During the summer months – a time for festive celebrations, outdoor activities and sun exposure – it’s not uncommon to start feeling like you need to “detox”. The good news is that you don’t need to go on an extreme cleanse to see results. Simple changes to your diet and skincare routine can yield tremendous results. Here are some food, supplement and ingredient recommendations to help you achieve beautiful, radiant skin.
Detox on a Plate
Detoxifying foods assist the body in ridding itself of environmental and dietary toxins while supporting the optimal function of critical organs; the health of these organs in turn affects the health and appearance of the skin, an excellent barometer of internal health. Incorporate detoxifying foods into your daily diet and experience the healing and beautifying effects.
Coldwater fish, rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, act as natural anti-inflammatories and are great for detoxifying the skin. This includes wild salmon, sardines, herring and anchovies. Omega 3s also reduce stress chemicals such as cortisol which can cause or aggravate acne and all of its accompanying signs and symptoms.
Green foods are powerful detoxifying agents and can help counter the negative effects of an inflammatory diet, and in particular, alcohol consumption. 'Green foods' include a range of plant based delicacies such as young barley grass, blue green algae, wheatgrass, kale, spinach, spirulina, alfalfa, chard, arugula and other organic leafy greens. Recent research suggests that the oxidation product of alcohol, acetaldehyde, may be responsible for cancer and other health problems. Since acetaldehyde accumulates in the gut during drinking, it may be possible to break down the acetaldehyde by consuming certain drinks or food.
Enjoy young barley, kale, spinach or other green juices. Many of these greens have a potent concentration of a unique bioflavanoid called glycosylisovitexin (GIV) that helps to prevent acetaldehyde accumulation caused by alcohol consumption.
Watercress, Detoxifying Superstar
Watercress contains a powerhouse of nutrients and has been used as a tonic since ancient times to cleanse the blood and liver of toxins and promote an overall feeling of good health. It has been used in a variety of ways, including enhancing stamina and ridding the body of excess fluids; it is also a great antioxidant. My studies of watercress have shown that it helps with many health issues, including reducing DNA damage, inhibiting the invasive potential of breast cancer cells, increasing lutein levels for improved eye health and improving gene expression of cell protective antioxidant enzymes. Because it is also a low-calorie vegetable, it helps with weight management.
Add chopped watercress to your daily diet - it is an excellent addition to omelets, salads and soups.
Eating foods rich in Vitamin B2 helps to reduce stress and cleanse the system. These include spinach, almonds, eggs and mushrooms.
In addition to the omega 3s, add omega 6 essential fatty acid supplements - such as borage oil or evening primrose oil, both of which are rich in Linoleic Acid. Acne patients have a low concentration of linoleic acid in their sebum, and the levels decrease as the acne increases.
Detox From the Outside In
The body's largest organ - the skin - is constantly exposed to the elements and environmental toxins. Pores can become clogged with pollutants and dirt, causing breakouts and enlarged pores. If you are embarking on a detoxifying, anti-inflammatory diet, you may experience an increase in breakouts. Thus it’s important to treat the skin with topical ingredients that detoxify from the outside in. The process is simple: cleanse, gently exfoliate, and treat with powerful anti-inflammatories.
1. Keep it Clean
To prepare skin for topical treatment or an exfoliant, skin must be thoroughly cleansed. Wash your face morning and evening to eliminate any debris, which, if left on skin, will prevent topicals from doing their job. I recommend using a cleanser
that contains anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as Alpha Lipoic Acid or Vitamin C Ester.
2. Avoid Thin Skin
I recommend avoiding harsh scrubs and other abrasive treatments, as these can be very pro-inflammatory and damaging to the skin, thinning it over time. If you do choose to exfoliate, opt for ingredients such as glycolic acid or salmon roe enzyme
, which will eliminate surface debris, dead skin cells and makeup without being abrasive to the skin, helping it look and feel younger, healthier, porcelain-smooth and radiant.
3. Tighten PoresAlpha Lipoic Acid
is unsurpassed at tightening pores that have become enlarged from heredity, sun damage, aging or overactive oil glands. When Alpha Lipoic Acid is abundant in the cellular environment, the cell is better able to produce energy and conduct critical functions, including cellular repair. This enhanced energy production also helps the cell resist the destructive effects of oxidative stress and inflammation in the sebaceous (oil-producing) glands. This is particularly important to acne patients, whose sebaceous glands do not function optimally. It is my theory that Alpha Lipoic Acid increases energy production in the oil gland, normalizing the oils that are secreted, thereby normalizing pore size.
4. Smooth Skin’s TextureDMAE
redefines skin's texture, improving its appearance and overall tone. DMAE acts as a cell membrane stabilizer, which helps to reduce the appearance of pores and improve muscle tone over time, creating a lifted, contoured, more sculpted appearance. So, let us rejoice in the bounty of naturally detoxifying ingredients, foods and supplements Mother Nature provides us during the summer months! As an active researcher, I welcome your comments and feedback. Please join the conversation on Facebook