By Siraad Dirshe
Glowing radiant skin. We all want it but getting it can sometimes feel like a nearly impossible task of beauty product experimentation. And while I love trying and buying the latest serums, creams and oils as much as the next skin care junkie, the secret to amazing skin isn’t necessarily found in the beauty aisle. Often times we forget that the skin on our face is intrinsically tied to our overall health, meaning our skin care regime shouldn’t be thought of in isolation but instead approached holistically.
The typical reaction to seeing a blemish or breakout (after running and hiding) is to cover it with makeup; rarely, if ever, do we stop to think about what may be causing it. It’s no coincidence that your skin looks its best when you’re eating well, drinking tons of water and working out or that it looks like crap when your stress levels are on hundred. More often than not, everything that is happening on the inside of our body’s, both physically and even emotionally, is reflected in our skin’s appearance. So if you’re breaking out or your skin’s not looking the best it probably means your body is trying to tell you something; maybe you’re not drinking enough water or your digestive system is a bit out of whack.
Well, here are five things that will help get and maintain better looking skin from the inside out.
Water, water, water (and more water)
Our skin is made of more than 60% water and without it skin can appear less radiant and lack the smoothness and plumpness we all want. Since many of the structures in the skin, such as collagen, require water to work effectively not drinking enough of it can make pores and wrinkles appear more prominent. And if that wasn’t reason enough to start chugging more water, when your skin becomes dehydrated it throws off your skin’s natural ability to maintain its oil-to-water ratio (when this is thrown off your pores can easily become clogged).
So exactly how much water should you be drinking every day?
While there are varying opinions in the health community on the exact amount to drink, there’s an overarching conscious that a half of gallon a day (64 oz.) is a good target. However, with celebrities like Gabrielle Union, aka the real life Benjamin Button, swearing by a gallon a day, that’s now become my golden rule of water consumption, since I too want my skin to age backwards.
Cod Liver Oil
You know that stuff your Nana used to make you drink because it was good for you? Well, turns out, she was right (just like everything else). Cod liver oil is high in two vitamins that are great for skin, A and D. If you’ve used any product to fight acne or wrinkles then chances are you’ve encountered vitamin A; retinol and retinoids are it’s more common names.
Cod liver oil is great because it’s a natural source of the vitamins your skin needs to look its glowyiest, heal troubled skin from the inside out and keep the outer layers strong via its high level of omega-3-fatty acids. Unlike other supplements, cod liver oil gives you practically instant results — you skin will look better in a matter of weeks, not months.
I’d give the Calson’s lemon flavored one a try since it doesn’t have a fishy tasty and goes down pretty easily. Like with anything, it’s important to stick to the recommended dosage and to consult with your doctor or health professional before adding it to your diet.
Chances are you’ve seen your favorite celebrities (and IG models) promoting biotin pills on the ‘gram. While biotin, also known as the beauty vitamin, is really great for helping your nails and hair there are several other vitamins that make up the B complex.
When taken together, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 play an important role in keeping your body running like a well-oiled machine and are important for your overall health the health of your skin. Each vitamin has a specific benefit, such as helping to produce red blood cells (B12 and B9) and reducing inflammation (B6). Since so much of what vitamin B does is related to your health, a deficiency can cause acne, dryness, wrinkles and an uneven complexion.
Eating foods high in vitamin B like avocados, almonds, spinach and even garlic is a great way to get the nutrients your body and skin needs. As a vegetarian I also like to take a daily herbal B complex supplement, since some of vitamins like B12 is only found in animal products – Pressed Juicery has a great option.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (or ACV as it’s affectionately referred to) is an all-natural, all-purpose magical healer that literally has countless beauty benefits. ACV is full of antioxidants and curative properties that not only help your body, especially your digestive system, run smoothly but also help your skin become tighter and brighter skin. Our skin is naturally acidic so ACV can help it find the ideal balance between dry and oily.
While some prefer to use apple cider vinegar topically as a toner, I prefer to drink my way to better skin – that way I get the body and skin benefits at once. Every morning (and sometimes at night) I make a concoction of 1-2 tablespoons ACV and warm water – I don’t recommend drinking it straight up since it can burn a little. Make sure the ACV you’re using is raw, organic and and contains the “mother aka strands of protein, enzymes and bacteria that many believe is what’s responsible for the health and beauty benefits. Braggs is a great!
Contrary to popular belief many of skin issues you may be currently experiencing can be reversed or even completely healed with a natural approach. So if you’re looking for better looking skin, why not first start by drinking a bit more water or eating more avocados before running out to your local beauty store for the latest quick fix?
Siraad Dirshe is involved with Black Girl In Om because she is a black girl who’s constantly searching for and trying to maintain her om (aka balance). She currently lives in New York City, but Boston raised her. Her go-to self-care practice is a good run (with music) and her skin care routine. Find her on Instagram @sdirshe and @theglowexpert.