We all want soft, supple skin that feels good and looks healthy. To make sure our skin looks its best, we must take care of it from the inside out. This is true primarily because the skin’s inner layers, like the dermis, are heavily involved in its structural support, elasticity and resiliency. If you have wrinkles now, they are rooted deep within! Thinning, wrinkling and sagging are signs of deficient collagen or elastin production. Collagen provides structural framework and tone, while elastin is essential for suppleness and elasticity of your skin. Here are three steps you can apply today to improve your skin from the outside.
Step 1: Cleanse and Revitalize
Stress, lack of sleep, poor digestion, inflammation and toxicity are known causes of skin aging. During sleep, revitalizing hormones are released that repair your skin, bone and muscle cells. After just a couple of weeks of following specific rules for sleeping outlined in The Hormone Diet (like sleeping at regular times, going to bed before 11 pm, getting a minimum of 7.5 to max 9 hours a night and sleeping in pitch black), you will see that a good night’s snooze really is beauty rest. Along with sleep, it’s beneficial to learn other relaxation techniques, including massage, deep breathing, and/or meditation. These simple tasks will help to protect your skin cells from the aging effects of stress.
You must also reduce skin inflammation and improve digestion with an anti-inflammatory diet and a high quality probiotic supplement. By removing foods like red meats, dairy products, sugar, caffeine and alcohol as well as taking herbs like milk thistle or turmeric, you can successfully begin to “reset” your internal balance and improve your skin’s appearance within just a few weeks. And do not forget to hydrate with plenty of fresh water.
Step 2: Balance Your Hormones
Moving forward, it is important to follow a low GI diet, and one rich in the foods characteristic of a Mediterranean diet. This nutritional approach will stabilize your blood sugar, balance insulin, keep your stress under control and protect against inflammation. Essentially, this approach automatically prevents (or corrects) the imbalances known to damage skin cells and accelerate aging. Reducing your intake of saturated fat (found in meats and dairy products), increasing your essential fats with regular consumption of fish, nuts, avocados, and olive oil, and topping up your intake of vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants (called flavonoids) will also work nicely to improve the look and feel of your skin.
A few key supplements should also be included in your daily “inner” skin care regimen:
- A daily multivitamin to provide all the nutrients your skin cells need and protect you from the nutrient deficiencies that can lead to skin problems. For instance, insufficient intake of vitamin A, zinc, vitamin B complex, vitamin B12, folic acid or chromium is linked to dermatitis, abnormal alterations in skin cell DNA and acne. Even mild deficiencies can impede your skin’s ability to heal and repair itself.
The fat-soluble vitamins you get from your multi – especially vitamins A and E – help prevent dryness and wrinkling and Vitamin C is known to prevent bruising and broken blood vessels and support the production of collagen (in conjunction with copper and iron). Vitamin C has documented antioxidant effects on our skin cells, as well. In fact, the antioxidants A, E, selenium and zinc work synergistically with vitamin C to protect us from skin cancer and aging.
- Omega-3 fish oils are an absolute superfood for your skin! Research published in the Journal of Investigational Dermatology emphasizes the importance of fish oils as potent anti-inflammatory and moisturizing agents. Fish oils are certainly your secret to smooth, radiant, healthy looking skin.
- Calcium/magnesium with vitamin D3 and zinc, like many minerals, play an important role in the structure and integrity of your skin. Zinc is vital for immunity, tissue healing and repair. Scarring and poor wound healing are common signs of zinc deficiency.
- Whey protein provides an excellent source of essential building blocks for the elastin and collagen proteins in your skin. Consuming protein helps maintain the tone, texture and resiliency of your skin. Protein is also necessary for skin healing and for the production of growth hormone and melatonin, which help skin cells repair. Remember, whey protein contains glutathione, one of our most potent antioxidants, which helps protect our cells from aging and disease.
Step 3: Renew Strength and Radiance
By the time you reach this point in your three-step skin rejuvenation plan, you may notice that you’re receiving many comments about how great your skin looks. Drinking your water each day, coupled with the right exercise routine, one that contains a nice balance of strength training, yoga and minimal cardio, will have a fantastic impact on your complexion because of the hormonal effects of these types of exercise as well as the increased blood flow/circulation. Exercise has a wonderful effect on improving insulin response and reducing inflammation.
I also recommend infrared sauna therapy for an absolutely healthy glow because of its benefits on circulation, lymphatic drainage, hormonal balance and detoxification. With this multifaceted approach – you’ll be looking fresh in no time.
Dr. Natasha Turner (pictured) is a naturopathic doctor and founder of Clear Medicine, an integrated medicine wellness boutique in Toronto, who recently authored a ground-breaking wellness tome called The Hormone Diet: Lose Fat, Gain Strength, Live Younger Longer. Dr. Turner is one of Canada’s leading naturopathic doctors and natural health consultants. Bright, energetic and practicing what she preaches, her goal is to inspire others to make positive lifestyle choices in order to enjoy healthier lives. Her passion for promoting wellness, fitness and integrated medicine makes her a sought-after speaker for corporations, the public and the education of other medical professionals. This is her debut weekly post for Blisstree.