Over the years, I've found mother nature to be the most solid "company" for my beauty routine. Nature's products are honest, plentiful, and effective — plus it doesn't hurt that its most elite products can be bought for as little as 79 cents. You can grow your own ingredients, such as basil for healthy, stimulated locks, or lavender to get rid of a serious sunburn. Finding coconut oil and grape seed oil for smooth, youthful skin can happen anywhere from your local grocery to a high-end organic food store. Nature is no doubt one of the oldest manufacturers for skincare and hair care products, but it's only in recent years that it has solidified its presence in the beauty scene. Unfortunately, because nature has kept such a low-profile over the last century, studies on natural ingredients such as oils, herbs, and spices are limited. The correlation between skincare or hair care is constantly evolving.
One thing that I can safely say, without a degree in
science, of course, is that the long-term risks of using one of nature's more
mysterious products are not nearly as high as using an over-the-counter
product with a shady chemical ingredient where little to no information is
available. How I choose my natural ingredients as a topical
treatment is typically based on how much I enjoy consuming said ingredient.
Like I said, there is little science behind my own personal beauty craze, and
sometimes I just take the trial and error route.
There are def some products that I put on my skin that I try to limit in my daily diet; I've found that when consumed in excess, they promote breakouts, stomachaches, and tend to increase the signs of aging. Take stimulants such as sugar and caffeine for instance: When applied topically they have the ability to wake-up dull skin and smooth the lines on our face, reducing inflammation and often giving us a more youthful appearance. However, over-consumption of these products can dehydrate you, which can make you look older and cause breakouts. Sugar's not the only culprit — here are a few ingredients that I personally have a hard time staying away from that have been rumored to cause those skin disasters when excessively devoured.
Ahhh, dairy. My relationship with dairy is similar to Brenda
Walsh's relationship with bad boys throughout the original 90210 series. My parents
tell me to stay away from dairy, my doctors tell me I may have a slight allergy
to dairy, and yet when I see a cheese plate on the menu, all I want to do is
get to know it better. Afterwards, dairy leaves me feeling sick to my stomach
and deeply regretting having any contact with it. I'll swear that it's the last
time...until the next cheese plate.
Dairy is known as an inflammatory, which is the opposite of what we want for youthful, clear skin. Speaking of clear skin: The hormone factor in dairy can really mess with your clear skin, just like when you get your period. Hormones in dairy are even found in organic products and are easily absorbed in your bloodstream. Ironically, when my own hormones start getting wonky in the beginning of the month, all I'm trying to do is eat cheese. Clearly, I have my own hormones to deal with and the last thing I need is a cow's hormones that can make my breakouts more severe. According to Belmarra Health, a study in the 1940s proved that there was a link between acne and dairy. However, in the 1960s this claim was disputed. Today? Yup, the verdict is still out. Per Livestrong's website on the link between dairy and skincare, dermatologists have taken acne-ridden patients off dairy and seen positive results. If your struggling with acne, do your own personal test, and ditch the dairy for the month. One thing is certain, everyone's bodies are unique.
Worst day at work, ever. Happy Hour? Best day at work, ever. Happy Hour? It's sunny! Happy Hour? Yes, those justifications to have a few cocktails at only a slightly discounted price are fairly common for the typical NYC resident. Somewhere after the age of 25, I had started noticing the lines around my eyes and mouth growing deeper after a particularly hearty night of margs. To my horror, I realized that alcohol was going to age me faster than the stressful job I was drinking over. My beloved cocktails were dehydrating my skin and making me look like a cabbage patch doll in the AM. Oddly enough, vodka is one of my fave alcoholic ingredients in my skin routine; serving as an ingredient in my natural bug spray and deep conditioner.
The best way to combat alcohol making you look old and sickly is to up your water game when you're drinking and choose a beverage that's less sugary to guzzle up. The great news is that someone has done the research for us on which tasty alcoholic beverages are going to affect you negatively in the mirror tomorrow. Check out Huffington Post's article on alcohol and skin health the next time you are perusing through the happy menu after work.
My name is Kristin and I put salt on my pizza, Chinese food,
and in my Ramen noodles. I fear the day that someone tells me I have to limit
my salt intake. Each time I get blood work done and have my physical, I hold
my breath until the phone call comes. Surprisingly, my cholesterol is always perfect and my doc will tell me to keep doing what I'm doing. I feel slightly guilty after we hang up; she's basically telling me to use large amounts of salt and
have random nights of chain smoking.
Salt is also known to dehydrate
your body, which can leave your skin looking dry and all sorts of puffy. Iodide,
which is commonly found in salt, is said to induce acne by getting into the
bloodstream and clogging up
pores. This is often why the assumption is made that greasy food causes acne,
according to Face Reality Acne Clinic, when it's more likely that it's the high
iodized salt content in the greasy food that is causing your recent
Bonus Skin Tip: If you are having a hard time kicking your cigarette habit or passing up on party drugs, know that tobacco and cocaine are murder on your skin, among other things. This is a sure way to look and feel like shit the next day. Just sayin...
Image: Sun and Doves/Flickr
Image: Steven Severinghaus/Flickr
Image: US Department of Agriculture/Flickr
Image: Frank Gruber/Flickr
Image: Gui Seiz/Flickr
Image: The Giant Vermon/Flickr
Image: Marc Levi