When I worked as a model with people touted for their beauty, I rarely saw so called 'flawless skin’. With social media added on top of the existing magazine culture, perfect (often filtered or retouched) images of skin set an unrealistic vision of what and how skin in real life should appear. Such unrealistic images of skin are harmful, particularly to the younger generation who can be more open to influence. It's why at Terra Tonics I never and will never advocate for 'perfect' skin, but always for healthy skin. Skin which radiates health from the inside out.
Small rant over, now let's talk about ways you can dramatically improve the skin you have.
Your skin can reveal a lot of what's going on beneath the surface.
Nobody wants to have breakouts, oily or dehydrated skin. You certainly don't your skin to age prematurely. Hell no! All these things you can reduce or heal altogether with the correct skincare practices. Yes, there are genetic factors. Still, there is so much you can do to improve your skin health and appearance.
But firstly, let's take a small moment to thank our skin and its role in housing our spirit for this brief dance on this floating orb…solemn pause.
Back to how to look your best.
So while we all have different skin, we still have control over many external factors that can harm it.
Below is a list of 7 major factors that determine skin health. There are a few 'uh duh’ moments, but it helps to remind ourselves. I see all of the below also as a path to self-care and love.
Yes, you know right, you've heard it a million times, but that vegan brownie is looking at you right in the eyes! Don’t stress. We all love a treat, and treats now and then are okay and not the problem. The problem is processed foods full of refined sugar and salt, which account for 99% of the foods you'll find in the supermarket. We've somehow allowed a mega-industry of process foods to flourish, making people ill while those companies become very rich. Honestly, that's my last rant.
I'm excited to see a trend toward whole foods and healthy eating gain more traction every year as we become conscious of what we put in our bodies.
Look to eat a whole food diet rich in vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and fruit. The more variety, the better as variety also helps our microbiome to thrive. In the last 80 years, and we've lost 93% of diversity in our food system! We're designed to have a diversity of foods, so being conscious of eating a varied diet is vital.
Avoid dairy. There are just so many studies that show that dairy interacts negatively with your hormones.
For more on foods which help the skin, in particular, see here.
Avoid sugar, mainly processed sugar at all costs.
Hydration is your most powerful antioxidant system. You can often overlook it and think that you have it covered with few litres of water daily, but hydration is not just simply about drinking water. It's about getting water inside your cells. This is essential to your body's health and vital for your skin health.
Find out more about ways to improve your hydration, have a read here.
Hopefully, I'm not putting you to sleep with this list…
Sleep is vital to staying healthy, youthful and for having your best skin.
Your body does all of its maintenance at night. You'll notice a lack of sleep will lead to a dull complexion or more dehydrated and prone to skin conditions.
You want to get your sleep down to a fine art.
Use the correct skincare.
You want to be trapping and retaining moisture in the skin to have it looking its best. You do this by protecting your skin barrier function. This, in turn, helps prevent dry skin and oily skin and, further, many other skin conditions like breakouts and even psoriasis and eczema.
We've written at length about it.
You do this by using pure, active, water-free skin care that works on your skin at the cellular level.
You don't do it by slathering on more and more moisturiser full of water and, most likely, chemicals that dehydrate your skin and further damage your skin barrier function.
Probably lesser known for having an impact on your skin but sometimes the best food to eat is no food at all.
Unless you've been living under a covid lockdown margarita cloud, you must have heard about all the new research on fasting and its positive benefits, mainly that it's the only proven intervention to slow down ageing along with a host of other benefits.
*Always seek medical advice from a GP who understands fasting before embarking on a long one. Like, don't just stop eating for a week.
Yes, I know I mentioned margaritas a moment ago. I've had summers where I've fallen in love with one…but let's not kid ourselves; alcohol doesn't do our skin any favours. Not only can it cause dehydration and inflammation research has also shown that cutting your intake of alcohol could lower your risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers.
If you're going to indulge, choose drinks like vodka and gin, these are flushed out of your system more quickly.
Here's a shocking stat - when you're 20 years old, alcohol leaves your body in roughly three hours. When you're 40 years old, it takes an average of 33 hours! That's not the value for money you want.
Not surprisingly, there is a direct link between your skin health and stress. If you'd like to learn more and find ways to reduce stress, read this.
Breath is one of my main tools for when I'm stressed. I breathe deeply and slowly and remember that this moment will pass. It's prevented me from throwing my partner off the balcony many times…just kidding, sort of.
It's that moment, 'uh duh'.
Right, you got all of that? Eat carrots or, better yet, don't eat at all. Drink water while in bed, never go out for a drink and if you so much as look at a cigarette, pray. Do all of this in a completely calm and relaxed state while applying Terra Tonics to your face. Perfect!
We're all human. If you aim at getting most of these things right most of the time and you'll start seeing dramatic changes in your skin for the better.