Ever noticed how dry and dull your skin looks the night after a few too many drinks? Or found yourself struggling with breakouts after bingeing on a little too much sugar?
You aren’t imagining it!
Absolutely every single thing you choose to put into your body on a daily basis has an impact on your health and the state of your skin. In fact, the appearance of your skin is a great indicator of what’s happening within.
Usually, a glowing radiant complexion reflects a healthy internal environment, whereas constant skin issues and flare-ups may be a sign of internal inflammation and an anti-inflammatory diet may be in order.
Don’t panic! Managing skin issues is easier than you think, and by making the switch to a cleaner diet, you’ll also boost your health and welcome an abundance of energy into your life!
Many people rely solely on skincare to do the work, but if you aren’t taking care of yourself both internally and externally, then no skincare products are going to provide the results you are after, no matter how excellent they are.
Healthy skin comes down to a variety of factors, but paying attention to what you eat is the very first step.
In this article, we’ll address some of the most common skin issues, foods that contribute or aggravate the problem, as well as provide natural, healthy options so you can feel good within yourself again!
DRY AND AGING SKIN
Dry skin can be a real pain, there’s no other way of putting it, and if you struggle with dry, flaking skin then you know what we mean!
Dry skin can appear dull due to a build-up of dead skin cells and a loss of moisture through the pores. Exfoliation can help to slough away old skin and provide some temporary relief, but ultimately you’re going to want to focus on finding ways to increase moisture levels in your skin and prevent water loss through the pores.
Foods that contribute to dry skin
All processed, unhealthy foods will keep the skin dry and dull, but two of the biggest culprits are sugar and alcohol.
Sugar saps moisture from the skin cells and even breaks down collagen, a structural protein essential for keeping the skin taut and plump (1). Think of collagen as the “glue” that connects the skin cells and gives them structure. If this “glue” breaks down you’ll have bigger issues than just dry skin, you’ll deal with sagging skin too, that is at a higher risk for the signs of aging like lines and wrinkles.
Alcohol is incredibly drying and puts your body, as well as your skin at risk for dehydration. Alcohol causes widespread inflammation in the body and if you indulge too often, you’ll start to notice enlarged pores, discoloration, lines and wrinkles, and an overall dull appearance (2).
Healthy tips for dry skin
It’s unrealistic to say you’ll never have a sugar cupcake again or that you’ll abstain completely from alcohol if you usually enjoy a glass or two of the good stuff.
We believe that everything should always be in moderation and to make healthy changes where you can.
For example, try natural sugar alternatives that are more easily accepted by the body, such as pure maple syrup or honey, both of which do have a high sugar content, but aren’t as processed and also contain a heap of vitamins and minerals. Coconut sugar, monk fruit, and stevia are a few more sugar alternatives you may want to look into. You should still monitor your intake of natural sugars, but at least you know they’re a heck of a lot healthier than that processed white stuff!
A great tip when drinking is to drink one glass of water alongside every drink you have (try and keep it to two, three max). This will help to counteract some of the negative effects and you’ll thank us when you wake up without a nasty hangover the next day!
OILY AND INFLAMED SKIN
Oily skin is when your skin is unbalanced and over-produces sebum. Sebum is your skin’s natural oil and when it’s balanced your skin is healthy and clear with a dewy glow.
When too much sebum is produced, it may clog your pores and result in unwanted blemishes that may range from a few mild pimples to more severe acne breakouts.
Foods that contribute to oily skin
Once again, sugar tops the list, along with dairy. Sugar causes inflammation in the body. Not only does increased inflammation raise your risk of developing disease, but it also manifests externally as skin inflammation, which then results in those large inflammatory pimples that you try so desperately to hide away.
Sugar also increases sebum, which alone can cause pimples, but if you’re already struggling with your skin it will only make it worse.
Dairy is packed in hormones that can affect your own hormones, resulting in hormonal disruptions. Whenever there is any sort of hormonal imbalance in the body, you may notice breakouts along the jawline and chin and on the cheeks. Dairy also contributes to internal inflammation, which you now know is no good when it comes to your health or your skin (3).
Healthy tips for oily/inflamed skin
Cut out the processed sugar and try some of the healthier alternatives we mentioned above, you’ll never know the difference!
Switch out dairy for plant-based milk instead, you’ll be surprised at just how delicious it is! We especially love organic almond and cashew milk, coconut milk and hazelnut! They’re super creamy and loaded in healthy fats, which help to reduce inflammation and balance the skin. If you must include dairy opt for grass-fed and organic which is higher in omega-3 fatty acids without added hormones or antibiotics.
Also, increase your intake of zinc, a mineral that is excellent for clear, healthy skin. Zinc-rich foods include pumpkin seeds (try them roasted!) eggs, legumes and nuts.
If you switch out processed foods for natural, healthier alternatives and fill your belly with a rainbow of fruits and veggies, along with loads of leafy greens then you’re going to see some remarkable changes taking place in your life.
Not only are you going to feel like a whole new person, but your skin is also going to glow with health and everyone is going to want to know your secret!
Skin loving foods, along with a healthy skin care ritual, using products straight from nature, will work together to provide you with the best skin care ritual of your life! Wait to see the results for yourself if you don’t believe us...
Look at the ingredient list of most of your skincare and body care products and somewhere within the first few lines, you’ll see water or “aqua” listed; often right at the front. Trusting the brand has your best interest at hand, this may not have even been something you gave a second thought to. If water is listed, it must be there for a reason, right? In this article, we’ll explore why that may not always be the case, and how you can avoid purchasing products that aren’t properly formulated with your skincare needs in mind.
WHY DO BRANDS USE WATER IN THEIR FORMULATIONS?
Products like facial toners, shower gels, and moisturizers (to name just a few), contain upwards of 50% water in the formulation; some cases more than 80% water! This may seem like a tough pill to swallow, especially if you’re paying exuberant amounts for what could be a bottle of mostly water. There are certain reasons why skin and body care products do require water, however, and they include:
WHAT ARE THE CONS OF WATER IN SKINCARE FORMULATIONS?
Unfortunately, in many cases, skincare brands use water in their products not for any reason mentioned above, but for reasons that may actually hurt not only your wallet but the health of your skin as well.
Cheap filler ingredient
In order to increase the amount of liquid in the bottle, not to mention their bottom line, certain brands add water for no real reason that benefits your skin. Even very expensive products contain an unnecessarily large amount of water! If you want to know exactly the percentage of water in the products you use, you should always feel comfortable reaching out directly to whatever brand you purchase your skincare from. If they’ve got nothing to hide, they should be forthcoming about it with you.
Ingredients become less effective
While some botanical extracts (like plant enzymes) do require water, other ingredients like skin nourishing oils do not. In fact, oils that are not diluted by water are able to deliver moisture straight to the skin’s cells, with their powerful actives. Even so, sometimes water is added to oil-based products (as a filler ingredient), in which case an emulsifier must be added as well. A very common emulsifier is sodium lauryl sulfate, which irritates the skin and poses major health risks at a concentration of 2% or more (1).
May encourage bacterial growth
When water is used in a skincare product, brands technically do not have to divulge the source of the water being used. This may mean that anything from simple tap water (which contains fluoride and chlorine) to distilled and alkaline water is used. Certain water sources contain microbes and fungi which overtime could breed bacteria in the product and affect your skin negatively. Something to keep in mind especially when making DIY skin care at home.
Puts your health at risk
Skin and body care products that contain water, also require the use of preservatives. Not all preservatives are created the same, but for the most part, harmful preservatives like parabens, triclosan, BHA & BHT, and sodium lauryl sulfate are used. These preservatives are absorbed by the skin and may cause anything from hormonal, nervous system, and endocrine disruptions, to increasing the risk of certain cancers and affecting fertility (2).
May aggravate already dry skin
This may seem like an odd point but have you ever come out of the shower, and a few minutes later your skin starts to feel tight? This is because water is actually drying for your skin, and not to mention… a big reason why you should never over-cleanse. When you wash your face too regularly, the water may actually strip your skin from its natural oils, which only leads to drying or aggravating already dry skin. So despite what conventional wisdom may tell you, using more water on your face isn’t the answer. Instead, use a moisturizing and restorative scrub that uses natural exfoliants for nourished skin.
Only a temporary hydrating solution
It’s true, there’s no way to combat that water is hydrating for the skin. But as you now know, the effects of water on your skin is short-lived. Only when a moisture locking ingredient or emollients is in the formulation, is it worth it. There is a downside to these emollients, however. Since they keep moisture locked in, a layer is formed on top of the skin, which also prevents the skin from breathing. Your skin’s natural microbiome needs to be treated to ingredients that balance it naturally, without disrupting its functions.
It’s rare to find someone in this modern day and age who doesn’t know at least a little about the chemicals found in our food supply; documentaries like Food Matters have made us well aware of the difference between GMO and non-GMO food, as well as pesticides.
Of course, the food you choose to fill your body with on a daily basis dictates your health and it’s no secret that processed foods increase your risk of disease (1).
The best way to enjoy a long life span, abundant energy and a low risk of disease is to fill your body with whole foods and to enjoy a rainbow of organic fruits and veggies.
But what about the ingredients you apply externally to your skin?
If you wouldn’t eat a chemical then why should you apply it to your skin? We are firm believers in using products formulated with ingredients from nature; ingredients that you would feel comfortable putting into your body.
Why you ask?
Did you know that a percentage of everything you apply externally can actually be absorbed into your bloodstream ? This makes sense because the skin is the body’s largest organ after all and very porous.
In this article we want to highlight just 3 top reasons it is so important to be aware of everything you apply to your skin, it’s about more than just your health!
YOU'LL EXPOSE YOUR SKIN TO REAL NUTRIENTS FOR VISIBLE RESULTS
By using plant-based oils and nutrients from antioxidant-rich fruit, you will be treating your skin to an infusion of real nutrients that will provide long-term, visible results.
Conventional brand hair, body and skin products are usually mass produced and in need of serious preservatives to ensure drastically long shelf life.
While this may be good news for the companies in question in terms of increasing their bottom line, it’s not such great news for the consumer, who simply trusts that the products they purchase are going to be safe and effective.
Often, if you really take a good look at beauty labels and become a pro at decoding them, you’ll notice that water and synthetics are the major players in the formula with the good stuff being way down at the bottom. The ingredients at the bottom are at the lowest concentrations, meaning they won’t do much when it comes to providing visible results.
Don’t be too deterred by long, foreign-sounding names. While these may indicate chemicals, if you’re seeing them on all natural skin care products, it may simply be the botanical name.
If you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to ask! If a company has nothing to hide, they’ll be more than happy to answer all your questions.
YOU'LL REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE TO TOXINS
“Toxins” have become a buzzword in recent years, simply because we’re finding them in everything from our yogurt to our face masks and hair serums.
When you purchase a conventional or drugstore product, you simply have to accept that there’s a high likelihood you’ll be exposing your skin to toxins, which in turn may put your health at risk.
Some common preservatives and synthetics like parabens, phthalates, and BHT have been linked to hormonal disruptions and even an increased risk of cancer and we don’t think any beauty product is worth such a risk (2)!
However, when you make the switch to all natural skin care you make a conscious choice to not only start showing your skin some real love, you’ll be taking care of your health too, by reducing your exposure to chemicals.
YOU'LL EXPERIENCE LESS SKIN SENSITIVITY AND FLARE-UPS
Usually, if a natural product causes a reaction it’s because an individual has a specific food allergy or the skin is going through a natural detoxification period. However, when skin irritation occurs with conventional ingredients, it's often due to harsh chemicals that can affect almost anyone, even people who don’t usually struggle with sensitive skin.
Often, not much research has been done regarding certain chemicals, so when you purchase a product filled with them, guess what... You’re the guinea pig!
Acne products are a common example of ones that cause redness and flare-ups due to harsh ingredients that strip the skin of beneficial oils and provide only temporary results.
Natural skin care, on the other hand, relies on wonderful plant oils and botanical actives that soothe, nourish and nurture the skin for excellent results, but in a gentle way.
We hope this article has helped to make you more aware of the importance of not only letting food be thy medicine but allowing natural food ingredients to heal you from the outside in too!
A Discussion On Nutrigenomics & Epigenetics: How Your Diet & Lifestyle Determine Health Over Anything ElseRead Now
The world of healthcare is constantly changing, and it seems like there are always new diets and treatments around every corner, each one promising to be the ultimate cure. This makes sense, as we are making new discoveries every day when it comes to science and medicine.
One of the things you may have heard about is using your genes to come up with more individualized treatment plans.
Studying genetics to better know how to treat and prevent certain illnesses does make sense when you think about the fact that everyone is different. So if that’s the case, why should all the treatments be the same?
FUELING YOUR DNA
Genomics, the study of gene and DNS sequences, could help us create more individualized treatments for people. In fact, news has been released that certain blood tests could potentially have the power to reveal the type of antidepressant a person should be prescribed (1). There have also been murmurings that we could eventually be able to use viruses to change our genetic coding in order to stop certain diseases (2).
While there is lots of potential for eventually being able to positively change our DNA, we can actually all take steps to prevent negative changes in our DNA.
It is widely believed that your DNA cannot change - you are stuck with the genes you have. However, there are are a variety of factors, such as exposure to harmful substances or even trauma can, over a long period of time, change your DNA and the way it is expressed. This is called epigenetics. One of the biggest topics currently being studied is how the things we eat and the nutrients we receive affect our genes. This is called nutrigenomics. Nutrigenetics, on the other hand, is how our genes affect the way we respond to certain food and nutrients. These two categories go side by side and are useful in understanding genetic health. Think of nutrigenomics as general and nutrigenetics being more individualized.
Maintaining genetic health is very important. Think about it - your genes are what you’re going to pass on to the future generations. So having and maintaining good genes could, quite literally, make a world of difference.
One of the common misconceptions though is believing you have to get genomic testing and be a genetics expert in order to be able to support your genetic health.
Testing can be helpful and definitely has its place but optimizing genetic health can be done without it by the average individual.
To help you out, we’re going to list out 5 easy ways that you can support your genetic health through a holistic approach to wellness!
HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR GENETIC HEALTH
1. Heal from your Trauma
Believe it or not, stress can affect more than your mental and even your physical state - it can alter your genetic coding. This is especially true if you experienced serious emotional or physical trauma as a child.
While the specific ramifications for not acknowledging childhood trauma is still not completely known, we do know that it does change the way our genes are copied (3). When this happens, it means that more mistakes are likely to happen in your genetic coding, which can lead to future health problems and passing down mutated genes. The best thing to do is to seek help and come to terms with your trauma.
2. Balance your B Vitamins
Eating foods rich in B Vitamins helps support methylation, a function that is very important to the copying process that your DNA must constantly be undergoing.
When your body has too much or too little methylation, it can lead to a variety of health concerns including fatigue, poor brain function, and even heart problems and cancer. It’s difficult to get too many B Vitamins, so eating a diet rich in B Vitamins could help you maintain healthy DNA.
A few of our favorite foods rich in B Vitamins are nutritional yeast, beans, asparagus, pine nuts, whole grains, almonds, non-gmo and fermented soy, beet greens, tomatoes, avocados, carrots, and peas... To name just a few! Here is a more in-depth list.
3. Stop Using Toxic Products
Exposure to certain chemicals and toxins can disrupt the DNA’s patterns, causing breaks and changing our genes. Dangerous chemicals and toxins can hide in everyday items, including your cosmetics, your cleaning supplies, your food, and even your water (4).
The best things to do are to choose natural and organic products wherever you can, stop storing food in plastic and aluminum foil, and check your water for heavy metals. Heavy metals in your drinking water can be especially damaging to your genetic sequencing and to your overall health.
4. Reduce Inflammation
If you have any inflammation at all, it could be changing and modifying your DNA. After all, inflammation means your body is working hard to fight something off, which means its less focused on building DNA properly. Common problems that cause inflammation include high stress, chronic infection, food intolerance, and autoimmunity.
For those that struggle with keeping inflammation under control, you can try following an anti-inflammatory diet. You should also check your AA to EPA ratio, and supplement with EPA and DHA as needed in order to achieve a proper omega 3 to 6 ratio (5).
Ah yes, the final and most dreaded tip in this entire list - exercise! Just getting outside and moving around has been proven to have endless health benefits, and it only gets better from there.
You might be wondering what this could still have to do with your genes though. But think about it - your DNA is constantly being copied and remade. If all you do is sit still, the gene-making process is likely to slow down and get lazy too. Exercising can help boost metabolism and longevity, which is a big plus (6).
And the best part is, you don’t have to be a super athlete to receive all the benefits. Just do workouts that are within your own personal comfort and limits.
Genetic health is very important because just like we mentioned before, your genes are what will be passed down for generations to come. But you don’t have to be a DNA expert to maintain and pass down good genes. Hopefully, with the tips that we have left you, you can be on your way to keeping your genes healthy.
Think of the last time you caught a cold, had sore muscles, or experienced some sort of stomach upset...
Like most people, these symptoms you felt likely led you to seeking out a solution (usually in the form of medicine), yet it’s this very outward search for “cure” that has caused us to lose awareness and power of our inner mind/body connection.
Throughout history, some (like Freud and Traditional Chinese Medicine) have illuminated the subject of emotional state (1) being tied to physical health and spiritual self improvement, yet it remains a fairly elusive subject to the general public... especially in the west.
Fortunately, we can turn to holistic health and integrative medicine, which at its foundation uncovers the links between emotion and physical health. In this article we’ll explore 5 of these very connections, along with healthy ways you can deal with them in order to achieve balance.
ANGER AND THE LIVER
Feelings of frustration, rage, and aggravation can seriously cause unbalance in the liver and gallbladder. When you find yourself in a place where anger is taking over, you may start to experience more frequent headaches, or spells of dizziness.
If you start to notice these signs, it may be time to figure out how to bring calm back into your life so that you can learn to go with the flow and healthily process these emotions.
Some may find meditation a great way for managing anger, others may find tough sports like kickboxing or crossfit to be a better fit. Journaling regularly and opening up to a trusted person close to you can help immensely.
You can also take control of these anger energies and restore balance to your liver by removing alcohol and fatty, fast foods from your diet. Replace them with sour and green foods like dandelion greens, cabbage, avocado, green bell pepper, bok choy, and citrus to name a few.
GRIEF AND THE LUNGS
Often a very painful process, feelings of grief and sadness are directly connected to the health of the lungs and large intestine. After losing a loved one, thoughts like “I never got to say goodbye” or “I should have apologized for what I did all those years ago” start to come up and restrict movement in the lungs which results in physical manifestations of crying, tightness in the chest, frequent colds, and difficulty breathing.
In times like these, it’s vital to remember that nothing is permanent, and we are in a continual state of growth. Joining a grief counselling group, supporting the health of your lungs by increasing your pranayama practice, and avoiding “numbing” activities like drugs and alcohol are all a great start.
Eat nourishing foods like sprouted grains and seeds, low fat protein, and other light colored foods like mushrooms, radish, and white meat.
WORRY AND THE STOMACH
We’ve all experienced butterflies in the stomach at some point in our lives. Whether as a child about to step on stage during a school play, or as an adult walking in to an important job interview. Feelings of worry and/or anxiety tend to manifest themselves in the stomach area.
Knots in the stomach, diarrhea, and nausea are all symptoms people who worry excessively tend to experience.
When you’re feeling this way, it’s important not to try and purposefully suppress these very normal emotions, but rather learn to take a spectators view. Observe the emotion, and let it pass, before returning to your task or activity at hand.
Introduce probiotic and fermented foods (yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi) into your diet to help restore healthy gut bacteria, while removing foods like dairy, fried and processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine that aggravate digestive issues.
FEAR AND THE KIDNEYS
Feelings of fear is a completely natural human response, however; when it becomes a chronic emotion this can lead to problems in the kidneys. Young children are most susceptible to this, as fear causes a loss of energy in the kidneys, which leads to lack of control in the bladder.
Adults suffering from fear, insecurity, and weak willpower may experience an increase in need to urinate, night sweats, hair loss, and even premature grey hair growth.
Practicing stress reduction techniques like meditation, tai chi, or aerobics can go a long way in helping you lessen the anxiety.
You can also start to support and rebalance the kidneys with low sodium foods like cauliflower, blueberries, red grapes, buckwheat, cabbage, arugula, and pineapple.
LONELINESS AND THE HEART
Balanced emotions rely heavily on relationships with other people, or so says the 80+ year study (2) of Adult Development by Harvard. This isn’t far fetched at all since those who are lonely, typically don’t have anyone to talk to. When we have others around us, our emotions are more readily regulated.
Not surprisingly, the organ related to loneliness is the heart. Heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are all related to a lack of social network (3).
It seems the obvious thing to then do is foster new relationships by attending meeting groups, signing up for activities you might enjoy, and being available for those around you.
Support your heart through healthy foods like fatty fish, nuts, berries, avocados, and dark chocolate. Remove toxic foods like processed, fried, and vegetable oil based foods.
Next time you experience any of the above emotions, try to use the given solutions and see how they work for you. However, remember that at the end of the day, getting to the root of the very triggers causing the emotions is ultimately going to be the key to unlocking your ability to uproot those roots and find peace within.
The plant-based movement is growing larger by the day as people (and perhaps you too) are becoming a lot more conscious of what they put into their bodies.
But have you ever thought about the products you’re applying to your skin?
With absorption rates ranging from 60 to 100 percent, it’s time to start paying attention to the ingredient labels on your skin and body care products.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body after all, so it deserves just as much time and care that goes into planning your organic, free-range meals!
LET'S TALK ABOUT ABSORPTION VS. PENETRATION
Often used interchangeably, absorption and penetration actually have two very different meanings you should be aware of… especially with sneaky marketing tactics being used to pull the wool over your eyes.
Penetration simply means that the ingredient is able to sink to the deepest layer of the skin, while absorption means the ingredient makes it all the way to your bloodstream and lymphatic system.
When it comes to the varying rates of dermal absorption, the 60 to 100% is quite general, and does certainly vary from person to person. There are also many biological factors to consider; namely:
Even so, it’s better to stay on the safe side (as you’ll learn below). In fact, you may be interested to know that one study found the skin on the face to be seven times more penetrable than other parts of the body, while genitals and underarms also see a whopping 100% absorption rate (1).
UNDERSTANDING CHEMICAL ABSORPTION
Your body is an amazing, complex machine, capable of incredible things. Unfortunately, when you bring chemicals in the mix, your body is unable to fight them off, and it’s quite as simple as this...
Our bodies were not made to ingest or absorb chemicals!
Certain chemicals like ethanol (a very common additive used in skincare) acts as a “skin penetration enhancer” (2) by breaking other chemicals’ molecules into smaller parts and by disrupting your skin’s natural barrier function.
On the other hand, silicones are commonly used in skincare and makeup for their ability to create a smooth layer on the top of the skin. The problem with these chemicals is that they act as a trap (3), blocking skin’s natural processes like sweating and eliminating dead skin cells.
Below is a list of the most widely used chemicals in skin and body care products. Don’t be alarmed if you find more than a few on the labels of your favorite products currently sitting in your bathroom cabinet.
The list goes on and on and on! See the Environmental Working Group’s list of chemicals that should disappear from cosmetics.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID ALL THIS?
If I’ve done my job right in this article, the next question you have is “How the heck can I avoid all these chemicals?”
Fortunately, it’s as simple as avoiding and replacing.
We’re fortunate to live in a time where there are great amounts of options available to us when it comes to natural skincare. A simple Google search will yield many great options… but since
you’re here right now, why not have a look at what Earth Soldier has to offer you for your personal care needs?
With “natural and purity” being a running theme here, you’ll find a selection of organic non-GMO products suitable even for the most sensitive skin!