Ever stand in front of the mirror and wonder what happened to that dewy and ageless complexion we once took for granted? Have you spent hours picking at small blemishes, examining fine lines, or perhaps you’ve noticed fine lines creeping up like unwanted weeds in your garden?

You most definitely aren’t alone.

If you are a woman at any stage in life, you have spent a fair amount of your time looking at your skin and wondering how you can have the perfect, glowing, and beautiful complexion.

Whether you are looking at being proactive or preventative in your skin regime, it is essential to understand all the elements to have beautiful and healthy skin at any age.

Let’s start with a few factors that play a role in our skin health from the inside.  

Our skin is one of our major detoxifying organs and one of our first defense lines in our body.  Our skin is exposed to thousands of toxins and bacteria daily. It is one of the major organs that excrete toxins and bacteria out of our body (think sweat, pimples, rashes).

What Signs Is Your Skin Sending You?

Our skin generally is the first sign of imbalances, reactions, and/or allergen responses that are going on in our body.  Sometimes these reactions can be from foods we eat, our stress levels, hormonal imbalances, and exposure to products and elements that our body doesn’t like. We often don’t look at these reactions as an indicator of a bigger picture within our body, but more of an annoyance or pesky skin condition that we can’t seem to rid of.

When we think back to the beginning of our early days when it comes to our skin health, when we are born, our skin is at its prime—filled with moisture, rich in collagen and firmness (think top-notch elasticity) and softness. Sounds perfect, right? However, as we get older and, yes…. start to age, our skin begins to lose its natural luster and elasticity, and our collagen production decreases naturally over time.

This is where we begin to see the signs of aging, and so we should – this is a natural part of our evolution. However, some contributing factors to how “fast” our skin can age, change, and or lose its natural luster.

Top Sources that Affect Our Overall Skin Health

If you’re looking for the cause of less-than-desirable skin changes, these are the top external and internal elements affecting our overall skin health that we often don’t consider.

Stress: Stress can cause inflammation throughout our entire body, including our skin. Our skin will often seem dull, dry, and look like it has aged quite drastically when we are under high stress levels. We usually will notice darker circles under our eyes and lose the luster we once had. Ever heard the expression ” I feel like I have aged 100 years “…?
In high amounts, Cortisol, our stress hormone, can cause an inflammatory response, affecting other hormones within our body. These hormones can be Estrogen, DHEA, and Progesterone.  Ladies, these hormones are our sex hormones, and they do play a role in our skin health.

Tip: Stress also is linked to the loss of collagen production in our body!  Make sure to take some time to relax, pamper yourself with a face mask, and ensure you are getting enough sleep. We often reach for poor food choices, higher intakes of caffeine, and lower amounts of water during stress and overtired.

Hormones: Mentioned above, our sex hormones such as Estrogen, DHEA, and Progesterone play a role in the health and vitality of our skin. As we naturally age, these hormones will fluctuate, alongside our years of puberty and pregnancy. We may notice our skin changes during these times, all thanks to the fluctuation of these hormones.  As we grow older, our hormone levels naturally start to decrease, leading to dry and dull-looking skin, a loss of elasticity, and reduced collagen production. We find this happens more commonly during our peri-menopausal years as our estrogen levels start to decrease, and our DHEA hormone (known as our “anti-aging hormone”) also starts to drop.
Tip: Supporting our hormone levels naturally through our nutrition, lifestyle (think stress), and supplementation can benefit happy and healthy hormones and glowing skin.

We are all naturally designed to age; however, this process may come sooner than later for some of us. Our body naturally begins to show aging as our collagen production slows down, the elasticity of our skin begins to relax, and our moisture levels start to drop.

Top Triggers for Signs of Aging

With the combination of high-stress levels, poor nutrition, lack of water, essential fatty acids, and imbalances in our sex hormones (also known as our steroid hormones) such as Estrogen, DHEA, Testosterone, and Progesterone, we will see more increased signs of aging, dull and flaky skin, acne and other skin conditions associated with this.

Where to Focus Your Efforts:

  1. We all should focus on eating a balanced and nutrient-dense diet filled with fruits and vegetables. Vegetables and fruits are naturally rich in antioxidants important for maintaining healthy and beautiful skin. These antioxidants are Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E- all known to help improve and support our skin health. Vitamin C is also essential for collagen production within our body, while antioxidants help our body eliminate toxins and free radicals from within.
  1. We also need to ensure we eat enough healthy fats and supplement with essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 fatty acids or eat foods rich to support healthy hormone levels while reducing inflammation in our body. Collagen rich foods or supplements can also be very beneficial in helping the health of our skin, elasticity while reducing the signs of again and even sun damage.
  1. Incorporating an “Internal” beauty regime through lifestyle & nutrition most definitely will compliment your favorite external beauty regime for healthy and glowing skin at any age.

3 Essentials for External Skincare:

  1. Cleanse, but don’t over-cleanse: Try LaVigne Naturals’ Botanical Cleanser for a non-drying deep-clean, that removes makeup – even mascara. Cleanse only once per day, in the evening, and/or after physical activity. You don’t need to cleanse again first thing in the morning.
  1. Don’t ignore exfoliation: This step is overlooked by so many people! Leaving layers of dry, dead skin can make your other products less effective, as they won’t absorb well. Exfoliating removes that dead skin, helps remove impurities, and smooths the skin’s surface, making it baby soft again! LaVigne’s Illuminating Facial Polish can be mixed with Botanical Cleanser to make a cleansing and exfoliating paste, and can also be combined with water or an oil.
  1. Moisturize daily, morning & night: Protect your skin with a quality moisturizer, like Advanced Firming Cream or Plump & Firm TriActive Peptide Cream for drier skin types. If you like a scent-free option, you can also try Mayan Magic Lite. I also love Facial Oils for those dry, winter months. Try the new, limited edition, poppy-and-ginger infused Liminal Resilience Facial Oil by LaVigne

Want to learn more about Women’s health and wellness?  Follow A Hot Mess, a Women’s Health & Lifestyle forum on Facebook or Chelan’s IG account for blogs, LIVES and her upcoming podcast.  Website coming soon at www.ahotmess.ca.  Sign up for her monthly newsletter via her website.

About Chelan Wilkins, RHN:

Chelan Wilkins is a Vancouver based Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Women’s Health Educator.  With over 5 years in the Natural Health & Wellness Industry as an Educator and Nutritionist Chelan has focused her expertise in Women’s health, hormones, digestive health and skin health.  A Co-Author of a Collagen guidebook, Women’s Health Advocate & disruptor and the host of a Women’s Health Podcast – A Hot Mess, Chelan shares her passion and knowledge to Women across Canada, empowering them to redefine their health.