss in women can be a result of thyroid insufficiency. Check with an MD to rule this out. In men, hair loss is often a result of male hormone imbalance. In either case, nutrition alone will not solve the problem. However, getting enough nutrients, avoiding sugar, improving circulation and protein metabolism can slow its progress.
Since nutritional deficiencies can be the cause of a lot of skin problems, supplementation is very important.
Vitamin C, internally and applied topically in sun lotions is one of the most protective nutrients for the skin. It inhibits radiation damage when applied topically and slows development of wrinkles and premature aging.
Antioxidants: Vitamins C, A, E, zinc, selenium, taurine, and NAC
Essential fatty acids
Water – We should classify water as a supplement because a lot of people aren’t getting enough. 6 to 8 glasses of purified water a day keeps the body hydrated so it can flush acid toxins out.
The nutritional suggestions in this material are not offered to treat, mitigate or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the services of a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.