ASK THE NATUR­O­PATHIC DOC­TOR

Whole­some ways to re­gain that nat­u­ral glow

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - /// BY EMILY A. KANE, ND, LAc

Re­vi­tal­ize Your Skin­care Rou­tine Whole­some ways to nour­ish your skin.

a:Q My skin care rou­tine is pretty com­pli­cated and ex­pen­sive— and not re­li­able. Any ideas? — Amy M., Lawrence, Kan.

Ev­ery good skin rou­tine starts with whole­some cleans­ing. A lot of peo­ple use fairly harsh soaps and scrubs to “wash” their skin. This is overkill. You may need a good scrub if you’ve mucked around all day, but oth­er­wise, your skin prob­a­bly isn’t par­tic­u­larly dirty. As a so­ci­ety, we’ve be­come in­cred­i­bly germ pho­bic, and we’re just be­gin­ning to dis­cover how harm­ful it is to mess around with the nat­u­ral mi­cro­biome of our soil, our guts, and our skin. I per­son­ally think plain warm wa­ter, fol­lowed by sev­eral splashes of cold wa­ter as a tonic, is the best way to care for your skin at the end of the day.

Fol­low with a mois­tur­izer for­mu­lated with nat­u­ral oils ( co­conut, jo­joba, rose seed, and/ or shea but­ter are good choices) to sink in overnight. Use pil­low­cases that fi t tightly over your pil­low to min­i­mize trans­fer­ring a crease from the cloth onto your cheek. If you’re truly com­fort­able sleep­ing on your back, this is a great way to re­duce fa­cial wrin­kles.

In the morn­ings, I rec­om­mend sim­ply brush­ing your face for about 60 sec­onds with a small soft brush. Brush away from the mid­line, and up the neck to the edge of the jaw. Use a fi rmer long- han­dled brush for the rest of your body. You can spend thou­sands of dol­lars in sa­lons for ex­fo­li­a­tion treat­ments, or you can gen­tly ex­pe­dite ex­fo­li­a­tion ev­ery day in the com­fort of your bath­room. All skin ther­apy re­volves around in­creas­ing the rate of turnover of the top layer of skin, so you can get healthy, fresh skin on the sur­face.

As our largest or­gan of elim­i­na­tion, the skin also needs to breathe— so cov­er­ing it in lay­ers of con­ven­tional makeup won’t help. In­stead, fi nd a nat­u­ral, min­eral- based cover- up that matches your skin tone, and wear it as lit­tle as pos­si­ble.

Get Back to Ba­sics

Take a good look at all the “skin­care” prod­ucts you use, and toss any that con­tain a bunch of un­pro­nounce­able chem­i­cals. Keep it sim­ple. Chem­i­cals will per­turb the in­tegrity and di­ver­sity of good bugs on your skin. In­stead, look for prod­ucts that con­tain min­i­mal, nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents. Try not to put any­thing on your highly ab­sorp­tive skin sur­face that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.

I like to use co­conut oil on my dry shins and el­bows, and a more but­tery emol­lient such as shea but­ter on my arms and neck. For my face I might use a rose oil or black cumin seed balm. But mostly wa­ter and skin brush­ing, as men­tioned ear­lier.

Fa­cial skin gets the most at­ten­tion, but also be­ware un­nec­es­sary— and even nasty— chem­i­cals in hand soaps and body washes. Avoid prod­ucts that con­tain al­co­hol, as this in­gre­di­ent is very dry­ing and will strip off nat­u­ral oils. Most soaps are based on an­cient for­mu­las that used nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring saponins ( ir­ri­tants,

but ef­fec­tive for scrub­bing off oily grime) and lye. Soaps in gen­eral make skin drier and more vul­ner­a­ble to dam­age. If you want to san­i­tize your hands, con­sider an an­timi­cro­bial es­sen­tial oil blend in­stead.

Feed Your Skin

Ex­er­cise— any kind of vig­or­ous move­ment— can im­prove skin tone and pro­long a youth­ful ap­pear­ance, but it’s only about 20 per­cent of the equa­tion. The most im­por­tant as­pect of a healthy life, with healthy glow­ing skin, is high- qual­ity food.

Wa­ter is the best drink for your skin, and fresh veg­eta­bles are the most min­eral- and fiber- rich food source. Start your morn­ing with a big glass of wa­ter, and keep go­ing. Try to eat veg­eta­bles at least three times per day— spinach in a morn­ing smoothie; fresh salad or steamed cru­cifers at lunch; a Thai- or Mex­i­can- style veg­gie stir- fry at din­ner. On cooler nights, bake yams, squash, or a car­rot/ mush­room/ Brussels sprout blend doused in olive oil and herbs.

In ad­di­tion to wa­ter and veg­gies, healthy fats are the key to a glow­ing com­plex­ion. The very top layer of your skin mi­grates to the sur­face from the “base­ment mem­brane” that lies be­low the epi­der­mis. Be­tween that base­ment mem­brane and the sur­face lies a fatty layer. Even the slimmest of peo­ple house at least 20,000 calo­ries worth of fat ( a gen­er­ous 10- day sup­ply of nour­ish­ment) un­der their skin. This means that new skin cells pass through this fatty layer on the way to the sur­face as they are ma­tur­ing. So, the qual­ity of the fat you in­gest is crit­i­cal for help­ing skin cells to ma­ture through a clean, sup­port­ive medium.

Hy­dro­genated fats are bad be­cause they’re jammed with hy­dro­gen, so they’re com­pletely dead. Oils that get used over and over in cook­ing are also par­tic­u­larly nox­ious. When you’re tempted to eat deep fried foods, think about a fresh healthy skin cell try­ing to swim to the sur­face of your face through a vat of grease. Don’t go there.

Good fats gen­er­ally come in con­tain­ers that pro­tect them from light and heat. The best olives in the world ( from the Mediter­ranean) are usu­ally stored in tins. Green glass or black re­cy­clable plas­tic con­tain­ers are also ad­e­quate. Fresh fatty fish ( salmon, mack­erel, an­chovies, sar­dines, her­ring) are very healthy for your skin. Olive oil is one of the bet­ter salad and cook­ing oils. Just don’t over­heat it, as over­heat­ing any oil can turn it ran­cid, elim­i­nat­ing its health­ful qual­i­ties.

Do you have a ques­tion for Dr. Kane? Email it to ed­i­to­rial@ bet­ter­nu­tri­tion. com with “Ask the ND” in the sub­ject line.

Emily A. Kane, ND,LAc, has a pri­vate natur­o­pathic prac­tice in Juneau, Alaska, where she lives with her hus­band and daugh­ter. She is the au­thor of two books on nat­u­ral health, in­clud­ing Manag­ing Menopause Nat­u­rally. Visit her on­line at dremi­lykane. com.

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