We are bombarded by the cosmetics industry with a plethora of exfoliating products, and society has garnered a mindset that we need to exfoliate often for beautiful skin. The problem: we are exfoliating WAY too much, and with the wrong products. How many times have you seen a facial scrub when browsing the skincare isles? How many times has a Youtuber or beauty blogger mentioned an exfoliating product that they love? This all helps influence people to buy exfoliators that are harming their skin and not helping. Here’s why:
The common methods of exfoliation:
The majority of facial exfoliators are scrubs of varying harshness, or even chemical peels. Let’s take a look at scrubs first. If you look at a sugar crystal under a microscope, you will see jagged edges. These create little tears in the skin and lead to water loss, meaning your skin is less plump and hydrate. Exactly the opposite of what we want to achieve. Yet sugar scrubs are everywhere, even in DIY remedies. Some products even go so far as to use walnut shells, and encourage people into the belief that this is all for “smooth skin” http://www.today.com/health/st-ives-apricot-scrub-lawsuit-here-s-what-know-t106572 Remember, scrubs are meant for the bathtub, not the face. Our face is what people see the most of, and the skin is more delicate there, so, we need to be gentle with our skin, even in exfoliation.
Chemical peels: Chemical peels can be bought on amazon, and applied by any too eager individual who doesn’t know what they are doing and burns their skin. Some people do say that they help improve the skin by speeding up cell turnover. But, should this strong product be used at all, even by professionals? Is it actually healthy to be putting your skin through that kind of abuse? Turns out, chemical peels aren’t just doing more harm than good, they are aging you faster. Master Esthetician Cassandra Lanning explains:
There is no question that exfoliating the epidermis does speed turnover but it is not because it is a healthy event, it is because the skin is rushing to fix the damage, to the detriment of the dermis. when the dermis is forced to fix the damaged epidermis, it must divert nutrients and repair activity that it would have used to maintain itself. This leads us to the possible conclusion that chronic exfoliation speeds aging.
When we look at the research on what chronic exfoliation does, the mild, temporary improvements that result seem meaningless in the face of the long term damage that results:
- the skin has less melanin protection
- it has more damage to repair from the acids being used
- there is loss of moisture from the loss of protective lipids which often leads to oil/oily T-zone
- most importantly, there is a significant increase in the amount of free radical damage to our skin cells and their DNA.
We are better off not second-guessing the skin’s decision to slow down but rather work with it to restore its normal activities. There is no logical reason why adding inflammation could make our skin younger or healthier. Even when we look at research on the body’s ability to repair itself, it almost universally has shown us that it never recovers 100% (and it certainly does not recover 110%) when damaged.
DIY Skincare Do it Yourself skincare is another area where many people are mislead on what is and what is not proper exfoliation. Pinterest is chalk-full of recipes and pictures promising “super-smooth” skin with exfoliation treatments. Problem is, almost all of these methods are very bad ideas that should not be used on your skin at all. Common methods involve using sugar granules, lemon juice,and even baking soda. As I’ve already discussed why sugar granules are so harmful, I’d like to look at the other two most frequent DIY ingredients. Lemon juice is a strong fruit acid that produces a burning sensation and drying affect on the skin-definetly not a good idea. And baking soda? Let’s just say that if a substance is used for cleaning your kitchen, then it should be a no-brainer why it doesn’t belong on your face.
2. The Amount of Exfoliation:
People are encouraged to exfoliate their skin a couple times per week-to even daily. There are a variety of face washes that are labeled “multi-taskers” by including scrubbing ingredients so that you can exfoliate daily. Who ever came up with the idea that this is even necessary? I chalk it up to marketing, rather than actual knowledge from skincare professionals. So how often should you exfoliate, and with what? This is where we bring in plant enzymes. It’s always important to use skincare products that are quality, are as natural as possible, and avoid harsh man-made chemicals. You can safely exfoliate 1-2x per month, allowing the skin to recover in-between but, this is optional. Lanning further describes the proper role of exfoliation:
Over-exfoliation inhibits cell to cell communication, leading to impaired immune function and early aging”. The primary function of exfoliating 1-2x per month is to get rid of the build up of environmental effects, cells that might be stuck, and sebum.
Now, if you have really bad clogged pores and enzymes don’t do the trick, consult a licensed esthetician and have them measure out the appropriate usage for fruit acids-a more potent treatment only to be used under professional guidance.
Proper exfoliation can be part of a healthy, skincare regimen, if it is done properly and only occasionally. The common product mistakes that the general public make are in using exfoliating substances that harm their skin in the long run: DIY recipes, facial scrubs, and chemical exfoliators. The common application mistake most people make is in exfoliating way too frequently-weekly or even daily. We only need to exfoliate our face 1-2 per month. Lastly, it’s important to source a botanical, fruit enzyme exfoliator which contains quality ingredients and will ensure a safe and gentle exfoliation treatment.
The reason for dry skin? A lack of enough fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids in the diet. This can be an even bigger problem for people that have digestion problems, as their body cannot properly breakdown and assimilate these fats. Instead of slathering on another thick layer of lotion on your dry skin, try these following steps to naturally cure this problem for good.
- A Paleo diet. The Paleo diet is not only free of grains, gluten, refined/processed foods and soy, it also contains many quality sources of fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are essential for nourished, hydrated, supple skin. Note: while the Paleo diet suggests omitting dairy, many people in North America do well on grassfed dairy products so there is no need to automatically remove them. Remember, not all milk is alike so, how you may be reacting to commercial dairy could be completely different from grassfed dairy. Grassfed butter is an especially good source of fat-soluble nutrients. Check out this Paleo infographic from paleomagazine.com to help you better visualize the dos and donts of the Paleo diet.
All credit for this infographic goes to the makers at http://paleomagazine.com/paleo-diet-food-list
Source: Paleo Flourish Magazine
2. Supplementing with a quality blend of essential fatty acids. Why do I need to supplement you ask? If I am already eating a Paleo diet, shouldn’t I be getting a proper balance? The answer is yes, sometimes. However, the questions to ask are, are you getting a good balance of Omega-3s and Omega-6s? If you are able to eat grassfed meat, and another Paleo fat source daily, then you will probably be getting more Omega-3s. This is very good as our modern civilization already has too much Omega-6s in our diet from over-consumption of grains and seed oils. However, if you eating very little Omega-6s, over time, your body will become unbalanced again with not having enough Omega-6s to the Omega-3s. The body needs essential fatty acids for proper digestion & elimination and several other areas that affect skin health: healthy liver function, absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins and managing the inflammatory process. Therefore, a proper balance of Omega-3s and -6s is primary.
3. Proper Digestion. Your body won’t be able to breakdown the quality fats and use them for your skin if you have digestion problems. Strong stomach acid is needed to break down the fats and nutrients we consume so the body can use them. Unfortunetly, inadequate stomach acid is very common in North America, as well as digestive issues like h.pylori and candida overgrowth. This poses a problem as all the fat-soluble vitamins and fatty acids in the world won’t be able to cure your dry skin if you have poor digestion. Proper nutrition supplementation protocols can affectively heal the issues in the intestines and the bacteria imbalance. Next, treat low stomach acid by increasing it with an HCl supplement, Swedish bitters or Apple Cider Vinegar.
Conclusion: The cosmetic industry teaches us that dry skin is a skin type, aka a condition that some people have and others don’t. They constantly come up with new “super” or “ultra” moisturizing creams, body butters, and lotions to “solve” this problem. But, topical treatments don’t actually treat the dry skin, it just brings temporary relief. However, if you give your body the proper balance of fatty acids, and ensure that your digestion is functioning optimally to break down and assimilate those fats, your body will have the tools to cure dry skin itself.
If you go over to France you will find that women there have a very different approach to skincare than in North America. They believe that taking care of their skin is a process that is continual over all the years of their life. They start as a young teenager and proceed to nourish their skin with consistent care far into their elderly years. Now on a side note, there is no reason to use the commercial chemical products that a typical French women uses. One of the biggest areas for chemical exposure for a women is her face as her skin products contain preservatives and man-made chemicals which are then absorbed into the blood-stream. Using chemicals can often be very un-balancing for the skin as the body isn’t designed for such un-natural and often drying ingredients.
Whenever you see French women they are tres chic. They embody confidence. This confidence comes from two sources.
They believe that they “are worth it”. In other words, they are worth taking care of themselves and they feel good about themselves because of that. This confidence is something they are creating within themselves and thus, giving them an trait which is an attractive quality in any human being.
They embrace their “flaws”. Now hear me out. I’m not talking about acne and scars-which are actual skin problems that need to be cured over time with real nutrition from a Paleo-type diet and all-natural topical skin treatments. I am talking about the natural differences we each have which make us unique. Have you ever seen a person with a light dusting of freckles on their nose? Have you ever seen a person with a cute little nose or a person with a pointy nose? Have you ever seen a person with very light eyebrows or thin lips? Are these all flaws. The answer, no. These are all differences that are perfectly natural and contribute to our unique look. A French woman knows that she shouldn’t obsess over trying to correct what she is given by birth just to fit the standard of beauty at the time. This is why French women don’t wear a lot of makeup, they aren’t interested in covering their skin up with tons of product to try and change their face. They just highlight a few things like eyes and maybe lips.
They embrace ageing. French women embrace their ageing just like they embrace their unique face, with confidence. They believe that getting older just means that you mature and change, but, you can still be chic and happy with yourself. Some even believe that the crinkles under the eye are beautiful, and, who are we to say they aren’t.
The Final Thought: French women show us that confidence should be more than just a wish, it should be a way of life. A french woman is a living example of how confidence can change not only how we think about ourselves, but even our outside-because we confidence beauty from the inside out and in doing so, we are comfortable being beautiful the way we are.
We all want beautiful skin, and unfortunetly, big marketing has convinced us that the way to get that is through purchasing a plethora of beauty products, full of chemicals. And even after doing that, people can’t seem to get the naturally supple, well-nourished, lovely skin that they have worked so hard for. Treating your skin is a process of 90% internal and 10% external. Here I have comprised a list of the Top 7 Best steps for feeding your skin from the inside and treating it on the outside.
1. The Importance of eating Real Food. Take the saying “You are what you eat” literally because you cannot have beautiful skin while eating processed and refined foods. Your body is built up of and run on nutrients, meaning that it needs to have the proper nutritional blocks for building beautiful skin daily. If your body has to constantly work on processing out the junk from what your diet, and it isn’t getting enough nutrients, then this will show up in your skin. Omit all refined foods and processed foods, and soy from your diet. Make sure that your diet is also rich in quality fat-soluble vitamins which are great for hormone-balancing and supporting beautiful skin. Sources include such grassfed meats, free-range eggs, non-farmed fish, free-range poultry, grassfed organ meats, and grassfed butter. I recommend adding grassfed dairy to your diet if you can tolerate it. If you are dairy-free, you should add ghee into your diet. Ghee from grassfed cows is clarified butter that has no milk solids but still retains the important fat-soluble vitamins found in grassfed butter. I also recommend consuming grassfed liver or organs meats at least once per week, as they are packed with nutrients. Liver is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin A.
2. Being nutritionally assessed to identify nutritional deficiencies and internal problems. Even eating a nutrient dense diet, the sad truth is that many of us already have deficiencies, like zinc, due our previous poor way of eating and because of soil depletion. That’s why getting nutritionally assessed by a certified Nutritional Therapist is important, as these deficiencies can show up in the skin. Digestive problems are a big deal because your body won’t be able to properly digest and access the nutrients you are giving it-therefore, your skin won’t be getting as many nutrients.
3. Supplementing wisely. I choose quality supplements that I know others have used to better their skin or just for overall body health. Oral hyaluronic acid, Biotics Optimal EFAs for a complete blend of Omega 3s, 6s, and 9s, grassfed gelatin powder and trace mineral drops (homemade bone broth is also a great source of minerals and gelatin).
4. Change up your skincare routine.
- Replace your regular moisturizer. Consider using a botanical moisturizer that is designed for your skin’s needs, is formulated to be more akin to your skin and contains quality ingredients. You want a product that contains fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides as these are all necessary for maintaining the skin’s barrier. This means that using topical oils is a no-go since they only contain fatty acids. Note: Enjoy the benefits of essential oils like frankincense, rose, and rosewood by purchasing a moisturizer that is formulated with the proper concentration of these potent ingredients.
- Choose a better face mask: Analyze your face masks. Most face masks contain many preservatives, even when the packaging proudly proclaims that it is “natural” “organic”, or “botanical”. Go through the ingredient’s list of your product and see whether or not those preservatives are truly natural and “safe”. Do some thorough research to find quality, effective and botanical masks that you can use a couple times a week as a luxury and to give your skin a boost.
5. External detoxing Consider using a sauna a few times per week. Saunas are very helpful in aiding the natural detox process. The treatment is also like having a spa face steam, only for your whole body. Enjoy a natural healthy glow. The testimony of various sauna users is that the treatment resulted in a noticeable improvement in their skin. This is mostly due to the sweating out of toxins, the opening and cleansing of the pores, and the increased blood flow. Important note: it’s a good idea to do some gentle exfoliation, like dry brushing, before using a sauna as it removes the dead skin cells.
Conclusion: Achieving beautiful skin is a multi-pronged approach. The primary factors involve what’s going into your body remember, 90%. The remaining steps are all about taking care of your skin with natural solutions, that really make a difference. Make these steps a lifelong routine, and your skin will thank you for the rest of your life!
Are you ready to achieve Beautiful Skin? Which step did you find the most interesting? Were there some that you hadn’t heard of before? Share in the comments below!