5 Tips To Keep Your Skin Glowing This Winter
I get a lot of people asking me how to get vibrant looking skin and my answer is always twofold.
Firstly, and most importantly, the skin reflects the inner state of the body. It reflects whether the body is nourished and hydrated or thirsty and starved of nutrients so a topical cream may help to relieve the issue in the short term, but for a more long term fix you must work from the inside out.
If you get skin outbreaks or have a skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema, then I know how frustrating and how down it can make you feel, but unfortunately it’s the body’s way of signaling that there’s an imbalance going on, as irritating as it is right now. If our skin didn’t break out then we would be none the wiser. So for lasting healthy looking skin, the balance must be restored and as a side effect, your overall health can be improved – every cloud 😉
If you feel like you’ve tried everything with little to no success and your skin has been in a sorry way for such a long time, then remember this fact: your skin is constantly changing and every 28 days your outermost skin renews. What this means is we have a constant window to change our external world if we focus on the internal one. It’s IMPOSSIBLE for it to stay in the same state…unless you continue doing what you’ve always done or you don’t work on the cause of the issue, i.e. the imbalance, so I hope my approach finds you well.
Secondly, whatever you put on your skin will directly absorb into your bloodstream within minutes, think nicotine patch, so it’s really important to not only be mindful of what you put into your mouth, but also what you slather onto your skin and rub into your scalp. Shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers and makeup are commonly filled with harmful chemicals which can have detrimental effects on your overall health. Over the years I have educated myself on this subject as it wasn’t an area I knew a huge deal about but I will do a separate post on which skincare products I use as that deserves a whole post all to itself. It’s been a huge eye opener for me as I’ve always been so food focused and totally oblivious to how much rubbish there is out there and how many hundreds of chemicals I was obliviously putting on my skin daily. For now, we will look at five tips you can do nutrition-wise to give your skin that healthy glow!
So, before I move onto the tips, here is an important bit of biology for you. The cells that make up the outer most third layer of your skin are born from the bottom of the second layer in your skin. If the environment in this second layer is filled with the nutrients needed for good skin health and the correct hormones then healthy quality cells will be born and migrate into the outer layer in healthy vibrant style giving you gorgeous skin. So how do we get these nutrients in and your body supported to maintain balanced hormone levels?
1). DOSE UP ON YOUR GREENS
Chlorophyll is the pigment in plants which gives it it’s green colour. What you might not know, which is a pretty amazing fact, is that chlorophyll is structurally virtually identical to our oxygen carrier ‘haemoglobin’ in our blood – the only thing that differs is haemoglobin is bound together by iron, whereas chlorophyll is bound by magnesium (check out the diagram below).
Chlorophyll serves many similar purposes in the body as our blood’s haemoglobin: it helps to purify the blood of the plant and transport nutrients to where there they are most needed, whilst ridding the plant of toxins. This helps to create a toxin free, nutrient rich environment. The same goes on in our body via our blood network, so, by increasing your chlorophyll intake throughout the day (think anything green), it can not only increase your body’s oxygen carrying capacity which can have a direct impact on your energy levels, but it can also support your detoxing pathways by helping nutrients in and toxins out.
Add greens (spinach, kale, lettuce) to your smoothies or scrambled eggs in the morning, snack on veggies such as cucumbers and sugar snap peas throughout the day and include at least two portions of greens with your dinner – spinach wilts to nothing so you can sneak it into lots of meals!
2). LOOK AFTER YOUR LIVER
If you want healthy skin, then you need to ensure your liver is working at full throttle. The liver is often over-worked since it deals with a constant stream of toxins from the moment you wake and draw your first breath right until your head touches the pillow at night and it doesn’t end there. It then works a night shift during your sleeping hours, playing catch up dealing with the backlog of toxins from the daytime. So, keeping your body’s toxins in check is a 24 hours a day 7 days a week job.
This process of detoxification is a very nutrient hungry process, so if the right nutrients aren’t coming in, and the toxic load is constant, then eventually other biological processes, like maintaining skin health for example start malfunctioning. For phase one of detoxification, which is the process where toxins are made water soluble so that they can later be eliminated by the body, your liver needs the following nutrients: niacin (NADH), silymarin (milk thistle), catechins (green tea), curcumin (turmeric), vitamins A, C, E, cysteine, lipoic acid and glutathione.
For phase two of the detoxification process, which further processes these water-soluble chemicals so that they can be excreted by the body, the liver needs: glutathione, sulphate, cysteine, taurine, glutamine and methyl donors (folate, B6, betaine, B12). The following phytochemicals can also enhance the process: silymarin (milk thistle) and catechins (green tea).
So how do we ensure we get these nutrients into our bodies on a daily basis? Sip on green tea throughout the day and add it to the base of your smoothies to get your dose of catechins in. Add tablespoons of turmeric into your curries to enjoy curcumin and all it’s healthful properties and lastly, but by no means conclusively, incorporate the following foods in your menu since they are all rich in sulphur: leeks, onions, garlic, chives, eggs, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc). Protein from fish, poultry, meats, nuts and legumes is also important to fuel the detox pathways so couple your plant food with a healthy portion of animal and plant protein with every meal.
Science has also come a long way and can be used smartly to give us therapeutic dosages of active ingredients found in foods but in supplement form so we don’t have to eat such large volumes of certain foods to obtain these therapeutic levels. To help up-regulate glutathione production in the liver which is the body’s most potent antioxidant and to give the body a more bioavailable form of curcumin (nearly 30 times more potent than traditional curcumin), along with green tea extract, milk thistle and broccoli concentrate, I use a liver support with my clients which has a brilliant blend of all these ingredients. It costs £26.40 plus postage for a month supply and it helped me with my skin issues when I came off the contraceptive pill and my hormones were in need of re-calibrating. I also use it every other month when I do a weeks detox to help boost my liver capacity. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for further details if this is something you would like to address and for ordering instructions.
3). DRY SKIN BRUSHING
Your skin is the largest organ of your body and it’s said that we dump between two and five pounds of toxins per day out of it! To help your skin breathe, you can brush it with a natural bristle brush which you can pick up at any health food store or on Amazon here. Dry skin brushing helps to stimulate your body’s circulation, helping your vitamins & minerals reach your extremities where they’re most needed and it also increases toxic drainage by wiping off any dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, allowing toxins to exit the body easily. It also stimulates the lymph and helps break up cellulite, so ladies (and gents) get scrubbing those problem areas.
Once your skin brush has arrived, keep it in your bathroom away from any splashing water. Before you have your morning shower, on dry skin (it’ll feel uncomfortable at first), brush in small circular movements from your toes and work your way up to your upper thighs, covering the front and backs of your legs. Ladies, you might want to spend longer on the backs of your thighs, as this is often a problematic area. After your thighs, work up from your hips to your chest (avoiding the nipples) and from there scrub from the neck down to your chest – always in the direction of your heart to increase circulation. That then leaves your arms, from your wrists to your shoulder (both sides) and then your back.
This is my reminder I stick on my shower door to remind me to skin brush every morning!!
4). FILL IN ANY NUTRITIONAL GAPS
Take a good quality multi vitamin and chelated mineral complex along with a fish oil to make up the difference in what isn’t being provided by your diet on a daily basis. Our modern way of eating is so different to how we have historically sourced our food and our food chain has changed. Unless you grow your own food or carefully source your ingredients from a trusted local supplier then supplementing is a must for so many reasons. Pesticide use is rife, soil infertility is wide-spread due to over-farming and animal feed and their rearing conditions vary hugely. Consequently the variability in the health of our crops and animals is huge so taking a multi vitamin and mineral along with a fish oil is good practice to ensure you are getting high levels of nutrients in daily.
For skin health specifically, I recommend taking extra levels of vitamin C to further improve healthy collagen formation and a liver support as previously mentioned to to ensure your liver is able to get rid of toxins efficiently. The below photo shows a pack I make up for my clients with breakfast and dinner packs containing all of the mentioned nutritional support in handy little packs which you can take with you on the move. You can either order them in their individual containers (see left) or in handy packs likes these (see right). For further guidance and ordering instructions drop me an email on email@example.com
5). SAUNES, STEAM BATHS AND HOT BATHS
Saunas, steam baths and hot baths are excellent forms of detoxing. Not only are they incredibly calming but they are deeply therapeutic as well. Having just spent a weekend in Finland where every Finnish bathroom is fitted with a sauna, I can see how powerful they can be – the Finnish swear by them! Dry heat stimulates your oil-based organs like your liver and gallbladder and steam heat helps to stimulate and strengthen your more water-based organs such as your kidneys, bladder and lungs. If you alternate between hot sauna, steam bath or bath and a cold shower or ice bath 3-4 times then this can also hugely increase your circulation and get the blood pumping to your extremities.
Top tip:: If you are enjoying a hot bath, make sure the water temperature is hot enough. On entering the bath, the water temperature should be verging on uncomfortably hot! This ensures your pores open up nicely during your soak and your skin can breathe. Keep a glass of cold water by your bath and re-hydrate whilst you soak in the bubbles. Add half a cup of Epsom salts to your bath for a range of extra benefits. Epsom salts are a superb source of magnesium which is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions within the body but the salts are also great for pulling out heavy metals as well as being wonderfully alkalizing. A few drops of essentials oils will stimulate a deeper cleanse (and don’t forget the candles and your favourite music).
The external benefits to your skin, complexion and even cellulite can be amazing.
I hope the above has left you with some practical tips you can implement right away and pass onto a loved one who would benefit from doing the same.
All the healthy best,