Written By Tina Haen

Have you stopped by your favorite makeup counter lately? I can assure you one of the initial questions the consultant asked you stemmed from her interest in your daily facial moisturizing and preservation regimen. These tiny bottles of lotion promise to smooth, plump and moisturize your skin to the flawless glow you reigned in your youth – pure and undamaged. Lotion, anti-aging cream, chemical peels, nip tuck, you name it; our society is desperately seeking the fountain of youth, primarily to save the delicate skin on our face. This concept has created a multi million dollar industry of procedures and products to reverse the damage our skin endures; shockingly enough most of them occur on a daily basis. Unprotected exposure to the sun is recognized as the most harmful hazard but I’m about to unveil some of the most hidden and unsuspecting culprits...

1. Coffee

Quick, fast-forward yourself to tomorrow morning’s routine; the commute, the early AM workout, sending kids off to school or simply the process of “of rise and shine” most likely involves a cup of coffee. In fact recent studies have shown that almost 65% of Americans include (or rely) on this jolt of caffeine to function in the morning. Unfortunately your cup of Joe has some effects that may encourage you to think twice about that refill.
Dehydration. While fluids are encouraged in your daily diet, this one unfortunately taxes the attempts of hydrating. The caffeine levels in an average serving of coffee are high enough to act as a diuretic – which actually pulls water from the body and organs, which often results in a few trips to the bathroom. Your body expels the excess water in this process due to the diuretic which stimulates this cycle. Not only do diuretics dehydrate you from the inside, but from the outside too. Yes, your skin is a victim as well. Dry and flaky skin is often a common side effect of dehydration. A simple solution to this would be to match or even double your water consumption to the amounts of coffee you drink.

2. Stress

As if we don’t have enough to worry about... the daily grind on top of nonstop schedules, never ending work loads and life’s other demands also breeds another mess to clean up, acne. Here we go again; spot treatments, exfoliating washes, oil fighting creams and cleansing wipes are another sector in the struggle for clear skin. An entire category of skin care is dedicated to breakout control. It is an ongoing battle to reduce inflammation and soothe the red tones back to a soft natural blush; and that’s just the forefront. Stress is linked to high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that breaks down collagen, increases oil production and causes inflammation. What is one of the most common side effect of imbalanced hormones? Breakouts. This vicious cycle ultimately breaks down the skin’s ability to heal itself, causing signs of aging and a dull complexion. Lack of sleep usually contributes to our stresses and therefore our skin quality.
The best ways to combat stress and sooth and improve your skin are sleep, exercise (sweating is a great way to release toxins in the skin) and meditation. Finding a calming practice is an easy way to start getting your stress levels in check. Chances are, once you calm down your skin will too.

3. Pollutants/ Toxins

Unfortunately just about everything in life today is tainted with some form of toxins. The air we breathe is full of smog, invisible waste from factories, vehicles exhaust and dirt particles. Each time you are exposed to air, especially in populated areas, we absorb and breathe these hazardous pollutants. Not only are these toxins ingested through breathing, but it also is clogging our pores. Scary isn’t it?
Now think of your shower routine. Shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, body and face wash. We’re getting clean right? Yes, in a sense, but we often fail to remember the vast amount of chemicals and toxins that make the concoction we are using to nourish and moisturize our skin. Along with removing dirt, it also unfortunately strips the skin of essential oils, leaving your epidermis (the outer most layer of skin) dry and cracked.
The more aware you become of how and what is going into your body, you’ll realize how much your skin has to work to keep YOU healthy. Pitch in and give your skin’s defenses a break. Avoid any harsh or potent chemicals or lotions, although they are used to aid or cure one ailment, they could be causing more of them indirectly. Pure is best. Always.
Now you’re probably wondering how to avoid and reverse these little pollutants from your skin, especially when most of them are so much a part of our daily lives. Here are some steps of encouragement! There are several ways to combat skin damage, nutritionally and environmentally. When deciding what to consume or drink, stop and think “Is this the purest form available” and you’re already half way to a better decision. In this case less is MORE when it comes to the ingredients we consume. Organic and pure is always best of course, but if that isn’t an option go as natural as you can, or at least start comparing labels. This applies for cosmetics, lotions, body washes, makeup, makeup removers, moisturizers, sun block, deodorants and anything else that we apply directly to our skin.
Water makes up the majority of this planet and should also be one of your best friends. Coincidence? I don't think so. Not only does it flush out toxins internally but hydrates your skin and helps keep the moisture levels balanced; thus preventing dry or oily patches. Drink up! This rolls into exercise – releasing sweat expels toxins right out of our skin’s top layers. It also improves circulation which keeps skin looking youthful and healthy. Eating fresh foods like fruits and vegetables (organic is always best) helps rid our bodies of these chemical build ups. It also prevents further damage by avoiding the consumption of foreign chemicals for our body to fight off.
I’ve found an incredibly refreshing and delicious way to consume essential skin boosting vitamins, all in one glass.
Sweet Skin Soother
2 carrot sticks OR 1 peeled orange  (improves complexion / glow of skin)
2 cucumbers (very hydrating, high in silicon - a vital mineral for tissue connectivity)
1 lemon – peeled (great for detoxifying and alkalizing )
1 apple (hydrates)
1 inch aloe vera (helps detoxify and maintain elasticity of the skin)
Try this juice for a boost of skin enhancing minerals that will help your skin glow and glisten this summer. This vitamin packed juice is also a perfect way to refresh and relax on a warm afternoon. Revitalize your skin from the inside out!