Everyone is after it. That “it factor” glow for the skin. When you see it you know it, and its everyone’s dream is to have it. It is very easy to achieve this glowy-ness and dewey-ness when you know are keyed in on a few things about how skin, different foods, vitamins, and facials work together to achieve a luminous complexion. Over time your skin accumulates dead skin cells and they build up, which can make skin look dull and essentially clogged ( another factor that could contribute to the dullness factor is smoking, try the patch, your body and your skin will thank your self right now and 30 years from now;) and these dead skin cells need to be sloughed off in some way to reveal the true “you” underneath. One way to slough these dead skin cells off is through alpha hydroxy acids. Examples of these would be a peel that you would have your esthetician perform on you. A lactic acid peel comes from milk, a glycolic acid peel comes from sugarcane, and a malic acid peel comes from apples. These are all examples of superficial peels that you do not normally “peel” from. They are just a chemical exfoliation method to remove and dissolve dead skin cells to reveal a more illuminated you. In general they are used to turn over the cells so that the skin is softer and smoother on the surface. This method is different from a mechanical exfoliation of using a scrub( be careful with these, it can be very hard to tell what is really in them) because mechanical exfoliation is often overdone and harsher on the skin, causing dryness, and in turn can cause breakouts.
Also, food and water play a huge part in what our skin looks like to the outside world; our skin is the largest functioning organ our body has, and has a lot going on inside, and we must take care of it so that we get that “it” glow all the time. We must regularly hydrate our bodies so that we maintain a certain level of water in our bodies, in all honesty it affects oil production and cell function. Although a statement that has been thrown out the window many times, “you are what you eat” still holds some truth today. Skin disorders, fatigue, and even depression( which if isn’t taken care of, can affect those prone to acne) can be caused by a poorly balanced diet. Macro-nutrients( proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) are the building blocks necessary for bodily functions of the skin.On a 2000 calorie a day diet, an average person should intake about 105 g protein (20%), 281 g carbs (54 %) and 60 g fat (26%).
Protein is needed to make muscles, tissue, blood, and enzymes, and keratin that is present in skin, nails, and hair( does that mean more grilled chicken equals shinier hair? hmm?) But most importantly protein is used to make collagen, and collagen makes your skin firm, and binds water, which means you are going to be looking good if you are eating your daily doses of protein. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy( controversial) are all good but should be limited to that 20% of your diet because they can be high in fat. Nuts, grains. and beans are also wonderful to stimulate the collagen synthesis process. Who knew eating a piece of salmon was the going to get you the GLOW factor, well probably Dr. Oz, but we will pretend I just told you;)
Carbohydrates break down the basic chemical sugar that supply energy to the body. Nutrients are broken down to combine with protein to produce different body chemicals. One specific to our topic of the skin and face is a carbohydrate-lipid-complex that is a water binder. It is present in the fibers of the dermis, the lowest layer of the skin. What does that mean for you? Well every time you put a healthy carb, (not a DONUT) into your body you are promoting moisture retention for your skin, and if you have any type of dryness and are look for a pick me up to bring you to that “it factor”, you need moisture, so it is the perfect solution. Bring on the Quinoa! There are 3 sources of Carbs. 1) Simple Carbs( sweets, syrups, honey, fruit, candy, and many veggies). 2) There are starches, which include processed grains, cereal, breads, and other flour products, potatoes, legumes/beans, and pasta. 3) The third category is high fiber foods including unprocessed grains, wheat bran, certain beans, most veggies. Also all gluten-free flours and grains would fall into this category. As far as carbs are concerned this third category is the one you want to choose from the most if you want your skin to glow, as these foods will induce the most moisture retention for your face. Foods like candy, sweet rolls, and even some fruits that are high in sugar do not trigger this response within the dermis (bye-bye dark chocolate 😦 JOKING, studies have actually shown that chocolate is good for your skin, the cacao bean has many antioxidants so go for it!
Fats, or lipids, are a different story. They are used as nutrients but not as readily as carbohydrates. You want to have a little bit of fat in your diet no matter what, it is important to the function of your body. Fats are used to produce the materials in the sebaceous gland( glands connected to the hair follicle that produce oil and protect the surface of the skin). This is important because how active your sebaceous glands are(how much oil they are producing) determines whether or not you have acne. Acne is clearly a deciding factor in whether or not your skin is glowing, often, skin with acne can have a grey cast, but is most often red. Fats also assist in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, K. Most of the vitamins would be in serums that you may use, so if it weren’t for fat in your diet, you would not be getting the benefit or “glow” that you should be from these serums. Monounsaturated fats from olive oil and canola oil have more fluid molecules than oils that are considered saturated fats and these oils are not only good for cooking but are important for cell integrity. Your brain is filled with question marks. Mine is too. Just kidding. Cell integrity is the overall health and structure of the skin cell. Basically if the cell is healthy, which it should be if you are getting the correct amount of fats (+carbs+protein) you should be glowing. The topic of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids comes up when discussing skin health and luminosity. Both are fatty acids that are polyunsaturated that are necessary for skin repair ( great if you are a smoker). Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation of the skin and can be found in any cold water fish, including salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, trout, cod. You can also take a fish oil supplement( do your research on a quality brand), eat walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or algae chips as an alternative. Any of these are great for reducing inflammation and when your skin is calm, it looks better, the redness is gone, and
“you” shine through. Linoleic acid is an Omega 6 fatty acid that is used to make important hormones for the skin and assist in keeping the lipid barrier of the skin strong. Omega 6 is found in sunflower oil, corn, soybeans, borage oil. and flaxseeds. Again, if your lipid barrier is strong, you are holding in water and oil, the balance is good and your skin looks dewey and glowy. On some level fat may not be so good in large doses for the human body, but if have the right intake of fat everyday, it can do wonders for your skin, this is why its important to not undereat( common problem).
Lets not forget about the world of Vitamins!! Vitamins have been around since the beginning of time existing naturally within plants. It is only obvious that they are here to help us, and they certainly do when it comes to achieving a glowing face. Vitamin C, is found in citrus fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, and potatoes, and is responsible for healing and collagen maintenance( yay firming). Sulphur is found in fish, eggs, nuts, cabbage, and meat and aids in collagen and body tissue formation and gives strength to keratin. Vitamin A promotes overall cell health and repair of skin health. It can even help prevent against certain types of cancers including skin cancer. Retin-A or retinoic acid as we know it today( high concentration of vitamin A) improves elasticity and thickness of skin. You can find vitamin a in carrots, yams, fish, eggs, and pumpkins( my dream is if Starbuck’s pumpkin spiced lattes would count!) Also vitamin D promotes rapid healing, which is great for any one with acne looking to achieve at least a little bit of a glow. Vitamin E helps skin fight free radicals so that the cell membranes arent damaged and can function normally. It also heals damaged tissue. as well as structural damage. You can find vitamin E in avocados and wheat germ. Vitamin K allows for coagulation(clotting) within your skin so it helps to lessen the appearance of abnormal capillaries by strengthening the capillary wall(stops the bleeding). Vitamin K can be found in beans, dark leafy vegetables, spinach, and broccoli. Another great vitamin is Riboflavin, it helps with dry skin, you know the cracks around your mouth you get around winter time and can be found in salmon or tuna. Trace minerals are also important to skin function and luminosity. Zinc aids in collagen formation, and would healing. Copper helps with formation of elastin as well as collagen, and selenium is needed for tissue elasticity. You should look for all of these vitamins in serums and moisturizers that you are purchasing for your face, but you should also eat as many of the foods listed as possible because your skin is an organ, and what is happening on the inside, shows on the outside.
The last step, finally I promise 😉 is taking care of your skin with a regimen of cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, and exfoliant based on your skin type every day if you wish to achieve luminous skin. If you perform these steps the PH of your skin will stay constant and you will be less likely to break out and your pore size will be smaller. If you have questions on what is best for you comment or please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Look for my next couple posts on the topic of acne, which is an involved subject but I am going to make it a little bit easier to understand for everyone!