Monday, October 28, 2013

Inside Out

Have I spent an insane amount of money on topical skincare products since I turned 32 and realized that, despite my greatest hopes, I am not immune to aging?  Yes.  Has that helped?  Yes.  My skin looks better, less lined, less breakouts, more even.  But throughout,  I have understood that the things that have the most impact on the way your skin looks are on the inside.  Genetics is impact-maker #1 which can be both good and bad, depending on who you are.  For someone like me who has inherited dry skin with sizable pores and underlying redness, it's not great.  Genetics is the one factor over which we have no control.  But skin (and hair and nail and general body) condition also has a lot to do with diet.  So to supplement my obsessive topical regime, I have tried to incorporate some healthy dietary habits.  It's a pretty basic list, so far.  Please add suggestions if you have them.

More water.  It's (basically) free and is probably inside-out-impact-maker #2 after Genetics.  I only had four New Year's resolutions for 2013 and drinking more water was one of them.  Note that one of them was not "work out more,"  I don't like to make generic idle resolutions. I was serious about this one.  Unfortunately I don't think I've done that great a job.  And whatever good I've done has probably been undone by the amount of alcohol I drink (what can i say, I like a beer or glass of wine (or two) at the end of the day).  So here is an area for improvement.

Omegas!  Only recently have I discovered the value of the essential fats contained in omega oils.  This is certainly not the best tasting stuff, I think there are others out there that might rank higher on taste.  But it can be blended into a lot of dishes like salads, sandwhiches, smoothies, dips, and spreads in a way that makes it palatable and even a great addition.  I also find that I like it more the more I use it - I guess it's an acquired taste. 

This supplement is especially important to me because I have a vegetarian diet.  And not just any ol' omegas, in any ol' combination will do.  It has to be the perfect 3-6-9 blend.  This stuff is important not just for skin health and clarity but also for physicial performance and can help our aging bodies stay active and fit!  I've only tried Udo's Oil for this and have seen results in about a month of use.  Breakouts during that time have decreased, and my skin looks firmer and more moisturized. 

Less alcohol.  Ugh.  This is the one I am most resistant to.  I know it does damage, but this might fall into the "it's worth it" category for me.  Also, red wine is good for your skin and anti-aging of the body in general.  Even better than grape juice.  Because the fermenting process in red wine uses the skin and seeds of the grape (as opposed to grape juice where all of this is removed) there is a higher concentration of antioxidants (including resveratrol) in red wine as compared to grape juice.  The recommendation is one glass a day for the ladies.  If you can stick to that, bottoms up!

Vitamins.  From food.  I am not a fan of the chalky pill vitamins.  The safer and more effective way to get them is from the food they come in naturally.  The important things for skin are vitamin C (oranges, pineapple) for helping the body to produce collagen, vitamin E (tofu, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and avocados) to help skin protect itself from UV rays and prevent oxidative stress, beta carotine (carrots, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, broccoli), which the body converts into vitamin A (which is retinol), and Selenium (barley, button mushrooms, mustard seeds, several types of oleic fish) promotes elasticity, zinc (wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts, chocolate!) to protect cell membranes, maintain collagen, and promote cell renewal.  I bought a blender and some protein powder and am starting to incorporate a berry or other fruit smoothie (with some udo's oil thrown in) into my morning routine.  I didn't really have a breakfast habit before now other than water to re-hydrate from the night and a mocha or other spruced up coffee whenever I got the chance.  Yes it adds a couple more steps to my life: add ingredients, blend, clean (ugh!).  But hopefully this will also fall into the "it's worth it" category.    

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