The Ultimate Guide to Skin Care

by Brian P. Ramos

Holistic, Anti-Aging Approaches to Skin Health

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THE GOOD

Daily probiotic supplement enhances your gut bacteria’s ability to regulate your immune system and inflammatory pathways. The health of our skin is not based so much on that we put on the outside of our body but on the inside. Our inner state dictates our skin’s health and wellbeing. In other words, what we put into our body will be reflected on the appearance of our skin. An inflamed digestive tract is reflected on the skin. Do you want gorgeous skin? Begin by cleansing, healing, and supporting the natural regenerative properties of the skin with the right foods, your appearance will take a significant boost.

Eat an organic, whole, plant-based diet to heal your body, talk to your genes in the right way, and decrease toxicity that can otherwise come out of your skin and decrease cell turnover. Limit processed or altered chemicals and additives. Eating a healthy, balanced diet filled with superfoods is key. You want to enhance nutrient and vitamin counts that are essential for not only healthy skin, but also a healthy and pure body and mind.

Eat more vitamin A-rich foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, and red peppers to stimulate healthy cell turnover and production of fibroblasts that help keep skin firm and healthy. However, avoid as I mention below, applying retinol or vitamin A-containing creams during the daytime. Acne serums, anti-redness, and anti-aging creams often contain these compounds. This helps to smooth the skin at first, but under the sun, these will speed up the harmful effects of UV rays. Which leads me to…

Apply daily sunscreen moisturizers to help keep skin hydrated and protected from the harmful effects of UV rays. However, avoid products that contain Oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals may disrupt the endocrine system and can trigger allergic reactions. Sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, titanium oxide, and avobenzone are recommended instead.

Hydration is key. Think of your skin as leather. Moist and hydrated leather will look smooth and well preserved. Your skin, like the rest of your body, is mostly water. Dry or flaky skin is indicative of Lack of water will be reflected in the skin that is dry and flaky. Dry skin, remember, has a lower ability to resist stretching and wrinkles more easily. What are you drinking during the day? Is it mostly water?

Application of anti-wrinkle creams with retinol or vitamin A is recommended nightly (remember what I wrote above!).

In 2015, researcher showed in the Journal of Cosmetics  that rosehip seed benefits in wound healing and reduces scarring after surgical procedures. In the same study, researchers suggested rosehip seed oil can reduce the effects of photo-aging from sun exposure due to its vitamin A (retinol) content. Therefore, rosehip oil is an excellent option for nightly application. I also use it on my scalp and hair along with amla oil, both of which help keep the hair looking healthier and more youthful.

Apply moisturizer and/or natural oils to your entire body especially the joints and parts exposed to the air. This becomes crucial under dry conditions, like in the desert or winter up north or at higher altitudes. ALWAYS apply the moisturizer or oil against gravity to counteract the constant downward pull your skin experiences and which becomes more evident as you age and the skins ability to retract and recoil is diminished.

Due to gravity, daily practice of inversions, multiple times a day is one of the best antidotes to counter gravity and keep you looking more youthful with taut skin. You do not realize this, but gravity is exerting a very strong downward force on your skin that will show up as stretched or saggy skin as we get older. Relieve this constant force by reversing and neutralizing gravity.

In the video above, I Illustrate some poses, I recommend. I practice mayurasana, forearm stand, and sirsasana, headstand, many times a day, every day without fail. I add in breathing, energy, and concentration practices that I teach more advanced students as well. Inversions also slow greying of hair. Amla oil, which I mention in “The Art of Stress-Free Living”, helps to reduce greying and hair loss, if massaged into the scalp every night or often. You are again maintaining a more optimal environment for healthier, more vibrant skin and hair to flourish (nails too!).

Pranayama (yogic breathing) practice is great as well. There are a number of techniques you can try, but one that is ideal for beginners that I describe in “The Art of Stress-Free Living” is nadi sodhana pranayama or alternate nostril breathing. Long-term practice of this or other breathing techniques can have a tremendous effect on the skin and produce radiant skin and health as you purify subtle channels.

The increasingly popular cannabidiol or CBD oil, the non-psychotropic component of the cannabis plant, is not only good to apply topically for pain or aches but may reduce acne and wrinkles. Taking oral supplementation is also recommended. CBD oil has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps soothe the skin, diminish breakouts and redness. CBD’s antioxidant properties help reverse oxidative stress damage that can cause the skin to age more rapidly.

Keep your skin (and body for that matter!) pH balanced and perfectly moisturized to prevent skin from being colonized by microbial organisms normally not found on the skin.

Eat more high-quality fats such as those found in avocados, walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds or hemp seeds, and coconut products (whether eaten or as part of a topical product). Remember that not all fats are equal! Monounsaturated fatty acids and anti-cancer oleic acids are great for moisturizing and lubricating skin cells.

Omega fatty acids are not only great for brain health like I discuss in my book “The Art of Stress-Free Living,” but also help to slow down the aging process and restore moisture due to their anti-inflammatory effects. Omega fatty acids are great to speed up healing across the entire body and reduce the severity of acne. Foods high in Vitamin E are great as well, like almonds and avocados.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, inhibits scar formation, and stimulates healing to help slow down our skin’s aging. Oils rich in squalene, like olive oil, absorb easily into the skin and keep it moist. Olive oil can also have topical antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, soothe the skin, help repair cells, and protect against damage.

Significantly avoid or, better yet eliminate inflammatory foods such as dairy, which is thought to be a major cause of acne. This may be due to the combined effect of an animal-based diet and refined or processed foods (high in sugars) that disrupt insulin levels making the skin more prone to acne. The proteins in milk, whey and casein, stimulate growth and hormones in calves and may do the same in us as well. One hormone is called IGF-1, which is known to trigger breakouts. Oddly enough, skim milk may be the most likely to trigger acne. Though more research is needed, dairy and animal products should be avoided altogether as they talk to your genes in negative ways, enhancing cancer, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease to name a few.

Avoid synthetic skin products, as their chemical makeup can pose unknown health risks, as well as really dry out your skin; even some so-called moisturizers can have this effect.

Note that the health, wellness, and supplements industry is highly unregulated and many products that are either not done well or have no clinical effect whatsoever. Become an informed buyer and make conscious, smart, and healthy choices. See some examples of chemicals to avoid below.

THE BAD

  1. Palm oil: This edible oil is used in a plethora of processed foods and cosmetics. On social media, I have spoken before about how palm oil is contributing to deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty, unfair trade practices, and human rights abuses in countries where it is grown and harvested. This large-scale destruction of rainforests is pushing many species on the brink of extinction.
  2. Coal tar dyes or PPD: Very popular in the cosmetics industry because they provide rich, long-lasting hair color. Long-term use associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer.
  3. Cyclomethicone and siloxanes: Used to clean windshield, dry underarms, or a smooth makeup base. They can disrupt hormone function and damage the liver.
  4. The ethanolamines. Like DEA, MEA, and TEA are found in some shampoos, moisturizers, sunscreens, and soaps. They react to form cancer-causing nitrosamines.
  5. Dibutyl phthalate: It keeps nail polish from chipping and is used as a solvent for dyes and fragrances. Found to interfere with hormone function, especially during pregnancy.
  6. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, such as DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, or quarternium-15, are widely used in hair and nail products and in moisturizers. Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer.
  7. Parabens: Widely used in makeup and moisturizers. Impair regular hormonal function and possibly contribute to breast cancer in women or interfere with male reproductive function.
  8. Polyethylene glycols (PEG): Widely used in conditioners, moisturizers, deodorants, and VAPES! Associated with cancer.
  9. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): They are common foaming agents used in dish soaps and foamy beauty products such as cleansers, shampoos, and for bubble bath use. SLES can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which can cause cancer and liver damage. It can also possibly become contaminated with the known carcinogen ethylene oxide. And it can be harmful to fish and other wildlife.

One Final Note:

Consume or use more clean, pure, organic, and natural products as much as you can. You have the power not only to heal and benefit your body, but of the planet as well. If your every action is in harmony with nature, loving and respecting all life and your environment, you heal your consciousness and open the door to reach deeper and more powerful states of awareness and wellbeing.

You can become a change agent that brings greater love and goodness to this planet and forces the industry to generate safer and cleaner products that help purify our great home, planet Earth. Holistic beauty and health brands will continue to rise and become more affordable as more mainstream companies join in the fight to preserve Mother Nature.

We cannot live in isolation from Nature and thus we must work together to protect biodiversity. This is integral to my 66-day program as we are a nature-deprived society in need of its powerful and harmonious manifestations.

Consider enhancing your beauty with safer products that bring out not just your external beauty but your inner beauty as well. Your outer beauty will manifest more when you couple an ethically sourced diet with a positive and caring attitude that expands your consciousness to include more than just your own personal needs.

Eat consciously to avoid foods that are harming your body and the ecosystem (i.e. overfishing or factory farming practices for beef, pork, dairy, etc.). Enhance your self-love and self-care by bringing into your consciousness the effect that products or foods have not just on yourself, but others as well. Remember that less is more. Organic, plant-based products work well and are usually made with love and with Mother Nature in mind.

If you know of anyone whom you wish to share this article with, please pass it along to help illuminate his or her body and mind. Focus more on increasing your knowledge of these issues to benefit you, your family and loved ones, and the planet as a whole.

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