For those of you who don’t remember your high school anatomy class, our skin is the largest organ we have. It has many functions, the main being to serve as a protective barrier from our environment. It also has the job of regulating our body temperature, collecting sensory information for us, helping our body detox, and it plays a vital role with our immune system to protect ourselves against viruses and diseases. Given these important roles, it is clearly imperative that we take care of our skin.
Just like with the rest of our body, if we are neglecting our skin and not taking good care of it, it won’t take good care of us. The easiest way to take care of our skin is to be mindful about what we are putting in our bodies. What we feed our body is what we are feeding everything that makes up our body. You literally are what you eat. In fact, every 35 days, your skin replaces itself and your body makes new cells from the food you eat.
Now, I am not saying you can’t indulge in your favorite food or give in to your sweet tooth every once in a while. All I’m saying is that there is definitely a correlation between skin health and what we put into our bodies, be it foods and supplements all the way to the not-so-good-for-us things like nicotine and other drugs (prescriptions or otherwise).
Let’s start with basic care for our skin. We are lucky that with our skin, unlike most of our organs, we can clean it daily. This means that we are given the opportunity daily to give it a jump start for it to work properly for us. By cleansing your skin, specifically the delicate skin on your face, neck and décolleté, you are giving it the opportunity to repair the cells that were harmed and help scavenge for any free radicals that could be lurking around waiting to cause harm. Without cleansing properly at night after a day full of wearing sunblock and/or make-up, touching our face, and the pollutants in the air clinging to our pores like little spider monkeys our skin needs a little help. Using an appropriate cleanser rids your skin easily of the daily grime so it’s not settling in your pores and giving your skin extra work. Otherwise your skin starts to get “weighed down” with the everyday oil production and air pollutants that settle on our skin. So if your skin isn’t cleansed at the end of the day, it has a much harder time at sloughing off those dead cells and bringing fresh, healthy cells to the surface ready to fight off any invaders that mean to cause harm.
Cleansing in the morning is equally important. Imagine moving nonstop for 8+ hours, not resting once, trying to get a job done. You’d probably want a shower, right? Just to feel refreshed? That’s probably how our skin feels. When you are at rest is when your skin is really working to build and repair and do all the things we are wanting from it. So, using a gently cleanser in the morning is a great way to thank our skin for all the hard work!
Also, when applying anything to our skin (like a moisturizer or any serums) your skin needs to be cleansed and toned properly so those products can penetrate through the epidermis and be effective. This is why choosing the proper cleanser matters as much, if not more than, the serums you chose. What we apply directly to our skin (as long as it can reach our true skin, the dermal layer) effects those cells specifically. So, when we purchase those amazing anti-aging serums and brightening serums, they are working only in the area to which it was applied. Which is great! This helps give target treatments for those areas that need a little extra love. The next step in truly caring for your skin is getting professional skin treatments. This could mean facials, chemical peels, laser treatments, microneedling, dermaplaning, etc. It could be as often as every 4-6 weeks, which is ideal and what I recommend to my clients, to quarterly or maybe you can only treat yourself once a year. Anything extra you do for your skin is better than nothing at all. Your skin concerns will dictate the direction of treatments your esthetician chooses for you along with the appropriate skincare regimen for home use.
When we take supplements, it is systemic and is working throughout our entire body. Just because we aren’t applying something directly to our skin doesn’t mean it won’t have an impact on our skin’s appearance. But how do we know what supplements we should be taking? That’s a good question and unfortunately there is not a one-size-fits-all answer because everyone is unique. What I can do is talk about some basics that I like to use.
Before I go any further, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not a physician and am in no way saying this is exactly what you should be doing. I am simply sharing with you what I like to use and why. Also, make sure you are buying reputable supplements. The brand of supplements and where you get them matters tremendously because of where they are sourcing their ingredients. The brand I personally use and recommend is Optimal Nutraceuticals.
First, I always take a basic multivitamin. Most of us aren’t getting the basic nutrition our bodies need with our daily diets so pretty much everyone can benefit from this one. My Optimal Adult multivitamin helps give me a full spectrum of antioxidant protection, helps protect against dietary deficiencies, protects against stress-induced nutrient depletion and supports a healthy metabolism. So, there’s my first dose of antioxidants that help every ounce of my body on top of all the other benefits.
My next supplement is Optimal Omega. Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to proper health, but we cannot produce them on our own. Instead, we consume them through diet and/or supplements. Now, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I am not consuming enough fish oil in my diet. I wish I could say otherwise, but I just don’t like fish. I truly wish I did because I know all the health benefits! Thankfully we have supplements! Omega-3 acids are required for a number of body functions from proper blood flow to brain development. Now, let’s talk about everything in between and why it’s so good for our skin. First Omega supports cardiovascular health. This affects our skin because when we have good circulation our skin tone is healthier and more even. Ever noticed that glow you get after a good workout? It’s because our blood is pumping and circulation has been increased. Next, it supports healthy skin, joints, and connective tissue. Our connective tissue is made up primarily of collagen fibers so it makes sense we want to help support, protect and, strengthen what collagen we have while we are doing other things to promote collagen production (i.e. chemical peels, microneedling, or other laser treatments). Lastly, it helps maintain a healthy inflammatory response. This is important for our skin because the longer you have inflammation within your skin, like a blemish, the more likely it is you will have scarring in the form of hyperpigmentation.
Vitamin C may or may not be an obvious one but that’s the next on my list. We all know vitamin C (along with zinc) is a powerhouse for our immune system, right? It is just as important for our overall fight against premature aging. Vitamin C does an incredible job at fighting the free radicals that like to cause harm in our body and within our skin. There are so many different types of Vitamin C out there, how do you know which one you should take? The answer to that question goes back to what I said before about buying from a reputable brand that uses the best ingredients. With that being said, some brands will still have multiple options for Vitamin C. For instance, Optimal Nutraceuticals has 3 different options. They have a Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids for those that need to focus primarily on immune function, they have Liposomal Vitamin C in liquid form, and they have Vitamin C 1000mg in a pill form. I take the Vitamin C 1000mg, because I prefer to buy only one type and my husband is allergic to sunflower seeds and the liquid form contains sunflower seed oil. If that weren’t the case, we would be taking the Liposomal Vitamin C because it is the most highly absorbed. Vitamin C is water soluble, but the delivery system of the liposomal Vitamin C allows it to be both water and fat soluble, thus better absorbed and more effective.
The last supplement I take and recommend to my clients is a product I believe to be exclusive for Optimal Nutraceuticals: Mitocharge. This supplement recharges cellular energy production. That means it is supporting our cells to turn over and shed the dead cells in a healthy way and allows for the healthy cells to emerge quickly and ready to work. It supports immune function with an ingredient that activates our T-Cells and also contains Resveratrol which supports our immune system and cardiovascular health. Mitocharge will also increase your antioxidant protection with ingredients like the Resveratrol I just mentioned along with green tea polyphenols and Alpha Lipoic Acid, among others.
Experts in Skin Health
When you take care of your skin by using the correct products externally and good supplements internally you are giving it all the building blocks for the best foundation of beautiful skin. At the Institute of Natural Health, our skincare experts will consult with you to develop a plan that works perfectly for your needs and your situation. Contact us here to learn more or to schedule an appointment for better skin health.