Monday, June 4, 2012

If Beauty Is Only Skin Deep, You Need to Read This


We all worry about our skin.  Ideally, we’d all like a clear complexion and soft, smooth skin.  Of course, between environment, genetics and time constraints, many of us are far from satisfied with our skin.

Of course, we all know that what we eat and drink has a huge impact on the health of our skin.  Since drinking water helps with the absorption of essential nutrients and flushes toxins from our system, it’s a must for healthy skin.  Adding lemon to your water can also help get some of the Vitamin C needed for a healthier complexion.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A, beta-carotene, repairs and protects skin tissue.  A deficiency of Vitamin A will cause skin to become dry and flaky.  It has also been shown to improve skin afflictions, such as, acne, boils, open ulcers, impetigo and boils.

Foods rich in Vitamin A include fruits and vegetables.  The foods highest in Vitamin A are Liver, Red Pepper / Cayenne / Chili Powder/ Paprika, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Dark Leafy Green Vegetables, Butternut Squash, Dried Herbs, Dried Apricots and Cantaloupe.  Not to say, you have to eat all of these but having one or two of each with your meals, will help meet recommended guidelines.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is critical as it is responsible for the development of skin cells.  Vitamin B6, riboflavin, aids in cell respiration, which, in turn, sustains the skin.  Vitamin B5 is not only necessary for the body’s consumption and use of B6.  It also aids in the production of cortisone and additional adrenal hormones, necessary for healthy skin, and protects cells against damage caused by radiation, which causes wrinkles and premature aging of the skin.  Aiding in the prevention of acne, bruises, burns, abscesses, eczema, psoriasis and shingles, is Vitamin B Complex.

Foods rich in Vitamin B6, B5 and B Complex include Meat, Fish, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Wholegrain, Bran, Beans and Legumes.

Vitamin C

One of Vitamin C’s functions is maintaining collagen.  Collagen, the fibrous protein found in connective tissue, is relevant to the elasticity of skin.  Vitamin C also aids in healing wounds, burns, and protects your skin from skin cancer that can be caused by long, regular exposure to the sun.

Foods rich in Vitamin C include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Hot Chili Peppers, Guavas, Bell Peppers, Fresh Herbs (Thyme and Parsley), Dark Leafy Vegetables, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Kiwi, Papayas, Oranges and Strawberries.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E reduces wrinkles, prevents damage of free radicals (byproducts of pollution, smoke and overexposure to sun) and enriches skins texture.  It is also beneficial for healing burns, abrasions and skin ulcers, as well as aiding in the prevention of scar tissue.

Foods rich in Vitamin E include Mustard Greens, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Topical Fruits, Nuts, Collard Greens, Broccoli, Vegetable Oils, Wheat and Kale, to name a few.

Vitamin K

And last, but certainly not least, is Vitamin K.  In combination with Vitamin A, Vitamin K assists in the decrease of dark circles that form under the eyes; and the visibility of bruises.

Vitamin K can be found in Yogurt, Leafy Green Vegetables, Soybeans, Pumpkin Seeds, Peas, Kidney Beans and Cauliflower.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t address acne directly since it plagues so many people.  In addition to Vitamins A, B, and E, discussed above, Vitamin D, Niacin and Zinc are also known to be beneficial to preventing and/or clearing up acne.  In many cases it’s best to take a multi-vitamin; regardless of how well you eat.  In the event, you want to add foods rich in Vitamin D, Niacin and Zinc:

Foods rich in Vitamin D include Fish, Shrimp, Milk and Eggs.

Foods rich in Niacin include Tuna, Salmon, Chicken Breast, Wheat Bran, Sardines and Peanuts.

Foods rich in Zinc include Sesame Seeds, Oysters, Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds, Yogurt and Peas.

But it isn’t all about what you eat and drink.  You can also reap additional benefits for your skin through scrubs, exfoliates and other directly applied methods.

Body Scrubs/Exfoliates

The value of scrubs and exfoliates is the removal of dead skin cells, which allows smoother skin to the surface.  They also help nourish the body’s cells by increasing circulation. 

You can find recipes for some great homemade facial products at http://naturalfacialrecipes.homestead.com/facescrubrecipes.html

You can also create your own.  Keep in mind that an egg facial will help firm the skin; honey acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps with skin afflictions caused by infection or inflammation; Milk adds enzymes and leaves skin feeling smooth and soft; and, lemon juice helps reduce large pores and removes excess oil.           

Skin Moisturizers

Although we all know about designer fashion companies that create facial and skin moisturizers, with promises of smoother, wrinkle-free skin, most of the time its best to either make your own or find homeopathic / natural products to eliminate the risk of additives companies use. 

There is some great information and instructions for various skin moisturizers at http://www.natural-skin-care-info.com/natural_skin_care_moisturizer.html

Acne Treatments

Though in some cases, acne can be cost by medical or dermatological conditions, for most typical cases, some natural remedies may be helpful.  One such treatment is Tea Tree Oil.  It is a natural anti-bacterial, from Australia, that is believed to kill the bacteria that cause acne. 

For specific homeopathic acne treatment, you can go to http://abchomeopathy.com/c.php/169

and select the areas and skin type to be directed to a homeopathic remedy for your particular needs, as well.

All in all, skin care is really basic.  First, we take care of the inside and do a little work on the outside.  Unless you have extreme medical conditions, that should be enough to give you glowing, healthy skin.  And don’t be afraid to take a multi-vitamin every day to make up for some losses in nutrition here and there.