By BIS Contributor Dr. Mary Warren
Healthy skin… Don’t all women want great looking skin?
We are bombarded with all kinds of external products and methods to improve the appearance of our skin, but most women don’t really know what’s underneath our skin is driving how good it looks.
First, things first, just a bit of anatomy. The skin portion is pretty easy to understand, because you see your skin and know how it looks and feels. The connective tissue (underneath) part is a bit more complex, but we’ll keep it straightforward.
Connective tissue is the collagen-based soft tissue that surrounds, protects and connects bones and joints to one another and with the rest of your body. Connective tissue, for our discussion, is composed primarily of the skeletal muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and adipose tissue (fat) that make up the musculoskeletal system.
Muscles – The skeletal muscles have specific roles to play, but their main job is to contract. They are used to move your body by moving your limbs, torso and joints. Skeletal muscles are densely vascular and rely upon the nutrients being continuously delivered by your blood.
Tendons – These incredibly strong and flexible tissues are the interface between the muscles and bones and are predominantly collagen-based. They have very high tensile strength and are designed to ensure proper transfer of energy to and through the bones and joints of your musculoskeletal system.
Ligaments – These are the fibrous portions of the outer layer of the joint capsules that connect to your bones. Made up primarily of collagen and elastin, ligaments allow the muscles to have extensibility and flexibility and have more flexibility than tendons.
Cartilage – There are more than 20 types of cartilage covering and supporting vast areas of your body, from the cartilage that forms your ears and nose to the cartilage of your ribcage.
Remember, as we age, we lose valuable cartilage. Steps you can take to improve and replenish the health of your skin and connective tissue:
1. Drink half your body weight in ounces of clean filtered or spring water every day. THIS IS CRITICAL!
Dehydrated skin and connective tissue is slower to regenerate than hydrated tissue. That great looking skin you see on a lovely face is almost always well hydrated.
2. Minimize or eliminate unnecessary preservatives and chemicals in what you drink and eat.
Everything you consume effects how your connective tissue functions and how your skin looks. Mineral dense vegetables are great sources of nutrition. Try some of these Spring veggies and fruit to support healthy skin and connective tissue:
Apricots I Artichokes I Arugula I Asparagus I Beets I Carrots I Chard I Fava beans I Fennel Garlic Grapefruit I Green onions/Scallions I Greens I Kiwis I Kohlrabi I Kumquats I Leeks I Lemons Lettuce I Mint I Navel oranges I Parsley I Peas I Radishes I Rhubarb I Spinach I Spring onions Strawberries I Sweet Onions I Turnips
3. Stay active and strive to do some type of exercise or activity each day.
Exercise moves blood and lymphatic fluid through your organs, glands and connective tissue, helping to remove waste products and bring vital nutrients to the cells of your skin and connective tissue.
4. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Try to create wind-down or transition time before sleep. Women tend to need that time and self-giving space in order to dis-engage from the activities of the day.
Remember to make self-care a priority for yourself.
I see many women in my clinical practice that have put everyone else first for years and decades, then finally start to take care of themselves in their 50s or 60s. Many degenerative changes have already taken place and reversing degeneration is hard, slow work. Start today with these simple steps and very soon you’ll see and feel wonderful changes in how you look and feel. To your good health!