We live in a culture and society that is very preoccupied with anti-aging serums and long-lasting youth. The beauty and cosmetic industry is the 4th consumption zone hit after cars, real estate, and tourism in Canada. As of November 2009 (Aruvian’s R’search), the number of beauty parlors has increased to 1.54 million. There are roughly 3,700 cosmetic companies, most of which are small and medium-sized, in Canada alone. Together, they mass produce more than 20,000 types of products. While these products are targeting the young and old, they don’t really offer long-lasting effects that help people achieve healthy skin. Each year, people especially women spend a tremendous amount of their income on beauty care. Contrary to what the consumer market is offering, there are holistic and healthier ways of maintaining great skin.
1. Neutralizing free radicals on the inside and out
Free radicals are essentially highly unstable oxygen molecules that are missing a single electron from their outer orbit. Electrons like to operate in pairs. With free radicals, they would steal electrons from healthy cells, damaging those cells and creating a complicated intracellular inflammatory response. These harmful free radicals surround us, inside and out. After five minutes of unprotected sun exposure, they can form on your skin and therefore quickly do damage to our collagen skin layer. In addition, pollution, x-rays, and chemicals/toxins in our lotions and cosmetics contribute free radicals to our skin – developing more harm.
To counteract these free radicals, our immune system requires specific nutrients from antioxidants, many of which are plant-derived, to heal. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and control inflammation by using one of their electrons. Thus, this is the neutralization process. Because free radicals are unavoidable, we constantly need antioxidants in our bodies to maintain balance.
The major antioxidants are:
– Vitamin C (plants and fruits)
– Vitamin E, particularly high-potency tocotrienols
– Coenzyme Q-10 (naturally in our cells but decreasing after age 20)
– Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA; plant and animal sources)
– Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE, found in fish)
– Carotenoids (phytonutrients found in red, yellow, and orange plant leaves, flowers, and frust)
– Flavonoids (green tea, soy isoflavones, and red wine)
2. Sticking with a healthy and balanced diet
Your skin is the biggest organ in your body, and like many other organs, it also need you to have a healthy diet. You can visit the Canada’s Food Guide to learn how much of each food group you should be eating. This guide ensures you will receive an adequate amount of nutrients to nourish all the systems in your body – systems that work with your skin to filter toxins out of your body. If you eat unbalanced meals and on top of that, add more toxins inside of you, your body will have a difficult time getting rid of the waste. Not having antioxidants to help makes things worse!
Another element to having great skin is exercising. Especially when we tend to do more sitting (at work, for instance) and less labour-intensive work, we need to help our body sweat out the toxins that are culminating inside. Even taking a brisk walk everyday will help.
4. Drink enough water
How much water you should drink each day depends on the size and body of the person. It is recommended that you drink an equivalent of 8 glasses of water everyday to keep yourself hydrated. Our skin, more than anything, needs water to get rid of the toxins. Moreover, dehydrated skin will not perform its normal functions very well. Purchasing lotions or other serums will not help, as they only focus on short-term hydration of the surface layers of the skin.
5. Emotions and skin care
Stress, depression, and other internalized negative emotions can worsen your skin. According to studies done by Makoto Hashiro and Mutsuko Okumura in the Journal of Dermatological Science, there is a high correlation between eczema and people who are prone to anxiety and depression. Examining and dealing with unhealthy emotions, hidden or not, can lead to better skin. Your skin is a barometer of your emotional well-being. When you’re stressed, your skin will show it because our body response to inflammatory stressors.
6. Beware of your cosmetic and beauty products
Many synthetic additives in cosmetic and beauty products are unregulated by the FDA. At the same time, these synthetic additives are proven to interrupt endocrine functioning, disrupting the metabolism of sex hormones. Some of the consequences include infertility and adding more free radical in your body. Researching into the products you use can save you from building up years and years of inflammatory effects. There are products in the market that are natural and organic, made to nourish your skin.
Aruvian’s R’search. “Analyzing the Cosmetic Industry in Canada”. November 2009.
Marcelle Pick (OB/GYN NP). “Holistic Skin Care: Healthy Skin from the Inside Out”. http://www.womentowomen.com/healthyaging/holisticskincare.aspx