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NATURAL BEAUTY:
ONLY SKIN DEEP?

Whoever said “beauty is skin deep” was a superficial person. True beauty comes from the light in the eyes, a natural smile on the face, and the glow of good health that shines through the skin, regardless of age.

How do we achieve the true beauty that comes from the inside? Certainly not through skin peels, face lifts and botox injections! No matter how much we spend on that kind of procedure, we cannot erase the effects of stress, overwork, sleep deprivation, poor diet, exposure to toxins, and (yes!) unhappiness that show in our faces and mask our natural beauty.

There are a few simple things that everyone can do to contribute to their true beauty.

1. Rest
Dark circles under the eyes, the drowsy, “grumpy” look that accompanies lack of rest, and the added stress of getting through the day after a poor night’s sleep detract from our natural beauty. It’s an old rule of thumb that we need eight hours of sleep. We agree, but realize many people are unable to achieve that, and that even eight hours may be insufficient if it is poor quality sleep. The increasing numbers of ads for sleep aids and better beds attest to this. Here are a few hints for a better night’s sleep:
a. Set aside the last 30-60 minutes before retiring as “quiet time.” Avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol for at least an hour before bed.
b. It’s also hard to sleep on a full stomach. Or:
c. Soak 30 minutes or more in a hot bath with at least one cup Epsom salts. Drink water and put a tablespoon of safflower or sunflower oil in the water, to counteract the drying effects of the salts.
d. A calcium-magnesium tablet before bed will aid sleep.

2. Exercise
There are a few simple practices that almost everyone can fit into the day, will increase energy and the sense of well being, and make us feel and look more beautiful:
a. Spend at least 20 minutes each day outdoors. We need fresh air and Vitamin D (from sunlight).
b. Yoga or even simple stretching will keep us supple, injury-free, looking and feeling young. Two minutes a day can begin to increase blood flow and ease tension so we feel and look better almost effortlessly.
c. Any kind of exercise that raises the heart rate1 is beneficial to the body and the skin.
d. Perspiration is important for eliminating toxins, through exercise, a steamroom, sauna, hot tub, or hot bath. A steam bath for the face can cleanse pores and stimulate blood flow, adding natural color and beauty.

3. Peace of mind
Joyful, happy, self-confident, clear-headed, centered—inner states that contribute to outward beauty. Yoga, meditation, and meditative prayer open doors to these states. Our favorite practice: Cultivating a conscious attitude of thankfulness. Picture the beauty in the face of a person who is truly grateful!

4. Avoid toxic exposure
Protect yourself from sun (overexposure to sun is the quickest path to premature aging of the skin!), wind and airborne pollutants. Avoid toxins in personal care products 2 and minimize the numbers of these products you use. Reduce over-the-counter and prescription medications to what is absolutely necessary for your health. These things accumulate in our bodies, sometimes combine to become toxic (synergistic toxicity), and increase our body’s toxic load. We are most beautiful when we are healthy and happy.

5. Nutrition
a. Food
A balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, essential fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates--low in saturated fats and simple carbohydrates--is the best possible nutrition for the skin.
b. Drink

  • Drink water! The skin cannot be soft and supple unless the body is well hydrated. Water is also needed to flush toxins from the body and the skin. Often eight glasses of water a day is the first best remedy for teenage acne.
  • Avoid soft drinks! Carbonation, sugar and artificial sweeteners contribute to teenage skin problems and negatively affect skin texture and color.
  • Alcohol in moderation! Alcohol is a refined sugar and a toxin.
    c. Vitamins and supplements
  • Essential fatty acids, Omega-3, -6, and-9, are essential to healthy, beautiful skin. Acne, seborrhea, dry dermatitis and redness, eczema, chronic “gooseflesh” skin, frequent infections, and poor wound healing are known symptoms of EFA deficiency.
  • Antioxidant vitamins A, C and E are important for healthy skin.
  • Calcium/magnesium together aid sleep.
  • People who take MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) for pain disorders report softer skin, improved acne, stronger nails and thicker hair.

    6. Body-friendly skin care
    Ideal skincare products are “body-friendly.” By this we mean they contain ingredients that are non-toxic, non-occlusive, non-comedogenic, soften and moisturize and support and nourish the skin, bring it into balance, and keep it healthy and young-looking. In the previous two articles, we discussed toxicity, occlusivity and comedogenicity.3 Now we will list ingredients that nourish the skin, support its moisture-retaining ability, support collagen and elastin production, and improve its color and texture.
    a. Aloe Vera
    For centuries aloe vera has been applied successfully to stimulate healing of wounds and regenerate cell growth. Most processed aloe contains only a fraction of the bioactivity of the fresh aloe vera juice, but highest quality aloe activates and stabilizes its biological activities, resulting in maximum immune stimulation and wound healing.
    b. Antioxidants
    Antioxidants are chemicals that protect cells by neutralizing external forces (such as damage from the sun, pollution, wind, and temperature) and internal factors (stress, poor metabolism, etc.). Common antioxidants are Vitamins A, C and E. These special chemicals assist in skin repair and the strengthening of blood vessels.
    c. Beta-Glucan, an immune-stimulant composed of glucose molecules, activates the body’s own ability to heal wounds and produce epidermal growth factor (EGF). EGF, which normally lessens as we age, stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, thus improving the skin’s appearance and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles.
    d. Hyaluronic acid, which occurs naturally in the skin, softens, hydrates and moisturizes skin and stimulates the immune system.
    e. Jojoba, a non-occlusive and non-comedogenic liquid wax, penetrates the skin’s lipid layer, leaving a soft and non-greasy sensation, slowing down the loss of moisture and improving flexibility and elasticity. Jojoba is a natural antioxidant.
    f. Konjac glucomannan, a starch best known as an Asian food thickener, is a skin conditioner and cosmetic thickener. In clinical tests konjac has surpassed all other ingredients in skin-smoothing, which is important for reducing pock marks, wrinkles and fine lines. It is second only to hyaluronic acid in skin-softening.
    g. Shea Butter
    Clinical tests have shown that shea butter improves the skin’s color and texture, combats skin thinning with age, and visibly diminishes wrinkles from photoaging (from prolonged sun exposure).
    h.Sodium PCA (also NaPCA) is a component of human skin responsible for binding and retaining moisture to cells.
    i. Squalane is an oil-like substance found in human skin. Most cosmetic squalane is petroleum-based, but it may also be derived from olive oil. It softens the skin, reduces small facial wrinkles and is a bactericidal agent. Squalane has also been shown to speed wound healing.

    In summary, to achieve natural beauty we need to eat well and supplement with vitamins and nutrients, rest well, exercise to increase blood flow, drink plenty of water, avoid toxins, cultivate peace of mind, and use body-friendly skin care to protect, stimulate and nourish the skin.

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    Footnotes:

    [1] If you’re not already aerobically fit, be sure to check with your physician and follow recommended optimum heart rate ranges for your age.

    [2] See articles:
    A Close Look at Health and Beauty Aids
    Does Natural in Skin Care Naturally Mean Good?

    [3] See articles:
    A Close Look at Health and Beauty Aids
    Does Natural in Skin Care Naturally Mean Good?

  • Written by: Pamela J. Lambert

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