1. Is your lifestyle sabotaging your skin?
Imbalances in your life show up on your face and skin. For example, a poor diet of fast food lacking fresh fruits and vegetables is a recipe for bad, unhealthy skin. Depression, anxiety, and stress create tension in your skin, especially on your face, sometimes causing uneven blotches and wrinkles. Sun damage and dry, cold, or windy weather strip the skin of vital moisture and circulation, leading to prematurely older-looking skin. Smoking, excessive alcohol use, and lack of sleep all show up on your skin. Take a hard look at what your lifestyle is doing to your skin, and make some healthy changes to protect and rejuvenate it.
2. Eat skin superfoods
In China, it was a tradition in the imperial courts for the empress to pass down to the princesses her skin-beautifying recipes and preparations. While many of these ingredients were exotic, expensive foods, readily available foods for skin health from these beauty recipes include cherries, peanuts, black soybeans, walnuts, and jujube dates. Also, citrus, a confirmed healing food packed with antioxidants, benefits your skin health.
For dry skin, eat more flaxseed oil, sesame oil, olive oil, and virgin coconut oil. Every day, eat avocado and handfuls of nuts and seeds, particularly pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
3. Exfoliate like the Chinese courtesans
The outer layer of your skin regularly renews itself by shedding old cells and replacing them with new ones. An effective way to diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles is to speed up the shedding process. Instead of using expensive procedures like dermabrasion, chemical peel, and laser therapies, gently renew your skin with products from nature. For centuries, Chinese imperial courtesans used natural exfoliation and polishing agents to loosen and strip skin cells off — seaweed, kelp, pearl powder, dried plum, winter melon seed, persimmon leaf, and cane sugar. Most are available in health food stores and Chinese groceries.
Make a mask with any combination of these natural ingredients. Moisten with water and mix in a blender with aloe vera gel or egg white to make a paste. Use a wet sponge to gently scrub your face with the paste, using small circular motions, until your face and neck are fully exfoliated. Leave the mask on for 10 minutes, and then wash off. Avoid getting in your eyes.
4. Detoxify for skin beauty
In Chinese medicine, it is believed that impurities in our bodies are expelled in many ways, one of which is through the skin, our largest elimination organ. Sometimes, these impurities become trapped and we see the result as pimples and other blemishes. These impurities come from environmental pollution, pesticides, preservatives in our food, and a range of other toxins that age our skin. It is important to help the body cleanse itself so that toxins do not cause internal unbalance that shows up on your skin.
Herbs that detoxify the body can be found in a formula called Internal Cleanse, available in most Chinese herb shops. It contains plant substances such as dandelion, chrysanthemum, peppermint, white mulberry, and licorice, which support healthy liver and gall bladder function, the organs that play the largest role in detoxification and elimination so that the skin is not overburdened. I often recommend to my patients our Exquisite Skin, a nourishing herbal formula that lubricates the skin and assists in detoxification.
5. Natural beauty with natural products
Many of today’s personal care and cosmetic products contain carcinogenic chemicals that are absorbed into the skin. There are few regulating laws in the cosmetics industry, and that’s why there are often harmful chemicals in them. For instance, your lash-enhancing mascara may have formaldehyde as an ingredient, and there might be plastic resins in your lipstick. You may find asbestos-contaminated talc in eye shadow and blush, and foundation makeup often includes chemical solvents. These are all suspected carcinogens. Choose natural makeup alternatives found in health food stores that use colored clays, vegetable oils, and other natural ingredients.
6. Use yogurt for superb skin texture
A traditional tonic for healthy skin, yogurt contains lactic acid, a naturally occurring alpha-hydroxy acid that promotes a smooth skin texture by gently peeling off the dead skin layer. Yogurt is especially beneficial for sensitive skin that cannot withstand commercial alpha-hydroxy acid preparations. Used over time, it can also lighten spots and even out a patchy skin tone. Here’s how to get these results for yourself: Apply organic plain yogurt like a cream to your washed face. Leave on for 15 minutes, wash off with cold water, and finish with a moisturizer. Afterwards, to reduce any redness, apply a cold pack for 10 minutes.