Do you look into the mirror and see dry dull skin, wrinkles, pores, and everything that doesn't seem right with your skin? Early ageing is an epidemic, and the fact is that millions of people in their 30s and 40s look considerably older than generations before them. Is it the chemicals in our food, lack of sleep, stress or the pollution in air and water?
It is all of this yet none of these!
In the billion dollar industry of skincare, while there are millions of products, the key lies in understanding what really is skin, and how to take care of, nourish it at a fundamental level.
The skin is actually the largest organ if the human body, a waterproof insulating sheet that protects us from heat, light, bacteria, viruses, injury etc. Without our skin, we would literally evaporate.
To be able to heal or take care of something it is imperative to know what it is composed of. The outermost layer, epidermis, consists mainly of keratinocytes, made of tough protein keratin. Several layer thick, the thickness of which varies on different parts of the body, it takes about five weeks for newly formed cells to work their way outwards as external cells die and flake off. Next, comes the dermis, made up of collagen and elastin giving the skin strength and elasticity. And, what are collagen and elastin - Proteins!
Yes, proteins are what we never hear many people talk about or highlight when discussing skincare. While there's a sea of blogs out there giving you 33 Foods for Glowing Skin/ 18 Superfoods for Glowing Skin , wisdom is in knowing that just following a list randomly without first getting your basics right is like putting on makeup on a dirty face and sleeping with it. Also, it is important to know that collagen is produced in the body, it is not something that you can eat. Collagen supplements are largely unregulated and even the best ones only support the formation of collagen in the body, while it still depends on your body's ability to absorb it, so it is always safer and fool-proof to stick to dietary approach to boosting collagen.
Coming to the point of skincare essentials...basically it's just two things..Eat Proteins (and a wholesome nutritious diet) and Keep your Skin Clean!
Penning down what has worked the best for me -
Use a mild cleanser, wash your face twice a day. This will not allow the dirt, oil and chemicals to settle in your pores.
Moisturise! even if you have oily skin and even if you are a man..please moisturise. It ensures that the cracks in the outer layer of the skins are evened out, not allowing bacteria and viruses to reach deeper into the skin.
Exfoliate twice a week, using a gentle exfoliator, helping the outer dead cell layer to flake off easily keeping the layers below healthy.
Get 35%-40% of your calories from proteins everyday, a wide variety of them. Non-vegetarians, go back to eating every part of the animal like our ancestors used to.
Eat a rainbow! which is an easy way to visually scan your nutrients and antioxidants, and eat them raw to preserve maximum nutrition.
Practice Kapal randhra dhauti to improve blood circulation and stimulate the facial nerves.
Drink ample water and sleep well, so that the body can actually do what it is supposed to do, including keeping your skin healthy.
That's just basically it! This might be disappointing for some of you, who were expecting another fancy list of foods, but honestly, we complicate things a lot and that's what the beauty industry thrives on - our insecurities. So instead, let's make the beauty industry insecure by eating that cucumber instead of putting it on our eyes. What really is the point of putting Vitamin C serums on dead skin cells if you are not consuming enough Vitamin C? I know of people who happily spend tons and tons on beauty products but won't wash their face before going to bed 🙄, but that's a story for another time.
PS: Eggs are magical for the skin and hair 😉(eat them whole)