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Rich Dafter

How To Make Your Skin Look Younger

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We always hear from our customers (who often feel they're crazy) that "even" their skin is looking younger since they started to exercise. It's not their imagination – they have improved the health of their skin by living a healthier lifestyle.

Nowadays, there seems to be a lotion or cream to cure just about any skin ailment. While there are indeed some wonderful elixirs out there, I ask you, if you wanted to tend to your liver, would you put Lubriderm on it? If you wanted to make sure your heart will stay young and vital, would you slather on some Oil of Olay?

Of course not. But get this: the skin is an organ just like your heart and your liver. In fact, it is the largest organ on the human body. So, if you do the math, it seems obvious that you should keep it healthy the same way you keep all the rest of your organs in shape: diet and exercise.

Of course, every organ is different. While diet and exercise is universally beneficial, they affect each organ in diverse ways. Here's a break down of how your outer-casing benefits from a health-filled regime.

Of course, every organ is different. While diet and exercise is universally beneficial, they affect each organ in diverse ways. Here's a break down of how your outer-casing benefits from a health-filled regime.

EATING FOR YOUR EPIDERMIS

All kinds of vitamins and minerals do all kinds of things for your skin. Zinc and protein speed healing and reconstruct damaged tissue, as does Vitamin C by aiding the production of collagen, the protein building blocks vital to all your connective tissue.

Vitamin E helps with circulation, which flushes out toxins.

Both C and E deliver anti-oxidants, which are believed to fight against sun damage, smoke and the dreaded hole in the ozone layer, although they are by no means a substitute for sun block and a good hat -- or for giving up smoking.

All these damaging effects create free radicals, nasty little oxidized molecules that are believed to cause tissue damage at the cellular level. Among other things, free radicals contribute to the development of cancer. The best way to neutralize them is with anti-oxidants, like the ones you get from many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, berries, leafy greens and beets. You'll also find anti-oxidants in green tea.

You'll hear talk from time to time of the anti-oxidants in chocolate, but keep in mind that chocolate also over stimulates oil production, so you wouldn't be doing your skin any favors, plowing though those M&Ms.

And then there's water. As with everything else to do with your body, H2O makes all the difference. Eight glasses a day will hydrate your skin, flush out toxins and regulate your oil glands, which is great news for your complexion. Water is also excellent for skin elasticity. Unfortunately, stretched skin often won't completely shrink-to-fit, but keeping hydrated will definitely help.

FITNESS FOR YOUR FLESH

Most of us work out to get our heart rate up and our abs rippin'. If that's all you thought exercise did, welcome to the bonus round! Working out also does wonders for the skin by toning, reducing stress and increasing circulation. Increased circulation means your blood can deliver oxygen and nutrients to your hide.

But wait, there's more! Exercise also makes you sweat, which flushes toxins out of your system (with help from that water I was badgering you about earlier). It also releases sebum, a mixture of fatty acids, waxes, triglycerides and cholesterol that acts as the skin's own built-in moisturizer. Researchers at the Eberhard Karls University in Germany believe sweat also releases dermacidin, an antibiotic that limits disease-causing bacteria, thus reducing your chances of skin infection.

So don't stop moisturizing and definitely keep slathering on the sunscreen. It's important to take care of your skin that way. But remember, some of the best ways to tend to your flesh involve working from the inside out.

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