Tag Archives: inflammation

sea

Therapy By The Sea. The Beauty Benefits Of Seawater.

October 1, 2013

 “I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.” ~ John Masefield, Spunyarn: Sea Poetry & Prose

the beauty benefits of the sea

It’s so thrilling to finally live just a short drive away from the beach!

The blue shimmering waters, the sound of the waves, the fresh salty air and the warmth of the sun… hardly a day has gone by that I have not spent some time sitting at the beach, breathing it all in.

Nevermind that it’s always too cold to go swimming in the Pacific waters of Northern California!

Just standing next to the ocean alone helps to bolster an overall sense of well-being.

But the benefits are not all just in our heads.

The beauty and health benefits of seawater are numerous. And have been known throughout the ages.

The ancient Egyptians and the greeks, including Hippocrates, observed that seawater could clean and heal wounds.

And the French have even invented a term for seawater therapy, called Thalassotherapy, which advocates the use not only of seawater, but also seaweed, sand and the maritime climate to treat various ails, from rheumatism to depression.

Seawater is filled with minerals and elements that maintain overall health and improve inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis and dermatitis.

The two main healers are salt and potassium chloride which help to seal damaged skin. Magnesium in seawater helps skin to retain moisture, so it will feel soft and smooth.

A certain amount of sun at the beach can also help treat skin ailments, by drying the skin and making it flake off and allowing healing to take place.

Sea air also provides respiratory benefits that can improve allergies and asthma. Negative ions, which are especially abundant in environments with moving water, increase our ability to absorb oxygen.

It’s no secret that relaxing at the beach can help to lower stress levels and rejuvenate the mind.

sea

When I stand next to the ocean, I am always reminded that we are part of something vast. And I am humbled.

Because no matter how big we make our problems to be, in the grand scheme of things, our lives are nothing but a small drop in an infinite ocean.

And for me, having regular access to that perspective is incredibly therapeutic.

Sugar, Inflammation, Acne & Aging

Cool It With The Cookies! How Sugar & Inflammation Can Be A Recipe For Bad Skin

January 22, 2013

As a grown-up, I feel like I’ve earned the right to eat sweets. And eat as much of it as I want! But as someone who’s very mindful of skincare, I must exercise a little bit of restraint when it comes to sweet indulgences. In fact, reducing sugar intake happens to be one of my three new year resolutions. And this is an elaboration as to why.

The unhappy bottom line is this: a diet high in sugar is going to make you wrinklier faster and make you more prone to having pimply breakouts. 

When sugary foods, otherwise known as high-glycemic foods, are broken down in the body, they are quickly converted into glucose. This rapid surge of glucose in the blood is met with a surge of insulin and simultaneously signals the immune system to release pro-inflammatory compounds.

Inflammation & Acne

Many dermatologists would agree that the cause of acne is a complex interaction of changing hormones, clogged pores, excessive sebum, overgrowth of normally harmless bacteria and inflammation. However, many of these same dermatologists would also shrug off the link between diet and acne for lack of scientific evidence. But to me, it’s baffling how one could deny this existing connection between what we eat and inflammation.

So what exactly is inflammation? When you’re sick or injured, inflammation occurs as a result of your body trying to heal itself. This is known as acute inflammation, a response that is brief and lasts only several days. Inflammation is supposed to be a short burst of activity in your immune system. But when inflammation becomes chronic, meaning that it just hangs around and doesn’t go anywhere, it can cause gradual damage to the body and lead to a variety of diseases.

How Does Inflammation Cause Acne? 

Although there are many factors that can contribute to the formation of acne, the two main culprits are hormones and inflammation. A hormone imbalance can result in excess production of sebum (the skin’s natural oils) and excessive skin cell growth, which in turn can block pores.

Enter P. Acnes bacteria, the anaerobic bacteria that is known to trigger acne. In fact, this bacteria is usually present on our skin and pose no problems. But inflammation can cause oxidation changes in sebum and lower its oxygen content, thus giving the P. Acnes bacteria a more suitable environment to thrive and multiply.

Research shows that the initial key that triggers acne formation process is not the bacteria, but rather the oxidative damage to sebum caused by inflammation.

Sugar & Aging

Even if you’re lucky enough to have smooth, acne-free skin, it is still important to reduce your sugar intake. High amounts of sugar in the diet increase advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs, which is a protein that binds to glucose molecules and can damage collagen and elastin, the proteins that give skin its plump and youthful structure (Read: Sugar and Aging, How To Fight Glycation).

Modifying Our Diet (Just A Little)

The fact is, we can’t completely eliminate sugar from our diet. And it would be silly to try! After all, glucose is also present in many healthy foods. All carbs eventually get converted into glucose, so the best thing we can do is opt for low-glycemic foods which releases glucose in a slower and more manageable way.

Examples of foods to heap up on are whole grains like brown rice, leafy greens like kale and spinach, and fruits that are low in sugar but high in antioxidants like berries. Also, good fats such as those found in avocado, nuts and fish are anti-inflammatory and very good at keeping the skin healthy and glowing.

In the end, if you really MUST get your sugar fix, the key is moderation in conjunction to a diet that’s abundant with wholesome nutritious foods. When enjoyed this way, a bit of dark chocolate or a slice of cake from time to time won’t hurt you. And can actually be very good for the soul!

Sugar, Inflammation, Acne & Aging

 Enjoy! In Mindful Moderation