Skin: The INSIDE Story
Fun fact(s): your skin accounts for about 15% of your body weight, constantly sheds about 30,000 to 40,000 dead cells every minute (about 9 pounds per year), and a single square inch of skin has about 19 million cells and up to 300 sweat glands.
Skincare is a HUGE industry. In 2019, it's estimated to be a 141.3 BILLION dollar industry, but by 2024, it's projected to grow to about 180 billion USD. So, what with all of the products flying around this massive market, why don't we all have flawless, glowing skin?
Answer: it's not all about what goes on on the outside. And if it were...yikes. Big names in the business include Neutrogena, Olay, and L'Oreal. I have nothing against these brands. However, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. These companies spend a fortune on marketing, but sell their products for very, very cheap, compared to high-end products that actually work.
Some people will argue, "but my skin looks great and I use drugstore products!'" I hear you. You're probably also one of those humans with genetically gorgeous skin who tells people with acne, "just drink more water!" (Sidenote: if one more person tells me to drink more water, I am going to scream. And then probably dump a gallon of said substance on their head). This is not the way, folks. The American Academy of Dermatology cites that 85% of Americans between the ages of 12 to 24 suffer from acne. It's the most common skin condition in the US, and affects 50 million Americans annually (not limited to any specific age range). Simply drinking more water or piling on more acne-clearing drugstore products is not going to be the magical cure. Unfortunately.
However, before I jump into the nitty gritty T-zone of skincare, I want to say that this is YOUR journey. Yes, I am making snarky comments about drinking more water and drugstore products (forgive me) but at the end of the day, if something works for you, don't listen to other people! Use and do what makes you look and feel your best. For the 50+ million who aren't having that success, however, this article is for you. I also want to say: this post focuses on what we can do on the INSIDE to help our skin. What we can use on the outside is an #upcomingpost.
First: why is having good skin important?
This can get a bit philosophical if we go too deep, but let's just put it this way: if you're invested in how you look, even the slightest bit, then this is the first place to start. Your skin is your shell. You're like a crab. Do you want to be a snazzy crab with a snazzy shell, or a sad crab with a dull shell?
If you want to be a snazzy crab (I hope you do) then that's what makes skincare important. Even if you don't put on a stitch of makeup, having a glowing complexion signifies that you take care of yourself on all levels. And if you do put on makeup, and get injections, etc, then having great skin makes this all so much better! Into makeup? Makeup goes on so much smoother with great skin. Looking to get some lip filler? You'll love your lip filler ten times more when you don't have an acne-ridden chin distracting you from your plump pout. Just treating for one thing is doing yourself a disservice. By all means, get whatever beauty treatment you want (#treatyoself) whether it be microblading or Voluma, but recognize that you'll be more satisfied with the results when you look at your beauty holistically.
What we eat is what our skin is.
Apparently years ago doctors started saying that what you eat doesn't affect your skin. I'm not a doctor, so let's preface this opinion by saying that I don't have the technical qualifications to challenge that idea...but I completely disagree (and many others do). How could it possibly NOT affect your skin? Example: many people who have acne are deficient in zinc and vitamin E. Where do we get those two wonderful nutrients? That glorious thing called FOOD. So, make sure you're eating a nutrient-rich diet. I'm not here to preach a specific diet, or recommend you eliminate whole food groups, but, play with what and how you eat. For example, I find that sugar and dairy are my two biggest triggers, and that eating things like avocados and walnuts help my skin stay hydrated. Don't get crazy here, folks. Just stick with the basics. Make sure you're eating enough veggies. Bypass the 27 pound bucket of mac n' cheese Costco has started selling. Simple things. (If you're ever feeling down, go read the reviews on said macaroni product. You won't regret it.)
Anyways. Unfortunately, due to farming practices, the nutrients we're supposed to get from our foods are not always readily available. This is a where a daily multivitamin comes in. Make sure you get a high quality one. I take Xymogen's ActivNutrients every day, and it's my favorite. It also has methylated B vitamins in it, which, without getting into all of the science, are the foundation of everything good in this world. And I do mean everything.
But what about skincare supplements?
This is your choice. If you want to take skincare supplements, it may help. It may not. However, I will say to stay away from too many capsules. Capsules can be hard for the body to break down, so if you're pounding back bottles of "superfoods", you're also getting a heavy dose of gelatin. Beauty guru Miranda Kerr advocates popping open your vitamin capsules and dumping them directly into your morning smoothie for the best absorption. However, when she talked about how this tasted, she just sort of smiled faintly and stared off into the distance. So this may be an option for some people, but personally, I try to limit the suffering in my life, you know? I just stick with my daily multivitamin.
Yes, that annoying thing people tell you to drink more of. I'm going to keep this short. Make sure you're not thirsty. You do not need to drink a gallon every day. There's no science behind it. Wondering how much you should drink? Every study over the years has basically said: it depends. What's most important is to drink purified water. I don't mean filtered, like with a Brita. I mean purified. 12-step, reverse osmosis, reintegrated with high-quality minerals. I worked at a water store where I learned every single disturbing detail about America's water supply. You don't want to know it all, just trust me on this, and go to your local water store or co-op and get high pH water (this is the kind with all of the minerals). It's worth the hassle, especially when you see what comes out of "filtered" water with a high-tech filter (basically black sludge). Those contaminants, including synthetic hormones, heavy metals, and petroleum by-products, are what your body has to process every time you chug your dihydrogen monoxide, ya feel? The motto here is: quality, not quantity.
And what about stress, hormones, etc?
Oof. This is a tough one. This is all about finding balance in your life and being patient. If you're young, hormones can take some time to settle. If you're going through perimenopause, same goes. These are all holistic problems that I could write ten blogs on. So, 1) stay tuned, and 2) understand that you can't be perfect in every area of your life. Yes, you may have a hormonal breakout right before your period. Hang tight. Apply some zit cream to the spot, and recognize that if you've done your work the rest of the month, one pimple won't end be the end of the world. Try to meditate even just five minutes a day. Say "no" to people every now and then, and spend the night chilling with a face mask on. Do what you can, when you can, and try not to worry about it all too much. With a good diet, clean water, and a good skincare regimen, you've got the basics covered.
So, in essence:
1. Watch your diet. Get plenty of veggies. Figure out what your triggers are. Sugar and dairy are mine. What helps and heals your skin? Try eating and avocado every day. Do you see a change in your skin?
2. Don't be disappointed with skincare supplements if they don't work. If you don't have a balanced diet to begin with, these are a simply a Band-Aid.
3. Take a high-quality daily multivitamin. I recommend Xymogen for any and all supplement needs (no they don't pay me, I just feel like they actually work). Even if you have a balanced diet, our foods are often lacking in nutrients due to poor farming practices and soil deficiencies.
4. Don't panic about trying to chug tons of water. Just make sure you're drinking enough for your lifestyle (i.e. make sure you're sipping some every hour, and replenish if you workout.) Get purified, high pH water. I will reiterate: this stuff is amazeballs, and is very important.
5. Try to meditate daily, or simply take a walk and get a few deep breaths of some fresh air. It doesn't have to be crazy. Just something every day where you can re-center yourself and bring those adrenaline levels down. Sometimes we stress about how stressed we are. Unfortunately, this is not helpful. Take a deep breath. Chill. It's all gonna be ok.
Reach out if you have questions using the contact form located on the home page. Questions & suggestions are always welcome. While you're at it, check out my Instagram for more fun tips & tricks, and to say hi!