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Women's Health

The Skinny on Your Health

How Your Skin Explains Overall Health

October 01, 2010
Are you getting enough water? How about antioxidants? Had too much sun exposure?

You can get answers to all of these questions simply by examining your skin. Your skin can actually tell you a lot about your overall Health.

Your skin – which is actually your largest organ – is there to guard the underlying muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs. When something inside your body isn't functioning properly, signs of it often show up on the skin.

Foods and skin tone

One of the key things that can affect your skin is food. Everything you eat becomes a part of your inner being, as well as the outer fabric of your body. The healthier you eat, the better your skin will look. Likewise, the more junk foods you consume, the more problems you're likely to see on your skin and elsewhere.

Here are a few of the key ingredients you need in your diet to produce healthy skin—and good health overall!

Flush out dry skin

If your skin is dry and flaky, that's a good indication that you may not be consuming enough water. While the exact amount of water you should drink each day varies by age, good hydration is important at every age. And it becomes even more important as you get older. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as women experiencing menopause, often lose a lot of hydration and need to up their efforts to keep hydrated.

Not only is water important to our overall health – and better to drink than anything else – it also keeps skin looking healthy and young. Davina Arbour, a medical aesthetician with St.Vincent Women's Hospital's SKINnovations practice in Fishers, often explains the effect of water by comparing a grape and a raisin.

"A grape is plump because it's full of liquid, whereas a raisin is full of lines and wrinkles because there's not any liquid in it," she says. "That's what can happen over time to our skin if we don't make the effort to continually hydrate it."

Going "anti" on aging

Feel as if your skin is aging fast? Maybe you're noticing less smoothness and elasticity? It may be due to a lack of antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants, such as those found in blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, protect skin cells and decrease the amount of damage to your skin. This is important because, as skin ages, it receives less blood flow and, as a result, becomes thinner and more easily damaged. It is also more difficult for skin to heal itself as a person ages. The more help we give it – with good things like antioxidants – the better.

Arbour says there are also topical antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, E, green tea and other antioxidant compounds found in creams and lotions, that can help your skin retain its youthfulness. Some have even proven to decrease the long-term effects of the sun on the skin.

Additionally, she recommends Retin-A cream. Widely known for treating acne, Retin-A is used to enhance the overall texture of the skin and help remove fine lines from the face.

Screening the sun's rays

The sun can also have a negative effect on skin. Sun damage appears as hyper pigmentation, or brown spots—and they can appear five, 10 or 15 years after sun exposure.

Good sunscreen is a must—look for types that protect against both ultraviolet A and B rays. It's also important to cover the skin (wearing hats, shirts, etc.) and not expose it to too much sun or tanning booths. The damage is great and long-lasting.

Easy as 1, 2, 3

"If people started doing just those three things – drinking lots of water; eating right and applying antioxidants; and protecting their skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays – they'd make a big difference in their appearance and their overall health."

Arbour is part of St.Vincent Women's SKINnovations practice in Fishers. Together with Juanita Albright, MD, a board certified internist, Arbour provides medically-tested treatments, including Cutera CoolGlide Vein Therapy, Laser Genesis, Cutera Titan Laser and more. SKINnovations works closely with nutritionists and massage therapists at St.Vincent Women's Hospital to provide patients with the full spectrum of care.

Call 317-415-9010 for a complimentary consultation at SKINnovations today.

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