By Rachel Lamont - Medical Esthetician
Here at The Natural Art of Skin Care we have put a large effort in supplying high quality skin and body care to all of our clients. Topical skin care is an obvious asset in the fight against skin conditions, and we pride ourselves on providing an array of great tools in that fight. But, there comes a time when we have to talk about the inside environment that can contribute to your skin condition. Over the years, I have seen the beautiful, good, bad and VERY BAD when it comes to the skin's condition. If you have seen me for a skin care consultation you know by now that I ask many questions about skin care, lifestyle, family history, stress and DIET. This last topic, diet, is extremely important to me.
You cannot have healthy looking skin without a healthy diet. This is especially true as we age. When you are young you may be able to hold off the damage you are causing by not eating right, but sooner or later it will catch up with you. We all know this to be true when it comes to our body's overall appearance, but most of us forget that it is also true for the appearance of our skin. Trust me, I've seen it! Your body uses the food you eat to make everything that is you, including your skin, down to the last cell. If you eat unhealthy food, then your skin will be unhealthy too. Bottom Line!
It is my pleasure to introduce to you one of my secret weapons I use against skin problems, Holistic Nutritionist Maire-Claude Beautlieu.
Marie-Claude, owner of Gutsy Nutrition, is a holistic nutritionist who provides a Holistic & Integrative approach to health, offering science-based guidance on holistic nutrition, by bringing together her expertise in Immunology, Medical Laboratory, and Nutrition.
Marie-Claude can work with you to uncover the root cause of your signs and symptoms. She can guide you on how to reduce inflammation and replenish the nutrients necessary for proper healing, regained health, vitality & beauty from within. She has been a great asset to my clients in regards to helping figure out the internal components of skin problems, while I address the external concerns, healing and calming the skin with treatments and topical aids.
I feel so lucky to have Marie-Claude join our team as a consultant 1 day a week. She will also be helping us with some of our new seminars coming up, to assist in educating us all on how to use food as a weapon against skin problems. I am very happy and proud to have this all come together for us.
Skin is just a mirror to the inside world. By looking at someone's skin, it is possible to tell things about their lifestyle; including if they eat well or not. A good diet consists of a colourful variety of whole foods. Make sure you get your clean proteins, good healthy fats and all your vitamins and antioxidants, clean water and avoid sugar. I am going to give you a sneak peek into what good skin health from the inside out is all about but you'll have to participate in the seminars to learn more. There is too much knowledge to share and this article would go on forever.
Skin Nutrition - a Sneak Peak
Protein is full of amino acids that create collagen in your body. Collagen is a substance that makes your skin firm, plump, strong and over all youthful. To build collagen you need a few key ingredients - protein is one of them. Always make sure your source is a clean protein. If it is animal source then you would want it free of hormones and antibiotics. Grass fed is ideal, and also must be steroid free and so on. Foods like wild salmon, free range chicken, organic eggs, and bison are all good choices. If your protein is vegetarian, make sure it is not genetically modified (GMO) or sprayed with any pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals. Great vegetarian sources are nuts, seeds, and beans. Even your vegetables have protein in them like broccoli and avocados. I love Vega One Complete Shakes too.
Good Fats and Oils
Good fats are also very important for healthy skin. The "good fats" are the essential fatty acids (usually abbreviated EFA). Omega 3 being very important! We usually have an abundance of Omega 6 in our diets, and to balance that, it is important to seek out Omega 3 whenever you can. EFA's play a number of different roles in healthy skin. Good fats transfer oxygen throughout our body and into the skin, they help block foreign bodies and bacteria, they are also responsible for making the skin soft and supple and retaining water to prevent dehydration. They combat inflammation in the skin, which would other wise damage skin cells, collagen and elastin. Great sources of fats are olive oils, avocados, nuts, coconut oil, and fatty fish like wild salmon and tuna. It is best if you don't fry or process your oils, as they can become carcinogens.
Vitamins, Antioxidants and Minerals
There is a rainbow of many different, colourful yummy sources of Vitamins and Minerals. Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins A, B, C, and E, flavonoids, enzymes, zinc; the list could go on forever. These are very important because they help build and heal the skin. They are also responsible in fighting against unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals harm and break down skin cells and cause inflammation, thus causing signs of aging; kind of like rust on a car. One of the best ways to get more antioxidants is to eat a wide variety of raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds of all different shapes, sizes and colours.
I find when talking to clients that many of you are not consuming enough water daily. Everyone is running through their day too fast, and not taking time to drink some H2O. The human body is made up of between 55 and 75 percent water depending on size and composition, and is therefore essential to our wellbeing. Water is also a key component in detoxifying the skin, and obviously, a major factor in how hydrated your skin looks.
The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly 3 litres (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The average for women is 2.2 litres (about 9 cups) a day.
I hate to say this but sugar is not good for the skin. Sugar causes acidity and inflammation in the skin, which simply put, breaks down the skin's integrity. It can be a contributor to some skin conditions like acne and rosacea, both which are characterized by the inflammation response surrounding the lesions. There is also a condition called "glycation". In the skin glycation attacks the collagen and elastin tissue. When those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discoloured, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin's surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance, which are all the signs of aging skin. Sources of sugar to avoid are: ANYTHING made with flour, table sugar, candy and soda, sugary cereals and bars.
Cleanses and Detoxifying The Body
Often I get clients that come into the spa with certain skin care concerns, and it is very apparent that it is just time for a cleanse. I have done many different cleanses over the years to help out with my own health issues, and every time I do my skin looks healthier too. In Chinese medicine the skin is considered the 3rd lung. In western medicine, we know that the skin is a way the body detoxes itself. Sometimes with this fresh start, we help the body get rid of the problems, while re-balancing and re-attuning ourselves to the nourishment we need.
At the end of the day our skin is a telltale sign of our inner health; usually letting us know about the stress in our lives, toxic buildup, and nutritional behaviour.
Remember your skin is the most important suit you will ever own - take care of it. And your body is the more important vehicle you will ever drive -keep it clean.