Health Matters – Glow Your Skin!

We’ve all heard of picture-perfect skin, something that for many of us seems an unattainable dream. However, it may not have to be?and the solution isn’t ?Fotoshop by Adobé.? Whether You’re contending with skin blemishes, irritation, or just the harshness of winter weather, there are some natural ways to help bring that healthy glow back into your face!

Are you eating skin-healthy?

?You are what you eat? definitely plays a role in skin appearance. What does your diet look like? Is it full of processed foods and junk food? A well-known strategy to help teenagers control acne flare-ups and duration is reducing consumption of refined sugars and greasy foods.

But It’s not enough to just remove the bad players. A diet high in fruits and vegetables (are you achieving your recommended five to ten servings per day?) is linked with optimal skin health. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, chemicals that neutralize cellular damage. This damage reduces skin radiance and contributes to aging skin. In addition to their antioxidant potential, certain fruits and vegetables specifically contain skin-boosting vitamins like vitamin A (increases the turnover of skin cells) and vitamin C (improves and maintains collagen). Carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, and vitamin C can be found in fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and apples.

You can also choose to supplement your vitamin intake if You’re not getting sufficient vitamins from your diet or if your skin problem is particularly severe. Supplementation with vitamin C will have the added benefit of immune support. But note: if you supplement your vitamin A levels, be sure to choose beta-carotene to reduce the chance of toxicity from overdose (daily intake is 10,000 IU of beta-carotene).

Are you eliminating?

It might come as a surprise to discover that the skin is the largest organ of elimination in the body. If your body’s other eliminatory routes aren’t functioning as they should (kidneys and intestines, for example), your skin often picks up the slack?with resultant blemishes.

One of the most commonly ?blocked? elimination pathways is the intestines. If you experience constipation several times a week, or don’t have at least one bowel movement daily, there’s a greater chance your skin will have to help eliminate toxins. The result: breakouts and skin irritation. For mild to moderate constipation, add bulk fibre (like psyllium husk or flax seeds) to your daily diet. One to three tablespoons, taken in the morning, can help pave the way for optimal bowel function. Try sprinkling psyllium or flax on your breakfast cereal or yogurt, or mix it with juice.

Additionally, check your fluid intake. Are you drinking at least eight cups of water daily? Finally, make sure your stress levels aren’t through the roof. If You’re always on the run, you may not be giving your body enough opportunities to ?let go.?

Are you exercising?

We often think of exercise as correlated with weight loss, but It’s worth far more! Getting moving increases body metabolism, which means that, on a cellular level, your body is working faster. A more smoothly functioning eliminatory system means fewer chances for blockage (and hence fewer breakouts).

What are you using?

Many of us use topical skin products, from moisturizers to night creams to exfoliants. However, did you know that some skin product ingredients can actually negatively affect us? The skin is a porous system, and we can absorb substances through it. Ingredients to watch for include the highly common parabens (a group of preservatives, including methylparaben and propylparaben). Parabens are known carcinogens and may create excess estrogen in the body. There are many paraben-free skin products available; check your local health food or beauty store to find one suited to your needs.

Glowing skin is possible?even in the dead of winter. Check your daily habits and make changes for beautiful, healthy skin!

Katie D?Souza is an AU graduate and a licensed naturopathic doctor. She currently practices in Ontario.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for personal interest only; it is not intended for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. Readers are always encouraged to seek the professional advice of a licensed physician or qualified health care practitioner for personal health or medical conditions.

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