A Natural Path: Anti-aging is more than skin deep
September 29, 2008
We Americans are not strangers to the cosmetic market. Make-up, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, injections of fat, toxins, vitamins and collagen, and the most invasive of them all: surgery. All in an attempt to stay young and beautiful. It used to be that only the rich and famous were unattainably gorgeous; however the rising popularity and dropping costs of such procedures are making these ideals graspable for the willing masses. Who would deny anyone the privilege of everlasting youth? Who wouldn’t want to look 25 at age 60?
We Americans are also not strangers to the idiom “beauty is more than skin deep,” which I fear that we have forgotten with all the cosmetic commotion. Age is beautiful and natural, and it happens to us all, no matter how we try to fight it. Instead of trying to fake it, why not embrace it and enhance our own personal beauty?
Lucky for us, beauty and youthfulness is attainable without subjecting yourself to any invasive procedure, no matter how cheap and readily available.
When it comes to caring for your skin, whether it be preventing wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, broken blood vessels or trying to deal with acne, what you do externally to your skin pales in comparison to the benefits you reap from addressing those issues from within. In other words, the look of your skin is ultimately determined not by what you put on your skin, but by what you put in your body.
Poor nutrition, alcohol consumption, smoking, stress and sleep deprivation show on the skin. In Chinese medicine, we use “facial diagnosis” in which we look at the color and quality of the skin to determine the health of the internal organs. The location of lines and wrinkles, certain hues showing on the face and even the shape of your face can give insight into who you are and your health.
When you work to “fix” your underlying health issues, you are inevitably working on making your skin better, too. This is the true, holistic version of anti-aging. There is no quick fix. Skin peels, injections, lasers and surgeries all have risks and side effects. If you maintain an unhealthy lifestyle, even these procedures don’t have lasting effects.
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A healthy diet and skin specific supplements such as vitamins A, C, E and B complex help improve your overall health and the quality of your skin. These vitamins repair connective tissue and contribute to the formation of collagen, both of which improve the health and appearance of the skin. Herbal medicines also help to heal the body and skin and should be used under the care of a qualified practitioner.
If you are looking for a “procedure” to help your skin look younger and healthier while you work on your overall health, I would recommend the Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture that I do in my office. This “cosmetic” procedure employs the use of very small acupuncture needles on different points on the face. The micro-trauma that is caused by these shallowly inserted needles stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep the skin smooth and tight. While this, like the other procedures mentioned above is cosmetic in nature, the overall treatment is holistic in that while you have the needles in your face, you are also receiving acupuncture to balance and restore health to your entire body.
Acne goes away, wrinkles and lines are lessened, age spots diminished, sagging skin lifted, and the tone of the skin is more even. Because this is a holistic anti-aging treatment, most patients also experience improved sleep, better digestion and higher energy, in addition to an improvement in their overall health and well-being. You will look better and you will feel better and you will still look like you.
When it comes to being your best as you age, focus on your whole health, not just your outer appearance.
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Dr. Eliza Klearman is a Naturopathic Doctor and acupuncturist practicing in Eagle. For more information call 970-328-5678 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.