Skin Deep is Deeper than you Think

Skin Deep is Deeper than you think

When we think of skin, the outer surface is usually what comes to mind. However, skin is much more complex and vital than its external appearance suggests. Our skin is our largest organ, covering around 18 square feet and weighing approximately 7 pounds in the average adult.  

More Than Meets the Eye

Within just one square inch of skin, there are millions of cells, 650 sweat glands, 20 feet of blood vessels, and thousands of sensory receptors. The skin acts as the principal barrier protecting our internal bodies from the external environment, while also serving critical roles in sensing our surroundings. What happens within each layer of the skin is mind boggling.

Layers of Complexity

Skin consists of three primary layers: the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The 

image from The School for Aromatic Studies, aromatic scholars certificate course.

outermost epidermis has four to five sublayers itself (palms of the hand and soles of the feet have an extra layer), including the stratum corneum that creates the acid mantle – a thin, acidic film that kills bacteria and fungus. Beneath the epidermis lies the dermis, a dense connective tissue loaded with collagen that provides strength and elasticity. It also contains nerves, blood vessels, hair follicles, and glands. This layer of our skin accesses the bloodstream making the skin much deeper than just an external covering. The deepest hypodermal layer attaches skin to muscles and bones while storing fat for insulation and cushioning.1

Skin is more than physical

Emotionally, skin is the face we want to show to the world. Skin reflects self-image, skin disorders can challenge self confidence and self esteem, and can interfere with social connections. Even though many skin condition are not life threatening people with skin conditions may experience significant psychological distress.

Unresolved inner tensions may manifest through conditions like acne or rosacea. Diseases showing up on the skin may be a cry for help, when one is unable to communicate it otherwise the body speaks it for them. If you tend toward skin issues it may be worth your while to explore what you need to shed or express. Maybe you want to try on a new skin?

Our skin reveals much about our interior physical and mental well-being. By seeing “skin deep” as so much more than surface level, we gain a fuller appreciation for this remarkable organ and how best to care for it.

Caring for Our Skin inside and out

Ultimately, having healthy skin requires more than topical treatments – our lifestyle choices like diet, hydration, stress management and use of cleansers and skin care products all impact the skin’s condition from the inside-out and outside-in. 

Lets dive in by starting with cleansers.

Avoiding harsh soaps that strip the acid mantle and using slightly acidic moisturizers can help maintain this protective barrier.

Modern day soaps and toiletries deteriorate our skin, for example the acid mantle, the outermost layer of the epidermis is a thin layer of lipids and sweat with a pH of 4-6.5 We want our skin to be acidic! This acidity is what kills bad bacteria and fungus on our skin, it also helps to protect our skin. Soap products are highly alkaline which neutralizes the skin’s natural defenses. When the acid mantle loses its acidity, the skin becomes more prone to damage and infection as well as irritation and sensitivity.

To maintain the skin’s acid mantle soap needs to go. Avoid soaps made with lye and sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) or any derivative of SLS. Basically anything that suds will destroy this layer of your skin. You don’t need it. Washing with sudsy soaps literally scrubs away this layer.

The word is mostly out about SLS; lye is not good for your skin either. It strips your skin of the oils it makes. The act of making soap involves lye to make the chemical reaction that forms soap, when properly done no lye remains, but the chemical reaction to make soap still remains —and strips the skin. I choose to “saponificate” with oil and water. Oil alone can pull impurities and dirt off the skin.

Feed the Bugs that Feed Your Skin

Furthermore soaps also destroy the dermal microbiome, as do harsh cleansers and alcohols. Our outer skin produces sebum, an oil that softens, lubricates, protects the skin, and feeds the good guys residing on our skin. When good microbes feed on this sebum and other vegetable oils, they produce new immune-boosting fatty acids that create the skin’s protective barrier. These fatty acids protect skin from exposure to bad bacteria, weather, sun, and they help skin heal.

Massaging any good carrier oil on skin nourishes skin microbes. We want our skin microbes to hang out with us, if you have a visitor and you don’t feed them they are going to need to leave to go get food. Skin microbes reduce skin infections — this is why dry skin is more prone to infection. The good microbes block bad bacteria from getting into our skin protecting us, and we have evidence showing our skin microbes communicate with our gut microbes improving over all immunity.


I have not used soap in over 15 years (in exception to washing my hands of which I only use liquid castile soaps mixed with a hydrosol 50/50 and essential oils of lavender and lime) and my skin thanks me,

My oil “soap” favorites are:

  • Olive oil with lavender, mandarin, or a fir oil or any other essential oil or blend you enjoy.
  • Cooler windy days I go for sesame oil with geranium, frankincense, any citrus, myrrh, or carrot seed. 

I put a little of my oil blend in my palm and massage it in while standing under the shower. I do this for my entire body. Over-Bathing kills the good guys, if you need something more than oil you can use a gentle loofah sponge or make your own scrubs for a healthier clean. 

Sugar and honey makes a gentle scrub and it adds additional benefit by being humectant and feeding the skin-biome. For tougher areas such as feet or knees salt scrubs using finely ground dead sea salt (or plain sea salt) will clean the tough spots. They can just be as simple as salt or sugar and carrier oil with a few essential oils, or you can get fancy and grind up organic rose buds, chamomile flowers or other herbs such as juniper berries or rosemary, clay can be added or lemon zest or dried and ground citrus peels. 

Do not scrub the skin on your face, it is very delicate. If you need to exfoliate your face, make gentle exfoliants using ingredients like clay, honey, and finely ground herbs or seeds.  These are pleasant to use— they tickle your senses while relaxing you and giving you a feeling of calm and self care.

Do not consider a chemical peel for revealing your “younger skin”.  Once you’ve peeled away this layer of your protective skin your “baby skin” is unprotected  — you’ve stripped away your natural protective barrier making your skin more prone to dryness, and sun and environmental damage. 

For my face I use only mild cleansers. I make myself two different facial cleansers; one is aloe vera gel, a carrier oil such as hemp, a hydrosol, and essential oils. The other is jojoba with essential oils, I call this one a ‘facial oil pulling cleanser’ as jojoba is highly effective at pulling toxins from the skin and pores. 

Both morning and night I rinse my face with warm water, pour a small amount of one of the cleansers into my palm, and gently massage around my face. I spend some time massaging away jowls, smoothing out places where wrinkles develop, and massaging my forehead. Then rinse warm water in my soft washcloth. Then on to toning.

Don’t skip the toning! I did for a long time because I have dry skin, it wasn’t until I learned about how toners brighten and lift skin — and I noticed the biggest difference after adding toning in to my facial routine — especially on my eyelids. My toners are only made from two hydrosols with either aloe or witch hazel distillate. In the case of acne you could add in a small amount of apple cider vinegar and in case of dry skin use aloe gel. 

Soak a cotton pad with it and gently massage around your face and neck, starting with your eyes and eyelids first.

Immediately mist with a hydrosol, then moisturize with a facial oil.  To get the maximum, the toning and moisturizing needs to be done within 2 minutes of washing off the cleanser.

Ditch your soaps — especially commercially made soaps which have a long list of undesirable ingredients.

Skin and moisture

We want to nourish and keep well hydrated the epidermal layers which are faced with various climates. Within this layer we need fats and water.

Moisture from our skin slowly evaporates from the under layers upward. This flow is known as the transepidermal water loss (TEWL).  Lipids in the skin help to prevent this water loss – our body makes the lipids our skin needs —as long as we feed it foods it makes the lipids from.

Some of the fatty acids found in the skin are some of the same fatty acids we eat in foods such as palmitic acid (avocado, macadamia nut, sea buckthorn), myristic acid (coconut), stearic acid (beef tallow), linoleic acid – omega 6 fatty acid (almond, apricot, pumpkin seed, sesame, sunflower, hemp, walnut, and many more), among other fatty acids.

Omega 6 fats are the most abundant fatty acid in the epidermis, omega 6 fatty acids are required for the formation and maintenance of the skin barrier. Omega 6s play a vital role in maintaining the skin.

While we need to consume more omega 3s, we need more omega 6s topically to support the EFA (essential fatty acid) needs of the skin. Deficiency of these essential fatty acids in the skin disrupts the barrier function of the skin leading to dryness, scaliness, redness, dermatitis, and other signs of inflammation —aka inflammaging. 

Diet plays a huge factor in maintaining the skin as does topical application of oils rich in EFAs.

Also in the top layer of the skin is a water soluble component. You want to attract moisture to your skin, your body has a natural way of doing this called natural moisturizing factor (NMF). Natural NMF include amino acids, urea, lactic acid sugars, and peptides which are responsible for keeping the skin moist and pliable by attracting and holding water. They are humectant; they hold water in the skin cells and absorb water from the atmosphere and water products applied to the skin such as hydrosols. For healthy skin we need humectants and oils, of which detergents and soaps scrub away leaving your skin dry and scaly.

Honey and sugar are great humectants for the skin. Note on sugar; bad for the inside of the body, good for the outside. Sugar scrubs help to attract moisture to your skin and they also feed the good bacteria. Other humectants include aloe, algae, and seaweed.

Occlusive substances such as beeswax or butters protect skin by forming a barrier that prevents loss of hydration. Occlusives and emollients such as oils have a hydrating effect on the skin because they help hold the moisture in.

Oil is not bad for your skin.

Dermatologists have pooh-poohed the idea of vegetable oils on skin, claiming that skin was unable to absorb these oils or worse yet that they clogged your skin. This is just not true.

Most commercial skin moisturizers are primarily water and fillers, with only a small amount of beneficial therapeutic oils. When the skin is dry, it will quickly absorb water, and tissues of the skin will noticeably expand, for the moment, the skin looks plump and full. However water is an attractor, water left on your skin can actually pull water from your skin to the surface where it evaporates making skin drier.

There’s another issue with water as an ingredient in moisturizers: it grows bacteria. Any product that contains water has to have preservatives, most preservatives are not preservatives for your skin — they age your skin. Better options for preservatives are on the horizon, such as fermented radish root but I have decided that lotions may be more problematic than good; due to their water content and the possibility of the water in the lotion pulling hydration outward where it evaporates. 

Oils and butters are the best choice for supporting healthy, glowing skin. This is hard for many people to believe, because dermatologists have maintained that the phospholipid layer of the skin cannot absorb oil and many people still believe that oil clogs pores — it doesn’t! In fact what gets into your pores gets access to your blood stream, we are not trying to get oils applied topically into our bloodstream.

Vegetable oils that dermatologists deem too large to penetrate the phospholipid layer are actually not meant to penetrate the skin. They are meant to feed and protect our lipid barrier that keeps hydration in the skin. They protect the skin by providing a barrier effect.

Don’t put anything on your skin you would not eat, taking a step further … Don’t put anything on your scalp you wouldn’t eat either.

Your liver filters everything you put in your mouth, however what gets through your pores gets direct access to your bloodstream without being filtered by the liver. This is even more apparent for the scalp.

In the head are veins called emissary veins, there are about 13 of them though it varies from person to person. These veins go from the scalp to the brain, they are valveless because they are bi-directional, meaning they carry waste out of the brain, or  they can carry things from the scalp to the brain.

The emissary veins primary job is to drain, cool, and relieve pressure from inside the skull, and they transport nutrients or potentially toxins from outside the skull into the brain. 

I can’t find literature stating that emissary veins bypass the blood brain barrier but it seems to me, they might. In my research I found this: “Due to the unique connection formed by emissary veins between the extracranial and intracranial spaces, infections that originate in more superficial regions of the head and neck can travel and spread to deeper intracranial structures through these veins. A post-mortem examination of one patient who developed cavernous sinus thrombosis and meningitis due to the spread of an infection originating from an infected hair follicle revealed the spread of the infection through the mastoid emissary vein”.2

I came across a study looking at delivering medication through the scalp, specifically brain medications. It was done using rats. In the study they gave one group an oral dose of methadone (an analgesic used to wean addicts), and three different groups varying amounts of methadone in sesame oil, massaged into the head. When the blood levels of methadone were measured they were almost identical — meaning just as much was absorbed through the scalp as by mouth — and surprisingly it was absorbed much faster through the scalp than orally.

This research shows what you put on your scalp gets into your body. This particular study was showing medications can be delivered to the brain through the scalp, reducing some side effects of digesting the medication and speeding up delivery of the medication. What we put on our scalp may also get access to the brain possibly even bypassing the blood brain barrier.3

What do you put on your scalp? Shampoos, conditioners, hair-dyes, styling agents, most of these are synthetic chemical-laden toiletries delivering dangerous toxins to the brain or bloodstream. This is why I make my own shampoo, have never dyed my hair, and I don’t use commercial hair products. 

I make shampoo with coconut milk, aloe vera gel, and essential oils, I call it coco aloe shampoo— and I only need to wash it about every other week. I also use a leave in spray conditioner made from hydrosols, aloe vera, a little jojoba and some essential oils which I spray on my hair after washing and comb through. It very effectively removes tangles and gives my hair manageability.

On the days I don’t wash my hair, I mist my hair with a hydrosol and fluff it though from roots to ends giving myself a head and brain massage. I then pin it up while I do my morning routines, when I let it down it has nice curl and body. The hydrosols help to clean the scalp and deliver plant medicine goodies right to my brain and/or bloodstream.

What are you putting on your skin?

For my skin care routine, I also do not use any commercial products, I just don’t trust the ingredients. Many are filled with long lists of ingredients that are not recognizable as to what they are; such as hormone disrupting parabens, synthetic fragrance, petroleum based oils that leach nutrients from skin —and lead in some cosmetics. Mainstream skincare treats the skin as if if is separate from the body and does not recognize that what you put on your skin, may get inside your body.

Just like we have had to learn to read ingredients of our food, we also have to read the ingredients of what we put on our skin — you will be shocked.

For my skin care I mist my skin with hydrosol then moisturize with vegetable or other carrier oils and butters infused with essential oils. Hydrosols are low pH and acidic, they help to maintain the acid balance of the skin when sprayed on the skin just prior to moisturizing. Vegetable oils are slightly acidic and and moisturizing for the skin.

I massage the oils in circular motions around the heart and joints, and long sweeping motions toward the heart on my limbs.

For my facial oils I use rosehip seed oil along with other carrier oils high in the essential fatty acids.  I like to include some floral essential oils such as helichrysum in my facial oil serums.  Floral oils and hydrosols are superior at skin care, giving us the complexion of flowers, and helping us attract what we want in life.

The self care act of massaging the skin is very good for us, in Ayurveda they use the word “sneha” to mean lubricant.  Sneha translates to “affection” — massaging oils into your skin is a form of self love. It is known as abhyanga in Ayurveda, it is good for the lymphatic system helping our body move toxins out while transporting fats and other nutrients to our tissues.

Massaging oils onto your skin calms your nervous system, the skin has over 20 million sensory neurons. Massaging your skin releases oxytocin in to our blood stream, this is the LOVE hormone responsible for bonding, loving, caring, and sharing attitudes improving our behaviors and moods. Stress and emotional health effect your skin. Fear and anxiety are higher than ever, flowers and floral scents modify these emotions, they penetrate consciousness lifting our moods and releasing anxiety.  

After bathing or showering I do not towel dry. This leaves the skin drier. Instead I massage my home made body oils or butters into my skin sealing the water in. I mentioned how lotions which have a water content hold water above the skin which attracts water from the skin to it. Here we are sealing in the water by occluding the evaporation or pulling of it outward with oils and butters. Instead the water will be drawn inward by the water our cells.

Keeping the epidermal layer of the skin protected and moisturized is what prevents aging from the deeper layers of the skin. Aging starts in the dermis and are a result of nutritional, environmental, and cosmetic issues. Oxidative stress is what promotes aging of the skin.

The effects of oxidative stress on skin is not just from sun and UV radiation. While photoaging from UV rays can age the skin it is important to expose our skin to the sun — just protect it with vegetable oils instead of sunblock. There are many vegetable oils and foods that provide UV sun protection both when eaten and topically on the body such as tamanu oil, and raspberry and pomegranate seed oils, which was written about in the winter edition.

Hyaluronic acid

Before we dive in to food, hydration, oxidative stress and your skin I wanted to touch on a topic I am being asked a lot about recently. Hyaluronic acid. I see hyaluronic acid is popular  as a supplement and added to many skin care products. It helps our skin hold onto moisture and helps keep things in the right shape and place in our body. It also lubricates the joints and helps provide moisture in our eyes.

When I look to see what the source of hyaluronic acid is, it has two common sources. Coxcomb — the red flesh comb located on the tops of roosters heads more commonly used in supplements, and “vegan” hyaluronic acid from fermenting soy or wheat more commonly used in skincare. Soy and wheat are both heavily sprayed crops, which means the hyaluronic acid in skin care products may contain pesticides. Not what I want on my skin. Other sources are not appealing for use either such as umbilical cords, goats brain and other animal parts.

I decided to do a little research, how does the body naturally make its own hyaluronic acid? And how can we keep it as we age? Food.

One of the nutrients our skin starts to lose as we age is hyaluronic acid, one of the reasons is estrogen promotes our body’s production of hyaluronic acid, as estrogen declines so does hyaluronic acid. Wrinkles start in the dermis. Disruption in the dermis results in wrinkles due to the reduction of collagen, elastic fibers, and hyaluronic acid. 

Foods can increase your production of hyaluronic acid and collagen. Foods don’t necessarily contain hyaluronic acid directly, though some do, they promote your body’s production of hyaluronic acid. Some foods helpful for this:   

  • Bone broth contains hyaluronic acid and collagen. Bone broth is your best food source of hyaluronic acid.
  • Organ meats, however not an easy one for many to digest are good sources of hyaluronic acid. If you do eat organ meats there are a lot of good reasons to keep doing so.
  • Vitamin C rich foods – citrus, cherries, grapes, mangoes, avocados, colorful bell peppers, and tomatoes. Vitamin C’s antioxidant activity protects hyaluronic acid from degradation in the body and also helps the body make collagen.
    • Grapefruits, oranges, and tomatoes are especially good as they also contain naringenin, which inhibits the enzyme hyaluronidase which breaks down hyaluronic acid in the body. Bananas are a good choice too, some varieties contain hyaluronic acid,  they also contain magnesium and vitamin C all which help with your body’s own production.
  • Magnesium rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts, and dark chocolate. Magnesium is a key component in your body’s production of hyaluronic acid and most people lack it due to foods grown in poor soils.
    • Dark chocolate is not the highest source of magnesium but its zinc content helps with hyaluronic acid production, and one of the flavonols in dark chocolate is good for skin.4
    • Beans which contain both magnesium and zinc will help your body produce hyaluronic acid.
  • Soy (organic only!), while controversial it can be helpful in increasing hyaluronic acid due to the isoflavones that increase estrogen levels which also promotes hyaluronic acid production. Fermented options are best such as tempeh, miso, and soy sauce.5
  • Root vegetables may contain hyaluronic acid, and they are high in magnesium with sweet potatoes being one of the highest. Root vegetables are popular for hyaluronic acid due to a Japanese researcher Dr. Toyosuki Kimora who noticed local residents of Yuzurihara who ate less rice and more “satoimo”, called sticky potato maintained higher levels of hyaluronic acid as they aged. He states satoimo is high in hyaluronic acid.
  • Aloe vera gel. Aloe barbadensis has a similar compositions and biological activity to hyaluronic acid. It also contains some hyaluronic acid. The referenced study detected hyaluronic acid in all parts of the aloe, however the rind contained the most. It’s not ideal to eat the aloe close to the rind or inner skin it contains a latex coating that contains aloin. While there is some debate on aloin having some benefit (posing a laxative effect) many health professionals believe it best not to eat aloin.6

    Aloe topically and internally can be of benefit to the body’s supply and production of hyaluronic acid by stimulating fibroblasts, which also boosts collagen and elastin production. I am fortunate to live in the tropics of Hawaii and grow my own Aloe barbadensis plants with the big aloe leaves. I make it palatable by blending the inner gel with fresh lemon juice, or sometimes I blend the gel alone and add it to kombucha.

  • Honey internally and topically due to it’s humectant properties. I came across several studies combining hyaluronic acid with honey for optimal moisturization and protection. Honey may not help your body produce hyaluronic acid but it can help the body in similar ways as hyaluronic acid.7

I personally choose to work with diet to keep my hyaluronic acid production as I age. These foods are all healthy foods that will improve the health of the skin from the inside and out.

Skin Health from the Inside

Your inner skin is reflected on your outer skin. Your inner skin is the epithelium and it lines the inside of your digestive tract. If your epithelium is inflamed or dry so will your outer skin be inflamed or dry. In Ayurveda it is believed the health of the outer skin relies on the health of your inner skin. There is a direct link between inflammatory foods and inflammatory skin conditions.

Hydration is important for skin health and is a simple to do. Foods can increase our hydration as well. Water from foods is better absorbed by our skin, and it has been found that natural waters in foods are actually a 4th phase of water.

This is from the works of Dr. Gerald Pollack. Water is beyond liquid, ice, and steam, there is a 4th phase, a “gel like” component, this is more viscous and alkaline than other water, it is crystalline like. When water is being frozen or melted it passes through this 4th phase and then turns back into water or ice.8

This gel like crystalline water called structured water is water that is easily absorbable to our cells, just because we drink water does not mean our cells absorb it — especially reverse osmosis (RO) water or heavily filtered water. Filtered water tends to be less absorbable and ends up getting peed right out. 

Structured water is in fruits and vegetables, animals, and you and me! It is in all living things — including plants. When we eat plants with a high water content, this is the water we are getting. Super beneficial. Structured water is an anti-oxidant in the body because it reduces free radicals.

Structured water content in fruits and vegetables is highly absorbable for our cells. Some of the water we drink can turn into structured water inside our body when we are exposed to sunlight, infrared light, or when we are grounding with the Earth. We can get more of this water by eating fruits and vegetables that contain lots of water.  Spring water, mountain water, and glacial melt water are all higher in structured water.  Though know your source— and highly important is to NOT buy water in plastic bottles, the plastic leaches and the bottles stay in the environment way too long.

Places in the world that tout to have healing waters, it is now known these places have high amounts structured water. 

Food and Skin Health

Eat your vegetables and herbs. Nutrition is the #1 most important medical decision you make everyday. The more vegetables and herbs/spices you eat the healthier your skin will be (and you too!).

Starting with hydrating veggies such as cucumbers, celery, watermelon — even though iceberg lettuce, while not your most nutrient rich lettuce, what it does have to offer is essential hydration and a lot of structured water. Many people have tossed away the idea of eating iceberg lettuce, while it may have less phytonutrients than romaine, it does offer a healthy dose of plant water. 

My goal is to eat 4-9 cups of vegetables each day — all organic and as much local as I can. Each day eat a variety of these vegetables: leafy greens, cooked cruciferous vegetables, and non starchy vegetables. Try to eat a rainbow of colors everyday —between colorful veggies and herbs this is not hard to do, just requires your awareness. Phytonutrient rich vegetables provide your body with the building blocks it needs to keep your skin healthy.

Essential fatty acids, we need to eat them as well as apply them topically. And we need to eat them in the right balance. Most of us don’t have to try to eat omega 6 fatty acids they are readily available in the diet. Healthy Omega 3 foods include eggs, cold water fish, and nuts and seeds —which contain both omega 3 and 6. I eat a small handful of nuts and seeds most everyday.

Herbs and spices are phytonutrient rich, full of anti-oxidants. We need a variety each day of all polyphenols from various plants — be they food or herbs. As aromatherapists and herbalists we need to remember to eat our medicine as well as make our medicines.

What not to eat? Foods that create oxidative stress. 

While UV radiation leads to creating free radicals and oxidative stress that age the skin. The other contributors are at the end of your fork!


Anything that spikes your blood glucose levels increases wrinkles due to glycation. Glucose damages collagen which is why sugar causes wrinkles.

Vegetable and seed oils, some of which we want to use topically, however internally can be quite inflammatory — mostly so because of how they are processed. 

Oils to avoid topically and internally: canola, safflower, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, rice bran oil — all the oils used in processed foods. These oils age your skin from the undersides upward. Sunflower oil is inflammatory in the body but ok topically. Sunflower seeds on the other hand are good nutrition internally.

Think you don’t eat these oils because you avoid processed foods? Think again, people eat more of them than they realize. Do you eat at restaurants? The number one cooking oil still in use in most all restaurants, even those claiming to be healthy is canola oil. Do you eat corn chips? Crackers? Potato chips? Fried foods?  All loaded with processed inflammatory oils, very hard on your skin.

The body is equipped with anti-oxidative systems to counteract the activity of oxidative stress. These include: 

Vitamins C and E readily available in many foods, glutathione from cabbage foods; cruciferous vegetables, beta carotene from orange fruits and vegetables, superoxide dismutase (SOD) in vegetables, fruits, and nuts, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) from fruits and vegetables), and ferritin (iron) from meats and vegetables.

We need to get anti-oxidants from our food and topically from what we place on our skin. We need to support the health of the skin through the application of organic whole skincare products, consumption of whole foods, good nutrition, clean air, and a healthy emotional environment. 

Why do some people’s skin age quicker than others?  Oxidative stress which is the total toxic load minus your ability to excrete toxins. If you eat oxidative or inflammatory foods frequently or have days upon days of stress the first place this shows up is your skin. Here are some reasons why some people’s skin ages quicker than others:

Poor elimination. We have to take out the trash … A healthy elimination is 1-3x daily.  If you are not going to the bathroom at least one good time daily you want to address this.  Sometimes its as easy as increasing your water intake and/or fiber intake.

Genetic predisposition to not detoxing well. You can find this out from genetic testing. If you are positive for a genetic snip that predisposes you to being a poor detoxer there are steps you can take to mitigate this. Such as sweating, eating cruciferous vegetables everyday, eating probiotic foods, and moving your body. At least half the population — some research shows possibly even more have some type of genetic snip that challenges their detoxification. 

Chronic inflammation, which could be from many factors including: Intestinal dysbiosis, leaky gut, nutrient deficiencies, high sugar diets, and diets low in nutrients and protein. The sad fact is most obese people are under-nourished. The food they eat does not have enough nutrients to support their health. Thank you food industry. 

What exactly is oxidative stress? 
Things that create free radicals in your body. Examples are; high sugar diets, fried foods, natural and artificial radiation, stress, car exhaust, pollution, most standard cleaning products, chemical perfumes and fragrances especially those used in dryer sheets and detergents. Fragrance is one of the most toxic everyday household chemicals. Why use fragrance when you can use all natural essential oils that offer medicinal benefits?

You can counteract the affects of oxidative stress with vegetables, the more vegetables you eat the less oxidative stress you will accumulate from the environment or foods. 

Its 1:1 hand combat! Anti-oxidants from foods will combat free radicals.  Anti-oxidants vs. free radicals = your level of oxidative stress.

You want more anti-oxidants than free radicals.  If it is the other way around you will age sooner (signs for many first appear in your skin) and have higher risk of all diseases.

Studies showing the harmful effects of frying meat are countered by adding a slice of avocado. Keep in mind this slice of avocado’s anti-oxidants will go toward combatting the frying of meat and will not counter any other free radicals. So along with that slice of avo add some onion, lettuce, tomato, red pepper and mustard.

Each persons risk factor is individual:

How many toxins are/were you exposed to?

Is it over a period of time?

Does your lifestyle make you more susceptible? Such as eating processed foods, stress, lack of physical exercise.

Do you detox well?

Skin and Stress — a two-way street.

The brain and the skin effect each other, such as when we get nervous we may sweat or get flushed skin. Short term stressors such as a little nervousness will not leave lasting effects on our skin, repeated bouts or longer term stress will. 

There is a brain-skin connection which underlies inflammatory skin diseases.9 The stress hormones released into the bloodstream when one feels stress —real or imaged—stimulate pro-inflammatory immune skin cells. Specifically mast cells which are a pro-inflammatory skin cell in the brain-skin axis which responds to cortisol and contributes to varying skin conditions including itching.

Internal stress can also disrupt the epidermal barrier and interfere with its healing. A disrupted epidermal barrier leads to irritated skin and chronic skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and slow healing wounds.10

 On the flip side skin that is stressed from the food or environment can produce stress hormones and send those to the brain. Thus psychological stress or a bad diet contribute to skin stress —and environmental and digestive stressors that disrupt the skin can contribute to psychological stress, creating a viscous cycle.

Stress has been linked to hair as well; hence the comments about gray hair and a stressful job or teenager are true. Gray hair has been linked to the release of noradrenaline (aka norepinephrine) reducing pigment producing stem cells in the hair follicle.11 Also hair loss has been linked to stress.12

Most stress is no longer life threatening. We need to learn a new evolutionary response to stress. Most stress begins with our thoughts. Simply by changing your mind, looking at possibilities when something doesn’t go as planned instead of dwelling on the problems which will perpetuate stress unnecessarily.

We can turn dis-stress into good stress by using the stress to motivate us to find better solutions. We can also use our aromatic tools —or scents which stimulate the calming side or our nervous system and encourage the feel good hormones to help us make this shift. One of the best ways to make a positive hormonal shift is to cuddle. Touch and human connection calm our mind and soothe our body. If you don’t have anyone to cuddle, you have your breath. Slow breathing at a pace of a 5-7 second inhale and exhale for just 3 minutes can shift a stress response to calm and encourage the release of the feel good hormones serotonin and oxytocin.13

Health of the skin requires a whole body and mind health approach.


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  12. 12.Arck PC, Handjiski B, Peters EM, Peter AS, Hagen E, Fischer A, Klapp BF, Paus R. Stress inhibits hair growth in mice by induction of premature catagen development and deleterious perifollicular inflammatory events via neuropeptide substance P-dependent pathways. Am J Pathol. 2003 Mar;162(3):803-14. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)63877-1. PMID: 12598315; PMCID: PMC1868104.
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