22 April 2008

Healthy Skin

The skin is our largest organ. It has important functions in being protective, a sensory organ, and also helps to eliminate toxins from the body. To keep the skin looking healthy, it is important to keep the whole body well nourished and cared for.

The condition of the skin reflects our internal health. An imbalance internal can often show up on the skin in the form of blemishes and colourations.

It is important, if you want good skin, to take good care of yourself overall. Your skins health is dependant on the health of the rest of your body. Drinking plenty of water may be the number one factor. The body is made up of 70% water and we constantly need to replenish this supply. Water helps to carry nutrients throughout the body and flushes out the toxins. Without this the elimination process can be hindered, clogging up the system and as a result, clogging up the skin. The whole body constantly uses water and we constantly eliminate, so make sure you replace what is lost. Generally speaking around 2 litres of water a day should be drunk. This of course can vary from person to person and varies according to diet, lifestyle and other health factors. A rich, fatty diet requires more water than one high in fruit and vegetables. An active lifestyle requires more water and of course in summer or in air-conditioned environments that are often drying, more water is needed. If you suffer from constipation, then extra water is needed than for those with normal bowel function. Try to avoid caffeinated and/or sugary drinks; these are dehydrating.

Of course exposure to chemicals can contribute to skin problems, and smoking is terrible for the skin (and the rest of you) and very ageing. Care needs to be taken not to overexpose skin to ultraviolet radiation. Sunbathing can reduce the elasticity and tone of the skin, as well as exposing your self to the potential of skin cancer.

When choosing skin care products, look for natural products. The chemical cocktail in some skin care products can do more harm than good. Botani products offer a great natural and effective alternative.

When looking at diet, it comes to the same old story. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to include salads daily, both for lunch and dinner. Lots of raw vegies are great, but cooked and as soup are great alternatives. Nothing beats a tasty veggie soup for lunch. Fruit on its own, for breakfast or a snack can't be beaten for taste and as a fast easy food. Choosing whole grain foods in place of processed is important. They move through the system a lot easier. White bread can just clog up the system. Whole grains contain a lot more nutrients and that essential fibre, keeping the system clean, therefore keeping the skin clean. (Where do the toxins go when they can't get through the normal route? Out through the skin, blemishes, pimples and other skin disorders.) Ensuring you have plenty of fibre and you bowel is functioning efficiently is vital (that is at least once a day!

Essential fatty acids are very important for the skin. These help prevent dryness of the skin and keep the texture and vitality, as well as their numerous other functions. Even if you have oily skin, you still need these! Some of the best sources of these come in the form of flaxseed oil and olive oil. Use olive oil in cooking, it is best for this as it is heat stable, many others are not. Fresh fish is a good source of these oils as well.

Protein is important too. Protein provides you with amino acids and many of these help with tissue repair and rapid cell growth, important for the skin. Not all protein needs to come from meat. Try some Legumes and beans. A diet varied in legumes, beans, whole grains and vegetables can supply you with adequate protein.

The important nutrients for skin health include Vitamin A and beta carotene (foods that are orange and yellow) helps prevents acne, blemishes, dry skin and important in all skin disorders. Vitamin C helps to reduce the ageing and the damaging effect of pollutants with its antioxidant function. Vitamin E and Selenium are also important antioxidants.
Zinc is needed for cell repair and enzyme production.
Silica strengthens the skin, hair and nails.
B vitamin deficiencies are often associated with skin disorders.
Essential Fatty acids nourish the skin and protect the body from various other complaints.

For most people a good healthy diet is sufficient to keep the skin healthy and glowing. Sometimes extra help is needed, in the form of supplements. Allergies can also cause skin problems, including acne.

Copyright Andrea Putting