The epidermis or surface layer of the skin is renewed every 28 days. Unfortunately that means patience is required when trialling any new product! But with this 28 day window, it gives us the opportunity to look better in only a month or so. So how is this achieved?
A good natural skin care regime that locks in moisture and keeps out chemicals will help, but a successful renewal process also requires that your skin get the proper nourishment, and that’s an internal process.
There’s no cream or potion that will singlehandedly change your skin. I know, I’ve tried! It takes a combination of what you do, what you eat and what you apply. The bonus though is, that most of things you can do to help achieve better skin will also have positive impacts on other areas of your body, i.e. your waist line and overall health.
Here’s how you can have better skin in 28 days:
Our bodies weren’t built to be sedentary. Even though we no longer have to hunt wild game to put a meal on the table, that’s what the body was built for. Exercise keeps our muscles in shape, and helps the blood transport nutrients to every cell in the body. Without those nutrients, the body has a hard time regenerating. Exercise is a vital part of a natural skin care routine.
Drink plenty of water
Most experts recommend about 6-8 glasses of purified water a day. This is a fairly conservative amount. If you live in a warm climate you may need to drink a lot more. Generally I’ll need 2-3 litres before I feel satisfied! The body uses water to flush out toxins – without it, they lodge in the cells. Fresh vegetables are mostly water so incorporate lots of salads into your diet to help stay hydrated. Healthy skin needs to be hydrated.
Get enough sleep
The body renews itself while we’re sleeping. Get at least seven hours a night, and try to make at least one or two of those hours before midnight. The old adage of ‘early to bed, early to rise’ isn’t just an old wives’ tale. The body clock is set to sleep when the sun goes down and wake when it comes up. Natural skin care is enhanced by adhering to this natural cycle.
This is a struggle for me. I was able to drop cane sugar pretty easily from my diet but I loooooove fruit sugars! You can probably guess by my meal plans how much I do! But sugar is so bad for the skin.
What happens is a natural process that’s known as glycation, in which the sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (or, appropriately, AGEs for short).
The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop. As AGEs accumulate, they damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion. Most vulnerable to damage: collagen and elastin, the protein fibres that keep skin firm and elastic. In fact, collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body. Once damaged, springy and resilient collagen and elastin become dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
Now you understand how sugar harms your skin it’s probably a good time for us both to quit! For the first couple of days the urge might be almost overwhelming but if you don’t give in to it, you’ll find that within just a few days the cravings are much less. When you eat sugar regularly, the body expects it.
All you have to do is break the routine. If you have trouble doing this, it might be because you’re not getting enough nourishing food and your body is craving a source of energy. Give it protein, healthy fats (such as omega 3 fish oils or flaxseed oils) and complex carbohydrates like vegetables and fruit and, after you get through your brief sugar withdrawal period, you should have the energy you need. And do not substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners. These can be even more toxic for the body than sugar.
Eat fresh, nutritious food
Older cells are constantly shed and replaced by younger ones and a steady supply of micronutrients is essential to support this rapid growth. Eat the correct balance of foods and you’ll feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to help it stay soft, supple and blemish-free. Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keep skin supple and smooth and help fight age-related damage.
Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are caused by smoking, pollution and sunlight and can cause wrinkling and age spots. Eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables and aim for at least five portions a day. Betacarotene, found in pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes, and lutein, found in kale, papaya and spinach are potent antioxidants, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone.
Something that comes in a box and lasts for years doesn’t have the nutrient value your body needs to regenerate. Fresh, nutritious food is vital to any natural skin care routine. No matter how many creams, lotions and other skin care products you slather on, your skin will be fighting an uphill battle without nourishment.
Get rid of as many chemicals as you can
Although natural and synthetic chemicals have improved life in industrialized countries in many ways, our bodies are only equipped to handle so much. See my previous post for more information. Pesticides, herbicides, and many of the chemicals in our food are toxic. And don’t forget the chemical cleaners we have under our sinks! If all our body’s energy is being used to get rid of excess toxins, it doesn’t leave much left over for the regeneration process. Eating organic food is another natural skin care basic.
Stop using skin care treatment products that are primarily made with chemicals. Don’t get fooled by the hype. There’s plenty of “miracle” products on the market they may help, but only in the short term. A lot of synthetic products actually damage your skin and health in the long term. Take mineral oil for example. It does help make your skin feel hydrated initially, but that’s because it draws moisture up to the surface of your skin. But obviously, if you take moisture out of your skin to the surface, it’s going to get very dry and damaged in the long run.
Also be wary of some products that say ‘natural’ on the label, but when you look at the ingredients you’ll find that the natural ingredients comprise only 2 or 3 percent. The rest are chemicals and some of them are toxic. Do a little research on this subject and use natural skin care products from companies that care about your health. Review my earlier post on the chemicals you should avoid, if in doubt.
Did you find this post useful? Share your thoughts below or feel free to repost