When you see someone with beautiful skin, what is your first thought (besides “just wait until they have kids”)?
I can tell you what mine used to be- what the heck are they using?! What serum, mask, moisturizer, or dirt are they buying in order to get that healthy duey glow??
Well, yes- I am sure all of those things help our skin a little- but it’s only small fraction of what makes up our complexion! I was recently listening to a podcast with the founder of Four Sigmatic, Tero Isokauppila, (who also has a skincare line) and he said something that shocked me ” Sleep is so huge for skin quality and the products you put on your face or your skincare routine is a small minority- it’s a 10% or 20%” in comparison to the massive effects things like diet and hydration has on ones skin quality.
He also exposed a significant truth about beauty lines like L’Oreal. He explained their public statements and how they shared that only a faction (about 3-4%) of the ingredient cost is spent on their actual product. Meaning that if you bought a serum that cost you $100 only a couple of those dollars actually built the product that you are using!
But I am not here to bash beauty lines! I myself have a few products I absolutely love from Gold Cover and Glossier. What I am here to do is share how to have healthy glowing skin without the pricetag- so let’s jump in!
Simply getting a good night sleep can drastically affect the quality of your skin for one main reason. Cortisol.
Cortisol is that dreaded stress hormone that actually has an important role in our bodies- but unfortunately is on overdrive in most of us and can lead to a plethora of issues including weight gain, depression and inflammation of our skin.
An increase in inflammatory cells can result in the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid which is what gives our skin the clarity, springiness and glow we all covet.
Sleeping is also regenerative! As we sleep our body has a chance to reset– our liver, spleen, brain and yes, our skin- resets and hydration rebalances.
Skin is able to recover moisture, while excess water in general in the body is processed for removal. Not getting enough sleep results in poor water balance, leading to puffy bags under your eyes and under-eye circles, as well as dryness and more visible wrinkles.
In particular, deep sleep allows our growth hormones to rise and these hormones repair damaged skin cells which reduces outwards signs of aging.
Ever wonder why we get dark and puffy circles (aka bags of fluids) around our eyes when we’ve had a bad night of sleep? With out sleep our body does not get the time it needs to deliver fluids to our organs and tissues that need replenishing while removing excess fluid from other areas and eliminating unwanted toxins.
I mean there is a reason why the term “beauty sleep” was coined!
Given that we as humans are made up of more than 50% water- I would say it’s no surprise that proper hydration is essential for healthy skin. Remember, our skin is an organ- the largest organ in your body and is comprised largely of water! If we dont keep it hydrated well, it not just shows tightness and flakiness but it also will become even more prone to aging **insert sound of me literally gulping water rn because all I have had today are two cups of black coffee**
Ok so we have the obvious improvements for how healthy hydration improves our skin
- Fewer Wrinkles
- Improved Complexion
- Reduced Puffiness
- Faster Healing
- Clear Acne
- Slows Aging
- Smaller Pores
- Tighter Skin
- Improved Ph Balance
The list goes on. But the *how* and the *how much* are questions that need to be answered!
A study done by the University of Missouri- Columbia has some pretty interesting data concerning the effects of hydration and the skin. Their study measures skin tone, blood flow and complexion and they discovered that just two cups of water can have significant results in all of these areas! That’s good news for us. Simply increasing and maintaining our water intake , whether that’s through fresh fruits and veggies or our beloved hydroflask can provide some amazing benefits!
Another aspect of hydration with our skin is its ability to detox. If we are not properly hydrated, we are not properly detoxing! Our pores and the sweat we produce is an essential part of our daily detoxing.
Want to add a little boost to your water and gain even more benefits? Dr. Axe explains how adding a little lemon juice to your water can help!
The antioxidants found in vitamin C do double duty in lemon water and provide a whole host of cold lemon water benefits for skin. They fight free radical damage, keeping your skin looking fresh and helping slow down the aging process. Getting enough vitamin C from your lemon water also keeps the body producing collagen, which is essential in smoothing out fine lines in the face.
In fact, another study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on over 4,000 women found that consuming vitamin C really did lead to more youthful skin and a reduction in wrinkles!
Ok before you role your eyes at me and my constant finger pointing at nutrition look at what *Dermatologist* Dr. Joshua Zeichner says about the link between nutrition and skincare.
High sugar levels not only may lead to acne breakouts but may be involved in premature aging,” he explains. “As sugars attach to collagen, it can lead to a hardening process known as glycation.
This big world “glycation” can lead to premature aging and skin sagging and here is the science behind it.
When you have sugar molecules in your system, they bombard the body’s cells like a meteor shower—glomming onto fats and proteins in a process known as glycation. The proteins in skin most prone to glycation are the same ones that make a youthful complexion so plump and springy—collagen and elastin. When those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discolored, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin’s surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance.
Of course we cannot avoid glycation altogether but we definitely can help improve the quality of our skin and reduce premature aging by cleaning up our diet a little and reducing our processed foods and refined sugar.
Eat Your Colors
Another way to improve your skin through diet is through eating a variety of colors (think carrots and mushrooms- not lucky charms)!
In order to have bright radiant skin you need to eat a variety of foods that can nourish you with rich antioxidants. Foods that are red ( bell peppers, tomatoes, beets, cinnamon) yellow/ orange (ginger, papaya, carrots, sweet potato) green (apples, kale, broccoli) and last but not least BLACK (black coffee, chaga mushroom, cacao) are all examples of colorful foods that will feed your skin beautifully. Managing your gut health also impacts your skin greatly but that needs a blog of its own!
If you haven’t had enough of the nitty gritty science behind nutrition and aging head over to “Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging” for an extensive explanation with over 100 additional resources!
Think of your skin as a reflection of your inner health, like a mirror showing what is going on beneath the surface. You can buy all of the expensive skincare products in the world but if you are chronically stressed, sleep deprived, and not feeding your body well– no skincare product in the world can fix that. So try taking care of your inner health and who knows- maybe you won’t even want them anymore!