Tips to better skincare and acne
One of my most frequently asked questions is “How do you have such nice skin?” It has become something that I am asked so much that I thought I would share some of my rituals, tips and suggestions on here! I want to start by saying that I have never truly had problematic skin, I am very fortunate. Maybe this is because of the exposure I had to healthy and skincare at such a young age? Maybe it is good genes? Either way I want to talk about some things that you could be incorporating into your daily routine in order to see a difference!
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Here are my 7 tips to better skincare as well as essential steps I take to care for my skin. I drink a lot of water, I don’t drink coffee, I have a Whole Foods plant based diet, I do not drink alcohol, I often enjoy fermented foods and I always get lots of sleep!
1. Drink more water
I cannot stress this enough. Every single day we lose water, whether it be from perspiration or going to the bathroom and it is important to replenish that so that our bodies can continue to function. The human body is made up of approximately 50-70% water, this includes skin, tissues, cells and organs. Water is an absolutely essential component for our bodies to effectively function. In fact we need water so our bodies can process all of the nutrients from our food and carry the assimilated nutrients to our cells.
So how does this effect our skin? Water is my biggest ‘secret’ to nice skin, providing moisture and essential nutrients to the skin cells. Water replenishes your skin and increases its elasticity. This is so important in order do reduce the appearance of signs of aging (wrinkles and fine lines.) Water removes and cleanses the body of toxins and waste and a lack of water will result in constipation, allergies, migraines and so on…lovely right?
I personally drink 1 gallon of spring water a day, and I go by the color of my urine. If your pee is light yellow, almost clear then you are hydrated! You should be drinking at least half of your body weight every day.
2. Green Tea
I drink green tea every morning and I do not drink coffee. (Side Note: Caffeine Can Be Bad Too) Caffeine has dehydrating effects on the body and is metabolized in the liver, then makes you poop (because it is a diuretic). Diuretics also dehydrate the body tissues and skin, which in turn leads to wrinkles and premature aging. Caffeine can stress the liver just as aggressively as alcohol, when consumed in such large and frequent quantities. Green tea or herbal tea is a great substitution
Green tea is anti-inflammatory and contains a high amount of antioxidants and enzymes and amino acids. It also has B vitamins, folate, manganese, potassium, magnesium and caffeine. If used ON your skin Green tea has anti-aging and antioxidant benefits that can help delay signs of skin aging, such as sagging skin, sun damage, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. The polyphenols in green tea help neutralize harmful free radicals, which can cause significant damage to the skin and accelerate the aging process.
“If your complexion is red or blotchy, this tea’s anti-inflammatory properties can be soothing,” says Andrea Cambio, a dermatologist in Cape Coral, Florida. “Iced is best because hot beverages can worsen redness and other symptoms of rosacea.” Another benefit: The epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea may help prevent the collagen destruction that leads to wrinkles as well as sun-induced DNA damage in the skin (think lines and discoloration), according to some experts. Consider subbing tea for your morning mug of coffee.
3. Remove Dairy from your diet (I will be doing an ENTIRE blog post about this)
Did you know that milk contains components related to the hormone testosterone. This hormone stimulates oil glands in the skin, setting the stage for acne. Throughout my adolescence I had a hormonal imbalance. Embarrassing abnormal hair growth, elevated testosterone levels & a general hormonal imbalance which left me feeling moody, bloated & suffering from eczema & other various allergies. Adolescence is hard enough & I was a mess. I cured myself with a plant based diet & lifestyle & today my blood work is normal. Dairy was the culprit of my hormonal issues, and I was advised, at a very young age, by both my pediatrician and my mother to cut dairy out. I needed to learn and see for myself, however now when I talk to someone and they express concern with abnormal excess hair growth, acne, eczema or psoriasis I immediately suggest removing dairy.
Remember clear skin is an ‘inside job’ and your skin on the outside is almost always a reflection of what is going on on the inside. Dairy is a pro-inflammatory food and will only aggravate and worsen inflammatory skin conditions. Pair that with growth hormones and excess antibiotics that are given to the animals and you will be wreaking havoc on your hormones.
Here is a list of some great ‘milk’ alternatives…
**See more dairy alternatives in my Facebook group, Bunny Fit Gang
4. Get rid of processed foods! (Especially processed sugars & processed carbohydrates!)
Refined Carbohydrates deplete your gut of healthy bacteria, these are forms of sugars and starches that don’t exist in nature. They do come from natural whole foods, but they have been altered in some way by processing to “refine” them. These types of carbs increase our oil production and that contributes to clogged pores, they also age your skin.
When the body digests refined carbohydrates, the sugar molecules become “co-dependent” and attach themselves to proteins such as collagen. When sugar molecules latch onto collagen molecules, together, they form brand new molecules: advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs.
Unfortunately, your body can’t break this bond, and those collagen proteins that form smooth, youthful skin become lost forever. The glycation process or (AGEs) is what causes inflammation which contributes to wrinkles, acne and ages your skin.
When it comes to refined sugar, simply cutting table sugar out of your diet isn’t enough. It is really important to read food labels because refined sugar goes by many names, including high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, cane sugar, and glucose-fructose (just to name a few).
Refined carbohydrates include white flour, processed sugar and flour hide in the majority of boxed, packaged and store bought foods, including “healthy” versions of processed foods, such as organic ketchup. I personally recommend to consider avoiding processed foods altogether if you struggle with cystic acne and want to have better skin.
Here is a list of some examples of refined carbohydrates
white sugar (aka sucrose; may be cane sugar or beet sugar)
Confectioner’s sugar (powdered white sugar)
Corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup
Brown rice syrup
Rice bran syrup
Dextrose, dextran, dextrin, maltodextrin
Fruit juice concentrates
What to replace this with? Natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup, apple sauce, green leaf stevia and coconut nectar are low glycemic sweeteners, which means they have less of an impact on your blood sugar levels and are less likely to trigger skin breakouts when used in small amounts. If you suffer from a chronic skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis, it’s best to nix the sugar altogether, including the natural sources. As for your diet, consume Whole Foods and this may seem a bit daunting first but you actually have more options to choose from and there is always something new to try. I feel like I am always discovering new fruits and veggies and I personally find it really exciting. I will link below a list of 50 Whole Foods.
5. Maintain a healthy gut
Take probiotics, digestive enzymes or consume foods with probiotics such fermented foods. My favorites are kimchi, kombucha, Sauerkraut, and Non-Dairy yogurt.
Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea, and heartburn symptoms something being wrong within your gut.
“Gastrointestinal discomfort—especially after eating carbohydrate-rich meals—can be the result of poor digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.” Lisa Fischer, MS, RDN, LDN, registered dietitian at the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Gut bacteria performs many important functions in the body, and aids directly to the immune system, producing serotonin, converting our food into energy, and removing foreign substances and toxins from eh body. Your gut health is essential to your overall health. Skin discoloration, blotchiness, redness, rashes and eczema can develop when there is an imbalance in gut bacteria and eating right is the first step you can take to bettering your gut health. The foods you eat can actually change your gut bacteria in 24 hours.
To feed the good bacteria and starve the bad bacteria, swap out processed food, breads, and pastas for more Whole Foods such as plants, fruits, seeds, and nuts. Add in some of those fermented foods I mentioned above because these naturally contain probiotics, or healthy bacteria. You can also fill up on prebiotic foods, which feed the good bacteria.
6. Stop Drinking Alcohol
Today is the 1st of the month (the day I am sharing this article) however, even if you are reading this after today you can still start now! Try removing alcohol from your diet for one month, 30 days. You will see so many benefits including clearer skin, weight loss, increase in energy and you will save A LOT of money.
Alcohol is very dehydrating, which is counterproductive to a healthy diet. Aside from dehydrating your face and skin, you will decrease your body of powerful antioxidants such as vitamin A. Lack of vitamin A will make it harder for your skin to fight off free radicals, which can do damage to the moisture levels of your skin which will result in premature aging…no thank you. Alcohol also causes a lot of unnecessary inflammation to bodily tissue as well as puffiness and redness. Alcohol also dilates your pores causes more blackheads and whiteheads.
I have never pulled an all nighter as a college student, and I take pride in that. It did not affect my grades, I was an exceptional student, it call comes down to time management. I lived about an hour from school and living in LA meant some days I was driving 3-4 hours just to get to school. (There and back) I never let this affect my sleep. Sleep loss can lead to dull skin, fine lines, and dark circles. When you don't get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic and cause premature aging.
You are better off organizing your time so that you fulfill all of your responsibilities of the day while still being able to get a good night sleep. Your brain also gets rid of 60 percent more toxins when you get the proper amount of sleep. Lack of sleep also affects the moisture levels in your skin, depriving your skin of moisture and also lowering your complexion's pH levels. This results in skin that looks less youthful and has less of a glow.
I use to sit on my phone before bed and scroll through social media, watch youtube videos and answer emails. But scrolling through your glowing device before you sleep is horrible for your skin and your quality of sleep. Even reading a book on your tablet before bed is no good. Through out the day we are constantly reacting, our brains are on the engine and we are processing the world around us. If you do not “shut down” before bed then your brain will not rest and you will continue “reacting” through out the night. This results in poor sleep.
My solution? I end my day at 7pm, no matter what I have going on, and I get off of my laptop and phone by 8 pm. Even if this may feel difficult some nights, it is essential in order for me to get a proper nights sleep and truly “shut down”. I also started reading within an hour of going to sleep and this helps me a lot too!
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