Natural solutions for healthy skin

Have the best skin ever with the help of nature.

Every day, we’re bombarded with chemicals. From the foods we eat to outdoor pollution, chemicals find their way into just about everything around us. With more and more people wanting to live healthier lifestyles, it’s no wonder natural solutions are gaining momentum. And skincare is one of the best places to start your natural journey.

Many of the most popular skincare products contain potentially toxic chemicals. If you read the labels on these products, you’ll see ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, fragrance (or “parfum”), sodium lauryl, FD&C colors, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate and many other chemicals. Since skin absorbs up to 60% of whatever is put on it, you might want to start thinking about natural skincare.

Beauty is only skin deep. Or is it?

Your skin is an organ made up of several layers of tissue. Among its many functions, it’s the shield that helps keep harmful external substances out of our bodies. We’ve always been told that to take care of organs, like the heart and kidneys, you need to eat a balanced diet. Well, skin is no exception. Proper nutrition is one of the most effective natural solutions for healthy skin.

If you research the best foods for your skin, no two lists are the same. But you will find some consistencies, including:

  • Fresh fruit – Berries, citrus fruits, apples, and melons.
  • Healthy fats – Avocados, nuts, olive oil, and coconut oil.
  • Leafy greens – Spinach, kale, broccoli, and watercress.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – Salmon and flaxseeds.
  • Whole grains – Brown rice, oats, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa.
  • Water – Lots and lots (and lots!). You won’t believe how those eight glasses (or more) a day can transform your skin.
  • Other – Sweet potatoes, eggs, and tomatoes.

Growing up, you might have heard that foods like chocolate and french fries make you break out. Though dark chocolate — in moderation — is actually good for skin, there is truth to that old advice. Sugary foods, processed foods, greasy foods, and caffeine can wreak havoc on your skin. Avoid them as much as you can, and your skin will thank you by giving you a fresh face.

Cleaning up your diet is only the beginning.

A healthy lifestyle isn’t just key to feeling good, it’s vital for healthy skin. If you turn the following behaviors into habits, your skin will look its best in no time:

  • Get plenty of sleep. You need at least eight hours. Hate bags under your eyes? This will help.
  • Avoid smoking. Nothing says “premature aging” like a drag from a cigarette.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. If your face looks puffy and dry, blame your I’ll-just-have-one-more cocktail from last night.
  • Exercise. Your skin loves the increase of blood flow, which brings oxygen and nutrients to your glistening glow.
  • Reduce stress. Acne? Eczema? Wrinkles? Oh, my! You might just find time to relax now that you know stress can cause a slew of skin conditions.
  • Find shade. Although it’s important to soak up some vitamin D-filled rays on your arms and legs for a few minutes every day, keep your face covered. Many popular sunscreens contain a ton of potentially toxic ingredients. Look for natural sunscreen products, but be sure to read the labels. Since the use of the word “natural” isn’t regulated for use on products, anything can claim the title even if it contains nasty chemicals. Your best bet? Wear a hat that shields your face from the sun, always wear sunglasses, and stand in the shade whenever possible. Your friends will join you when they see how good you look.

Healthy lifestyle? Check. What about healthy products?

There are numerous options for skincare products that don’t contain harmful chemicals. Brands like Origins, Tata Harper, Dr. Hauschka, KORA Organics, and Juice Beauty are just a few of the many brands catering to a natural skincare regimen. But, remember to still read those labels!

You’ve researched your products. And you found out that “natural” can come with a hefty price tag.

Don’t panic. One great aspect of natural skincare is the DIY factor.

Many of the foods you cook with daily are fantastic to use on your skin. Studies have shown that washing your face might become a thing of the past as certain oils, such as virgin olive and virgin coconut oil, remove dirt and makeup like it’s their job. Apple cider vinegar diluted in water makes a wonderful pore-tightening toner. Used green tea bags can calm acne. Oatmeal, milk, strawberries, and sugar are great exfoliators. Both avocado and honey make luxurious moisturizing masks. Have some fun researching different ingredients to make cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, and masks.

Keep it simple.

The more you pick, prod, touch, and rub, the worse off your skin will be. Even over-washing can cause harm. So, don’t overdo it. Stick to a few products, protect yourself from the sun, and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

And whenever possible, smile.


Dr. Tye Young, DO specializes in Internal Medicine at UT Erlanger Primary Care East. For more information about our upcoming specials and promotions or to make an appointment with one of our specialists, visit UT Erlanger Dermatology.