Friday, October 8, 2010

Why exercising can help to clear our skin and defy aging.

Lifting weights, doing aerobic workouts, and stretching into a yoga pose all benefit your skin as well as your body.
Most of the time, exercise conjures up images of losing weight, building muscle, and trimming thighs. But now, doctors say, another body part may benefit from regular workouts -- your skin.

Indeed, from reducing acne breakouts to fighting the signs of aging, health experts say regular exercise can play a big role in how young and how healthy your skin looks and feels.

What it happens is increased circulation and delivery of nutrients to skin cells, whooshing away potentially damaging toxins. Another is giving skin the optimum conditions for making collagen, the support fibers that help keep wrinkles and lines at bay.

But perhaps the most dramatic effects of exercise are on acne-prone skin. Doctors say working out provides many benefits that can help clear the skin. How? Exercise mediates the production of testosterone-related hormones such as DHEA and DHT. There's a lot of indirect evidence that shows that when you exercise your level of stress diminishes. So your adrenal glands are producing less of these male-type hormones that are part of any acne flare-up. The proof? Try to remember any situation that increased your stress level -- meeting a deadline, receiving an unexpected bill that needs to be paid, disagreements in family -- and you're likely to recall a breakout. Almost everyone's skin flares when they are under stress but especially those who already is prone to acne. Exercise, can help control it. By reducing stress, it tends to quiet the adrenals. There is less hormone output which in turn helps control acne.

According to dermatologists, regular exercise also increases sweating, which in turn can unclog pores and have a positive effect on breakouts.

In the long run, people who exercise have a better complexion overall. If they have acne, it's better controlled, and if they have occasional breakouts they are definitely less severe, and clear quicker and easier.

This same hormone-reducing activity can also benefit your hair. Anything that controls the amount of male hormones your body produces can impact not only skin, but also androgenic hair loss. Anything you can do to reduce the production of these hormones is going to have beneficial results on both skin and hair.

While we don't often think of exercise has having any specific anti-aging effects on skin, experts say it most definitely does. One is by influencing the natural production of collagen, a kind of connective tissue that plumps your skin and gives your face the bloom of youth. Our fibroblasts, which are the collagen-producing cells in the skin, became fewer in number and they become lazy as we get older. Skin becomes less firm, drier, and even more wrinkled. However, add an exercise routine to your beauty regimen and you infuse skin cells with oxygen as well as other nutrients. Both set up ideal conditions for collagen production.

Beyond helping your muscles relax, doctors say most aerobic exercise, such as walking or bicycling, also offer a "cleansing" effect on skin. This helps remove toxins that assault the skin --like cigarette smoke, air pollution, even chemicals commonly found in grooming products such as hair spray, deodorant, and shower gels. The better your circulation, which is something aerobic exercise can improve, the more effectively toxins are removed. The better and healthier your skin will not only be, but also look.

What can help your skin even more: Hydrating your body before and after exercise.

If you are properly hydrating yourself during exercise you will get better blood flow to the skin, which in turn encourages the elimination of toxins that would otherwise accumulate in the skin cells. This is particularly true for those who overindulge in alcohol, drugs, or even junk food.

Proper fluid intake -- water in particular -- can increase skin blood flow, allowing the washing out of those toxins, which in turn will help skin not only look better but also be healthier.

Chemicals, are they always bad? How about natural killers?

If you look to the Internet for information about beauty products, you’ll quickly become overwhelmed with articles about how all-natural ingredients are superior and for your hair and skin and synthetic ingredients are sending you to an early grave. This has always bugged me because if people just thought about it, they’d soon realize that “natural” does not automatically mean “good”. Snake venom, viruses, and radiation are all natural.

In fact, some of the most toxic substances are “natural”.

So, the next time you hear someone droning on and on about how much better natural ingredients are than synthetics just remind them of these ten All-Natural Nasties.

Naturally Toxic Ingredients

10. Patulin: The patulin toxin produced by fungi found on rotting apples. It’s not especially dangerous but a few studies have shown it can cause DNA mutations.

Watch out if you’re making your own apple juice to put in your DIY personal care products

9. Aflatoxin: Another toxin naturally produced by our fungi friends. Aflatoxins make their way into food crops like corn and peanuts. The compound has been shown to cause liver cancer in lab animals and has been associated with live cancer in humans. Governments monitor and regulate food for acceptable amounts of aflatoxin.

Be careful about contaminated corn or peanut compounds in your cosmetics

8. Ergotamine: This is an alkaloid produced naturally by a food fungus that grows on rye and wheat plants. If not properly processed grains contaminated with ergotamine can end up in your bread and cause the disease ergotism. Not a problem if you don’t mind gangrenous infections of the limbs and hallucinations.

This natural material is also the starting point for making the drug LSD.

7. Mistletoe Lectin: People love mistletoe at Christmas but did you know this naturally growing plant is extremely toxic to humans? Any part of the plant can poison you and if ingested can cause vomiting, hallucinations, and blurred vision.

Avoid any product said to contain Mistletoe extract. Unless hallucinating and vomiting is your idea of a good time.

6. Saxitoxin: This is a toxic material naturally produced by a common algae found in oceans around the world. When conditions are right, the little microscopic organisms produce saxitoxin, or red tide. If enough of it is introduced into your body, it causes paralysis and death. On occasion, people can get exposed to the poison by eating contaminated shellfish.

Apparently algae extracts aren’t always advisable.

5. Batrachotoxin: Frogs are cute except for maybe the poison dart frog that makes one of the most toxic compounds known. Batrachotoxins are naturally produced by certain species of frogs, beetles and birds. If you get some of the compound in you, expect paralysis of your breathing muscles followed by death soon afterwards.

Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment to stop the nasty effects of this natural substance.

4. Ricin: With a natural sounding name like ricin it’s got to be good right? Wrong. Ricin is a protein toxin that comes from castor beans. Yeah, this is the same plant that gives us the beneficial castor oil. If you’re exposed to enough ricin, it’ll cause diarrhea and death.

Thankfully, man-made, synthetic purification processes can separate the good parts of the castor bean from the toxic ones.

3. Alpha-Amanitin: This is a simple, natural, toxic peptide produced by a mushroom. If you happen to eat some alpha-amanitin laced mushrooms you’ll feel cramps and diarrhea within 24 hours. Left untreated your kidneys and liver will be damaged beyond repair and you will die. This little natural molecule is considered one of the deadliest compounds known.

Synthetic chemicals have nothing on this natural killer.

2. Anthrax Toxin: This natural ingredient is one you’ve probably heard about. This toxin is a combination of three proteins produced by a bacterium (Bacillus anthracis). It most often kills domestic animals like sheep and cattle but it can kill humans too. And you only need to be exposed to it on your skin. Anthrax ultimately causes death by respiratory and cardiac failure.

And you thought protein was always good.

1. Botulinum Toxin: No list of natural toxins would be complete on a cosmetic site without the mention of this neurotoxic protein. While deadly, this compound can be used in small doses to remove wrinkles. Botox treatments are all the rage and are one of the most popular profitable forms of cosmetic surgery. If you ingest this toxin however, you can expect paralysis, blurred vision, vomiting, among other symptoms. Ultimately, this natural compound will lead to respiratory failure and death.

But in the hands of a good cosmetic surgeon, there’s not much to worry about. Yikes!

Natural does not = good.
Synthetic does not = bad.

You have to look at each compound on an individual basis to make a judgment about them. And as millions of successful Botox injections demonstrate, there is a safe way to use “toxic” ingredients no matter where they come from.