Beauty is More than Skin Deep – Literally

I read a statistic published by the Beiersdorf Laboratories that stated that 80% of skin aging is due to external factors such as diet, lifestyle, pollutants, and exposure to sunlight.  All of these lead to the damage of our skin cells.  Here are some tips to help protect the health of your skin cells.

1.  Eat an anti-inflammatory diet, or at least avoid inflammatory foods

Inflammation at the cellular level causes free radicals to form, which damages elastin and collagen in the skin.  This leads to wrinkle formation and sagging skin.  Avoid inflammatory foods such as refined sugars, processed foods, table salt, red meat, caffeine, and alcohol.  Limit dairy to high quality cheeses and yogurts.

2. Increase Omega-3 (EFA’s)

All cells in the body have walls that separate each cell from one another.  Good fats, particularly EFAs or Omega-3, are the most vital part of the cellular walls.  They make sure that nutrients enter the cell and waste products are removed.  Our skin cells require a steady supply of Omega-3 to retain their youthful quality.  Omega 3’s retain water in our cells so they are not dehydrated.  Did you know that our bodies can NOT make these fatty acids?  We must get them, and replenish them through our food intake and by taking supplements.  Great foods to get Omega 3’s = flax seeds, sardines, walnuts, salmon, soybeans, tuna, halibut, scallops, and shrimp, to name a few.  If you don’t eat 2-4 grams of Omega 3 a day, you definitely should be taking a Omega 3 supplement.  We love USANA’s BiOmega – just the right amount of Omega 3, and infused with lemon oil so that it doesn’t have that “fishy” aftertaste.

3. Increase your intake of vitamins and minerals

Vitamins and minerals are necessary to manufacture and protect our cells and skin cells are no exception.  Eat more fruits and vegetables, because they are dense in vitamins and minerals.  Veggies and fruits provide our cells with the right antioxidants to fight the free radicals causes by external influences.  Therefore, they prevent oxidative stress that is commonly linked to aging as well as many degenerative diseases.  In order to receive enough vitamins/minerals and antioxidants to give your body what it requires, you need to eat 5-6 servings of fruits and 5-6 servings of vegetables each day.  This is why a majority of us need to take a great mult-vitamin.  Most of us do not get the optimum levels of these nutrients in our food alone.  Did you know that USANA has the top rated multivitamin?  Get what you need for optimal health with theUSANA’s Essentials.

4.  Take a Good Probiotic Supplement

Did you know that 67% of the body’s immune receptor cells are found in the GI tract?  Therefore, a dietary probiotic supplement is important to enhance your cellular immunity.  If your gut is unhealthy, chances are the inflammatory reactions are showing up in your skin too.  Many acne problems are solved simply by adding a good probiotic to the diet.  This is not a coincidence.  I am a strong believer in probiotic supplements and have been taking them for years.  I also make sure that they are something that my children regularly take.

5. Drink WATER!!!

This one is kind of a “no brainer,” yet many do not do it.  Water is essential to life, and our ultimate survival.  Water hydrates our cells, and when they’re hydrated, they function optimally.  For you skin particularly, healthy cells increase the production of collagen– the primary means to keeping skin strong and elastic.  Make sure you’re drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day!  And don’t think that substitute drinks, like soda or juices are interchangeable.  There is no substitute for water.

6.  Exercise

Exercising increases blood circulation which in turn increases your blood volume.  This increases oxygen to your cells– skin cells included.  Do you get a nice rosy complexion after exercising?  Exercise also helps to eliminate toxins through our lymphatic system.  Don’t “over-do” it though (I don’t think there are many of us who fall into this category).  Excessive exercise can actually cause free radical damage.

7. Manage and Reduce Stress

When you are stressed, the “stress” hormone cortisol is secreted.  High levels of cortisol affects all cells, but in regards to the skin cells specifically it can affect the immune cells in the epidermis.  This disrupts the skin’s protective barrier and weakens your skin’s defense systems.  UV light, pollutants, infections and other toxins are no longer defended against.  Think about what relieves stress for you, and make time for it.  It is not a luxury, it is a necessity for your overall health.  Ever wonder why our Presidents age so quickly?  Think STRESS!

8. Beauty Sleep

Sleep is extremely important.  The hormone melatonin is released when we sleep acting indirectly as an antioxidant.  It increases the activity of the antioxidant enzymes.  It assists in protecting the cells in our body against free radicals.  Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night and make sure that you are getting that sleep during the right range of time.  There is research out there that says sleep between 11pm and 3am gives you the most “bang for your buck.”  It’s said that the liver and gallbladder are detoxifying during those hours and need the body at full rest to do so.  When sleeping during this process, the cells are fully repaired giving you the “beauty sleep” your skin needs.  There was a study done of women and all that was adjusted was their sleep hours.  The dark circles disappeared within weeks.  Definitely something to think about.  If you have trouble sleeping, consider taking a melatonin supplement like USANA’s Pure Rest.  It could make all the difference in how you feel and in your skin!

9. Regular and Safe Exfoliation of the Skin

Exfoliation is vital in maintaining healthy skin.  It speeds up the process of cellular shedding, by sloughing off the uppermost layer of dead cells.  This exposes the finer, softer, more translucent tissue underneath, giving a healthy and youthful glow to your skin.  It also encourages the growth of new skin cells and skin regeneration.  I personally love the Rice Bran Polisher in the Sense line of USANA’s skin care products.  I’ve used many exfoliants in my life, and with sensitive skin, I have had mixed results.  This product is gentle but effective, and like all Sense products, is paraben free (but has self-preserving technology) so you can be assured what you’re putting on your skin is safe.  Most dermatologists suggest exfoliation about once a week for optimal results.

10. Choose the right topical skin care treatments for skin cell health

Your skin is your largest organ, and besides being cared for from the inside out through what you put in your mouth, it also needs to best topical products.  Much research has been done on why these products should be paraben and preservative free.  Look for products that are natural, and scientifically based.  Look for products with antioxidants such Vitamin C, usually in the form of L-ascorbic.  Also, look for enzymes that will boost your skin’s defense against environmental damage.  Check out Sense, USANA’s skin care line for some amazing products for your skin’s cellular health.

11. Protect your skin against the sun and harmful UVA rays

Every time I go to my dermatologist, she sings the same song about skincare and the sun, and I’m thankful that this is a consistent area of “win” for me personally.  I never leave the house without sunscreen on my face particularly.  UVA radiation damages the DNA in melanocyte cells which often leads to melanoma.  Not only that, but repeated UV exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen while also reducing elasticity of skin.  Try to avoid being out for prolonged periods of time between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s ray are the strongest, and always wear a broad spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) on ALL skin that is exposed.  For some safe, paraben free sunscreens, check out the brand Coola.  They are a personal fave of mine.  Organic, have yummy cucumber smells (or there’s unscented too), and go on great under makeup.


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