Beauty from the Inside Out

Our skin is our largest organ, and it should come as no surprise that what we put inside our body affects what we see on the outside of our body. Taking an “inside out” approach has a tremendous capacity to forward our quest for enhanced beauty by slowing aging and resolving many common skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Through applying three beauty fundamentals, you will find yourself – and your skin – all aglow, shining your optimal beauty to the world.

Beauty Fundamental #1: Ensure your body has what it needs to build healthy skin.

You may remember from junior high biology class that roughly every 27 days we find ourselves with entirely new skin. Ensuring that our body has the “ingredients” necessary to make skin is essential to our cause. So just what are those building blocks? Protein, water, vitamin C, vitamin A, and healthy fats.


Our skin is made of three proteins – collagen (75-80%), elastin, and keratin – with collagen and elastin being the two key players as it relates to wrinkles and fine lines. For the average moderately active woman with a normal BMI, consuming 60 grams of protein daily will hit the mark.


It is estimated that 64% of the skin is water, and in order to maintain optimally hydrated skin, we must hydrate. Drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water per day (i.e. 60 oz for 120lb woman) will give you what you need to moisturize from the inside out.

Vitamin C

In addition to its immune-supporting benefits, vitamin C is crucial to the formation of healthy collagen. Consuming foods rich in vitamin C such as peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes, citrus fruits and berries will allow your collagen to cross link correctly, filling in those fine lines one link at a time.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is often used topically as retinol to counteract wrinkling and irregular pigmentation associated with aging. Consuming foods high in vitamin A derivatives such as beta carotene also allows for healthy collagen production. Beta carotene abundant foods include sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, pumpkin and broccoli.

Healthy Fats

The innermost layer of your skin is made primarily of fat and this fat prevents sagging. Foods high in anti-inflammatory fats – also known as omega-3’s – will be particularly helpful and include fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines while you can find the anti-inflammatory omega-6 fat linoleic acid in sunflower oil, evening primerose oil and grape seed oil.

Beauty Fundamental #2: Remove foods and environmental factors known to promote premature aging and skin problems.

Foods that promote premature aging and skin problems fall into two broad categories – food sensitivities and pro-inflammatory foods – while problematic environmental factors include excess sun exposure, tobacco use, pollution and sleep deprivation. Be it through foods or the environment, all of these factors “stress” the body through using up antioxidants, causing damage to our skin and reducing our body’s capacity to build the glowing skin we seek.

Food Sensitivities

If you have chronic acne, eczema, psoriasis or keratosis pilaris, ruling out food sensitivities is an essential step in finding a resolution. Food sensitivity testing is a tool that I commonly use with the most common reactions occurring to dairy, gluten, yeast, corn and eggs. Beware that if you are going to take a “do-it-yourself” approach, you must be very strict (sorry – reduction doesn’t cut it) in eliminating these foods for a minimum of four weeks to see results.

Pro-inflammatory foods

As is the case with so many health conditions and concerns, sugar is public enemy number one when it comes to inflammation. Aiming for 50 grams per day or less will promote healthy, glowing skin (as well as a slimmer waist line, heart health and protection against cancer.) Sources of sugar include desserts and sweets, simple carbohydrates, juice, soda and alcohol.
Other pro-inflammatory foods include those high in the omega-6 fat arachidonic acid such as grain-fed beef (versus grass-fed), processed meat, cheese and certain fish including tilapia and catfish. Note: Studies have shown that “you are what you eat eats.” That is, the nutrients found in a grass-fed burger versus a grain-fed burger are quite different. The grass-fed animal will pass along the anti-inflammatory benefits conferred by the grass they spent their days eating.

Sun Exposure

By now, all of us know that the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB lead not only to sun spots and wrinkles but also greatly increase our risk of developing skin cancer. A study performed at Harvard Medical School showed that just five serious sunburns increase the risk of deadly skin cancer by 80%, so take this lathering up seriously for your wrinkles and for your longevity.

Tobacco Use

Smoking not only increases your risk of cancer, it also promotes premature aging through oxidative stress and through wearing fine lines into the face with repeated puckering. If you smoke, stop. Enough said.


Though there is not much you can do to reduce the excess exposure to pollution associated with living in a larger city (save hightailing it to the country), Beauty Fundamental #3 provides suggestions for mitigating its impact.

Sleep Deprivation

Too little sleep means less time that your body spends in “repair” mode. Getting sufficient sleep – eight hours for most people – will allow your body’s clean-up crew to carry out damaged proteins and rebuild healthy, shining new ones.

Beauty Fundamental #3: Fill your body with foods rich in anti-oxidants

Foods rich in anti-oxidants quench free radicals, the particles produced by the dietary and environmental factors noted above that damage skin’s proteins and promote aging. The key new players in our quest for beautiful skin are vitamin E, polyphenols, and CoQ10. (In addition to building our skin, foods high in vitamin A precursors and vitamin C are also potent anti-oxidants.) These anti-oxidants can reduce premature aging, especially when consumed together and will minimize the ill effects of our environment and occasional sway from healthy eating habits.

Vitamin E

is found in sunflower seeds or sunflower seed butter (a personal favorite), soy, and safflower oil.


are found in colorful vegetables, turmeric, citrus fruit, and green tea. Taking an “eat the rainbow” approach to your daily dietary habits will ensure you cover your polyphenol bases.


is found in salmon, tuna and organ meats such as liver.
Though signs of aging may not be entirely preventable, making these three inside out Beauty Fundamentals part of your skincare regimen will confer benefits visible in your reflection.˙