But the one goal which seems even harder to achieve is the healthy, natural, glowing skin tone. In your daily life, you probably have occasional sightings of “lucky” people with this skin.
People can’t work out what’s going on. It’s assumed that people with bright and healthy skin have superior genetics, or are unintentionally striking gold with their diet.
The fact is that with the correct knowledge, improving your skin tone is just as easy as eliminating acne itself.
This article won’t teach you how to slow ageing, or strengthen the skin with collagen. Nor will you receive remedies for localised hyperpigmentation. Those are completely separate topics which we will explore another day.
Today, you will learn how to acquire the much coveted glow, the healthy shine that everybody wants but can’t quite achieve.
One – take a cold shower
An icy cold shower is the ultimate weird trick for a great skin tone. It’s the best strategy which isn’t supported by science.
I first started taking cold showers years ago, in one of the first natural strategies for acne I ever utilised. I noticed a big reduction in both facial acne and body acne, but most unexpectedly, the skin on my entire body developed a healthy colour.
It could be because of stress reduction, cooled inflammation like an ice pack on a wound, or an unidentified benefit of cold exposure. It’s possible that human skin has a defensive mechanism for cold climates, where it produces defensive substances which provide a pigment as well.
After your first 5 minute cold shower, you’ll have a more even skin tone because of the instantaneous reduction in inflammation. After one hour your skin tone will revert to only slightly better than previously.
After a week, however, your skin tone will acquire a permanent glow. If you religiously shower in both the morning and evening, your skin could be glowing within days.
Two – snack on celery
Celery sticks have a bitter taste and that’s because of their natural nitrates, which boost your body’s production of nitric oxide.
The nitric oxide gas is a potent vasodilating agent, used to lower blood pressure, but us acne patients can use it to massively increase blood flow to the skin. We can widen and relax the tiny capillaries in the skin, increasing the delivery of acne nutrients and oxygen itself. The result is a healthy, more replenished skin tone.
Nitric oxide is key to skin tone and celery is a top food for increasing it. Celery contains so many natural nitrates that celery juice or celery juice powder can be used to cure organic ham and bacon. When you bite into celery, the natural nitrates are converted into nitritines by bacterial strains on your tongue. When you swallow the nitritines, the bacteria in your gut converts them to nitric oxide.
Even better, celery effectively has no calories. You can eat as much of this skin-enriching food as you want. Two sticks of celery can provide your arms with hosepipe veins, so two sticks are enough to enhance blood flow to the skin. Get organic celery, because conventional celery is dripping with pesticides.
Three – breathe properly
You can make your skin more attractive to the opposite sex right now by breathing through your nose. Many kids, teenagers and adults are stuck in dodgy mouth breathing habits, or shallow breathing habits.
This study found that nasal breathing increase blood oxygenation rates by 18% due to more efficient absorption (the human species is designed for nasal breathing). This separate study found that higher blood oxygenation was associated with higher facial redness, which both men and women found more attractive in the opposite sex.
Nose breathing also has a connection to nitric oxide, because your nostrils generate a burst of NO the moment you inhale oxygen. This travels through your lungs and into your bloodstream. You get more oxygen inside the bloodstream and more blood delivered to the skin.
The best part of this strategy is that it’s completely free. Do it right now and witness the benefits.
I’ve seen great results with my breathing technique recently. I’ve noticed an increase in skin redness after only ten minutes of nose breathing, with my mouth shut tight. The skin tone improvements mimicked the study above.
You don’t have to buy a mystical yoga blanket from a travelling merchant and climb to the summit of an icy cold mountain; just alter your breathing technique right now.
Four – eat asparagus
Raw asparagus is the number one grocery store vegetable for rutin. Rutin or rutoside or quercetin-3-O-rutinoside is a plant phytonutrient with antioxidant powers. There’s tens of thousands of different antioxidants in fruits and vegetables, ranging from quercetin to myristicin to kaempferol, but rutin is unique because of its blood circulation strengthening properties.
Rutin can reduce blood clots and is used as a medication in many countries. Most importantly, rutin can increase capillary permeability, the efficiency of blood delivery which flows through the capillary walls and into the target cells and tissues. The result is replenished and healthy skin.
Rutin is a widespread phytonutrient in nature, but raw asparagus contains 23.19mg per 100 grams. Random online articles say that apples, green grapes and tomatoes are great sources, but they only contain 0.22mg, 0.12mg and 0.14mg respectively. Asparagus easily wins.
Asparagus is ideally cooked, and this study concluded that rutin was resilient to cooking. Baking, pan frying, steaming and microwaving preserved the rutin in asparagus well. Only boiling reduced the rutin content significantly, with 22% being lost to the water.
If you despise asparagus, then the second best rutin source is the red raspberry, with 11mg per 100 grams. Raspberries are therefore another top notch skin-tone food.
Five – optimise your vitamin D
Many people have reported in with an enriched skin tone. There are doubters who tear down vitamin D, insisting that there’s no evidence. Officially there isn’t, but I’ve noticed the benefits and the flood of testimonials cannot be ignored. It isn’t down to sunlight exposure, because supplementation leads to a healthy yellowness, even if you’re in a cave or stuck in jail.
It could be vitamin D helping to manufacture the antioxidant superoxide dismutase, or the reduction in inflammation, resulting in a more even skin tone overall. However, lower inflammation definitely wouldn’t account for the richer colour. Vitamin D is so omnipotent in the body that anything is feasible.
Vitamin D is also vital for fertility because it increases sperm counts and testosterone. Therefore, one possibility is that animals have evolved to have an attractive skin tone in response to normal blood vitamin D levels, to clearly show females that their chances of reproducing are strong.
Regardless, vitamin D is our second unproven trick for glowing skin. It’s a great one to take advantage of since deficiency is so common in our sedentary, indoor lifestyles.
Six – exercise
Another completely free strategy. Exercise one of the most basic yet important tools for improving your skin tone.
The mechanism is mindless – get your muscles moving and your heart pumping and your blood flow significantly increases. Have you ever felt like a genius after intense exercise, with massive focus making you feel like you can accomplish anything? That’s increased blood flow to the brain, and the same happens to the skin.
There’s more to it than that, however. During moderate to intense exercise, your body temperature rises significantly. To transfer metabolic heat away from the core, your blood flow diverts to the skin, keeping your organs functioning efficiently.
The key with exercise is therefore intensity. Walking for 40 minutes per day will improve acne, but it won’t flood your skin with blood. The intensity of a 10 minute session on an exercise bike and all exercise above that intensity will do the trick. Weightlifting is particularly effective.
With exercise, you tend to acquire redness and increased blood flow immediately, which fades away after two hours. However, with almost daily repetition, the enriched skin tone quickly becomes permanent.
Seven – eat watermelon
The second tastiest technique for a healthy skin tone (keep reading). Watermelon juice is increasingly being marketed towards athletes as a post workout recovery drink.
Why? Because watermelons boost nitric oxide and blood flow as effectively as celery, through a completely different mechanism.
Watermelon flesh is one of the richest foods in l-citrulline. That’s a non-essential amino acid which converts instantly to l-arginine upon entering the body. L-arginine is the main precursor for nitric oxide. The final step in nitric oxide formation is the conversion of l-arginine to NO using enzymes called nitric oxide synthases.
Scientists have successfully fed animals l-arginine supplements to increase nitric oxide, and it’s also a mainstay of pre-workout formulas. But for some reason, the indirect method of supplying l-citrulline is far more effective, and watermelon is your tasty, juicy way to achieve it, rather than falling under the sway of some supplement baron.
Furthermore, the conversion of citrulline to l-arginine actually occurs inside your blood vessels. It occurs in the prime spot for increasing your blood flow and flooding your skin with blood and other goodness. Last but not least, the watermelon is rich source of the red-pigmented antioxidant lycopene, which gives your skin a healthy pigment too.
Eight – laugh
Laughter is one of the little known weapons for increasing your blood flow. It’s the opposite of stress and anxiety, which constrict your blood vessels.
In this study scientists gathered 20 volunteers, divided equally between men and women. Each was shown a portion of a stressful movie or a funny movie, Saving Private Ryan directed by Steven Spielberg, or a film called King Pin.
They watched 15 minutes of the films while lying down in a temperature controlled room. A total of 160 blood vessel measurements were taken.
After watching the funny film, which was King Pin apparently, beneficial blood vessel vasodilation or relaxation occurred in 19 of the 20 volunteers.
There was an average of a 22% increase in blood flow during the segments that caused them to laugh. The stressful scenes were the opposite; there was a massive 35% decrease. Brachial artery flow was reduced in 14 of the 20 volunteers during the stressful scenes. All these changes lasted for a while, 30 to 45 minutes after the scenes were viewed.
Your strategy for healthy and glowing skin is straightforward then – laugh for as much of your day as you can. Turn yourself into a complete maniac.
The scientists couldn’t help but come up with the crazy recommendation of 15 minutes of laughter per day. That’s nonsense; just watch something funny, think of something funny, or talk to somebody funny, as much as you can.
Remember that fake laughing works as well. Even if you’re feeling miserable, just force yourself to laugh. It’s like the old wives tale which says “smile and you’ll instantly feel happier”. You can trick your brain into releasing happiness chemicals. You can almost certainly trick your blood vessels into vasodilating.
Nine – eat carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, pumpkins…
Almost any red and orange plant food will enrich your skin tone, because their colour comes from carotenoid antioxidants. This class of antioxidants includes beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, and over 600 others.
Carotenoids are the poster child of healthy skin; they accumulate in skin cells and provide a healthy yellow pigment. This study found that carotenoid consumption was positively correlated with skin yellowness and attractiveness, particularly lutein and zeaxanthin.
The study was done on Caucasian women, so the scientists started scheming to promote fruits and vegetables for appearance benefits rather than health. You can eat the foods above, or you can feast on spinach, apricots, cantaloupe melons, watermelon, tomatoes, or lettuce (except iceberg lettuce).
This study observed noticeable improvements in skin tone after six weeks of extra carotenoid consumption. 3.3 daily servings were required to make your skin more attractive. Our conclusion: eat lots of orange and red fruits and vegetables.
Ten – venture into the wilderness
Have you ever wondered why people in the mountains have such a healthy skin tone? Your observation was correct, and the causes include 1) increased sunlight exposure, 2) more natural foods, and 3) the high quantities of sports they tend to do (skiing and mountain biking).
Most important, however, is the air quality. You can go skiing and eat greasy fries every day and explode with acne. But there’s a good chance that your skin will look bright and healthy underneath it. Spending your life in a city equals spending your life with grey and lifeless skin.
The solution is to get away from the pollution and enjoy some clean pristine air once in a while. Go on holiday, move, or walk to work through the park rather than an alleyway.
Better yet, take a weekend trip to the middle of nowhere. Venture off for some exploration in the mountains or a large forest. You can almost guarantee that your skin tone will rejuvenate during this adventure.
Studies have shown that the mere act of walking through nature reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Even looking at a picture of a tree causes mild reductions. Stress constricts the blood vessels and gives you the skin of a vampire.
Countless different skin-enriching factors come together in nature. You can even bring the wilderness to your house by placing houseplants around. Certain species can absorb household toxins into their leaves, producing a cleaner atmosphere.
Plants also churn out healthy molecules; one example are phytoncides which enhance the immune system. In a forest the smell of plants is all around you, so who knows what other molecules are floating around?
Eleven – use sea buckthorn oil
Sea buckthorn oil is an effective natural topical treatment, and your glorious solution to getting carotenoid antioxidants directly into your skin.
Sea buckthorn berry oil (never purchase the seed oil) is a deep orange colour and that’s because the berry is loaded with beta-carotene, lutein, and alpha carotene. Apply sea buckthorn oil to your face and the carotenoids will get absorbed right into the cells, metabolised, and reengineered to protect your skin and enrich its tone. It’s like eating a carrot, but more direct.
There’s great evidence that this strategy is monstrously effective. Sea buckthorn oil’s main benefit for acne is its power to reduce oily skin. This study concluded that it reduced sebum production by 45% in eight weeks. A good portion of this power comes the natural vitamin A content binding to the receptors in your sebaceous glands.
Certain carotenoids have a dual function as vitamin A, so if sea buckthorn oil reduces oily skin that powerfully, it should enhance your skin tone very effectively as well.
The effects would be increased yellowness and glow, rather than the redness reported from blood oxygenation studies. Ideally, you want a combination of redness and yellowness. Anything beats a lifeless grey colour.
Twelve – eat beetroot/drink beet juice
Beetroots or beetroot juice share the same power as celery – a vast count of natural nitrates which increases nitric oxide and blood flow to your skin. The many juicing fanatics in existence today love to use beets as a baseline ingredient. First we have a study where beetroot juice increased nitric oxide metabolites in both men and women, regardless of their weight.
Then we have a study where 250ml of beetroot juice reduced blood pressure significantly after four weeks; beet juice with the nitrates removed had no benefit. Finally, we have a study where beet juice promoted blood flow to the brain in old people.
The result is identical to celery – heightened blood flow and a skin tone above and beyond the average human being.
Beetroot is promising in other ways; it contains a unique class of antioxidants called betaines. Unlike carotenoids they’re not proven to enhance skin yellowness, glow or attractiveness. However, they provide the red pigment in beetroots, so it’s possible that they could migrate to your skin cells and change their appearance.
Any richly coloured plant food could have unknown powers. Either whole beetroots or beet juice will work. All the studies above tested beet juice, and juicing has no effect on natural nitrate counts.
Thirteen – feast on dark chocolate
There’s been a bunch of speculation circulating the world wide web that flavonoid antioxidants can increase blood flow in the skin when ingested. Green tea, berries, and coffee have all been targets of rumours.
However, the one food which has been confirmed to do so is our old friend chocolate, a snack which doesn’t really cause acne. This study fed 10 women a 100ml cocoa beverage, containing either a high content (329mg) or low content of (27mg) of flavanols. The scientists tested the effects on skin microcirculation immediately after consumption.
After two hours, the flavonoid-rich cocoa beverage caused a 1.7 fold increase in dermal blood flow. Blood oxygenation shot up 1.8 fold, which is an absolutely crazy result.
This is extra interesting because cocoa powder is another source of natural nitrates, and has been proven to increase nitric oxide (study). So with dark chocolate you get a double whammy of skin-enriching power.
Epicatechin was believed to be the flavonoid responsible, because no blood increase was observed in the low flavonoid cocoa group. Green tea and black tea are also rich sources, so if you’re a fan, try them out (the caffeine is easily neutralised).
Fourteen – avoid titanium dioxide
The chemical titanium dioxide is recommended in hyperpigmentation formulas because of its extreme whiteness. It has the alternative names of titanium white and Pigment White 6. The classic white powder found on donuts contains titanium dioxide, as does white paint. Alongside zinc oxide, it’s a widespread ingredient of sunscreen formulas…
…but what else can titanium dioxide do? It generates free radicals such as superoxides when it comes into contact with your skin, with great success.
These free radicals rob your face of its vital antioxidants, including carotenoids like lycopene. Apply titanium dioxide sunscreen and all your hard work in constructing a layer of carotenoid pigments will go to waste, as they’re forced to step in and protect you from mutation. The glow will be gone and your skin will be set back weeks.
Titanium dioxide is particularly important because it’s actually used for improving an aspect of skin tone; evening out discoloured patches. However, it’s a nightmare for skin tone overall.
A safer option for hyperpigmentation is topical cinnamon powder, with its cinnamaldehyde compound that inhibits the tyrosinase enzyme which interferes with proper melanin output. Expect more on acne-friendly hyperpigmentation remedies here soon.
You are now an expert on getting a healthy and attractive skin tone. There’s no magic secret and there are no godlike genetics.
These strategies are the ones which are either proven or established through such overwhelming experience that they cannot be ignored. It’s guaranteed that other secrets are hidden in the world somewhere, so keep your eyes peeled.
The best part is that acquiring the redness, the yellowness and the “glow” will make your existing acne look better. It will look like a mere minor flaw, irrelevant next to your excellent skin tone.
Thanks for reading!