Guest Author - Samantha Jackson
The thing about healthy skin is that it looks beautiful. Pricey creams and full-coverage cosmetic products notwithstanding, keeping your skin at its best condition is the only foolproof way to look great.
As the bodyís largest organ, the skin needs good nutrition and detoxification to help it recover from all the beating it takes as we go about our daily lives. And here is where going the natural route can work wonders.
I used to be all about the products when it came to skin care. I was always searching for my HG (holy grail) moisturizer and I was religious when it came to sunscreen. The truth is that I am still all of these things, but I have since discovered several natural practices which really made worlds of difference as far as my complexion. A happy accident for me was that these actually helped me save some money too, although that was not the primary intention.
Here are some of my tried-and-tested natural skin care tips:
1. Water, water, water. I started drinking 8 - 10 glasses of water every day because I was trying to flush out all the excess fluids in my body (that sounds like a paradox but thatís just how the water and sodium relationship works). About two weeks into this, I went for my monthly facial and my hygienist exclaimed that my pores seemed to less clogged up with gunk than usual (she can say that to my face because we have known each other for years).
2. Exercise regularly. I have read somewhere that wearing makeup when working out can cause pores to clog more easily, so I have made it a point to remove any makeup whenever I hit the gym. Sure enough, three months into my fitness drive, my bare face just somehow looks better than when I started, less sallow and more rosy. I credit it to the improvement in my circulation.
3. Gentle products. I took a long and hard look at my beauty regimen and decided that I would replace some products with more natural alternatives, starting with the ones which I felt did not really deliver the results I had been hoping. For instance, I began giving myself DIY masks using stuff in the kitchen like organic honey, crushed bananas and oatmeal, instead of commercial masques. I also shifted to gentler formulations for my facial cleanser and toner, going organic whenever feasible.
4. Eating healthy. In the quest to get back to my ideal body weight, I have taken to dieting to maximize the benefits and results of working out. I resolved to eat fiber-rich food for snacks like berries and other fruits in season. My criteria to choosing most foods I eat nowadays: non-processed, whole grain, colorful, real.
5. Stress less. Whenever we are stressed, the body produces a hormone called cortisol, which has been clinically linked to poor skin. Cortisol also affects hormonal balance, which partly explains why pimples and acne crop up when you have an important deadline or a nagging worry. I now use a couple of strategies to manage stress better. My favorites: (1) making an effort to smile frequently and (2) getting enough sleep to keep my mind clear and rested.
And on a related note, Iíve been more conscious about nurturing my skin. I still love my Clarisonic but because it can be too harsh for daily use, I alternate with a charcoal-infused Konjac sponge I just discovered. This sponge is so amazing you donít even have to use any facial cleanser with it! Just moisten it with water and you end up a face feeling velvety soft like a peach.