Did you know that skin is our largest organ? Yeah. As adults, we typically carry 8 lbs of skin. Weird to think about, right? Not only does our skin make up a large part of our external beings, but it also does a lot in protecting our internal selves. Our skin fends off harmful substances, extreme temperatures and sunlight, and literally acts as a waterproof suit so that we can jump in the ocean and play in the rain without, well, disintegrating. Our skin is pretty much our brain’s bouncer, letting it know about harmful or harmless substances that might come our way (aka jokers tryna use a fake to get up in da clurrrrb). Furthermore, skin literally takes Vitamin D that we get from sunlight, and turns that stuff into calcium to keep our bones strong. Our skin is a freaking wizard. The protector of the realm. The ultimate organ crucial for overall well-being, functionality, and literally, living.
You know why the idea that skin is the G.O.A.T. is so weird to me? It’s because even though our skin does so much to protect and take care of us, we seldom do much to protect and take care of it. Growing up in Florida, I went to the beach often. I can confidently say that out of all of my trips to the beach, 8 times out of 10 I laid out, ran through the sand, and played in the ocean without sunscreen on. My mom would always point to the older people walking by- you know, the one’s who’s skin looks like dark brown leather, and say you don’t want that to be you. I was a kid! I wasn’t thinking of what my skin would look like 60 years from now if I didn’t put sunscreen on.
Moreover, I remember sitting in my Dad’s office every year after Halloween when I was young, eating piece after piece of jolly ranchers and mini crunch bars while playing games on the Disney Channel website. I would snack on Popsicle’s and eat artificial chicken fingers cooked in the microwave on a hot summer’s day. I used to eat ice cream every single night in high school. If I was thirsty or dehydrated at volleyball practice, I’d grab a Gatorade. I was on the pill for 4 years, and rarely took it at the same time everyday. Now all of this aside, I have good genes when it comes to my complexion. Thankfully, neither of my parents suffered from acne prone skin or any other skin conditions. However, if I didn’t have good genes, the things I was putting in my body would’ve definitely shown through my skin.
Now, I’m sure you didn’t come to this post just to learn about how big of an organ your skin is or read about my personal anecdotes. You want to know how you can get dewy, glowing skin. I will get there, but the reason I told you all of those things is to show you just how complex skin is (maybe that’s why it’s called complexion, #shesanintellect #shesagenius.) There are so many factors that go into having good skin. Poor diet, overexposure to extreme climates and sunlight, failure to protect your skin from those extreme situations, imbalanced hormones, dehydration, sugar, lack of physical activity, etc. Yes there’s an “etc.” because again, that’s just a short list of what can be causing skin problems/conditions. Even though I’m telling you about the things that I’ve noticed has affected my skin, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. What works for me, might not work for you. That being said, I do believe that if you take into consideration the things that I mention below, you might learn something new, or realize something you hadn’t thought about before, and can then apply it to your own lifestyle and healthy habits.
Phew. Okay, that was a lot. Let’s just get into it. Below are my top tips, recommendations, and overall insight on how to get and keep your skin looking dewy, glowing, and HEALTHY!
WHAT GOES IN, MUST COME OUT.
You can’t expect to fuel your body with junk and have beautiful skin. If junk goes in, junk comes out. Simple as that. I can’t stress enough how important your diet is for healthy, glowing skin. What does that look like? Cutting out processed foods like soda, packaged candy/chips, and GMO filled foods and replacing them with vegetables, healthy fats, quality protein, and non starchy, antioxidant rich fruits like berries. Dairy is a tricky topic when it comes to skin. I find that when I eat dairy, no matter the quality, it affects my skin. I’m don’t have acne prone skin, however when I consume dairy I notice under the skin pimples and more white heads on my forehead. I’ve heard this from numerous of my friends, as well. On the other hand, I’ve heard of people who do fine with organic, high-quality dairy like goat cheese and feta. Again, it’s not a one-size-fits-all, but I would suggest if you consume dairy and your skin is still suffering to try cutting it out completely and see what happens. If you find that there’s no change and dairy doesn’t affect you, try only consuming dairy that’s organic, or locally sourced.
WHAT GOES ON, GOES IN.
This is one that I struggle with the most, but I find that when I’m consistent with it my skin really benefits. The things we put on our skin such as sunscreen, makeup, skin care products, lotion, and deodorant can greatly affect what our skin looks like. If our skin is naturally dry and we’re using harsh products, our skin is going to look even drier. If we’re caking on the foundation and wearing it all day long, our pores are going to get clogged- resulting in blackheads and pimples. The same goes for sunscreen, deodorant, and other skin care products. If we aren’t using the right kind for our specific skin types, or if we’re using products with toxic chemicals like parabens, “fragrances,” and aluminum, we can disrupt not only our skin, but also our hormones.
HEALTHY HORMONES = HEALTHY SKIN.
I believe that the key to healthy, beautiful skin is having healthy, balanced hormones. When our hormones are imbalanced, it shows in our skin- like I’ve been saying, our external appearance directly reflects our internal wellness. Women often get acne during, or around the time of their menstrual cycle because their hormones are going crazy. When I got off of the pill, I noticed I had increased acne around my forehead and t-zone. It took me almost a year to get my hormones rebalanced and under control, but since I have, I have yet to have any breakouts. In fact, my skin feels tighter and looks so much shinier. I want to reiterate, hormones aren’t only an issue for women. Hormone imbalances can happen with men too, and cause all sorts of skin issues.
DEHYRDATION = DRYNESS.
Water is your best friend for so many reasons, but especially when it comes to good skin. If you’ve ever been noticeably dehydrated, you know that things just don’t work right. When it comes to skin, some of the things you might notice with dehydration is itchy patches, redness, sensitive areas, dry/flaky skin, and even fine lines/wrinkles. There are many products you can use to re-hydrate your skin, however I like to go about rehydration the natural way. Some of the things I do after a week at the beach or during the dry, winter months is exfoliate with a gentle exfoliating cream, dry brush, lather my face and body in coconut oil and up my water intake. Carry a reusable 32 oz water bottle around with you and fill it up at least 3 times a day. When you start becoming more aware of how much water you drink during the day, you might be surprised at how little you actually drink. Good skin can really be as simple as drinking more water throughout the day.
Hippocrates said, “let thy food be thy medicine.” I wholeheartedly believe you can heal your body with the right nutrition and supplementation. It’s so important not to neglect the power of herbs and food when it comes to achieving that glowing complexion! I have a collection of herbs/food that I love to incorporate into my diet daily- I call it my “skin food.” Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the building blocks of healthy skin and reduce inflammation in the body, so I like to include healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, nuts/seeds, and salmon into my diet. These are what give your skin that plumped, supple glow! Spirulina is the ultimate skin food. It contains Vitamin E that has anti-aging properties, and also has a good dose of chlorophyll, which is wonderful for both cleansing and retaining moisture in the skin. I also like to supplement with collagen powder, since collagen is a protein that gives structure to our skin and we produce less of it as we get older. My favorite way to include spirulina and collagen into my diet is by throwing them into smoothies, adding them to my morning matcha (or coffee), or even adding to oatmeal! Things that I avoid or limit in my diet because of the negative effects they have on skin health are caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars, and processed foods/oils. *Obviously, these things are hard to avoid 100% of the time (ya gotta live your life), however if you make an effort to follow an 80/20 philosophy, you can improve your skin and still treat yourself!
Physical activity is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also so important when it comes to having glowing skin. Have you ever woken up after a night out and said to yourself, “I need to sweat this out?” Well, sweating not only can help us sweat out the alcohol from the night before, but it also allows us to flush out other inflammatory substances like salt and cholesterol. Furthermore, sweating increases blood circulation, encourages new blood flow, and allows your pores to open up so the body can purge itself of toxins. Simply exercising for 30 minutes or more a day, getting that heart rate up, and breaking a sweat will greatly improve the appearance of your skin. And hey, that extra boost of endorphins from your workout will also encourage that healthy, happy glow!
ESTABLISH A ROUTINE
Although I don’t believe you need a 9 step skincare routine that involves 27 different products, I do think establishing a routine and being consistent with it is super important for glowing, radiant skin. Honestly, all I do is wash my face with a gentle cleanser, and moisturize with Nivea morning and night. Every Thursday, I exfoliate in the morning along with cleansing. It can be that simple. Find what products work for you, figure out how much your skin needs whether you need an additional serum or maybe a toner, and then be consistent with it. Your skin won’t change overnight, but give it 2-3 weeks and you’ll see results. I also am a big advocate for facials, microdermabrasion’s, gua shua, and natural face masks, as I think they can help give your skin the cleansing it needs.
RETURN THE FAVOR
Lastly, I told you about everything our skin does to protect us, it’s our turn to protect it! Wear hats when you can, apply sunscreen (one without any weird chemicals) when you’re in direct sunlight, moisturize in the winter months, and help it out with supplements!
If you have any specific questions about skin care products, supplements/diet, and overall general wellness for skin, don’t hesitate to comment down below or reach out to me via Instagram!