How Your Skin Reflects Your Inner Health

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Your skin mirrors your lifestyle, including your diet, inner health and even emotional well-being. You have no doubt heard the expression "you are what you eat". Your skin reflects this. In fact, your skin is living proof of your habits and overall health. People who eat well, sleep enough and regularly exercise are more likely to have good skin than those who do not. Stress may also impact your skin. So can over consumption of caffeinated drinks or soda pop. If you are dehydrated, never exercise and your body lacks the vitamins and nutrients it needs, your skin is one of the first places your habits will show.

Fortunately there are many steps you can take to turn back the hands of time and improve the texture and appearance of your skin. While you may not take of ten years by following the tips below, you will look and feel a little younger and more vibrant.

Preserving Your Skin
The skin is the largest organ on the body. It serves various important purposes, including helping expel bodily toxins. Everything you eat contributes to the health of your skin. There are even foods that are more protective and nourishing than others when it comes to your skin. For example, olive oil can help maintain skins moisture. You don't have to chug gallons of olive oil, a few tablespoons every week should do the trick.

Antioxidants are also the skins best friend. They help reduce the effects of too much sun exposure and act as natural anti-inflammatory agents. This is particularly good news if you are acne prone or your skin tends to flare up. Foods that can help reduce inflammation include blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.

Eating ample essential fatty acids may help improve your skins elasticity and reduce the appearance of lines on your face. Thus you should eat a diet rich in essential fatty acids, including flaxseeds and oily fishes. Essential fatty acids also help improve your spirit. They may help lift some minor depression and improve your outlook. For that reason alone they are worth their weight in gold.

Even eating lean proteins like chicken and fish can help improve the skin by preserving the skins resiliency. The skin needs enough protein to repair damaged cells. Protein can come in the form of lean meats, soy, nuts and seeds. Do you need to combat pimples? No problem! Eating plenty of dark green leafy vegetables will help neutralize bacteria and reduce inflammation. Like berries, these food products contain powerful antioxidants that help fight inflammation. You should aim for at least five servings of green leafy vegetables every day.

Foods rich in beta carotene, including sweet potatoes, carrots and peppers, may also help reverse or prevent damage to the skin. These foods help your body create vitamin A, which is essential for your skin's health and well-being.

Taking Care Of Your Outer Layer
You only get one chance when it comes to your skin. At this point in time there are no full body skin transplant procedures. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to improve the appearance of your skin. Perhaps the most important step you can take is to clean and nourish your skin properly. Many people assume the skin on the face can take the same beating the rest of our skin does. This is not the case however! Using a harsh antibacterial soap on your face can result in more trouble than it's worth. Here are some sensible steps you can adopt to keep your skin looking great on the outside:
  1. Select only mild soaps or cleansers created for your specific skin type. Avoid using soaps that are marketed as deodorant or antibacterial. These are usually harsher. Neutrogena is among many companies that offer mild soap products.

  2. Remove your makeup with a cleanser formulated for this task specifically. Use a specific product. For example, you should remove your eye make up with a product formulated to do so.

  3. Wash, never scrub your face. Contrary to what you may be thinking you don't need to scrub your face. This can worsen irritation and result in redness or puffiness. You can use mild exfoliants if you need to buff your skin.

  4. Rinse your face with cool or lukewarm water. Never use hot water because this can contribute to broken capillaries.

  5. Consider using a toner if you have oily skin. Toners are useful for removing extra oil, sweat and other residues from your skin.
Of course, caring for your skin also means using acceptable sun protection. You should wear a sunscreen or moisturizer with sunscreen every day with at least an SPF of 15, 30 if you have really fair skin. Usually if you have normal skin you can get away with cleansing your skin about once every day.

Lastly, and most importantly, it is absolutely essential you eat well and exercise regularly to maintain your skin's glow. Remember, when it comes to the largest organ on your body, you really are a reflection of what you eat!