Yes, of course, you want healthy skin – doesn’t everyone want great looking skin? We are constantly bombarded with the marketing for external products and ways to improve the appearance of our skin. Most people don’t realize that it’s what’s underneath your skin that creates beautiful skin.
First, things first, just a bit of straightforward anatomy. While both your skin and connective tissue are complex, we’ll keep it simple.
Connective tissue is the collagen-based soft tissue that surrounds, protects and connects bones and joints to one another, and interfaces with your organs, glands and systems, making up 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 nutrients being continuously delivered through your bloodstream.
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 cross joints. They are made up primarily of collagen and elastin.
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 rib cage.
Remember, as we age, we lose valuable cartilage. Steps you can take to improve and replenish the health of your skin and connective tissue:
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of clean filtered or spring water every day. THIS IS CRITICAL! Hydrated skin and connective tissue will always regenerate and recover faster than dehydrated tissue. That great looking skin you see on a lovely or handsome face is almost always well hydrated.
- Eat and take high quality fats. The trillions of your body cells have bi-lipid (fat) membranes — whatever fats you consume are constantly making up your cell membranes, allowing vital nutrients and bio-chemicals to move into and out of your cells.
- Minimize or eliminate unnecessary chemicals and preservatives 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 and antioxidants.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Try to create wind-down or transition time before sleep. Women tend to need this time to dis-engage from the activities of the day. Men, not as much.
- 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.
- Great looking skin requires consistent daily care. Washing, moisturizer and sunblock at least once a day will pay off handsomely over time. Ladies, be sure to have a good moisturizing regime for winter months, as air is drier and traveling tends to make facial skin look and feel dryer than usual. You might consider using organic shea butter and or coconut oil on your face, eyelashes and fingernails. I have discovered healthier skin from daily dry-brushing followed by a natural, fragrance free moisturizer.
Remember to make self-care a balancing priority for yourself. I see many people in my clinical practice that have degenerative changes already in play in their 30’s and 40’s. Reversing degeneration is slow, hard and expensive work. It’s never too late to start taking better care of yourself. 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!