How to (Naturally!) Support Healthy Hair and Skin | The Paleo Diet®
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How to (Naturally!) Support Healthy Hair and Skin

By Nell Stephenson, B.S., Contributor
January 15, 2015
How to (Naturally!) Support Healthy Hair and Skin image

Beauty comes from the inside out.

There’s no doubt that if we eat well, stay hydrated, and get active, we’re far more likely to have clear skin, shiny hair, and a natural, healthy glow.

When we follow The Paleo Diet, we regularly eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like wild fish and grass-fed beef, that help help soften rough skin and soothe inflammation-based dermatitis.

Specifically, The Paleo Diet helps support healthy skin and hair by making sure you get plenty of the following top seven essential vitamins, which are key to creating that youthful appearance:

  • Vitamin A. Beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A, can help protect the integrity of our skin. Load up on the carrots!
    • Vitamin B3 (Niacin). This vitamin can help improve the skin barrier. You'll find it in root vegetables and leafy greens, as well as cantaloupe, tuna, chicken, salmon, turkey and lamb.
    • Vitamin C. Believe it or not, vitamin C naturally helps fight wrinkles! Just one medium red bell pepper will give you more than 100% of your dietary needs for the day.
    • Vitamin E. This moisture-rich vitamin can prevent dry skin, reduce free radicals and protect against damaging UV rays. You'll find it in avocado.
    • Vitamin K. Protecting collagen in the body is important for healthy skin, and vitamin K does exactly that. Plus, it may improve with insulin resistance. Find it in kale, spinach, mustard, and collard greens.
    • Omega-3s. Specifically, alpha-linoleic acid (a type of omega-3) decreases dryness, keeps skin soft, reduces inflammation, and helps ease psoriasis. Find it in salmon and walnuts.
    • Quercetin. This antioxidant helps protect against wrinkles. Onions are a good source.

    If we first look at what we put into our bodies, we’re off to a great start. But we also want to consider what goes on our bodies.

    It’s easy to get caught up in thinking we need costly eye creams and moisturizing tonics, but the truth is many of these products contain toxic ingredients that can harm your health. The best way to smooth skin and shiny hair? Making your own beauty products with just a few simple ingredients!

    Sugar Scrub

    While we don't eat sugar as much as possible, it turns out that a good coarse sugar has great skin benefits. The Wellness Mama shares this great recipe on her site.

    Ingredients

    • ½ cup sugar (white sugar or brown sugar)
    • ¼ cup oil (olive or coconut are great)

    Instructions

    1. Mix the sugar and oil together. Store in an airtight jar.
    2. Use 1 tablespoon as needed in the shower. Scrub skin with the mixture, and rinse well.

    Coconut Oil Hair Mask

    Coconut oil's naturally hydrating properties make it a cost-effective home treatment for hair. Simply melt a bit in a saucepan, apply to the ends of your hair (avoiding getting too close to the roots, as the scalp tends to be oilier), twist hair into a bun, don a shower cap, and head to bed. You'll wake up with extra silky-soft hair. Repeat weekly or as needed, depending on how dry your hair is.

    Fresh Cucumber Eye Mask

    Spas use this bright green fruit for a reason! Rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that help with swelling, redness and irritation, and they also have a cooling effect that helps constrict dilated blood vessels, reducing the appearance of eye puffiness. Slice cucumber slices, place in the freezer for 10 minutes, then place over your eyes for about 30 minutes.

    Vitamin E Makeup Remover

    Empowered Sustenance’s blog shares a great formula for an at-home recipe using Vitamin E to incorporate as part of your nightly regime.

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Jojoba Oil
    • 1 vitamin E oil capsule
    • Dark glass dropper bottle for storage

    Instructions

    1. Fill the glass jar about 3/4 of the way with the jojoba oil. Prick the vitamin E capsule with a needle or the tip of a sharp knife. Squeeze the contents of the capsule into the jar. Place the lid on the jar and shake well to combine.
    2. When you are ready to remove your makeup, use about 1/2 teaspoon of your DIY Makeup Remover. Gently massage it onto your face, making sure to fully saturate the eye area. Gently wipe off the oil with a cotton pad or damp washcloth. Voila, makeup all gone!
    3. Cleanse your face afterward

    How to Use Essential Oils

    Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in many cultures for a wide range of medicinal, health, and beauty purposes. Made from distilling or extracting the different parts of plants including the flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin, and peels, there’s an oil for everything! Just be sure to confirm that the brand you purchase is edible, as some may contain unhealthy additives and preservatives. Here are some of my favorite oils.

    Lavender Oil

    For relaxation and improved beauty sleep, simply rub a few drops on your palms and inhale deeply while in a calm, peaceful environment.

    Peppermint Oil

    Need to freshen up your mouth? Skip the gum, which only masks garlic breath, and try a few drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil instead.

    Ginger Oil

    The perfect remedy for an upset stomach, and a natural anti-inflammatory aid. A few drops in hot water with lemon make for a lovely homemade tea.

    The Bottom Line

    Everything we need to nourish our bodies from the inside and outside can be found in nature.

    Why not try your hand at some DIY treatments? They’re fun, cost-effective and probably better than what you’d find in a pre-packaged container. Not too different from how we approach eating!

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