Morning boys & girls!
Before I am off on this rainy day to Awakenings festival (oh how bitter to remember the weather was a sunny & bright 25 C last year…) here are some of my thoughts on skin-care. Today I want to discuss getting the glow from the inside out in particular, and I’ll save a more in-depth discussion of make-up and skincare products real soon.
Beauty Is Not Applicable
Most products, besides being completely and utterly useless, are way too harsh on your skin. You would be (and should be!) shocked and disgusted to see what goes in to so called ‘beauty’ products. Creams, cleansers, foundations, they are all loaded with synthetic toxins. Even when buying organic brands it’s hard to find one that only has real natural ingredients .
You can’t apply beauty from the ouside. If your skin looks pale and groggy and you have frequent outbreaks, slathering on the make-up won’t help. It would be like applying a band-aid to a big gaping wound. In fact, by trying to treat the outer symptoms you ignore the underlying cause, as is often the case in the medical (& pharmaceutical…) world. That’s right, anything about your skin you don’t like is not just there to make you feel insecure about your appearance, it’s there to tell you something important. It is there for a reason, namely to let you know there is room for improvement in your health! Now how is throwing a €30 anti-blemish cream at it going to help at that?!
As with any dis-ease or discomfort, we need to turn inward to the answer, and treat from there on out. A glow comes from within, it’s not something we can apply. A touch of mascara here or a smidge of blush there is great to accentuate your beauty, but make-up and products should only have to be used to accentuate, not to cover up or ‘fix’! For this to happen, we have to ensure our skin (hair, nails, etc) are healthy, and thus glowing, from within. How?
Skin Care Tips for Glowing Skin
1. Go for concentrated nutrition
Add more nutrient-dense foods to your daily diet. Greens, fruits and veggies, and juices and green smoothies in particular, are true beauty enhancers. They are the most water-rich and nutrient-dense of all foods. Because of everything they contain (water, enzymes, chlorophyll and more), they are very cleansing. By increasing the amount of fresh produce you’ll automatically reduce the amount of the more clogging foods, like meat, diary and processed stuff.
2. Skip the dairy
I always preach this when it comes to beating the zits. I have no science to back this up, but it has worked for me, and many people I know personally or from over the Interwebz. This won’t ‘work’ for everyone but it is so worth trying. If you’re curious, simply cut out all dairy products (milk, yogurt, ice-cream, milk-chocolate, etc) for 4 to 6 weeks and see what happens. If you’re still not convinced after that period, do a thorough re-introduction in which you eat abundant dairy for a week. The results will be very clear for you. (Read more about my opinion on dairy)
3. Detox Daily
This may very well be the most important one, as continuous detoxing (not ‘doing a detox’) is probably the most important factor in tons of aspects concerning health (and thus, looks).
I wrote a post on incorporating small steps to detox on a daily basis here. Other steps you can take for this is dialing down the booze, coffee, black tea, drugs (recreational and medicinal) ansd cigarette consumption. Whenever I’ve taken recreational drugs, I get outbreaks. The toxins are literally coming out through my skin, how gross! If you drink (any of the above) or smoke on a consistent basis, the effects might not be that apparant as when you take drugs once every xx months, but it’s there. Limiting your intake of these substances will make you healthier and in turn your skin look better.
4. Up the (lemon) water
Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods and drinking lemon water is a very simple, affordable and efficient way to cleanse and thus improve your skin (among other things).
5. Slather on less make-up
Make-up (and face creams and the like) are bad for your skin in two ways. One, it clogs your pores. Two, all commercial (eg. big beauty brand) make-up is stuffed with synthetic chemicals, these will leach into your skin. Now, does this sound like it will improve your skin in any way? I didn’t think so, no. More money goes into marketing than actually creating a good quality product. A good product doesn’t need much, it needs to be close to nature but it certainly doesn’t need 18 chemicals and a slogan promising you smaller pores and a new hot boyfriend.
The more you work on improving your skin from the inside out, the less make-up and products you’ll need. It’s a marvelous cycle!
6. Choose organic and natural products
Using less is always the first step I recommend, being it consuming meat and dairy or, in this case, make-up. Once you’ve dialed it down a bit, you should work on the quality. In this case, opting for organic and natural products! Yes that’s a hint: organic and natural are not synonyms, people. From the handful organic products I use consistently (shampoo, conditioner, facial scrub, face cream, shower gel) 3 are all natural, two are definitely not.
Organic is nice, it’s good, it ensures you don’t put any pesticides in your bod. But it doesn’t mean all the ingredients were naturally derived. Things such as ‘pure aloe vera’, ‘almond oil’ and ‘flower extract’ are natural. Thins such as sodium lauroyl sarcosinate and behenyl alcohol are not, and you don’t have to be Einstein to spot the difference! I strive to have switched to all natural products asap, just like I did with switching to all organics.
7. Break up a sweat
Working up a sweat is super beneficial for your skin, even if you’re not particularly fond of looking like a hot mess. It opens up your pores to the max, and the sweat carries out loads of toxins. Double win. Now of course I could insert my usual Bikram crazy fan talk here (can you imagine what 90 minutes of pure schweating does to your skin, can you?!) but actually, running also always did the trick for me. After every run, my skin would look glorious, rosey, shiney, smooth. And a little sunshine never hurt either! Which brings me to….
8. Go out in to the sun
I hate that the sun has gotten such a bad rep the last decades. Yes, it can cause (skin) cancer but hello, so can just about everything else we people do! And the sun is vital for all life on Earth, I don’t think car emissions or cigarette smoke or booze can claim the same. A little bit of sunshine everyday is good for tons of things. It literally uplifts our moods and gives us energy without addititional food or rest. It provides us with essential vitamin D. And I believe the sun can also do wonder for our skin. Dry out some impurities, give us a nice healthy glow and the heat, again, sweats out some toxins. Of course, tanning doesn’t fall into this category! For health, 15-30 minutes of direct sunlight a day is ideal, and outside of the peak hours of 12-4PM.
I’m not implying you can change your facial structure through your diet, but you can truly change the way your skin looks,! Lines, under-eye circles, zits and spots, dry patches, all these do not belong on a truly healthy, nourished skin. Our skin is our largest organ and it really does reflect our overall health.
Secret magical beauty elixer….
Personally, I clean my face with a scub/exfoliator every morning and night (this is not a make-up remover as I hardly use any on my skin anymore). It contains activated charcoal, an ingredient that draws toxins (it’s actually also used for intestinal cleaning!) so sometimes I simply leave it on my face for an hour while I rummage through the house. I apply aloe vera gel or Vitamin E oil on my face every morning and evening, a bit more often if I have scarring from zits or mosquito bites (mosquitos LOVE me, darnit!). I also try and sometimes put nothing on my face in the evening, so my skin can breathe. That’s it! One actual product (the facial scrub) and two very natural products. I am also very interested in using coconut oil as a moisturizer and I might start with that soon.
Please realize healthy, calm and radiant skin doesn’t happen overnight! Also, it won’t be a constant or a given, at least not at first. Stress, hormones, pollution, these can all still cause some imbalances in our skin, even if we do all the right things. I am not quite there yet myself either! But I can asure you: you’ll notice the progress!
It won’t be one straight upward line from the get-go (is anything, ever?), but you’ll start to notice the positive direction soon enough.
I hope you enjoyed this post and took away from it we need to rethink our mainstream skin care routine (lots of products) as much as we need to rethink the mainstream way of eating!
Do you use a lot of products? Any tips to add to this list?
Enjoy your weekends!