HOW I GOT GOOD SKIN
Good skin is a totally new thing to me. I have had keratosis pilaris (aka chicken skin) for most of my life, so the skin on my cheeks, arms, legs, and torso has always been rough and bumpy. I have tried all sorts of creams and pills and dietary changes over the last 25 years, and this is the stuff that has actually worked for me.
- •HydrationI start with about 8 glasses a day. You might need more or less, depending on your activity level and whether or not your diet is high in water or if you talk a lot. But your gauge is your urine: it should be pale yellow, almost clear, when you are properly hydrated. And I don't drink coffee or alcohol or soft drinks; just water. I'm a very cheap date.
- •French skin care productsI stopped buying makeup (other than eyebrow pencils - COME ON NOW) and started spending money on good skincare. Many French brands have for years been free of the nastiest toxic stuff that North American brands are only now starting to eliminate. And the French are OBSESSED with good skin. I use a gentle cleanser, a serum, a day moisturizer with SPF, and a richer night cream. They keep trying to sell me eye cream but that seems like too much trouble.
- •Balanced hormonesThis sounds so simple but is actually pretty complicated. The good/bad thing about the endocrine system is that it's all connected; even if you don't know where to start, just start somewhere and it will make a difference! Managing blood sugar is important, as well as thyroid hormone and estrogen/progesterone and...well, they're kind-of all important, but start with the biggest one and I promise it won't be as awkward as you think.
- •Healed my digestionIf food isn't being digested properly, then nutrients aren't making their way to your skin. Constipation (not going every day is constipation!) leads to hormone imbalances and breakouts, not to mention discomfort. If you're belchy, gassy, or crampy (the best dwarves) then you've got a problem with your digestion, and fixing it is one of the most important things you can do for overall health — and also for your skin.
- •Stopped eating dairyTraditional Chinese Medicine puts dairy in the "cold and congestive" category, because it's mucus-producing. It's also highly inflammatory for people who are sensitive, so it's a near-universal rule that if you have skin issues, dairy needs to go. Note that I will sometimes have a cheese plate or crème brûlée at a restaurant, but I do it knowing my skin won't be as nice for the next several days.
- •Fermented foodsGood digestion relies on a proper balance of good bacteria, and fermented foods have a variety of different bacterial strains to keep your gut happy! When you're digesting foods well, more nutrients make it to your cells, and less energy is spent on digestion which means your body can focus on other things - like renewing and repairing cells, including skin cells. If you've taken antibiotics then a probiotic hits you with lots of bacteria at once, but for every day I just eat fermented foods.
- •CollagenCollagen hydrolysate is a form of collagen that is broken down into individual amino acids instead of long protein chains. It's really molecularly similar to gelatin except this does not create "gelling" in foods. Collagen not only helps to balance hormones, it also improves digestion and helps reduce inflammation and repair lost elasticity in the skin.
- •Cod liver oilSpecifically: fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend gel. The flavour I like is Cinnamon Tingle. FCLO is rich in vitamins A, D, and K2, as well as omega 3's. It's good for gut health and for hormonal health, both things that help keep your skin looking lovely!
- •Herbal teaI studied Traditional Chinese Medicine and am getting really into eastern and western herbs. I make tea blends using things like hibiscus and rose petals (so fancy!) and I swear they give me the glow of royalty.
- •YogaI know. But making sure I incorporate movement and relaxation into every day is really important so my blood keeps flowing smoothly and I don't get stress wrinkles.
- •My skin isn't perfectI'm 37 and I don't sleep enough. I have scars and blotchy bits. But I walk out of the house without makeup every single day, because I focus on taking care of and feeling good in my skin instead of hiding it.