A guide to skincare
Diet and Lifestyle

Introduction to Skin Care - Part 3 - Diet and Lifestyle

Introduction to Skin Care - Part 3 - Diet and Lifestyle

An appropriate diet not only benefits your health, but also your SKIN. A stressful life, with inadequate self-care and unhealthy eating are two major reasons for poor skin as well as various skin problems such as rashes, dry skin, black circles under your eyes, pimples, acne, pigmentation etc. There are other secondary reasons, too, which can affect your skin. For example, at the time of pregnancy when there is hormonal change or a genetic problem (you may have either you have oily or dry skin because of your genes, say) But more than 70% of the affected skin is due to the primary reasons and one of the major primary reason is inappropriate diet

Different skin needs different type of diet. But there are a few general rules for healthy skin which are universal for everyone:

  • Water acts as the best medicine for the skin. It not only refreshes you and make your skin glow but also purifies your body which makes the body run most effectively.
  • Vitamins are as essential to skin as oxygen to body. Some vitamins do a world of good to your skin. These vitamins are mandatory for glowing and healthy skin:
  1. Vitamin C : It can be easily found in all citric fruits like orange etc.
  2. Vitamin A : Sources for Vitamin A are papaya, orange, egg yolk etc.
  3. Vitamin B : It is found in all leafy vegetables along with fruits. Other sources are Whole grains , brewers yeast etc.
  4. Vitamin E : It is found in oilseeds, vegetables like broccoli , nuts etc.
It isn't that difficult to maintain a healthy skin. All you need to take care of it properly and make sure you eat well. You can always consult your skin specialist for the right diet and simply follow it.

To summarise, then, the first place to start improving the health of your skin is your diet. Following a cleansing, anti-inflammatory diet will help you understand how strongly your diet relates to the condition of your skin. (Click here to read the "detox" article). Once you see the difference, you can continue to make positive food choices a way of life. make it a point to drink about 8 half pint glasses of water a day - this simple advice works for men as well as women. Take a bit more care about what you are buying and keep it fresh and as near to natural as you can. Pease note that I say "natural" not "organic". The opposite of organic is inorganic, which is plain stupid. Just because something is labled as "organic" does not mean that it is any better. As I mentioned earlier - ditch the supermarket.

Lifestyle

Your lifestyle does affect your skin. Smoking affects your skin condition and it is quite marked how much smoking does do this. No amount of cosmetic potions and lotions are going to change anything if you insist on poisoning yourself from the inside out. I know that giving up is not easy. At least, do try and cut down, do not say to yourself "I am not going to smoke" It may well not happen. You can say "I am not going to smoke just yet" and see how long just yet can last for.

Excercise is also important. This does not have to be strenuos workouts in the gym. You are not trying to be an athlete. This can be as simple as not driving somewhere and walking instead. At the weekend, a visit to a local park or woods for an hour or so's walk. If you live near a beach, then so much the better. My family comes, in part, from the North West of England and my Grandmother always liked to march the family out for what she called "a blow" along the coast. It really was a blow! If you feel a little more adventurous, there are usually classes at local leisure centres for swimming, workouts or join one of the many Yoga or Pilates sessions
One thing I am aware of is people shouting "That's all very well, where do I find the time?" Well, make the time. Your time. You have a simple choice. Make a hour or so a day available to yourself NOW - even an hour or so a week - or real improvement is not going to happen. Make up by Dulux will be the only answer. Bear in mind that a little investment in yourself will be rewarded by a better skin, better emotional balance and more quality time for your friends and family. Failing that, work all you want, work, work, work! Fine, by middle age you will need a full time plastic surgeon and a paintbrush. Or a mortician.

Your emotional well-being is also important in good skin care. You must have heard about people going red in the face with anger or as pale as anything on some bad news? "Bringing out a cold sweat" is another popular expression. You may blush when a young man approachs - Your skin acts almost like a beacon in communicating how you feel about things. Some complaints, such as acne, may be actively encouraged by not letting your emotions out. You may be surprised how your emotions affect your body temperature and so can affect your skin:

"Emotional stress with predominant anxiety, anger, embarrassment, humiliation, joy with anxiety, depression with hostility, guilt, and fear of abandonment, and conflict over the use of hands for aggressive and sexual purposes, were accompanied by a fall in finger temperature. If the patient was not aware of an emotional reaction, but by speech and other behavior did give evidence of experiencing such an emotional reaction (anger, anxiety), there was a fall in finger temperature. At times but not invariably, the fall was of greater magnitude when he was not aware of evident emotional disturbance. During sexual excitement, there was a rise in finger temperature above the control level"

"The rapidity and degree of fall in finger temperature were determined by the intensity of the patient's emotional conflict and anxiety, whether conscious or unconscious, and by the nature and intensity of his compensatory measures. In individuals who with unconscious motivations developed a life plan of warding off anxiety by avoiding danger, and by the illusion of being master of the situation--anticipation of helplessness, of abandonment, and of injury, although manifest in their defensive behavior, was compatible with high finger temperature, even in potentially threatening situations. However, they reacted with conflict, anxiety and fall in finger temperature when a turn in events disturbed their safety devices"

"When the patient, in a situation which represented one of stress for him, was in a state of emotional detachment, repressing conflicting impulses and emotions and in addition, maintaining illusory attitudes of security, comfort, superiority, the finger temperature was high and relatively even, as though in a period of genuine security and relaxation. Thus, the finger temperature remained at a high level during states of emotional "objectification" with undercurrent resentment and humiliation, during a state of "forgiveness" for hostility, and during a state of facetiousness with undercurrent murderous and suicidal impulses. If, however, an intensely pleasant emotion, e.g., elation, predominated as a compensatory reaction for repressed anxiety, the finger temperature fell"

"Emotions and Skin temperature: Observations on Patients During Psychotherapeutic (Psychoanalytic) Interviews"

BELA MITTELMANN M.D. and HAROLD G. WOLFF M.D.

It may be useful at this point to mention the Ayurvedic tradition, which is becoming popular in certain circles. The benefits of ayurvedic herbs are something of a fashion with ayurvedic treatments and products arriving on the market. Like has been mentioned with Aromatherapy, you can have ayurvedic herbs without the tradition, but you cannot have the tradition without the herbs. You cannot simply take, for example, Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) stick it in a bottle and call it Ayurvedic treatment. There is a long history and tradition associated with this noble craft and one needs to find a qualified therapist in the tradition to truly benefit.

Here, I have turned to www.mapi.com Once you wade through the trans-atlantic trimmings, there are some very worthwhile articles and information on this site. I have take the following definition of the various "types"which relate to skin care, from an article on that site:

"... Vata, Pitta and Kapha are ayurvedic psycho-physiological principles called doshas . They govern all the activities of the mind and body and determine the physical characteristics and emotional and mental tendencies of every human being. These three principles are combinations of the five elements -- Vata, for example is mostly air and space, Pitta is mainly fire and water and Kapha is primarily earth and water. A person's ayurvedic skin type, therefore, can be Vata, Pitta or Kapha, or sometimes a combination of two of these doshas"

Further, a person can be born a certain skin-type, but over time, that type may change because of external factors such as climate, diet and lifestyle habits or environmental pollution. Such "imbalances" should also be taken into account when choosing a skin care program:

"Vata skin is in general dry, thin, cool to the touch, easily gets dehydrated, and is very vulnerable to the influence of dry windy weather. Pitta is mostly fire, so the Pitta skin type tends to have more break-outs, photosensitivity, less tolerance to hot food, and less tolerance to fieriness in temperament. Pitta skin looks ruddy, and is warm to the touch. Pitta skin types tend to be more prone to freckles and moles than the other skin types. Kapha dosha is predominantly water and earth, so Kapha skin tends to have all the qualities of water and earth -- it can be greasy, thick, and more tolerant of the sun"

"Combination skin can be Vata-Pitta, skin that is both dry and sensitive, Kapha-Pitta, or oily and sensitive skin, and Vata-Kapha, skin that is generally dry with some oily zones. The ayurvedic approach to caring for combination skin takes into account environmental and seasonal factors. For example, a person with Vata-Pitta skin would follow the recommendations for Pitta skin in summer and Vata skin in winter. The Kapha-Pitta type would follow Pitta recommendations in summer and Kapha recommendations in winter. The Vata-Kapha type would be best served by generally following Vata guidelines, with extra cleansing of the oily zones"

(© 1999 - 2006 Maharishi Ayurveda Products International Inc)

Their site goes on to suggests some of the traditions ways of dealing with the various skin types and is well worth a visit if further study of this fascinating subject is of interest to you.

To summarise and to put it simply, your skin will not benefit if you bottle up your emotions and if you have a straight diet of, well, rubbish, basically. In both cases it is a matter of "garbage in, garbage out". Try and find a safe haven for your issues and woes and try and develope a more healthy diet. Do not, however, try and change overnight, it will take time. Remember, as the old adage goes : "A trouble shared is a trouble halved". Your skin will thank your for it.


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