Photo Courtesy of Elle Magazine

How Your Diet And Lifestyle Are Affecting Your Skin


Women approach a new diet or fitness routine to meet several goals, but far too often we overlook an important consideration – our skin.

While skin care such as lotions, potions, serums, masks, professional peels, facials, plastic surgery is all intended to enhance your outer beauty, you also need to keep the inside of your body and skin healthy. And, Nutrition and exercise play a far bigger role thank you may think. Your skin is the largest and most important organ in your body.

The skin’s primary job is to keep the bad things out and the good things in, as well as, keeping the other organs safe. When you bring disease inside your body, it makes it more difficult for the skin to do its’ job.

J. Nicole with her skincare product. Photo Courtesy of Shawn Record.

As a “beauty chemist,” I’ve dedicated my career to approaching skincare like a scientist, and I guide my clients to do the same. Not only do we need to understand what makes our skin unique, we need to know every factor that affects its health. The last decade has seen a record rise in health awareness, and 2017 is a great year for women hoping to diversify their diet and fitness habits. But, some of the year’s most popular trends play a direct role (both good and bad) in our skincare:

The Gluten-Free Diet

This diet is so popular, it has its own aisle in the grocery store! Like all diets, you should consult a health professional before becoming a devotee. But, staying gluten-free is probably one of the safer options, and has great applications for our skin, especially those suffering from psoriasis. A common skin condition that’s often passed down through family, psoriasis is chronic and hard to manage. However, the swelling that’s associated with the disorder has been connected to gluten, and studies are backing up the trend. In fact, according to the National Gluten Psoriasis Foundation, up to 25% of sufferers have a gluten sensitivity.

Statistically, that’s pretty significant, and even doctors are on board in recommending the diet to their patients. Outside of the disease, gluten has also been linked to numerous skin problems like red cheeks and general inflammation. Wheat – especially processed bread – can even advance aging effects like wrinkles and sagging skin.


Juicing is one of the more complicated diets to discuss. On the one hand, a healthily-prepared juice can be a great snack. I tend to have a juice or organic smoothie on mornings when I know I’ll be busy throughout the day. That way, I’m not compromising my nutrient-intake in the face of a crazy work schedule. The key ingredients in the most popular juice recipes can be fantastic for the skin – they’re packed with vitamins and anti-oxidants that contribute to smooth and strong skin. When implemented into a healthy diet, juicing becomes a very beneficial part of the day. However, for many women, juicing has become more than a healthy indulgence – it’s become a lifestyle – and that’s when the dangers kick in. When juicing becomes a regular food replacement, you run the risk of absorbing too many vitamins and not enough calories. Excessive vitamin intake can cause various skin problems. One of them is carotenemia, an embarrassing condition resulting from consuming too many veggies with carotene as an ingredient. Your skin literally turns orange, and I’m not talking about a good tan! Carrots are the most common vegetable associated with this disorder, but many veggies and fruits contain carotene. And juicing is also not a good source of important nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamin D, and essential fats. Take these away and you’re facing everything from hair loss to cracked, dry and wrinkled skin. Don’t worry about making juicing a part of your diet routine, but be careful and don’t be afraid of real food.

Photo Courtesy of Fitness Magazine

HIIT/High Intensity Interval Training

Trending especially among professionals who don’t have much time for the gym, HIIT advocates short bursts of extreme movement – an ideal session lasting less than 10 minutes. There are many exercises that fit into the HIIT category, but when it comes to our skin, they all have their benefits. HIIT workouts can get our heart and lungs pumping faster than long gym sessions, which can increase oxygen flow, and boost our capacity to produce our own antioxidants, providing the necessary nutrients to our skin more quickly. Studies have shown that positive metabolic activity can be maintained for even two days after exercising. Nutrient-rich skin is the bane of most everyday disorders and breakouts. Another benefit to HIIT is natural sweating (not like hot yoga where sweating is conventional and overheats like an oven). As mentioned, sweat is a great natural skin defense, and HIIT can promote the balanced amount.

Photo Courtesy of Groupon

Hot Yoga

As a committed yoga enthusiast, I praise the benefits that yoga offers. But, hot yoga is a recent trend that makes me “hot under the collar” for its often unsafe approach. Taking place in studios heated up to 90 degrees or more, the idea is that performing yoga in high temperatures will increase flexibility and aid in weight loss. In normal conditions, working up a sweat can be a great aid in maintaining healthy skin. For example, sweat produces “Dermicide,” (a natural antibiotic is produced by your sweat) that can kill harmful bacteria, or reduce the effects of impurities and chemicals on your face. However, the extreme heat that’s maintained in many hot yoga studios can take the body’s natural mechanisms to their breaking point.

When temperatures get really hot, the heat flows from the environment into the body instead of exiting into the air to keep the body cool. Humidity in hot Yoga also prevents the sweat from evaporating from our body (our bodies second level of defense) Sweat does not evaporate in humid conditions. Harmful heat levels can not only make your skin more prone to breakouts but can cause heat rashes that make your skin swell, flush and itch in pain, waking up melanin cells which cause brown spots. Heat rashes can also lead to serious medical conditions including swollen lymph nodes, high fevers and the combination of heat and humidity can be deadly. So, unless you’re working with a trusted yoga instructor, don’t quit your regular routine to experiment with “hot yoga.”

Healthy skin is not only a core segment of our health but a reflection of who we are as individuals—and it’s the first thing we present to the world. Do your research, and stay educated – and as you look to enhance your diet and fitness lifestyle, don’t always jump out of your skin to get onboard the latest trend.

Photo Courtesy of Shawn Record

3 min read

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.


Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.

I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!

- The Armchair Psychologist

Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out the last installment or emailarmchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get some advice of your own!