I spent many hours as a teenager working on the perfect tan, and though I was surely getting my fill of vitamin D, I was also setting myself up for major sun damage. I had freckles, a perpetual red nose and extreme rosacea into my 30s. I remember the day I decided to do something about it. I was outside playing with my kids in the sun, and I came in and looked in the mirror. From where I was standing, it looked like I was 200 years old! My skin looked terrible. It was that day that I decided to make some serious changes.
What I soon realized was that it wasn't just my skin that needed rejuvenating, it was my whole body. How healthy we are on the inside is often obvious on the outside. Premature wrinkles, rashes, lack of tone, acne -- poor skin health is one of the ways our body puts up a red flag for help. Between the unhealthy foods we eat in this country and the cell phones, microwaves and toxic exposure, it's no wonder our skin cells are crying for help.
Unfortunately some people in the beauty industry have us convinced that we need to cover up our flaws and symptoms instead of getting to their root causes. After trying to cover up the problems with my own skin for years, it was when I finally changed my diet, monitored my stress and replaced my toxic skincare products with natural products that I began to see a gradual change. This past weekend, I was at a conference and had several people comment on how healthy my skin looked. I told them it wasn't always this way. And sadly, there is no magic cream or pill to get you there. The secret to stunning skin is in caring for your whole body.
Free radicals and your skin
In addition to sun exposure, our bodies are exposed -- inside and out -- to highly unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals. When we have an abundance of free radicals, they move around the body searching for stability, often stealing electrons from healthy molecules, and thus contributing to premature aging.
External pollution, cigarette smoke, x-rays, chemicals and toxins in your favorite lotions and cosmetics can all contribute to free radical exposure. Our diets are another potential source of free radicals, especially foods high in sugar and highly refined carbohydrates. Undiagnosed food sensitivities, additives, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats can also contribute to skin issues.
Antioxidants play a major role in skin and whole body health because they help to prevent oxidative damage by neutralizing free radicals. Here's a list of some potent antioxidants that have been known to support skin health:
Your Skin Rejuvenation Plan
We can't always change the skin we were born with -- some of us are naturally fair, dry, oily, freckled, or prone to pimples -- but we can change what we expose our bodies to. Sometimes small changes in your diet and your daily routine can make a great difference. I've found the following tips helpful in rejuvenating wrinkled and damaged skin:
For detailed guidelines, see my full article on nutrition.
Glowing from the inside out
Open your mind to a whole new approach to skin care, one that is helpful for your whole body and doesn't cost you an arm and a leg. Liberate yourself from any products that may contain toxins or that may simply not be helping your skin. Take a good look at what's inside your kitchen cupboards and refrigerator and at how your body is responding to the foods you eat. Believe me, you can make natural changes in your life for great glowing skin every day.
For a more detailed look at skin care, read my article on holistic skin care.
Follow Marcelle Pick, OB-GYN N.P. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/marcellepick