There are many definitions of beauty. Mine? Self-confidence, self-knowledge, and vitality, rolled into one. But the science points to physical attractiveness as being defined by physical characteristics that portray fertility in females, strength in males, and health in both sexes.
Physical Traits That Win Mates
Incredibly, one study found that people could gauge beauty at a subliminal level after
viewing a photo for only one-hundredth of a second. Faster than we can consciously analyze it, we assess the degree of skin clarity, radiance, and tone, vividness of eye and hair color, chiseled (or not) cheeks and jawline, hair luster, and even the facial symmetry that studies say determine our perception of a person’s beauty.
But the pursuit of those characteristics for ourselves has become a largely sophisticated and superficial one. As a celebrity makeup artist, I helped enhance (or even create) this mirage on a daily basis for faces seen in magazines and on TV. This required an innate aesthetic instinct for creating the illusion of health, fertility, facial architecture, and, basically, great genes. Thank goodness for concealer, pencils, blush, highlighter, contour, and hair glosses!
Where Makeup Tricks Fail
I used every technique in my professional bag of tricks to hide my own increasing flaws as well—from the concealer that covered my under-eye circles (the result of chronic inflammation and exhausted adrenal glands); to the foundation that covered my chronic rashes (liver and digestive problems); to the pencils that created my stronger eyebrows and uplifted eyes (thinning brows are a sign of an underactive thyroid); to the blushes and bronzers that faked good circulation and nourishment; to the eyedrops that temporarily cleared my bloodshot eyes (allergies, dehydration, and poor metabolic health).
Healthy-looking eyebrows were my specialty. I was often interviewed in magazines about the all-important placement of the arch. By placing the arch well outside of the iris, I knew I was creating a look of calmness and confidence, but I didn’t realize until years later that I was also mimicking thyroid health, a factor in fertility—the holy grail of subliminal attractiveness factors.
My techniques worked so well that I actually ignored the many clues in my mirror by covering them all up, until the day I knew that I was falling apart on the inside. After 12 years of suffering with an eating disorder, doctors found that my liver was failing. Luckily, my crisis led me to learn about nutritional supplements, which not only helped heal my liver, but also my torrid affair with food.
Today, more than a decade later, I’m living proof—along with others I’ve coached, like former heart attack victim Janet Hunter (pictured on p. 78)—that if you focus on your health, beauty will follow. In fact, you can transform your looks and your health from head to toe. As dramatic as all of the “makeover” talk shows and “before-and-after” magazine spreads are, there’s no more impressive transformation tool than comprehensive nutrition. The secret is finding—and staying—on the right nutritional course.
Transform Your Reflection
So let’s go deeper. Here’s something they don’t teach in beauty school: What these facial beauty traits actually mean about our health—and how we can change them from the inside out.
The Fertility Factors
Not surprisingly, robust fertility during the child-bearing years is a health issue that has a dramatic visual impact on our beauty. In an effort to remain slim, too many women eat too little fat, which is not only a proven contributor to infertility, but also causes beauty issues like hair breakage and dull skin. Too little fat in the diet also increases cravings for (and intake of) sugar, which leads to the aging glycation process described below (under “wrinkles”).
Low thyroid function is another major fertility factor that not only dulls the hair, skin, and nails, but can create sparse brows and a droopiness to the outer eye shape over time. Strengthening adrenal health with diet and supplements, while also supporting the thyroid with a full spectrum of nutrients, including L-tyrosine and iodine, and foods like virgin coconut oil, is key to turning thyroid issues around. As I learned, it’s possible to not only reshape your face, but your body in the process.
Facial Puffiness and Under-Eye Circles: From skin smoothness to puffiness, and the dreaded under-eye circles, the most common underlying health issue responsible is adrenal gland fatigue or exhaustion. This is mostly influenced by stress, sugar, caffeine, and poor sleep. Weakened adrenals lead to chronic inflammation and water retention that causes facial (and body-wide) puffiness, breakouts, and even rashes. Compromised adrenals can also cause serious health and blood sugar issues and belly fat accumulation, while also dragging down the thyroid and introducing related problems.
The solution—which can visibly recontour your face— is a comprehensive approach integrating nutrient-dense foods that don’t spike blood sugar and are rich in “good” fats, along with adrenal-supportive herbs, glandular supplements, and cortisol-lowering supplements.
Wrinkles and Premature Aging
Sun exposure or over-exfoliation (usually from chemical exfoliants and acids) can expose premature skin cells to harsh elements before their time and tire out the collagen-producing fibroblast cells. Sugar consumption leads to a process called glycation, or “browning” of proteins in the skin and throughout the body, which, in turn accelerates collagen fiber breakdown and aging, head to toe. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, as well as phospholipids and antioxidants (like astaxanthin found in krill oil), among others, and the anti-glycation nutrient carnosine, have all been found to combat and even reverse glycation and premature skin aging.
Adaptogenic herbs (such as Relora) can assist in adrenal recovery, which benefits dark under-eye circles. As far as skin tone, it’s fascinating to note that a 2011 study published in Evolution and Human Behavior suggests that a flushed look or skin tones with more yellow in them, reflecting blood oxygenation, healthy circulation, as well as carotenoid-intake related pigmentation, were found the most attractive.
Acne, Rosacea, and Rashes
Acne can have many causes, from autoimmunity to an overabundance of a certain form of testosterone (DHT) to the hallmarks of a Western diet (i.e., poor-quality omega-6 vegetable oils and sugar). Digestive efficiency is key to improve all skin problems.
Therefore, probiotics (beneficial bacteria) and fermented foods can have a huge impact on skin. MSM, a highly bioavailable form of sulfur, speeds cellular nutrient intake and toxin elimination processes, which, in turn, can reduce inflammation and speed healing. Topical neem oil and supplemental neem can reduce the bacterial aspect of all skin irritations.
Hair, Skin, and Nails
In addition to adequate consumption of good fats and taking care of your thyroid health to restore fertility and the health
of your hair, skin, and nails, B vitamins and nutrients such as cysteine, silica,
hyaluronic acid, and type II collagen, as well as basic hydration, have significant impact on the true health and beauty of hair, skin, and nails.
The Beauty Side Effect of Health
Try it. Work on these traits for a few months, focusing on health issues that affect them. And sure, you can use all the makeup tricks while you’re at it. You’ll be amazed at how you can transform. Best of all, by the time you see changes in the mirror, you’re bound to have changes throughout your body and in your overall health.
After Photo: Cathy Strong for GR8photo.com
SOURCE NATURALS Theanine Serene with Relora contains the amino acid L-theanine to
support relaxation and stress relief, as well as adreanal-balancing Relora (a blend of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense extracts).
RESERVEAGE ORGANICS Collagen Booster and BioCell Collagen Type II includes hyaluronic acid and BioCell Collagen Type II to promote skin hydration and assist in the formation of collagen, helping to increase firmness and elasticity.
THE VITAMIN SHOPPE L-Tyrosine delivers 500 mg of L-tyrosine, known to benefit thyroid health, as well as vitamin B6. Capsules are free of yeast, corn, sugar, soy, and artifical colors and flavors.
MEGAFOOD Skin, Nails, & Hair is a blend of vitamins and minerals, biotin, and digestive enzymes that work to strengthen and nourish the growth of skin, hair, and nails.
ESSENTIAL FORMULAS Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics contain 12 strains of probiotics that help improve digestion and thereby skin health, including helping to clear issues such as acne and rosacea.