“As above, so below. As within, so without.”
The skin doesn’t lie. In fact, it serves as sort of an external barometer for our internal health. Whether we’re stressed, tired, dehydrated, ill, or simply eating too much sugar, our skin will show it.
If you want healthy, glowing skin, you need a healthy, glowing body. Ditch the lotions and potions and instead work on building health from the inside out. Your body will thank you and your skin will shine.
The skin is the largest organ in the body. It protects against germs, covers internal organs, and helps regulate the body’s temperature. The skin is comprised of two main layers: the epidermis, which forms the top, outer layer of the skin and the dermis, which is a thicker layer beneath the epidermis.
The skin is an incredibly important, but often overlooked organ. It performs many essential functions such as controlling evaporation, storing lipids and water, and providing a barrier against pathogens. Yet, we often overlook the skin in our quest for health.
Our skin communicates with us at all times. If you’ve ever had the flu, you probably recall people saying, “You’re as pale as a ghost.” That’s because our skin always reflects what is going on inside. An acne outbreak might indicate a high level of stress; dark circles under the eyes can signal sleep deprivation; dry, flaky skin might be a sign of dehydration; or puffy skin could indicate over-consumption of alcohol or sugar.
There are several habits and behaviors that are sure to show up on our skin. The worst culprits are:
- Smoking: It’s bad enough that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, but it also prematurely ages the skin and triples the risk of squamous cell skin cancer. Nicotine narrows blood vessels in the outer layer of skin and the resulting lack of blood flow deprives the skin of oxygen and essential nutrients. Studies have shown that smokers have more wrinkles and dark spots on the skin. It’s an ugly habit, from the inside out.
- Excessive alcohol intake: Alcohol is a diuretic that can dehydrate the skin. Furthermore, it can cause blood vessels to expand, resulting in red, spidery veins. Research indicates that alcohol can exacerbate skin conditions such as rosacea or psoriasis.
- Poor sleep habits: The body repairs and regenerates itself during sleep. Deprive it of sleep and your skin will suffer.
- Junk food: You are what you eat. Excessive intake of junk foods and sugar results in increased insulin levels and other hormones that lead to the secretion of oils.
Healthy Skin Habits
If you want healthy, glowing skin, follow the rules for total health. Develop healthy habits—you’ll look great and feel even better.
- Get plenty of sleep. Make sleep a priority to keep stress at bay and allow the body to regenerate.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and/or eat foods that contain water in order to prevent dehydration and dry, flaky skin.
- Exercise. Exercise promotes healthy circulation, which allows nutrients and oxygen to flow to the skin.
- Maintain a nutritious diet. Studies have shown that diets high in fruits, vegetables, and fish result in fewer wrinkles. Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and vitamin C provide antioxidants and other nutrients that protect against skin damage. Choose a healthy, balanced diet for healthy, glowing skin.
- Avoid excessive toxins. Limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and other toxins.
Of course, it’s important to protect your skin from the elements and avoid excessive sun exposure—but for truly healthy skin, work from the inside out. As within, so without. Here’s to looking good, feeling good, and putting your best face forward.