Your skin is the largest organ in your body, weighing several pounds. It’s also a window into your internal health: you can often see the signs of illness in the skin itself. Skin is also at the heart of beauty. People with clear, smooth, radiant skin look fabulous, and we’d like to join them.
Although some people believe that they will never have the skin of a supermodel, the truth is that the majority of people have the capacity to have fabulous, flawless skin. The people with the best skin in the world have discovered a series of chemical, lifestyle, and dietary secrets which they apply on a daily basis. There’s no luck or magic involved: just a lot of hard work and dedication. Even people with acne- or rosacea-prone skin can make changes to their lifestyle that have an enormous impact. The science backs it up.
So with that said, what can you do to upgrade your skin and, hopefully, upgrade your life at the same time?
Start Eating Super Spices And Herbs
Skin can look red and blotchy when your body is inflamed. Inflammation can result for all sorts of reasons, but often it has to do with what you’re eating, causing a low-grade, chronic inflammation that can be seen in the skin if it goes on for long enough. Chronic inflammation is believed to be behind a broad array of common skin disorders, as well as sub-clinical issues, like redness and dryness.
The good news is that nature provides all the anti-inflammatory compounds we need to fight skin redness, blotchiness, and even acne. Spices and herbs are among the most anti-inflammatory foods in existence, helping to reduce the level of pro-inflammatory hormones in the body soon after being eaten. Turmeric is the most famous anti-inflammatory spice, but don’t forget that most spices are highly effective, including rosemary, oregano, clove, cinnamon, and bay leaf.
Consider Avoiding Dairy
For many people, dairy is a staple of the diet. It’s in the cheese on pizza, the cream in ice cream, and the milk you pour on your cereal in the morning. But dairy is not necessarily good for the skin. In fact, the science against dairy is overwhelming.
Take a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health. In one of the largest studies ever conducted on the relationship between dairy and skin health, researchers found that teenage girls who consume the most dairy are more than 30 percent more likely to develop severe acne than those who drank an average amount. Of all the dairy products, skimmed milk seemed to have the worst effect, so going fat-free won’t help.
Researchers think that the link between dairy and acne might have something to do with elevated levels of growth hormone in the body. Milk, designed for young calves, is a weight-gain formula that puts the body in “growth mode,” increasing the levels of a potent cancer-causing hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 could also be responsible for changes in skin chemistry that makes outbreaks more likely for people with a genetic predisposition.
The good news is that there are plenty of dairy alternatives on the market which promote health. If you eliminate dairy from your diet, then make sure that you eat plenty of greens to replace the lost calcium and minerals. Kale, broccoli, spinach, and collards are all excellent choices.
Use Chemical Peels
A chemical face peel is a type of cosmetic intervention that helps upgrade the skin. Peels work by applying acid to the surface of the skin, removing the top layer of cells, and forcing the cells underneath to renew. The results can be spectacular, especially people in middle age. Chemical peels are an excellent way of boosting your skin and work well when paired with traditional dietary approaches.
Avoid Photo Damage
Although the passage of time leads to skin aging, photo-aging – or aging as a result of sun exposure – is the second leading cause. Most women these days wear some kind of SPF protection while outdoors, but many forget that they can still experience photo-aging while indoors too. High-energy UVA and UVB light waves from the sun hit the skin and can have enough energy to destroy the delicate DNA molecule in cells. Early humans evolved a defense against this: higher levels of pigment in the skin. But as some of us moved to more northern latitudes, we lost the pigment so that we could make the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, when exposed to lower levels of sunlight.
The sun can lead to all kinds of damage to the skin, including brown spots and wrinkling. It’s essential, therefore, to wear sunscreen even when driving in the car or when working next to the window in your office. You can take vitamin D supplements to make up for the deficit.
Stop Being Stressed
Stress changes the hormonal balance of the body and can lead to a host of problems. Increases in the stress hormone cortisol not only leads to a rise in blood pressure but, according to Lisa Donofrio of Yale University School of Medicine, causes pores to increase their secretion of oil, upping your risk of a breakout.
How can you stop being so stressed? It’s not as easy as it sounds: nobody wants to be stressed. Donofrio says that people can try things like time-management, yoga, deep breathing and mindfulness. Actively reducing stress can help to reduce common stress-induced skin conditions like rosacea, acne, and psoriasis.
ECGC In Green Tea
There’s a compound in green tea which scientists think might be able to actively block part of the aging pathway in our skin cells. Called ECGC, short for epigallocatechin gallate, it’s a substance that researchers believes can prevent skin wrinkling, perhaps into late middle age if consumed on a daily basis.
Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness and blotchiness. Active ingredients help to reprogram skin cells to make them believe that they are younger and healthier than they actually are.
Replace your cup of coffee in the morning with green tea. Your skin will thank you.