Inside-Out Tips for Great Skin
No matter what the season, great skin is always in. Every day, more and more products announce a “magic cure’ to giving you flawless and vibrant skin. Although there is no single magic product that will work for everyone, there are some universal skin care tips that everyone can use to truly love the skin they’re in!
What is important to keep in mind is that skin is one of our body’s many cleansing systems – so the more you nourish and take care of your “inside’, the more your “outside’ will reflect that. Stick to these inside-out skin care tips to achieve a flawless and healthy complexion!
Many skin issues that people often face – from dry skin to oily skin, can usually be attributed to some sort of nutrient deficiency. So what are some of the key nutrients our body needs in order for our skin to be healthier?
1. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): By now, you have probably already heard these three words and know about their many health benefits. They are called “essential’ because our body cannot make them on their own, so they are needed through diet. Among their many benefits, they are also absolutely essential for healthy skin. They are necessary for keeping our glands hydrated, strengthening our skin and reducing free radical damage, which can cause wrinkles and blemishes. Make sure to incorporate fresh seeds, nuts, legumes, sprouted grains, green leafy vegetables, and cold-water fish into your diet to benefit from EFAs and have skin that is genuinely nourished from the inside.
2. Vitamin C: As a premier anti-oxidant, this is one of the most important vitamins for the maintenance of the skin and can aid in slowing the aging of skin. However, due to its many necessary health functions, our bodies actually use up vitamin C every four hours, so it is best to make sure you are getting a consistent amount throughout the day to constantly replenish your supply! Found in most fresh fruits and vegetable – notably in the citrus family!
3. Vitamin E: Vitamin E also prevents free radical damage and protects the tissues of our skin and accelerates wound healing. It can be found in many vegetables, as well as seeds and nuts and can also be used as a lip balm or moisturizer.
4. Zinc: Many skin conditions such as dermatitis and acne can actually stem from a zinc deficiency, as zinc helps maintain our skin’s oil glands and also serves as an anti-oxidant. Zinc can be found in most animal sources, as well as whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds!
5. Water: While not technically a vitamin or a mineral, water is still an essential nutrient our body needs in order to function properly. It should come as no surprise that being hydrated will be reflected in our skin. Water also aids our bodies in the elimination of toxins and therefore it is less likely that those toxins would be able to be pushed out through our skin. The usual recommendation is at least right cups a day, but remember that you need to increase this amount if you are very physically active, consume a lot of caffeine or salt, or if the weather is very hot.
While making sure to get enough of the above nutrients is key to healthy skin, there are also ways to revitalize it on the outside using natural ingredients.
Skin-Brushing: Skin brushing serves many purposes, including improving circulation, stimulating our lymph nodes, reducing the appearance of cellulite, as well as removing dead skin flakes from our surface layers. When you dry brush your skin, you are removing these dead cells and unclogging pores while preventing the occurrence of dry skin. While the first few times may feel a little rough on your skin, you will soon become adjusted to the feeling and see the benefits – both in how your skin looks and how it feels! Simply use a dry brush or a loofah and begin with your feet, and with gradual upward movements make sure to brush your entire body, being gentler on sensitive areas. You can move in circular motions for joints such as elbows or knees. It is best to do this every morning over a towel or in a bathtub.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil can serve not only as a fantastic moisturizer free of chemicals, but also as an effective makeup remover! It is great for the skin – both internally and externally. If your skin is prone to being oily, you can simply rub some on your face, leave it on for a few minutes, and rinse it off and gently towel-dry. This prevents your skin from becoming too oily, but also keeps your face moisturized, while acting as a great base before makeup. To remove your makeup, simply put a little bit of coconut oil in your palm, soften it with your hands (coconut oil will harden in colder temperatures) and apply it all over your face, and then rinse it off with warm water. This will remove all of the residue while moisturizing your skin – talk about multi-purpose!
Ayurvedic Treatments: Ayurvedic treatments have been around for a very long time, and the West is finally beginning to incorporate many of these traditional wellness treatments. One in particular that is very nourishing for skin is called an Abhyanga massage. This is essentially a full body oil massage and penetrates deep into the skin from head to toe. You simply need to double-boil unrefined oil – sesame is best in winter, while coconut is best in summer, and cover your entire body with it. You can begin with your head and hair, massaging in the warm oil and move all the way down to your toes. Once your body is covered, you should wait for at least 15 minutes for your skin to absorb it before taking a shower. You can meditate, do yoga, or stretch during this time. The result is soft, supple skin that glows without the feeling of being oily or greasy. It is best when done right after skin brushing, and can be done a few times a week or a month. Sesame oil is considered to be a warming oil, while coconut is a cooling one, so it is best to alternate these depending on the season.
By incorporating these suggestions into your daily rituals and diet, you will have well-nourished skin that is vibrant, healthy, and will look and feel great!
Photo courtesy of Viva Luxury
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