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Is Beauty Only Skin Deep?
by Dave Foreman
Wow is that a painful question! With the rise in sexy magazine covers and the desire to look like the cover girl or guy, Americans are constantly looking for ways to look and feel better. Is beauty only skin deep? My experience is that you need to work at your outer appearance in two ways: what you put in your body and what you put on your body. Let's start with what you put in your body.
The foundation of my 4 Pillars of Health is supplementation, which is designed to make up for what is missing from your diet. Healthy skin grows from the inside out, right? Well, then proper nutrition is the best way to achieve the skin you have always wanted- regardless of your age. Antioxidants are a great start. Antioxidants can help your body fight the free radical damage that causes us to age. Free radicals cause us to "rust" and that "rust" leads to break downs in your skin (the largest organ of the body).Wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer all have links back to free radical damage, and the one thing we know is that consuming antioxidants helps neutralize free radicals. The following are a few of the more popular antioxidants I would use to help reduce free radical damage:
This list could be endless because many the herbals like (green tea, for example) are naturally high in antioxidants.
Another important supplement for skin health is water (why do you think they use the phrase "dried up old person"?). If you want to literally see what I am talking about, place a raisin (dried up old grape) into a glass of water tonight when you go to bed. In the morning it won't be a shriveled up raisin, but it will look more like the young grape it used to be. It may sound funny, but most of us don't consume enough water and therefore I call water a supplement. How much you should drink depends on your body and your activity levels. The bare minimum should be ˝ your body weight in ounces of water per day. Example: 150lbs x ˝ = 75oz. of water/day. If you are an active person, then you will need more. Since your body is made up primarily of water, it is important to make sure you are well hydrated. I have seen many people have wrinkles disappear just by consuming more water alone. Give it a try! Your body will thank you.
The last supplement suggestion is to use a good EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) supplement. Vegetarian products containing flax, borage or evening primrose oil are very effective, or try a blended product like Udo's Perfected Blend Flora® which can provide the extra good fats needed for healthy, smooth and supple skin. Fish oil products like Coromega® (my personal favorite) can also provide you with the EFAs needed for healthier skin. On a personal note, many of my friends and family have used EFAs to eliminate the dry skin and other skin issues that have affected them for years. How much to take depends on your needs. I tend to need more EFAs, and estimate my need based on how my skin feels. If it is dry and rough, I take more Coromega®. In most cases, you can't get enough.
Externally, there is also an abundance of things you can do to support healthy skin. Just walk into your local Vitamin Shoppe and see how the personal care section has grown. Many of these topical products contain moisturizing agents such as palm oil, almond oil and shea butter. They even taught us about these in my pharmacy school program. Herbal extracts will often be added to these types of ingredients to achieve other benefits. I usually recommend adding calendula, lavender or chamomile if you have itchy or irritated skin. Adding antioxidants like CoQ10, green tea, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid and even berry extracts has become popular now. The belief is that by applying these directly to skin that has been damaged by sun, or free radicals like chemicals and perfumes, you can attack the damage at the point of contact. To date, there is limited research showing that this will work effectively. Having said this, I am still a firm believer in using antioxidants topically to assist in the fight against free radical damage. The more popular brands of natural products to consider are Aubrey Organics, Kiss My Face, MyChelle Dermaceuticals, John Masters Organics, Derma E and Reviva. It may not even be fair to stop at this short list, but you can consult with a store expert for more information on the topical products that could be right for you.
On top of the nutritional benefits of using these natural skin care products, is the fact that most of them will NOT contain harmful chemicals that can and will contribute to destroying your healthy skin cells. Your skin is like a large sponge that will absorb the toxins in anything that touches it. These toxins will not only harm your skin, but will eventually make their way into your blood stream. Once in your blood stream, these toxins can cause damage to any part of your body. You should also look into purchasing a shower filtration device. Your skin will feel smother, your hair-silkier. Your lungs will thank you too.
Other behaviors that will positively impact your outer appearance are:
Finally, it is important to stress that beauty is not just skin deep. You are on the outside what you are on the inside. There is a philosophy in natural medicine that your skin is a direct reflection of your bowel health. This may sound gross, but I believe it to be true. If you are having other issues like acne, eczema or psoriasis you may wish to cleanse. The use of pre-packaged products like Cleanse Smart, Ultimate Cleanse or even Flor*Essence tea is great for eliminating toxins from the body, and can have remarkable effects on skin health. Even if you don't have "bad" skin, it is recommended to cleanse internally at least two times yearly.
Remember, looking young is not something that happens overnight. It takes weeks and even months of taking care of yourself inside and out to achieve the looks you want. Be patient and committed to the program. You will love what you see in the mirror.