Natural Skin Care Information: What You Need to Know

Caring for one's skin has become a modern preoccupation because of the changing ideals of what it means to be ‘beautiful’. We are constantly bombarded by TV and internet ads about “true beauty”, “perfect skin, ageless or youthful appearance”. It's not easy to ignore what magazines and TV channels tell you but in order to have a critical eye about all that we should learn the truth about beauty products and know about the fundamentals of having beautiful, radiant skin.

Our skin is actually well-equipped to take care of itself, just like every other organ in the body.

Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the body?

It is our first line of protection from the elements and is also widely responsible for resisting viruses, bacteria and foreign contaminants. Imagine this beautiful material that is waterproof yet lets water, oil and sweat out. It is strong yet delicate, flexible and penetrable. It is the ultimate protective coat. As such it operates with a finely-tuned system.

It also gives clues about our physical, mental, and psychological state. Many years ago I was shocked when my facial therapist knew that I had issues in my uterus by just looking at some very mild rashes around my mouth. When we use skin care products and cosmetic products with synthetic chemicals we in reality start to cause an imbalance in this finely-tuned system. The best way to preserve this natural system is by being very selective about what we put on our skin.

Besides using common sense, here are a few proven tips you can use to rejuvenate and revitalize your skin.

1. Diet - It is essential for healthy skin. ​Remember skin reflects what's going on in our body, and a healthy body will reflect on your skin. Nutrients in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes will nourish your skin and provide all the components to have a youthful and radiant skin. Fiber-rich foods apart being essential for the digestive system, they are also rich in antioxidants and flavonoids.

2. Sleep - It is imperative for healthy skin. In fact people who do not get enough sleep are most likely to age prematurely and show signs of line earlier than people who get enough night sleep. The skin regenerates during the sleep. So having uninterrupted and quality daily sleep is imperative not only for overall health but also for a healthy and clear skin.​

3. Water - We can't stress enough the importance of water to keep your skin healthy, soft, smooth, and toned. Daily recommended water intake is at least a half gallon of purified water. If you work out, drink even more. When you start to drink 60 to 80 ounces of water every day, you will start to see a difference in the appearance of your skin within 3 days.

4. Exercise - Exercising is a must for many reasons, and your skin's health is one of them. Exercising will improve the circulation in your body and increase the body heat. The heat produced during the exercise will draw more blood into the skin surface, in return increasing dermal capillary circulation. This will provide more nourishment therefore better complexion.

5. Vitamin C - Your skin is made out of 2 building blocks Collagen and Elastin, and they can only be made by fibroblast cells with the use of vitamin C. You can either apply vitamin C directly to your skin or ingest it. Vitamin C serum is very popular lately to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. These serum are probably to be consumed quite fast so that they do not loose their valuable content that will nourish your skin. Vitamin C also comes as creams, lotions and oils.

There are several foods that contain high amounts of this "youth" vitamin. Rosehip fruit contains it 14 times more than oranges.  Kiwi, parsley leaves, papaya, strawberries, grapefruits and dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach are some others containing vitamin C. You can eat them raw, use them in juices and smoothies, or less preferably cook with them.

6. Sun Protection - It's imperative to protect our outer layer from exposure to UV radiation from the sun. While exposure to sun is essential for Vitamin D intake, overexposure to sunlight is widely accepted as the underlying cause for harmful effects on the skin, eye and immune system. UV damage is mostly avoidable by using sun blockers. Apply a minimum sunscreen of SPF 15+ liberally and re-apply every two hours, or after working, swimming, playing or exercising outdoors. Before going to bed don't forget to wash off any sun protection cream you applied on your face and body during the day.  Also wear sun protective clothing (sun glasses, hat, tight woven loosely fitting clothing). The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so avoid those hours when you can to get your daily vitamin D intake. 10 minutes of Vitamin D in the sun is usually enough... more than that starts to become harmful for your unprotected skin.

7. Probiotics - They are "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy and make the digestive system work the way the Nature intended it. Not surprisingly they also have non-stomach related benefits. They create a barrier to reduce inflammation therefore help giving a clear skin in overall. Taking probiotic supplements will, among many other benefits to your body, give a general glow to your skin. Some people say even applying Greek yogurt directly to their skin once a week for 10 minutes as a homemade mask helps having fewer acne lesions.

8. Make-up or not? - Besides the skin damage done by environmental pollution and radiation, heavy and poreless makeup is a big component in aging our skin prematurely. Neglecting to remove the makeup at night is a criminal act towards your skin's purity and overall health. It's ideal not to use heavy make-up no matter what the expensive make-up label would tell you. Keep in mind that by layering makeup on top of silicone based products makes the skin suffocate. Wow, we do not want that at all costs! When your skin does not breath it just can't stay youthful for a long time.

9. Cleansing - Furthermore it's imperative to do proper cleansing every night before applying moisturizer. Night time is the time of recovery for our body, for our nervous system, and more. And skin cells are not any different. You have to purify your skin for the repair and rejuvenation process that occurs at dark while we are sleeping. Furthermore, it's important to moisturize the skin before going to bed. You can use natural elements such as coconut oil or choose cream with made natural components only.

Our skin is watertight but it doesn'’t mean that it cannot absorb chemicals and toxins. Current studies show that the human skin can absorb up to 60% of anything that we put on the surface of the skin. This would be a good scenario if all we put on the skin is water. However, times have changed and people are putting more and more synthetic chemicals on their skins through lotions, creams, ointments, emollients, etc.

Bottom Line...

The most important piece of advice that we can give people who want to preserve youthful looking skin is to practice moderation with everything that they do. This includes buying and applying different skin care products. Your skin is not a science project. Do not experiment with different products to see how it goes. If you want to find out what types of products are alright with your skin, consult with a dermatologist and inform the dermatologist that you would prefer natural skin care over anything else. Your dermatologist will be able to point you the appropriate products.

Another important reminder is to watch what you eat. Few people know that what you eat actually has a big impact on the skin. Habits such as consuming alcohol and smoking cigarettes can also age your skin more quickly. If you want your skin to look ten years younger, you have to give up bad lifestyle choices. Your skin (along with all your other organs) will thank you for your decision to transform your lifestyle.

Now, it is also imperative that you keep your skin hydrated at all times. In the event that you have dry and scaly skin, using natural emollients would be a good idea. Emollients will form a protective layer of moisture right above the surface of your skin. However, do not use emollients if you already have oily skin. The natural sebum produced by your sebaceous glands will be sufficient to keep your skin hydrated.

And keep your skin away from sun. This might seem a bit harsh but exposing your unprotected skin to sun's UV radiation will age your skin prematurely. But not only that it might also cause skin cancer. Use sun blockers with minimum SPF 15 when enjoying outdoors in the summer but also going to work during the winter. 

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