When we don’t like what we see in the mirror, we often reach for products promising youthful, glowing skin instead of acknowledging the underlying problem. As with most seemingly superficial matters, what we see on the outside is often a reflection of what’s happening inside. Dull, dry or lifeless skin typically signifies an underlying internal imbalance. However, when your insides are functioning properly, your skin will be brighter and more vibrant.
The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and is almost 65% water. Beyond covering your body, it insulates your internal organs, relays sensory information to the brain, and protects you from infections, heat and cold, and trauma. To deal with this constant environmental assault, the skin’s outer layer (the epidermis) is made of keratin cells which renew themselves every 28 days, replacing older, damaged cells with new ones. The next layer, the dermis, is made of a matrix of collagen (providing skin with elasticity) and elastin (supporting skin’s shape and resiliency). This matrix floats in hyaluronic acid, a gel that further contributes to healthy, glowing skin.
As we age, cellular turnover, collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid all decrease, resulting in wrinkles, and dull, sagging skin. Compounding the problem is damage caused by dehydration and free radicals (from stress, poor diet, pollution, sun exposure, etc). Fortunately, there are several easy and affordable ways to improve the look of your skin at any age.
While regular exfoliation, sunscreen application, and avoiding pollutants like cigarette smoke will help, add the following suggestions to your routine to truly promote healthy, youthful-looking skin from the inside out:
1. Follow a healthy diet. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day, and limit junk food, fried foods, sugar, and alcohol, as they contribute to free radical formation. Choose a diet high in vegetables, lean meat, fish, fruit and essential fatty acids, providing vitamin C for collagen production, protein to build keratin, and healthy fats to reduce skin dryness.
2. Choose supplements that support skin health. In addition to a high quality multivitamin, look for products containing the following: hyaluronic acid (HA), particularly Hyabest®, a special grade of HA which aids in moisture retention and has been shown to reduce wrinkles and improve skin’s hydration, elasticity and smoothness; zinc, for repair of skin cells; selenium, to maintain tissue elasticity; and lycopene, to help prevent sun damage.
3. Limit the stress on your body. If you’re tired, dehydrated, missing meals, making poor food choices, or sore from a workout, your body is under stress. And since chronic stress impairs the ability of your body to repair itself, your skin will also pay the price.