How’s Your Skin?

How’s Your Skin?

by Dr. Michael B. Finkelstein, M.D., F.A.C.P., A.B.H.M.
posted on September 23rd 2010

Skin care tips and skin care products are everywhere these days. "Use this cream." "Exfoliate with this." "Drink more water." "Buy this acne cure." “Stay out of the sun.” Amid all the hype, and the influx of anti−aging products, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. How can anyone know what’s true? More importantly, are we missing something? 

Let me start with the last question first. I believe that our skin is the mirror of our “interior world.” Sure, for those of you fortunate enough to be young or those who continue to look younger than you are, at least for a while, you may get away without taking care of your “interior world.” But the fact remains, if we don’t take care of our skin, sooner or later, it will look as worn out as our liver. 

Here is a case in point. When I lead a weeklong juice fast program, what most people noticed at the end of the week is that their skin looked years younger − smooth and radiant. This cleansing process is as thorough as it gets. Most observers, e.g. friends and family members, find it hard to believe something so dramatic could happen so quickly and without the application of “sophisticated” creams and lotions. But it does. 

Indeed, the magic potion, if you want to call it that, is the elimination of layers of gook that accumulate everywhere in the body and mind; the effects of which are most noticeable on our faces. This begs the question....why don’t more people do this? I don’t have a simple answer, other than the fact that people seem to be out of balance or unfamiliar with common sense principles. Instead, they are caught up by the marketing and promotion of superficial fixes, buying one product after another, always chasing the best and the greatest. 

Well, here’s some news. The best way to care for your skin is to take care of your mind and use that “healthier” mind to make better choices. This is a low tech solution by any standard, but it works and is durable. In addition, the measurable health benefits are significant. 

So, now if we go back to the original questions, we can answer them in this context, and, as such, the answers should make more sense. In fact, most people can figure the rest out on their own. First, it obviously makes sense to drink enough water to avoid dehydration. Who wants to look more dry and wrinkled than necessary? With respect to creams, exfoliants, and other products, it makes sense to look at labels carefully. Avoid chemicals and preservatives. They will be absorbed into your body and, I can promise you, this will not be good for your liver. In general, the fewer ingredients the better, and the less processed the ingredients are, e.g. whole flowers instead of artificial fragrance extracts, the more you can rely on them. 

Finally, I would like to say a word about sun exposure. Avoiding the sun like the plague is not the answer. In fact, without adequate sun exposure we are doomed to sickness. Despite all the hype about skin cancer, moderate sun exposure is necessary to adequately convert Vitamin D to an active form. More and more research is showing how essential this vitamin is to our health; not only our bone health, but our immunity and mental health as well and for the prevention of many other types of cancer! Depending on where you live and the time of year you should seek some sunlight and enjoy the feeling of its energy over your body on a regular basis. So please, take care of your skin; but do it the smart way.

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