As Weather Turns Cold, Forget Moisturizer for Soft, Supple Skin
All month long, I’ve been clearing up misconceptions. And today’s is a big one that is particularly important as we head into colder weather for the next several months.
The big misconception is that COLLAGEN supplements or a good moisturizer is the key to glowing, soft, beautiful skin. This myth is widely accepted by most people, and the numbers back that up. Americans spend $2.11 billion a year on anti-aging skin care products alone. And women spend an average of $8 per day on their face.
Listen, using a good quality moisturizer on your skin is important, and I’m all for it. But it’s not the cure-all people assume it is. What lies beneath is actually a much better predictor for how your skin behaves. We will get to what I mean by that in a moment, but while we’re on the subject, I’ve got another point of confusion to clear up.
People assume that what you apply to the surface of your skin stays on the surface. But in fact, many of the ingredients in moisturizers and other skin care products go beyond skin deep.
Testing routinely finds that Americans have dangerous chemicals like parabens and phthalates in their bodies, and once there, they can mess with your hormones, your organs, and even fetal development for pregnant women.
Trust me, you don’t want harmful chemicals in or anywhere around your body. So I’d like to talk about what’s in the skin products you use for just a moment.
The Environmental Working Group provides a ton of resources if you are interested in learning more. I’ve distilled some of the most important things to know here, but their website is a great resource.
Ingredients You Don’t Want Anywhere Near Your Skin
Here’s the bad news – most of the skin care products on the market today have horrifying ingredients like the ones listed below. So you really have to check labels carefully before you buy.
Here are the worst ingredients that are commonly found in face and body moisturizers and creams:
- Vitamin A – This sounds natural, and it’s good for you in food, but it’s not safe for skin, especially when exposed to sunlight. It produces toxic free radicals that can actually damage your DNA!
Retinyl acetate – another name for vitamin A
- Retinyl palmitate – another name for vitamin A
- Retinoic acid – another name for vitamin A
- Retinol – another name for vitamin A
- Alpha and beta hydroxy acids – These are restricted in Canada, and yet, here in the US, we allow the potential carcinogen in our anti-aging products.
- Lactic acid – a type of alpha hydroxy acid
- Glycolic acid – a type of alpha hydroxy acid
- Triclosan – This endocrine disruptor and persistent organ system toxin is banned in many other countries, but we allow it in our deodorants, soaps, and acne-fighting skin care products.
- Parabens – These endocrine disruptors are present in nearly all American bodies, thanks to their common use in skin and hair products.
- “Fragrance” as a listed ingredient – This means a chemical mixture that contains phthalates, which are damaging to reproductive systems.
- Oxybenzone – Common in moisturizers with sunscreen and shave products, this hormone disruptor is present in most American’s bodies and can affect fetal weight development.
- PEG / ceteareth / polyethylene – This carcinogen that can readily penetrate the skin can easily be replaced in products with natural alternatives, so be vigilant about this one.
Collagen supplements seem to be the big buzz word in the ‘health’ world these days, and you may have heard skincare experts talk about it, but what is it?
It’s a type of protein that is used in connective tissue in the hair, skin, nails, teeth, and joints to keep them plump, strong, and working properly.
Although your body naturally produces collagen, that slows as we age. By 40, we’ve already lost 15% of our production.
First and foremost, if you are dealing with bad skin or weak, brittle hair, a collagen deficiency is NOTcausing your problem.
The only reason why you should ever take a supplement is because you are DEFICIENT in that supplement, or you have a toxicity that needs to be removed. If the plant in your house wilts, you’ll give it water, not collagen, and your body is no different.
Collagen is a protein, and digestion of these supplements is often incomplete, resulting in some very large peptide chains. These long molecules are not well absorbed or utilized.
Collagen tablets that come from marine sources, such as shark cartilage or shellfish, contain high amounts of calcium. Most people taking these (or bone broth) aren’t ware of this, so in addition to everything else they are doing, they may be getting too much, Too much calcium (especially the wrong kind) in the body causes constipation, bone pain, fatigue, nausea and abnormal heart rhythms.
Collagen Supplements Don’t Work!
While collagen supplementation could offer some marginal (and indirect) help, the collagen you're eating or drinking is almost definitely not getting to your skin, says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in a SELF Magazine article.
Most collagen supplements are not absorbed into your bloodstream, but even if they were, that doesn't mean they make it from there to your skin.
Zhaoping Li, M.D., director and division chief at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, doesn't think it's particularly likely that your skin is going to be getting much help. She explains that the amino acids derived from breaking down ingested collagen (like any other protein you might eat) are distributed throughout the body based on which area needs them the most. Major muscles like the heart, diaphragm, and brain are the first on the list since they are necessary to function. Skin is a MUCH lower priority.
Lastly, with all that said, most people’s diets are so acidic, there guts and microbiome are in a chronic state of acidity, inflammation, and dysbiosis. Again, assuming for one second that the collagen is performing all of these skin miracles IF it even makes it there, most people’s guts prevent that from even happening.
Here’s the takeaway. If we want to have better skin as we age, and reclaim our fountain of youth, we have to stop treating the SYMPTOM like so many doctors and dermatologists are doing, and start addressing the TRUE CAUSE, which is the inflammation, acidity, and deficiency’s that are causing your skin problems in the first place.
Free radicals, glycation (eating too much sugar and protein together) and harmful UV rays damage collagen production. Therefore, I am recommending supplements that boost the skin’s natural defense mechanisms instead of collagen supplements.
What to Use Instead
Here’s the good news – there are more and more alternatives everyday that are safe to use.
I recommend you download the app that the Environmental Working Group provides free of charge called EWG’s Healthy Living. That way, you have it with you in the store, anytime you’re considering buying a personal or home care product, you can scan it, and they’ll give you all the information you need to know on 128,000 products.
They’ve also got lists of EWG-Verified products by type on their website, so you can browse approved options among anti-aging products, moisturizers, cleansers, and much, much more.
From the Outside In (Treating the Skin Itself)
Don’t forget to look beyond the beauty aisle! Coconut oil is one the best moisturizers around. Apply it at the end of your shower so you can rinse off any extra. You’ll find your skin is softer after just one shower. It also works great as a makeup remover.
The same goes for essential oils. Try these essential oils as part of your beauty routine (apply directly unless stated otherwise):
- Tea tree oilfor pimples and to prevent dandruff (add a few drops to your shampoo)
- Frankincense oilon wrinkles, scars, and acne
- Lavender oil can heal skin problems like eczema and acne
- Jojoba oilfor dry skin, eczema, and signs of aging
While we are on the subject, I want to share the advice of one of the most-revered experts in the beauty business, Bobbi Brown.
She was kind enough to do a review and endorsement of my book, Get Off Your Acid, and I was featured as a wellness expert in her latest book, Beauty From the Inside Out. In a recent interview with MarthaStewart.com, Bobbi shared her top wellness secrets:
From the Inside Out!
- Coconut oil: “A tablespoon of virgin coconut oil in your morning espresso is not only good for your skin – it keeps you fuller longer.”
- Peppermint oil: “I mix a few drops with water and spray it into my mouth. It’s great for your breath, and invigorating.”
- Alkamind Daily Greens: “Mixed with water, gives me energy and clarity when I feel sluggish.”
Why are the Daily Greens such a powerful skin healer – because they are a potent source of CHLOROPHYLL which heals the skin from the inside out!
ALL skin issues stem from leaky gut, an inflammatory condition where toxins leak into the bloodstream via gut, and take one guess where they exit? YOUR SKIN!
The skin is what I call the 3rd kidney, the largest detox organ in your body. So if you find yourself with wrinkles, aging skin, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, exzema – whatever it may be, it is an ACID and TOXICITY problem.
According to Dr. Zeichner, there's a lot of data to suggest that chlorophyll promotes red blood cell production, which means it also may help promote oxygen delivery to your tissues.
- look more awake
- healthier skin tone
- rid of dry patches
Chlorophyll has also been shown to help enhance wound healing when applied topically so, by extension, it may have some pretty potent anti-aging benefits, as many topicals used to treat wrinkling have roots in skin healing.
“By helping wounded cells repair themselves and behave like healthy cells, ingredients that stimulate healing might also improve fine lines and wrinkles," Zeichner said.
Chlorophyll has potent antioxidant effects, neutralizing free radicals, which are responsible for disrupting collagen production and DNA, which causes wrinkling and promotes skin cancer.
The Best Way to Moisturize: From the Inside Out
So let’s get back to the confusion at hand… I’m going to give you an advantage over all of the people who think that all skin needs to look glowing and gorgeous is a bunch of lotions and potions. Are you ready for this? Here it is…
There are 2 highly under-rated factors that contribute to the appearance, feel, and overall quality of skin.
- Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
If your skin is looking dull, dry, uneven, or chapped as the days get colder, the best solution is also the simplest. And it’s not found on the beauty aisle or through online shopping.
I mentioned before, and let’s say it again – when a flower starts to wilt, what’s the first thing you do to bring it back to life? Water it, of course.
The minute your skin starts to look parched, rough, or flaky, water should be the first thing you turn to.
I know what you’re thinking… Of course a doctor says to drink more water, but does it really lead to better skin?
Ask any esthetician and they’ll tell you. Drinking plenty of water fills in lines, gives your skin elasticity, and evens surface texture, keeping skin balanced and bright.
One of the first places you’ll start to see signs of dehydration and an imbalance of your body’s pH level is your skin. Think of it as a warning light telling you to take action before bigger problems occur.
Fortunately, taking action could not be easier. All you need to do is drink alkaline water. How do you know if it’s alkaline?
- Always choose filtered – not plain tap – the water systems that serve 100 million Americans contain trihalomethanes, toxic trash that may contribute to bladder cancer and other diseases.
- Add a slice of lemon or lime – this ups the pH factor so plain, filtered water is more alkaline.
- Skip the bottle – bottled water has 24,500 chemcicals, 2 of which can wreak havoc on your homones…plus, it’s acidic and the plastic used to make bottles contains BPA.
Aim to drink about half your body weight in ounces every day. In other words, if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces of water a day. That’s roughly 2 of the big Yeti metal tumblers or large glass water bottles a day, which is easily achievable.
- Healthy Fats Inside, Great Skin Outside
If you want great skin, I’ve got news for you… You need a HIGH fat diet!
That’s right – I said high fat. You need plenty of healthy fats that contain essential fatty acids like Omega-3s to get the glowing skin you want, free from redness, dryness, and visible lines.
Here are good sources of fat to increase in your diet if you want flawless skin:
- Wild-caught fish like fresh, cold-water salmon
- Micro-algae oil (this is the best source for vegans and vegetarians)
- Chia, flax, and hemp seeds
- Almonds – Packed with Vitamin E, a natural sun blocker and free radical fighter, almonds are your skin’s best friends.
- Carrots – Although they are thought of as benefiting the eyes, carrots are loaded with vitamin C, which boosts collagen production, slowing the signs of aging, and vitamin A, which prevents extra cell growth on the outer layer of skin.
By eating a diet rich in good fats, you’ll get plenty of collagen, naturally from a source that your body can ABSORB.
The good news is that you can eat collagen to supplement your natural supply. It’s found in chicken skin, chicken feet, bone broths, and some cuts of meat. But chicken is the MOST inflammatory animal protein out of ALL meat, containing the highest levels of arachidonic acid, a pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fat.
But you don’t need these acidic foods to boost your collagen supply – lots of alkaline foods are also good sources of collagen:
- Dark, green, leafy vegetables
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds – these also contain zinc, which prevents skin dryness
There’s one more thing you should do to ensure you’re getting plenty of good, healthy fats. Taking an Omega-3 supplement is essential for your health in so many ways, but one area it will have immediate effects on is your skin.
Be sure it is Omega-3 from fish oil, as this is 98% more usable compared to that of a plant-based supplement. Plus, it needs to be the right ratio of EPA to DHA. Many supplements get this wrong.
Our Alkamind Daily Omega-3 is the ideal ratio of 2 parts EPA to 1 part DHA, which means you can take less and still get plenty of the fats your body needs.
It’s also triple-purified, heavy metal free, and guaranteed for maximum potency and freshness. Can you say all of that about your current fish oil?
Make the switch to Alkamind Daily Omega-3 today!
Thank you so much for the info
Very well written and good information with supporting data.