The Importance of Sleep for Skin Health

Getting your beauty sleep is not just an old wives tale. In fact, the siesta you get every night has a profound effect on the health of your skin.

 

Beauty Sleep When you sleep, your skin has the opportunity to repair, rehydrate, and heal. In order for this to occur, the quality of your sleep is crucial. There are 4 phases of sleep: One and two are when you’re in between being awake and being asleep. The skin magic happens in stages three and four, when REM (rapid eye movement) occurs. This can be a very hard stage for many to reach, especially those dealing with insomnia, small children or a poor bed time routine (we’ll get into this later).

 

Looking at this in a more whole-istic point of view, there’s been plenty of studies such as this one telling us that sleep deprivation results in an increase of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol, when produced in excess causes in all kinds of problems, the primary ones being systemic inflammation and weakened immune responses in the body and the skin. Firdaus S. Dhabhar from Stanford University School of Medicine explains this in further detail here.

 

Sleep deprivation = increased cortisol = increased inflammation

 

This will:

  1. Increase the severity of inflammatory or immune related skin conditions such as acne, eczema or psoriasis.
  2. Cause digestive issues, leading to nutritional deficiencies of nutrients necessary for skin health and prevention of pre-mature aging.
  3. Breakdown collagen and hyaluronic acid which is what gives the skin a youthful, bouncy appearance.
  4. Further hormonal imbalances, leading to acne.
  5. Reduce the skin’s ability to stay hydrated, making the skin appear lifeless, wrinkly and dull.
  6. Speed up the aging process because damaged cells are incapable of proper repair.
  7. Effect your mood and the way you look at yourself in the mirror. The power of positivity plays a massive role in healing skin conditions.
  8. Cause unstable blood sugar levels throughout the day, causing cravings, poor food choices and an increase in the hormones that cause excess oil production on the skin. Read this post to understand this a little bit better.

 

There you have it. Beauty sleep really IS required for skin health… but sometimes it’s not so easy.  I’d love to help you improve your bedtime routine and have the best zzz’s of your life with my Beauty Sleep Guide. Click Here to have it sent straight to your email!

 

Happy sleeping everyone!

A Salad A Day Keeps Acne Away

One of the best and easiest ways to help fight acne and premature aging is by incorporating a salad a day, everyday.  In today’s world where the color beige has taken over the majority of our plates, from bread and pasta to pastries and ice cream, we are in desperate need of a little color.  Although there’s a time and a place for beige, these foods not only provide us with next to zero nutritional value, they also steal and deplete us of any of the nutrients we do have in order for our bodies to be able to digest them, creating all kinds of nutrient deficiencies.  Guess what nutrient deficieA salad a day keeps acne awayncies lead to?  Hormone imbalances, inflammation, gut issues, toxicity issues….the list goes on and on, because our bodies were designed to work based on the food nature provides us.  What do these issues contribute to?  ACNE!

By committing to at least one descent size salad a day (2 cups or more), you can ensure you are getting the fiber, vitamins and minerals your body so desperately asks for and needs to run efficiently.  If the inside of your body isn’t running efficiently, you can damn well bet that your skin isn’t either.  Absolutely no multi vitamin in the world can do a better job providing you these nutrients than a nice big, crisp, delicious salad.

Here’s 12 more good reasons for a salad a day:

 

  1. Improves digestion
  2. Improves nutrient uptake
  3. Improves elimination (yes, I’m talking about poop)
  4. Balances hormones
  5. Protects against premature aging
  6. Enhances satiety (so you eat less!)
  7. Improves weight loss (if this is a concern)
  8. Increases hydration
  9. Super convenient to get veggie servings and healthy fats
  10. Served at almost any restaurant
  11. Takes 5 minutes to prepare
  12. No cooking necessary!

Always start your salad with greens.  Green vegetables are jam packed with chlorophyll which has countless benefits including it’s ability to decrease DNA damage and help prevent and treat certain types of cancer. For the skin, chlorophyll  really helps to fight acne thanks to its antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents.  It will also fight free radicals, which are the little buggers that are linked to skin aging. Additionally, it will help to alkalize the body which reduces inflammation, excess oil production and breakouts on the skin.

Don’t stop there though! A salad doesn’t have to be plain old lettuce and cucumber. Get creative and have fun with it.  Change it up daily and keep it interesting by making it your goal to add a bit of every color in the rainbow.  The darker and brighter the color, the more it has to offer.  Think red like tomatoes or raspberries, orange like carrots or peppers, blue like blueberries, and purple like beats. All these beautiful colors contain phytochemicals, which are extremely important for fighting premature aging, inflammation and disease.

Remember to add nuts and seeds and think about creating your own dressings with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and a handful of fresh herbs.  Dressing and other healthy fats play a key role by increasing the absorption of certain nutrients in the veggies like lycopene and alpha/beta carotene , which are incredible cancer fighting nutrients.

 All these beautifully colored vegetables and fruit are readily available to us anywhere in the world, and in Canada we are lucky enough to have them available to us all year long, no matter the season.  Take advantage of that privilege and feed your body what it was meant to have.  Follow my rule of thumb and enjoy “a salad a day”. 🙂 Your skin will love you for it.

Sugar…Not So Sweet For Skin

Sugar…that sweet, delicious ingredient that makes EVERYTHING taste good, is not so “sweet” for our skin…or hormones.

 

You see, there are two major known causes to acne.  1) INFLAMMATION, and 2) HORMONES. Unfortunately sugar affects both.  

Sugar and Acne

Studies have shown us time and time again that sugar increases inflammation in the body as quickly as you can say “chronic disease”.  Inflammation is not always bad.  In fact it’s necessary for repairing tissues, fighting infection and eliminating toxins.  It DOES however become a problem when it is chronic.  Out-of-control inflammation spreads like wildfire and becomes extremely disruptive to bodily functions. Interestingly enough, researchers have shown us that those with acne have significantly higher levels of inflammation in the body, indicating that the inflammation is chronic and extremely disruptive.  To add, inflammation depletes us from the beautiful antioxidants that help fight off free radicals, infection and disease, leaving our bodies and our skin more susceptible to infection, illness and acne. Yikes!  

 

Ever notice certain foods cause you to break out? Or that indulging in an incredible meal pairs with a bloated tummy and tender new breakouts within 48 hours?  You can thank inflammation for that.  Inflammation in the gut is the reason this could be happening.  

 

Next let’s address the hormonal link to sugar and acne.  When we eat sugar, our blood sugar levels spike.  Our pancreas then works to release insulin in order to bring our blood sugar levels back down.  Here’s the kicker: when insulin is released, it triggers the production of androgen hormones (like testosterone), which triggers excess sebum (oil) production in the skin and increases pore size.  Even worse, when we eat too much sugar too often (don’t forget sugar is in just about every packaged food), our cells become tired and lazy and less sensitive to insulin. This means the pancreas has to pump out more insulin than normal to bring blood sugar down, creating a vicious circle of inflammation, androgen hormones, sebum excess, and a weakened immune system….the perfect recipe for kickass breakout.

 

There is no doubt that when we are treating acne with an inside out nutritional approach, it is absolutely crucial to reduce inflammation and balance hormone. Managing blood sugar levels is KEY. How can you do this?  Click here to get my 6 Step Sugar Detox Guide: http://www.natology.ca/sugardetoxguide

To sum this up:

Sugar = inflammation = ACNE

Sugar = increased insulin = increased androgens = increased sebum = ACNE

Is sugar the only cause of inflammation & androgen hormones? Heck no! …but it’s a damn good place to start.

Bottom line:  Eat less sugar. You’re sweet enough already! 😉

 

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Aeberli, Isabelle, Phillip A. Gerber, Michel Hochuli, Sibylle Kohler, Sarah R. Haile, Loanna Gouni-Berthold, Heiner K. Berthold, Giatgen A. Spinas, and Kaspar Berneis. “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Low to Moderate Sugar-sweetened Beverage Consumption Impairs Glucose and Lipid Metabolism and Promotes Inflammation in Healthy Young Men: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The American Society for Nutrition, 15 June 2011. Web. 7 Aug. 2016.

Bowe, Whitney P., MD, Nayan Patel, BS, and Alan C. Logan, MD. “Acne Vulgaris: The Role of Oxidative Stress and the Potential Therapeutic Value of Local and Systemic Antioxidants.” JDDonline. J Drugs Dermatol, 1 June 2012. Web. 7 Aug. 2016.