You may think slathering expensive lotions on your face will give you soft, clear skin… but more than likely you’re just tossing away hard-earned money without much change in your skin’s appearance.
Haven’t we all done this?
I never thought my first bite of sauerkraut as an adult would amass what I’m about to share, but it has. I started eating sauerkraut because I read that fermented foods were a common thread in the diets of healthy, disease-free groups of traditional societies.
Why was sauerkraut an integral part of radiant health?
Delving deeper into the benefits of sauerkraut led me to the importance of its impact on gut health which in turn opened my eyes on its connection to:
whether I remembered names, or where I placed my keys…
the number of zits on my face…
if I had enough energy to make it through the day..
or, how long I sat on the toilet each morning….
So, get ready to look deeper than the face smiling at you in the mirror each morning and grab one of the upcoming action items to build healthy skin from the cellular level with:
fermented foods (you knew that one was coming)…
healthy – yes, they really are – fats…
a few lifestyle habits…
and some lovely, nourishing topical skin treatments.
looking for the ONE tip that resonates most with you and can be put into action.
use my habit stacking tips, found at the end of this post, to Make It Happen.
Improve Your Gut AND Skin Health by Eating Fermented Foods
What you notice about your skin health is a window into the health of your gut for what you see on the surface is impacted by what is hidden deep within your gut. The state of our skin is a direct reflection of what our bodies look like on the inside.
“If you want to heal your skin you have to heal your gut” – Chris Kresser, Chriskresser
Think of the lining of your gut as a special skin that requires the same nutrients as your external skin for supporting a healthy gut barrier. This gut barrier is lined with a biofilm made up of billions of beneficial bacteria, just as your skin is home to a variety of bacteria.
If you have poor gut integrity – “leaky-gut” – and toxins pass through the gut wall they can no longer be eliminated by the bowels. The skin, your back-up organ of elimination bears the brunt of these toxins, pathogens and undigested proteins. Hello acne, rashes, psoriasis and so on.
Fermented foods, along with bone broth, gelatin, cod liver oil and butter all work to restore gut health.
As your gut heals, so will your skin.
More on leaky gut and some foods to restore gut health in my previous post:
ACTION #1: Improve Your Skin with a Daily Forkful of Sauerkraut (or Kimchi)
Today, I love sauerkraut. As a child, I hated sauerkraut. I was turned off for life by one bite of that nasty canned stuff on my County Fair hot dog.
Lacto-fermented sauerkraut tastes TOTALLY different. So keep an open mind if you have not tried naturally-fermented raw sauerkraut. This stuff is so powerful that you will want to find a way to enjoy it.
Sauerkraut Healthy Skin Connection
Sauerkraut is rich in probiotics to improve your digestion, help heal any damage in your digestive tract and allow your body to absorb the nutrients it needs to build healthy skin.
Make Sauerkraut Happen
- To make sure the sauerkraut you buy is full of digestion-boosting, live bacteria, opt-in and download my shopping guide:
- Click here to grab the Buy the RIGHT Stuff Sauerkraut Shopping Guide PDF.
- Go to your local health-food store, look in their refrigerated section and find a jar of unpasteurized, raw and naturally fermented sauerkraut to purchase.
- Or, order Pickled Planet Sauerkraut from Amazon, the only raw and naturally fermented I could find there.
- Eat a forkful daily. The easiest way is to put the jar on your dinner table and place a forkful or two on your plate to enjoy with your meal.
- Another easy way is to toss some sauerkraut with a salad. For more ideas:
- 7 Easy Ways to Eat Sauerkraut
- Start slowly, watching for improved digestion and increased energy.
- While your digestion is slowly improving with the sauerkraut you purchased at the store, learn to make your own. It is sooooo much cheaper and actually fun to make.
- If you can slice cabbage to make coleslaw, you can make sauerkraut.
- To learn how, see my:
- SureFire Sauerkraut Method… In a Jar
See the Sauerkraut Section in my post:
ACTION #2: Got Kefir? Drink Kefir! It does a body good.
Kefir is a cultured beverage made from milk fermented with kefir grains. This bubbly drink is a tart cousin to yogurt and originated more than 2,000 years ago in the Caucasus Mountains of Europe. Think of Kefir as a drinkable yogurt with a much greater range of beneficial bacteria than commonly found in yogurt.
Consuming Kefir is a great way to heal your skin from the inside out. You can find Kefir at you local health food store but it will not have much more probiotic power than yogurt since commercially made Kefir is made from only a handful of isolated bacteria strains. You`ll have to make your own which is easy and requires no heating. Just kefir grains, a jar and some milk.
Kefir Healthy Skin Connection
Donna Schwenk, at Cultured Food for Life has this to say about Kefir:
“Homemade kefir has between 30 and 56 strains of good bacteria, while yogurt has only 7 to 10. And the types of bacteria in kefir are also quite different from those in yogurt. The bacteria in yogurt pass through the body within 24 hours, their main purpose being to sustain the good bacteria that already reside in the digestive system. Kefir, however, is a source of those good bacteria. The bacteria in kefir stay and take up residence, creating a colony that remains in the digestive system.”
A recent study in Korea of 56 acne patients found that drinking a Lactobacillus-fermented dairy beverage – which kefir is – significantly reduced their acne lesions and their skin became less oily over the 12-week study period.
Make Kefir Happen
- Order or locate Kefir grains.
- Here are some options:
- Kefir Lady
- Local Health Food Store – The employees there often know people in the community who have grains to share.
- Used Circuit – Sometimes, you can also find them on “used” websites like Craigslist. Here, on Vancouver Island I found some on UsedVictoria.
- I even came across a highly rated site on Amazon. Yup, that’s what they look like.
- While you’re waiting for your grains, find the milk you want to use.
- You may use any type of milk that is available to you. Whole milk is recommended, especially during the reactivation process after the shipping time. The absolute best is raw organic cow or goat milk.
- Make your Kefir. All it requires is leaving a jar of milk with Kefir grains out on your counter for around 24 hours.
- Here are a few websites with good instructions.
- A nice thorough YouTube video: How to Make Milk Kefir 101, by Crohns Babe
- How to Make Milk Kefir, by the Kitchn
- Making Kefir Yogurt, The Healthy Eating Site
- Drink Kefir as you would milk. Pour over cereal or make a smoothie with some berries and honey to sweeten.
See the Kefir section in my post:
Donna Schwenk at Cultured Food for Life is quite passionate about Kefir and has seen amazing health results with the inclusion of Kefir in her diet and in her clients’ diets. Her website contains many ways to use Kefir and many troubleshooting tips.
Give Your Skin a “Botox” Treatment by Consuming Gelatin
Gelatin is a natural source of collagen, protein and essential amino acids (mainly lysine, proline, and glycine) to improve the health of connective tissues and regulate cells in the body. Gelatin supports and heals digestion and is essential for joint health. Gelatin is derived from the skin, connective tissues and bones of animals and is used to thicken or congeal foods.
“Researchers from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology examined the possible anti-aging effects of gelatin in mice. Mice who didn’t eat gelatin lost 53 percent of the collagen in their skin when exposed to UV light. Mice that age gelatin had an increase in collagen levels by 17 percent when exposed to UV light. The researchers concluded that the inclusion of gelatin is highly beneficial for the skin and may be able to counteract the damaging effects of UV rays on the skin.”
The best way to get all the benefits of gelatin is to consume bone broth as discussed in ACTION #9 To Smooth Wrinkles, Drink a Cup of this Magic Elixir.
A super easy way is to reap all the benefits is to buy a quality brand of dried gelatin and start adding it to your meals. This simple addition to your diet can make your skin healthier, smoother, firmer and more attractive in just a few short weeks.
When buying gelatin, you want to choose sources of gelatin that come from organic, chemical and hormone-free, pasture-raised animals to ensure you receive the maximum health benefits of the gelatin. Jell-O from the grocery store shelves, with its chemicals, added sugars and processed ingredients, will not deliver health benefits.
Recommended Gelatin (Collagen Protein) Brands, Gelling:
“Gelling” gelatin will solidify or gel in liquids and can be used to make jello, healthy gummy snacks, or added to soups an broths as a nutritious protein booster and thickener. I am only aware of two 100% grass-fed brands of gelatin:Great Lakes Unflavored Kosher Beef Gelatin (Red Can)
Get the best price by buying 6 cans direct from Great Lakes Gelatin.
Recommended Gelatin (Collagen Peptides) Brands, Non-Gelling:
Collagen Hydrolysate or non-gelling “gelatin” does not gel in cold liquids and does not alter the texture or thicken liquids. It can be mixed into both hot and cold liquids. This is great for mixing into your morning tea or coffee and sneaking into just about anything. I am only aware of two 100% grass-fed brands of gelatin:Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate Beef Gelatin (Green Can)
Get the best price by buying 6 cans direct from Great Lakes Gelatin.
IMPORTANT TIP for Working with Gelatin: BLOOMING
I struggled for the longest time trying to get gelatin to dissolve. I tried cool liquid, I tried warm liquid. I would add the gelatin to the liquid and stir vigorously and then slowly heat. I always ended up with a messy pot to clean. Invariably, some of the gelatin would glue itself to the edge of the pot. Finally, I read somewhere about blooming your gelatin.
To bloom gelatin, place room-temperature liquid in cup or pot, sprinkle the gelatin powder over the top and WAIT for a couple minutes! Be patient. Watch and see the transformation. The grains of gelatin will hydrate (or “bloom”) absorbing the liquid and taking on an applesauce-like consistency. At this stage, it is ready to be heated to completely dissolve the gelatin.
10 Health Benefits of Gelatin, Plus 80 Ways to Eat More of It by Jessica Espinoza of Delicious Obsessions
A thorough discussions on the different brands of gelatin along with cost comparisons: The Scoop on Gelatin Brands by Jessica Espinoza of Delicious Obsessions
A nice overview on gelatin, with specifics on acne. Have Acne: Try Eating Gelatin
The Difference between Gelatin and Collagen by Sylvie McCracken of Hollywood Homestead
ACTION #3: Make Jello and Enjoy Your Collagen as a Cooling Dessert
Jello made with real gelatin is a delicious way to enjoy its benefits and an especially easy way to get children to eat gelatin.
Photo by Steve Depolo
Gelatin Healthy Skin Connection
Gelatin contains 18 necessary amino acids that support your body’s ability to repair and maintain healthy skin, joints and bones.
Make Jello Happen
- Buy gelatin (Great Lakes Red can or Vital Proteins Collagen Protein, green lid) and a quart (liter) of your favorite juice.
- Use one of the recipes that follow to make Jello.
- Note. My preferred ratio for a Jello like consistency:
- 2 tablespoons of gelatin to 1 cup of liquid.
- 1 quart (liter) of juice
- 8 tablespoons of gelatin
- Pour juice into medium-sized saucepan and sprinkle with 8 tablespoons of gelatin.
- Wait a few minutes for the gelatin to bloom. The liquid will absorb the gelatin and take on a applesauce-like consistency.
- On low-heat, heat gently until gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Pour into heatproof pan. I use a 11 x 7 inch glass pyrex baking dish.
- Leave on counter to gel. If you try to move it around before gelled, it’s easy to spill.
- Place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours to completely gel.
- Cut into squares and remove by hand. My son discovered this trick. If you use a metal spatula to try and lift the squares out, it cuts into the gelatin and leaves some in the pan. Use just your fingers to peel the squares out.
- Store in the refrigerator.
Recipe complete with video: How to Make Natural, Healthy Jello by Mama Natural
And, Healthy Homemade Jello by Oh Lardy. Like me, she has you “bloom” the gelatin before heating.
ACTION #4: Gummy Bears: An Easy Bit-Sized Way to Pop Some Cell-Regenerating Gelatin
Gummy Bears are made just like jello except you add more gelatin to make them denser and can gel them in fun shaped silicone molds, thus “Gummy Bear.” And, with the greater concentration of gelatin you get more collagen.
Photo by David O’Hare
Gelatin Healthy Skin Connection
Since our bodies make less collagen as we age, gelatin can improve skin health by producing more elasticity.
Make Gummy Bears Happen
- Buy gelatin (Great Lakes Red can or Vital Proteins Collagen Protein, green lid).
- Use one of the recipes that follow to make Gummy Bears.
- Note. My preferred ratio for a rubber-like consistency:
- 6-8 tablespoons of gelatin to 1 cup of liquid.
- It’s a little trickier to get the gelatin to bloom in such a small amount of liquid. I like to first pour 1/2 cup liquid into my saucepan, sprinkle with 3-4 tablespoons of gelatin, add the last 1/2 cup of liquid and sprinkle again with 3-4 tablespoons of gelatin.
Gummy Bear Recipes:
Tangerine Gummies for Radiant Skin by Wellness Mamma
Homemade Healthy Fruit Snack by Thank Your Body
And for the adults, Bulletproof Coffee Gummies by Cheerfully Imperfect.
ACTION #5: Bulletproof Your Morning Drink with a Spoonful of Gelatin
The easiest way to develop a new habit is to notch-up something you’re already doing.
Drink coffee or tea already? Do you regularly make yourself a smoothie or green drink? Add a spoonful of gelatin and without missing a beat, you’ve consuming a tablespoon of gelatin daily which will do wonders for your skin.
I aim for 2 tablespoons of gelatin daily, one in my morning tea and one in ACTION #6: Enjoy Deep Restful Sleep with this Evening Sleep Tonic.
Photo by Liz West
Gelatin Healthy Skin Connection
“I take gelatin for its skin, hair and nail promoting effects. I have noticed a substantial difference in my skin tone and smoothness. I’ve actually upped my Gelatin lately as I am weight training or strength and it is supposed to be protective of joints and it helps build muscle.” – Katie, Wellness Mama
Make Gelatin in Your Tea or Coffee Happen
- Buy gelatin. I use Great Lakes Gelatin, the red can. Easier yet, is to use the Great Lakes Gelatin in the green can. Dissolves easily in hot or cold water.
- Pour approximately 1/3 cup room-temperature water into your tea or coffee cup.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon gelatin over water and let bloom.
- Add coffee, or hot water and steep tea.
Additional Recipes to Bulletproof Your Morning Drink
Healthy Veggie Smoothie by Wellness Mama
At the end of this post by Wellness Mama, is a kid-friendly Coconut Smoothie.
ACTION #6: Enjoy Deep Restful Sleep with this Evening Sleep Tonic
When struggling with sleep during my recent menopause, I found this recipe to be a great aid for deep, restful sleep. Little did I know I was improving my skin and joints – ravaged by the hormonal changes of menopause – while I blissfully slept.
Many – as does Joyous Health – extol the benefits of just lemon water as a morning alkalizing drink. Use what works for you, just don’t forget to add gelatin.
“Makes your skin glow! After a few weeks of lemon and water, you may notice your skin is brighter, and if you suffer from skin blemishes, you may notice a remarkable improvement. The health of your digestive system and your liver is directly related to the health of your skin.” – Joy McCarthy, Joyous Health
The gelatin also helps to calm the nervous system to improve sleep.
Make Evening Sleep Tonic Happen
- “Bloom” 1 tablespoon of gelatin.
- I use a pint (2-cup) jar, pour in 1/3 cup of room-temperature water and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of gelatin over the surface.
- Wait a few minutes for it to bloom, absorbing the liquid and taking on a applesauce like appearance. Blooming the gelatin ensures that it will dissolve evenly when later adding hot water.
- Squeeze a lemon and add to the bloomed gelatin.
- Lemon juice is a great form of Vitamin C and helps to calm the adrenals.
- Add 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Only use a full-mineral salt, such as Pink Himalayan, Celtic Gray or Real Salt, which nourishes and calms the adrenals for that deep sleep. Omit salt if all you have is the white “processed” stuff containing only sodium. This can lead to an imbalance.
- Add a small spoonful of honey.
- Top off with hot water and stir well.
- Enjoy your “night cap.”
Feed Your Skin from the Inside Out with These SuperFoods
Do you have rough patches of raised skin on the backs of your upper arms?
To have healthy skin, you need to feed it well with foods high in vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats. Vitamins A and D being the superstars when it comes to skin health.
Rough, dry and prematurely aged skin is a telltale sign of Vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A is critical to the repair process, including repair from sunburn. Vitamin A increases the thickness of the epidermis. Vitamin D aids in skin cell metabolism and growth.
Foods high in these crucial skin vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats?
Sardines. Cod Liver Oil. Bone Broth.
ACTION #7: Move Over Tuna. Eat a Few Tins of Sardines Each Week
Sardines have been on my Good-Stuff-To-Add-To-My-Diet list for months, years actually, but the thought of eating tiny, oily fish kept those sardine cans in my pantry gathering dust.
When researching further into skin health, I came across this video by Liz of Real Food Liz. My fears for these common little “fish puppies,” as Liz refers to them, were quickly erased by her upbeat, empowering 3-minute video. She even demos eating them!
Canned sardines are affordable, convenient, sustainable and one of the most nutritious foods out there, and they deliver many skin-boosting benefits. They are low on the food-chain, so no concerns about mercury and other toxins. They don’t need refrigeration, making them an easy travel food. This healthy and complete protein can make a bigger impact on your skin health than expensive supplements.
Sardines Healthy Skin Connection
Sardines contain Vitamin B12 for skin regeneration, Vitamin D-3 for wrinkle prevention, selenium to protect your skin against sun damage and Omega-3 fatty acids with their anti-inflamatory properties and to help maintain skin thickness and elasticity. They are a great protein for maintaining youthful skin.
Make Sardines Happen
- Buy sardines.
- Look for “wild caught” and canned in water over oil, not because of a fear of fat but so you can add your own high-qualtiy olive oil and not be consumed highly-processed industrial oils, such as soy or canola oil.
- BPA Free Can. More and more companies are using BPA free cans. If you can find these, grab them if not, go with what you can get.
- A good choice is Wild Planet Sardines, available on Amazon.
- Eat them!
- I just pop open the can, pour off the water and place the sardines onto a bowl of lettuce – where I break them into bit sized pieces – splash on some dressing, add some shaves of Parmesan cheese and… sauerkraut and I’m good to go.
- These taste just like tuna fish. What could be easier? Now, I eat 2-3 cans a week, with pleasure. Try them. They really are good.
ACTION #8: Zap those Zits with Traditionally Processed Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Fermented Cod liver oil (FCLO) is an ancient healing food rich in a proper balance of skin-healing vitamins A, D and K2 to heal your skin from the inside out, along with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids to keep the outer layers of your skin strong, thus creating a barrier against environmental toxins.
Taking FCLO not only can transform your skin in a matter of weeks, but also strengthens your teeth.
This ad from 1942 extols its virtues and is “Recommended by Many Doctors.”
Cod Liver Oil Healthy Skin Connection
Free radicals can cause acne, wrinkles, pre-cancerous lesions and more. The Vitamin A in FLCO improves skin conditions by preventing the oxidation process initiated by free radicals. In addition, Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for maintaining the outer layers of skin, can transform dry, flaky and scaly skin into soft and supple skin.
The Vitamin D in FLCO is an essential vitamin for bone mineralization and prevention against osteoporosis. It is especially helpful for clearing up the rough, irritated patches of psoriasis that can be caused by a lack of Vitamin D.
Make Cod Liver Oil Happen
- Buy your FLCO in liquid form (most affordable but not as palatable), gel (a little easier to take) or capsules. It is also available premixed with grass-fed butter.
- Green Pasture Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil (Amazon link) is the recommended brand.
- To get the best price, I buy by the case directly from Green Pasture.
- Place on your table and make sure everyone gets their daily dosage with the evening meal.
- “In order to get the proper absorption of vitamins and nutrients, take your cod liver oil with a healthy serving of grass-fed butter. Since the vitamins in the cod liver oil are fat-soluble, the butter will make them immediately bioavailable.
- The grass-fed butter also contains what Weston Price refers to as ‘Activator X,’ now known as vitamin K2. Vitamins A and D trigger the production of certain proteins, and vitamin K2 activates them!” – Abel James, Fat Burning Man
- The easiest way for me to take FCLO is by taking a big sip of water, holding the water in my open mouth and slowly squirting a teaspoon of FLCO into the water, then swallowing. My husband swallows it straight. I used to but stopped once I caught some of it my throat which had me coughing for the next hour.
- See Additional Resources for other suggestions on how to take FLCO.
Additional Resources: Tips for Taking Cod Liver Oil
ACTION #9: To Smooth Wrinkles, Sip a Cup of This Magical Elixir
This past fall, a new trendy hot-beverage was filling mugs across the country. What is this magical elixir? Collagen-rich bone broth. There is even a take-out bone-broth window in New York City.
Brodo owner’s, Marco Canora, love for broth has deep roots. “I grew up in an Italian household, and brodo is something you have at all the holidays,” he says. “Every Christmas dinner, every Easter dinner, they start with broth.” Not to mention its broader history. “I love that it’s been around forever and there are proverbs from South America that say a good broth can revive the dead,” he says.
Bone Broth Healthy Skin Connection
Wrinkles occur when the collagen (which gives your skin elasticity) in your skin breaks down. As we age and our production of collagen declines, our skin becomes thinner and creases form.
Want to get rid of wrinkles, or at lease make them less pronounced? Help to heal your gut while you increase your intake of collagen by consuming bone broth.
You can make bone broth by cooking down the skin, bones and joint of animals, preferably pastured-raised. Once cooked down, you are left with a nutrient-rich liquid rich in not only collagen, but, as outlined by Hollywood Homestead:
- Bone marrow (depending on the bones), which is really important for blood health and immunity
- Glycine and proline, which are amino acids that help produce heme (in blood) and glucose, and aid in digestion. They also make your skin look great because they help support collagen.
- Cartilage, which is important for joint health. Especially valuable if you have arthritis.
- Minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Osso Good Bones does a nice job of extolling broth’s benefits.
Make Bone Broth Happen
- Find soup-making bones. Bone broth is easy to make, with the main drawback being it takes time to cook and may initially be hard to source your bones.
- For the greatest nutrition, you’ll want high-quality grass-feed cattle or bison, pasture-raised poultry or wild-caught fish. Purchase and cook meats that still have the bones in and then save the bones in large freezer bags in your freezer.
- In my family, we roast a chicken each week. Once the meat is gone, the bones go into a gallon freezer bag. You can also throw onion skins, carrot tops and peels and leftover celery bits into the bag. Some ideas for sourcing:
- Save bones when you roast poultry or beef.
- Contact local butchers, especially ones who butcher the whole animal.
- Find local farmers who raise grass-fed animals.
- Order from online companies:
- Kettle & Fire “100% Organic Ingredients. Always Fresh. Never Frozen.”
- US Wellness Meats
- Tropical Traditions
- Eat Wild
- Make bone broth. Here are some recipes:
- The Health Benefits of Bone Broth, Radicata Medicine
- How to Make Bone Broth, The Kitchn
- How to Make Bone Broth, Wellness Mama
- Bone Broth Benefits (Guide & How To) Recipe, HealthJess
- The book Nourishing Broth, by Sally Fallon Morrell
- Online article Broth is Beautiful, by Sally Fallon Morrell
- I make a large batch, cool and strain it into 1 quart yogurt containers and store it in my freezer. If I don’t have any thawed broth, I can run the container under warm water and pop out the broth to then melt into my gravy or add to my stew pot.
- Consume your skin-loving bone broth.
- Drink bone broth by itself. Not everyone is thrilled by its texture and mouth feel, but give it a try, making sure to lightly salt it.
- Soup. There’s no taste comparison to soup brewed with homemade soup stock.
- Sauces and Gravies.
- Rice. I cook rice with 50% chicken broth and 50% water. A delicious way to sneak broth into your family’s meals.
- No time to make your own? Where to find the Real Stuff:
- In California, The Brothery bone broth is available San Diego and Orange County.
- In New Your City, Brodo serves piping hot cups of grass-fed beef broth through their take-out window.
- Mail Order:
- Osso Good Bones
- The Brothery
- Not quite the Real Stuff but will do in a pinch. Best store bought brand as discussed by Fearless Eating.
- Pacific Soup Broth
Keep Your Skin From Drying Out with Healthy Fats
Want healthy glowing skin?
Your body can create some of the fats it needs to survive, but there is a reason there is a set of fats called ESSENTIAL fatty acids. Your body needs them! Essential fatty acids are critical to helping your body produce healthy cells, including skin cells.
Essential fatty acids aid in the production of sebum to keep your skin hydrated, reduce inflammation, lessen breakouts and help your skin safely handle sunlight.
The only way to get these essential fatty acids is through food. Eat healthy amounts of healthy fats to ensure your body has enough of these critical building blocks.
“Since your cells are made up of fats, the fats you consume will inevitably become the building blocks for the structure of the cells in your body. Eat good fats and you’ll have good, healthy cells where nutrients flow in easily and toxins flow out easily. Eat bad fats and you’ll have a rigid cell membrane where nutrients are not able to flow in easily and toxins cannot flow out easily.” – Erica Jones, True Beauty You
Keep in mind that the type of fats you eat is crucial. Check out this infographic: Good Fat vs. Bad Fat over at Ancestral Health Guy.
Bad fats that release free radicals in your body and stimulate inflammation:
Good fats that can make your skin positively glow:
“Eating fat is absolutely essential to maintaining good health, and is crucial to having amazing skin.” – Mind Body Green
If in doubt, and want a in-depth read, check out The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, by Nina Teicholz.
ACTION #10: Add Coconut Oil to your Daily Diet for Long-Term Skin Health
Coconut oil is a traditional oil that has been consumed for thousands of years in tropical countries. This fruit, so abundant in healing properties, is often referred to as the “Tree of Life.” Coconut products are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers, coconut oil, building blocks for perfect health.
Before World War II, people in the Philippines and other tropical island communities consumed the meat, milk and oil from the coconut daily. Although high in saturated fat, diabetes, cancer and heart disease were virtually unheard of. Islanders were found to have youthful complexion, soft wrinkle-free skin and almost no skin cancer, despite excessive exposure to the sun year round.
Coconut Oil Healthy Skin Connection
Medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil keep skin smooth to the touch and help to retain the moisture content of skin. The specific fatty acids capric, caprylic and lauric acid protect skin from infections. Coconut oil contains Vitamin E for healthy skin growth, repair and keeping skin smooth. Proteins in coconut oil keep skin healthy and rejuvenated as well as contributing to cellular health and repair.
Make Coconut Oil Happen
- Buy coconut oil.
- With all the choices out there, this is easier said than done. To keep it simple, look for coconut oil that is:
- Unrefined (You’ll see “virgin” or “extra-virgin” on the label.)
- My favorite is Nutiva Certified Organic Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil
- Pick a way to add coconut oil to your diet.
- You can cook with it, make coconut oil rich recipes (see Additional Resources), hide it in foods or just eat it straight off the spoon (which I now do).
- 101 Uses for Coconut Oil, by Wellness Mama links to recipes and posts on her website.
- 28 Science-Verified Health Benefits of Coconut Oil by Well-Being Secrets does a nice job of sharing the research behind the benefits of coconut oil.
- 77 Uses for Coconut Oil, by Dr. Axe is broken into categories – Food Uses, Beauty & Skin Uses, Household Uses, Medicinal Uses – making it easier to find the perfect use for you.
- Sample usage tips from his post:
- Cooking at High Heat (Sauteing and Frying) – Coconut oil is great for cooking at a high heat because of its high smoke point. Many other oils like olive oil can oxidize when heated but because coconut oil is made up of healthy saturated fats it remains stable under high temperatures.
- Creamer for Your Coffee – Adding a spoonful of coconut oil to your coffee can give you an extra boost of energy and replace dairy creamer. In the Far East, many athletes blend their morning coffee with coconut oil and grass-fed ghee to increase performance and energy.
- Constipation Relief – Many people swear by coconut to cure chronic constipation and relieve bloating. Try taking one tablespoon of coconut oil in the morning or before bed in order stay regular. The oil penetrates the digestive track and keeps things running smoothly by killing off harmful bacteria and allowing your gutflora to re-balance.
Coconut Almond Fudge Bar Recipe (The first way I used to easily and enjoyably consume coconut oil.)
ACTION #11: Eat More Butter. Eat More Butter. Eat More Butter.
“I think one of the most terrible things today is that people have this deathly fear of food: fear of eggs, say, or fear of butter.” – Julia Child
Butter Healthy Skin Connection
Butter is high in both the essential mineral selenium, a potent antioxidant, and Vitamin E. These work together to smooth out skin and keep it healthy, elastic and glowing.
To reap the greatest benefits, buy organic grass-fed butter. Organic grass-fed butter will come from cows that are not fed growth hormones or eating grass grown with harmful pesticides or GMOs. Grass-fed cows will produce more nutritious milk, hence more nutritious butter.
Make Butter Happen
- Buy Butter!
- Brands to look for:
- Kerry Gold Pure Irish Butter
- Anchor New Zealand Butter
- Organic Valley
- Strauss Family Creamery Organic Butter
- Eat More Butter!
- Slathered on toast…
- Spread on crusty sourdough bread…
- Melted into hot rice…
- Mixed with steamed carrots, or sauteed greens…
Improve Lifestyle Habits for Underlying Support
ACTION #12: Get Your Beauty Sleep to Keep Your Skin at It’s Best
Do your eyes look dark and puffy when you first look in the mirror in the morning? Just one night of restless sleep can wreak havoc, but chronic sleep deprivation is particularly damaging.
“You cannot be healthy without adequate sleep. Period.” – Chris Kresser
Sleep Healthy Skin Connection
Lack of sleep leads to increased levels of stress hormones in the body, causing inflammation. Inflammation that results in wrinkles, increased acne breakouts, increased skin sensitivity and increased skin allergenic reactions.
Not enough sleep results in poor water balance, leading to puffy bags under your eyes, under-eye circles, dryness and more visible wrinkles.
During sleep, our cells rebuild and repair themselves. Cells that are nourished by collagen to keep our skin elastic.
“Beauty” sleep is not just an old wive’s tale. Deep, restful sleep is essential for beautiful, healthy skin. It is during sleep that our body is repaired.
Make Sleep Happen
Nearly one-third of US adults get less than 6 hours of sleep per night. If that’s you, here are a few tips to ensure you get your Beauty Sleep:
- Don’t use the computer for up to 2 hours before going to bed. Exposure to artificial light disrupts our circadian rhythm and our sleep.
- Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
- Turn off any digital devises that give off any type of light.
- Pay attention to whether you sleep better with a light dinner, or need a bedtime snack to sleep soundly.
- Go to bed at a regular time, ideally to be asleep by 10-11 PM to catch as much deep non-REM sleep as possible.
ACTION #13: Reverse Skin Aging by Logging a Few Hours a Week of Sweaty Exercise
“Exercise not only appears to keep skin younger, it may also even reverse skin aging in people who start exercising late in life, according to surprising new research.” – Gretchen Reynolds
Our skin changes as we age with a drying and thickening in the outer, protective layer of our skin and a thinning in the dermis, the layer of skin beneath the epidermis. It loses cells and elasticity, giving our skin a saggy appearance.
Exercise Healthy Skin Connection
Researchers at McMaster University found that people over the age of 40 who exercise regularly have healthier skin. After first obtaining skin samples from their buttocks, volunteers aged 65 or older worked out twice a week for three months. At the end, researchers again biopsied the volunteers’ skin. But now the samples looked quite different, with outer and inner layers that looked very similar to those of 20- to 40-year-olds.
“I don’t want to over-hype the results, but, really, it was pretty remarkable to see,” said Dr. Tarnopolsky, himself a middle-aged exerciser. Under a microscope, the volunteers’ skin “looked like that of a much younger person, and all that they had done differently was exercise.”
Make Exercise Happen
- Pick an exercise that works for you and that you can fit into your day. It doesn’t have to be hours at the gym. Look for a way to work hard enough to sweat 2-3 times per week during a 20 minute time block.
- I like Kettlebells, Super-Slow Weight Training or a high-intensity workout. See resources below.
- Pick a time of day to exercise.
- Put those shoes by the front door and Just Do It!
Trade a hour-long walk on the treadmill for a 20-minute high-intensity workout.
The 20-Minute Workout, by Ancestral Health Guy has more on the benefits of a high-intensity workout.
I like the Kettlebell Swing as explained in this video by Lauren Brooks. I like how it quickly gets my heart racing. Form is crucial, so take the time to learn proper technique.
Fitness from Home by Wellness Mama contains another Kettlebell technique video.
Skin Foods: Topical Treatments to Nourish Your Skin
Saving the best for last.
Don’t forget that our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs what we put on it. Pull out your favorite lotion and read the ingredients list. Do you really want to put that stuff on your skin? If you can’t eat it, don’t ask your skin to eat it.
And, remember, many pharmaceuticals are delivered through skin patches. Connect the dots.
Swap out one of your products for one of the Skin Foods below. Your skin will thank you.
Some of the facial oils and essential oils I use in the various Skin Foods that follow are:
Rosehip Seed Oil. Rosehip Seed oil is derived from roses and is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and the essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6. I prefer Rosehip seed oil for my face because it is absorbed quickly and leaves no oily residue.
“Rosehip oil is my newest obsession. I confess that I decided to try rosehip oil after learning that Rose Byrne — a.k.a. hilariously awful and beautiful Helen from Bridesmaid — Kate Middleton, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Miranda Kerr all use this oil. You have to admit, these ladies have some lovely skin.” – Nadia, Body Unburdened
Other oils that work well on the face: 5 Face Oils for Naturally Clear, Flawless Skin, Body Unburdened for more.
Frankincense Essential Oil. Frankincense oil is a valuable ingredient in skin care products for aging and and dry skin. It promotes the regeneration of healthy cells and also keeps existing cells and tissues healthy. It can help eliminate sun spots, remove micro-wrinkles around the eyes and tone and tighten skin.
Lavender Essential Oil. Lavender oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory to fight the bacteria causing acne, relieves itching and dryness associated with eczema and tones and firms your skin by boosting circulation and increasing blood flow to supply oxygen and nutrition to skin cells.
Lemon Essential Oil. Lemon oil is astringent and detoxifying in nature to rejuvenate sagging skin, treat pimples and reduce excessive oil on the skin.
The Top 10 Essential Oils for Skin Care by Nadia from Body Unburdened
Skin Deep by Sally Fallon Morell
Traditional Nourishing and Healing Skin Care, by Andrew J. Gardner
ACTION #14: Make a Batch of Whipped Body Butter for Healthier Skin
Looking for a lotion for your skin that nourishes and rebuilds? Introducing “Whipped Body Butter.”
I used to rub coconut oil into my skin but found it left my skin greasy and with it’s low melt point, discovered it didn’t travel well in the summer.
I had read about whipped body butters but never thought it worth the effort until a friend shared some with me. I was instantly hooked and once I finally made my own body butter, realized how little time it takes to make and how wonderful it is to use.
The highlighted recipes use different combinations of oils and fats. Here are two you may not have heard of:
Shea Butter. “Shea butter is a skin superfood that comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree and that is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. It offers UV protection (it is SPF ~6) and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production. Shea butter has been used in Africa and other countries for years to improve skin and hair.” – Katie, Wellness Mama
Tallow. My favorite. Tallow is the rendered fat of beef, sheep and other ruminant animals. Tallow is uniquely compatible with the biology of our cells and contains abundant natural fat-soluble activators, Vitamins A, D and K, as well as Vitamin E, which are found only in animal fats and which are all necessary for skin health.
By using body butter as a “skin food,” you avoid harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients found in commercial face cleaners and moisturizers.
Make Whipped Body Butter Happen
- Choose a recipe.
- Homemade Body Butter from Rawmazing, calls for shea butter, coconut oil and almond oil includes solid to liquid ratios and the trick for getting it to whip.
- Whipped Body Butter from Holistic Squid (the source for the image above), calls for cocoa butter, coconut oil and jojoba oil.
- Tallow Body Balm from Holistic Squid, calls for tallow and olive oil.
- Tallow Balm for Mature Skin from Humblebee and Me, calls for tallow, roeship oil and beeswax. I would definitely up the recipe’s small quantities to make a
- Currently, for my Whipped Body Butter, which I store in small 4 ounce jelly jars or 8 ounce wide-mouth jars (both available where canning supplies are sold), I use:
- 1 cup shea butter
1/2 cup tallow
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup Rosehip Seed oil
30 drops each of Frankincense oil, Lavender oil and Lemon oil
- Gather ingredients.
- Make and use, enjoying its skin rejuvenating benefits.
21 Shea Butter Benefits and Uses, by Katie from Wellness Mama
Nourishing Tallow Balm with Essential Oils, by Wardee from Traditional Cooking School
Buy tallow-rich balms from:
ACTION #15: Purify Skin and Stimulate Blood Flow with Clay Face Mask
It’s late evening, you’re done with your all obligations for the day and want to treat yourself to sometime relaxing and beautifying. Add Cleopatra’s secret to your beauty ritual.
Clay Face Mask Healthy Skin Connection
Various healing clays have been used for centuries to beautify and tone the face. Cleopatra used clay from the Nile River as part of her beauty ritual. Roman and Germans used clay pack treatments in their spas. The clays work great for pimples, blackheads and tightening the skin.
I like the quality of clays (soft and finely ground, trusted sources) available from Mountain Rose Herbs though you’ll also find some of these clays at your local natural health food store. As described by Mountain Rose Herbs:
Bentonite Clay. Bentonite clay is from naturally occurring volcanic ash sediments in the United States. It makes an invigorating skin and face mask.
French Green Clay. French green clay has enormous absorbent powers due to the constitution of its micro molecules. It literally “drinks” oils, toxic substances, and impurities from your skin. Its toning action stimulates the skin by bringing fresh blood to damaged skin cells, revitalizing the complexion, and tightening pores. French Green Clay is marvelous for helping to clear problem skin.
Rhassoul Clay. A truly exquisite Spa quality clay from ancient deposits unearthed from the fertile Atlas mountains of Morocco. Rhassoul is a mineral rich clay that blends extremely well with water making its application to the face and skin a smooth and delightful experience. High in Silica, Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Potassium and Sodium, this clay is surely one of the finest treasures for the pampering of your skin.
If this short list of clays isn’t enough to choose from, you can go high-end and buy The Face Mask, by Alitura, complete with Vitamin C powder and grass-fed Colustrum. I used their list ingredients for inspiration in creating my own mixture. For the cost of two of their 6.9 ounce containers, I have enough supplies for a lifetime of face masks.
Clay Mask Make It Happen
- Gather supplies.
- 1 tablespoon Bentonite, French Green or Rhassoul Clay
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Tie you hair back.
- Mix clay and vinegar together to form a smooth paste, not too watery and not too thick, but just right.
- After you’ve done a few masks, you’ll get a feel for what the right thickness is. You want it to spread easily on your face and dry to a nice crust. I find if it’s too watery it doesn’t dry nice and tight.
- Spread mixture on your face and leave until dry, about 10 minutes.
- You’ll feel it tightening your skin as it dries, along with some tingling. If you can’t stand the smell of the vinegar, just use water, although I find vinegar to be more effective.
- The clay helps draw out toxins and the apple cider vinegar helps to tone the face.
- Rinse the clay off with warm water and gently massage some coconut oil into your younger-you skin, the oil mixture from ACTION #17, or your favorite face cream.
- Your skin will look a little red and flushed – which is normal – and why I do my mask right before bed.
DIY Detox Clay Mask by Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green
ACTION #16: Use Oil Cleansing to Remove the Day’s Damaging Debris
What? Clean your face with oil?
You may find yourself tossing all those expensive special cleanser, makeup removers, overnight moisturizers and toners cluttering your bathroom cabinet after you give oil cleansing a try.
It may sound counter intuitive to rub oil on your face to clean it, but you’re in for a treat.
Oil Cleansing Healthy Skin Connection
As a website dedicated to the oil cleansing method explains:
“The basic concept of this skin care and cleansing method is that the oil used to massage your skin will dissolve the oil that has hardened with impurities and found itself stuck in your pores. The steam will open your pores, allowing the oil to be easily removed. Should you need it, the smallest drop of the same oil formula patted over damp skin will provide the necessary lubrication to keep your skin from over-compensating in oil production.” – Stephanie, The Oil Cleansing Method
My favorite oil to use is coconut oil with other oils and ratios to match skin type discussed in this post:
The Oil Cleansing Method, by Jenni from Jenni RainCloud
Make Cleansing Face Wash Happen
- Watch the video just above: The Oil Cleansing Method: a How-To Guide for Clear Radiant Skin video by Jennifer Nervo in the guest post: The Oil-Cleansing Method: A How-To Guide for Clear, Radiant Skin on MommyPotamus.
- Obtain and put in your bathroom a small jar of coconut oil and a small bottle of apple cider vinegar.
- Before it becomes a habit, it’s easy to forget a new routine, so leave it out on the counter in plain sight to remind you.
- Before getting in bed, gently massage you face with a dab of coconut oil. You can also use the coconut oil on a cotton ball to remove makeup.
- Place a warm wash cloth over your face for a few seconds to let the oil penetrate into your pores.
- Then, use the washcloth to wipe off the oil.
- Fill the sink with cool water. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Splash your face with the vinegar-infused water about a dozen times.
- Pat dry.
- Apply moisturizer of choice. Currently, I`m using the DIY Wrinkle & Scar Reducing Oil, described next.
ACTION #17: Apply a DIY Wrinkle & Scar Reducing Oil to Your Face Twice Daily
This is my favorite. Acne scars are fading and patchy skin is slowly smoothing out – Yaa!
The base for this oil is Rosehip Seed Oil. You may find a different oil works best for your skin type. Here’s an article on some other oils that work well:
5 Face Oils for Naturally Clear, Flawless Skin, from Body Unburdened
Your initial outlay may seem like a lot. However, each 1/2 ounce bottle I make lasts a month or two. The 8 oz. bottle of Rosehip Seed oil can be used for at least 16 batches and the essential oils of Frankincense, Lavender and Lemon have many other uses.
DIY Skin Oil Healthy Skin Connection
“Rosehip seed oil is truly amazing. Light amber in color, it is considered a “dry” oil, meaning that it soaks into the skin easily, and does not leave a greasy residue.
This unique oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids and works great in the fight against dry, weathered, and dehydrated skin. It works wonders on scars and is the predominant oil used for treating wrinkles and premature aging.
It is a wonderful hydrator, and penetrates dry or damaged skin immediately. This oil may be used straight from the bottle as a moisturizer, or can be incorporated into a cream, lotion, facial oil, or massage oil. Because it is so gentle, rosehip seed oil may be used undiluted on the skin.” – Rosehip Seed Oil Profile, Mountain Rose Herbs
DIY Wrinkle & Scar Reducing Oil Make It Happen
- Gather supplies.
- 1/2 ounce (15 ml) bottle with drop applicator. Either reuse a empty essential oil bottle or purchase one here.
- Rosehip Seed Oil
- Frankincense Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Lemon Oil
- If necessary, remove the drop applicator from your empty 1/2 ounce (15 ml) essential oil bottle.
- Put 10 drops each of Frankincense oil, Lavender oil and Lemon oil into the bottle.
- Top off with Rosehip Seed oil being careful not to overfill.
- Pop on the drop applicator and tilt back and forth to mix.
- Apply Your Wrinkle & Scar Reducing Oil.
- Each morning after my shower and each evening before bed, I add 3-6 drops of my Wrinkle & Scar Reducing Oil to my palm and then rub into my face, concentrating first on any troublesome spots.
Why Rosehip Seed Oil is My Skincare Superstar (Health Benefits and Uses), by Nicole from Pumps and Iron
Thanks for Making It to the End – May Your Skin Positively Glow!
Remember! Do NOT attempt to do everything on this list. Pick the ONE item that stands out. Start small.
To Habit Stack, pick a habit that is already ingrained into your day and stack the action item you selected onto it.
For example, if you want to implement “Bulletproof Your Morning Drink with a Spoonful of Gelatin,” here’s how you can Habit Stack it.
I was having the hardest time consuming 1 tablespoon of gelatin twice a day. It wasn’t until I added it to my “drop my son off at school habit/routine” that I was able to Make It Happen. When I come home, I go directly to my kitchen and make my gelatin-rich tea which I then take up to my office to sip as I begin my work day.
It’s now automatic. I don’t have to think about it.
Make It Happen.