How to Get Youthful Glowing Skin
It’s not your genes alone that determine a flawless, glowing complexion
It’s not just what you’re overeating that can impact on how you look. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also believes that what is happening in the inner body can be determined by examining the face. In TCM, energy flows through the body via a series of channels called meridians. If these are in balance, you remain in good health; if the channels become blocked or imbalanced, health symptoms emerge, and any meridians that are disturbed by the result of diet, lifestyle, stress levels and hormone changes show outward signs on the face. Each part of the face is related to a specific organ system and any disharmony inside the body will show up on the outside. This could manifest as puffiness, excess lines, colour changes, breakouts or spots, itchiness, dull skin or flaky patches. If you keep getting a spot or discolouration in the same area, over and over again, it’s likely that your body is trying to tell you that a part of your system needs attention. Fix that and you might also see an improvement in how your skin looks and behaves.
The forehead is associated with the process of digestion. It is a common area to wrinkle as we age, but if your diet and digestion are poor lines on the forehead will be deeper and can even appear on younger skins. The upper part of the forehead is associated with the bladder meridian, the middle with the stomach and digestion, and the lower forehead with the small intestine. If the middle or bottom sections of the forehead are irritated, congested and have spots and some lines, this could be related to sluggish digestion as a result of a poor diet. It’s also common in those that eat late at night. If your lines or other symptoms are more focused around the top of the forehead, I’d be asking about your bladder health. Do you drink enough water? Do you not pass urine often enough or are you prone to cystitis? If so, I’d suggest trying a remedy such as cranberry extract, which stops the bacteria that cause the infection attaching to the bladder walls. If you tackle the root cause of your bladder concerns, you could find the forehead lines disappear.
Between the eyes
This area is associated with the liver meridian. If you’re overindulging in alcohol, you may notice vertical lines, spots or a reddening develop here. I find it’s also common in people who have a diary intolerance or who consume a lot of processed sugar. I often call this area the ‘wine and dine’ area as it’s so closely linked to what we eat and drink. But you can see problems in this area even if people eat what seems like an extremely healthy diet, packed with fruits and vegetables. In this case, the cause is likely to be pesticides and other chemicals that enter our system and overload the liver. Try swapping to a more organic diet and living a less toxic lifestyle to see if that helps.
I am seeing more and more women with adrenal and thyroid issues caused by hormonal disruptions and stressful lives which commonly show up via changes in the eyebrows. If your eyebrow hair is long and wiry, this could be a sign that your overly stressed adrenals need support. If you have a very fine eyebrow hair or eyebrows that have started thinning then this is a sign of adrenal exhaustion where those overworked glands have now started to under perform. Left untreated, this can result in subsequent under active thyroid problems. Too much sugar can also show up in the brows as it causes insulin imbalances, which overburden the adrenal glands.
I have so many patients asking me why they have dark circles under their eyes. Is it genetic, poor circulation, food intolerances, hay fever, iron deficiency anaemia? It can be all of the above, but in TCM this area relates to the kidneys and a darkening may indicate that your kidneys are working overtime at eliminating toxins from the body. Obviously alcohol plays a role here but other things that can strain the kidneys are pesticides, dehydration or excessive levels of salt/sodium in the diet. Puffiness around the eyes is a sign that you’re holding on to too much fluid – this could be because you’re not drinking enough water, or because you’re consuming too much salt or sugar (both of which encourage fluid retention). Blue circles under the eyes is a common sign of tiredness and exhaustion.
If you have lots of blackheads, you probably also have poor digestion – and specifically may be affected by low stomach acid levels. If your nose is red or has lots of broken capillaries, this can be caused by drinking too many hot drinks, eating excessive spicy food or consuming too much alcohol.
In TCM, your cheek area is related to your lungs. If you get redness, irritation or congestion in that area you are also likely to be suffering from sinus issues, asthma or a chronic cough. This area is often also a problem for smokers, but can also be a sign of sensitivity to, or an excess of, dairy. If you notice paleness or excessive colour in your cheeks or develop rough texture and/or breakouts, try cutting back on your dairy intake. Pale cheeks can also be linked to low iron levels.
Do you have constant dry and cracking lips no matter what season it is? It isn’t the cold air causing this; it is related to your stomach. If you overload your stomach with irritating foods or processed foods, it will start to break down and lose its normal level of acidity and this will show up on your lips. Cracks at the side of the mouth are a very common sign of low B vitamin levels – this could be because your diet is poor, or because your levels of gut bacteria that help make B vitamins are imbalanced. Finally, cracked, flaking lips can also show a deficiency in essential fatty acids so increase your intake of nuts, seeds, avocados and oily fish to help counteract this.
The sides of the chin along the jawline are associated with the ovaries and the reproductive organs. Outbreaks around this area are often triggered by hormonal changes and it’s the most common place women get spots before their period. The middle of the chin, however, reflects bowel health, specifically how well you are eliminating toxins. Congestion here could indicate chronic constipation or incomplete evacuation creating chaos in the gut. Try drinking more water and increasing sources of soluble fibre in your diet to get things moving more efficiently. Some people also find that overdoing gluten can cause slow motility and affect how well your bowels move. Cut back and you might find spots or lines in this area disappear.