What natural ways can you support healthy skin? Besides enhancing your appearance, your skin is your first line of defense against infections, chemicals, and environmental contaminants. It is actually an organ and your overall health and nutrition affect it the same as they do the other organs of your body. Apart from the body care products like moisturizers and those with active ingredients, these tips show natural ways to maintain the health of your skin.
1. Dry Brush Exfoliation
A dry brush exfoliation may be done before showering. According to alternative medicine practitioners, it eliminates dead skin cells and allows the skin to detoxify (skin is the largest organ of elimination). Dry brush exfoliation is also said to improve circulation and reduce puffiness. Some people may find the gentle pressure calming. A soft natural bristle brush is needed. Use long, upward strokes. Don’t overdo it, you don’t want to scratch the skin, but simply to loosen dead skin.
2. Improve Your Digestion
In alternative medicine, good skin is a reflection of a properly functioning digestive system. People with skin disorders such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis who also experience constipation and other digestive conditions may need to have their diet adjusted. Two common culprits are a lack of fiber and fluids.
- Fluid Intake: Dehydration affects your skin as well as the rest of your body. You need to ensure you are drinking enough water and other non-alcoholic, caffeine-free fluids. Getting enough fluids also helps reduce your risk of constipation. When you increase fiber in your diet, you also need to increase fluids.
- Eat Enough Fiber: Fiber is essential for good digestion and to help reduce the risk of constipation. Many people lack fiber in their diets.
Additional suggestions for better nutrition include:
- Add Whole Grains: Choose whole grain products over refined. Have brown rice instead of white or make your own fifty-fifty combination.
- An Apple a Day: Have an apple, skin on, as a snack.
- Eat Cauliflower: Roasted Cauliflower, mashed cauliflower, or cauliflower rice are great ways to enjoy or substitute this nutritious vegetable for starches such as potatoes or rice.
- High-Fiber Snacks: Snack on nuts, seeds, and dried fruit such as dates, figs, and prunes.
- Eat Beans and Legumes: Open a can of your favorite beans or legumes. Rinse them well and add them to your meal.
- Ground Flaxseeds: For an easy fiber boost, sprinkle ground flaxseed (available at health food stores) on rice, salads, oatmeal, or any other meal. Be sure to store flaxseeds in the fridge.
3. Get Moving
Do you sit at your desk for hours, only getting up to go to the bathroom? One of the best things you can do for your skin, stress level, and overall health is to get moving. According to some alternative medicine practitioners, inactivity may affect the skin and promote bloating and puffiness, acne, cellulite, and loss of muscle tone. Any movement is good, but if you can raise your heart rate with a brisk walk, run, or other exercises, you will also send more blood circulation to the capillaries of your skin to nourish it and remove wastes. A little sweat is good for the skin. Here are some quick suggestions:
- Take a quick break to go outside and walk around the block.
- Book a massage therapy appointment.
- Close your office door and stretch.
- Go to the gym.
- Start each morning by stretching.
- Get a skipping rope.
4. Avoid Excess Sugar
In alternative medicine, sugar is linked to inflammation through a process called glycation, in which a glucose (sugar) molecule damages a protein molecule by adhering to it. The new molecules formed are called advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs.
While it is difficult to reduce sugar, it can be done. A gradual approach works best. In the next week, choose one thing you’re going to do to decrease the amount of sugar you consume. For example, start by cutting the amount of sugar in your daily coffee or tea by half. Every week, find another way you can decrease your sugar intake.
5. Eat Good Fats
Essential fatty acids are fats that must be obtained through diet. Here are some suggestions on getting more EFAs in your diet.
- Flaxseed and walnut oil: Use flaxseed oil or walnut oil with balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing. Be sure to keep these oils refrigerated. They should not be heated or used for cooking.
- Cold water fish: Sardines and wild Alaskan salmon.