Your skin is the largest organ of your body and has a very large surface area. The quality and appearance of your skin reflect what you eat, the environment you live in, your stress levels, and whether your organs are functioning optimally. When your body is out of balance, or your skin is directly exposed to harmful environmental substances, you may experience skin changes in your skin that cause your skin to age more rapidly. There are natural ways to reduce aging skin.
Most people think that the skin as our outer barrier only protects our body from harmful effects of the environment. While the skin does serve as a protective barrier, it also has a high absorption capacity. As such, when we are exposed to chemicals, whether they are knowingly harmful such as pesticides, or whether they are everyday skincare products, they potentially place us at risk for increased aging and toxicities that can affect not only our skin but our internal organs.
Unfortunately, many times we are unaware that a product we use, the food we eat, or a place we live or frequent, can contain harmful chemicals. Chemical toxins can be either directly absorbed through the skin, or through inhalation or ingestion. Toxins can impact the skin directly through skin contact or accumulate within the body, leading to damaged tissues, and organ damage, including the skin. Food substances we are sensitive or allergic to or lack of intake of proper nutrients can also cause skin changes.
Effects of skin damage from our diet, lifestyle, and toxin exposure may include skin eruptions such as acne, eczema, skin rashes, or wrinkles, skin discolorations, and skin lesions. In many cases, skin reactions and long-term effects of skin aging can be controlled through changes in diet and lifestyle.
The skin is a reflection of:
- What we eat-Sugar is a prime example of a trigger for acne. Too many carbs can wreak havoc on the skin. Skin also requires collagen. As we age, we lose collagen, which increases signs of aging, such as loose, thin, and saggy skin.
- The Environment we live in-Exposure to toxins and too much sun can cause skin damage due to exposure to UV rays. Dark spots, called age spots can occur from skin damage and concentration of the skin pigment, melanin, in skin cells due to exposure to the sun over time.
- Our stress levels-Stress can be environmental, chemical, or emotional. Chronic stress can speed up aging through a process called oxidative stress. This causes the skin to lose collagen and elastin fibers, ultimately leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, and changes in skin texture. This can also lead to a decrease in the integrity of the skin, increased sensitivity, and decreased ability to retain moisture.
- Our organ function– There are many ways in which the skin shows evidence of underlying illness, nutrient deficiencies, nutrient excesses, sensitivities, or exposure to toxins. Let’s face it. When someone has a chronic disease, it often shows in their skin. They may have pale, sallow, or sagging skin. For example, individuals with liver disease often have sallow, yellow-tinged skin, while those with anemia may be pale.
Here are 7 ways to reduce skin aging:
- Eat the right foods-This not only means eating foods free of pesticides, such as organic foods, but also eating the right foods for your body. Popular diets are not right for everyone, meaning just because they work for one person, they may not be appropriate for another person. Learning the right diet for your type can help enhance your energy levels and the appearance of your skin. Metabolic Typing® is one way to identify how your body metabolizes foods and help you dial in the right amount of carbs, fats, and proteins as well as identify foods that boost your energy levels, keep your body balanced, and your skin glowing. Eat as organic as possible. Make sure to include a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables in your diet. These foods are high in antioxidants which can fight oxidative stress. If you can’t afford to purchase all organic, check the Environmental Working Group (EWG) out and refer to their Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ lists.
- Get Quality Sleep-Quality sleep is important to your skin health. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep, going to bed at a consistent time every night, and minimizing sleep interruptions can help your body to process toxins while you sleep, therefore improving skin health.
- Consistent Exercise-Exercising moderately and consistently can help to promote sweating and elimination of toxins from the skin. Exercise also promotes circulation to the skin, bringing nutrients to the skin tissues. In addition, skin promotes lymph circulation, which depends on exercise and movement to remove toxins from our tissues. One of my favorite hacks is using a PowerPlate® which uses vibration to help promote circulation while exercising.
- Manage Stress–Oxidative stress caused by the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) can lead to cell damage and senescence, one of the core mechanisms leading to skin aging. Reducing oxidative stress means avoiding exposure to environmental toxins and avoiding smoking. Managing stress whether it is environmental, physical, or mental stress can help reduce oxidative stress.
- Take the right supplements-When we cannot eat, digest, or absorb all the nutrients our body needs, supplements can help. To boost collagen, a collagen supplement can help. Most people want one that is easily dissolvable and tasteless such as these quality collagen supplements here or here. Antioxidant supplements can help to offset free radical damage and oxidative stress. Digestive enzymes with meals also can help with making sure that your digest and absorb nutrients from food which ultimately can help your skin look healthier.
- Wear sunscreen-Wearing sunscreen can reduce the free radical damage caused by the effects of UV radiation from the sun.
- Use Quality, Toxin Free Skincare Products-An easy way to see if personal care products contain toxins and their relative chemical safety is to visit ewg.org. Make sure you cleanse your skin with a non-toxic facial cleanser. A good facial cleansing tool such as a Foreo sonic skin cleanser brush helps to remove dead skin. If you are interested in converting to a beauty product line that provides safe beauty products, BeautyCounter is one company to consider.
There are many ways to take control of your health to avoid aging skin. These recommendations are to help not only prevent skin aging but also with your overall health. This is because your skin is a reflection of you, your diet, and your lifestyle.
I am a Master’s prepared RN, National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Board-Certified Functional Wellness Coach, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. I help people fix their chronic inflammation & pain with in-home lab testing, client assessments, personalized natural healing protocols, and online coaching to help them move from pain to peace so that they feel better, move better, and live better.