How to Get Healthy Skin with Diet and Exercise

| 1 min read

How to get healthy skin through diet and exercise



About the Show
On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Grace Derocha, registered dietitian for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Together, they discuss how to maintain healthy skin through diet and exercise.
In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:
  • Foods that have a direct impact on our skin.
  • Vitamins and nutrients that should be included in our skincare routine.
  • How exercise plays a role in healthy skin production.
  • Skincare regimens we should practice daily.
  • How stress, sleep and smoking impact our skin.

Listen on

Chuck Gaidica: This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast episode 59. Coming up we discuss how to maintain healthy skin through diet and exercise.
Chuck Gaidica: Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast, the podcast that’s dedicated to navigating how we can all improve our health and well-being through small, healthy habits we can start right now. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica, and every other week we dive into topics covering nutrition, fitness, so much more. Today including our skin. This episode, again, talking about the impact of diet. What you can do from the inside out to really help your skin. For some it doesn’t seem like it’s something we can all do, but we really can affect change. With me today Registered Dietitian from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, she’s so much more. Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Health Coach, Grace Derocha. Let’s hear it everybody. Yay. That’s our live studio audience. That’s all we have today. Strange times. Grace, how are you?
Grace Derocha: Doing well. Thanks so much for having me again today.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh, are you kidding? You’re the expert of experts. I’m just glad you’re back. And my saying in life, Grace, is always moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
Grace Derocha: Yes. And from the inside out too.
Chuck Gaidica: Well see, that’s the part that I don’t think everybody considers. You kind of think of it, you hop in the shower, you get out, you do something, something, and depending on the season you’re always going to maybe apply some moisturizer. But this is really cool because we’re talking about the stuff we can do from the inside out and it’s not all the obvious stuff.
Grace Derocha: Right? Yeah. And I want to be super clear. I’m obviously not a dermatologist or an aesthetician. So yeah, the focus is going to be what we can really do with our healthy lifestyle choices to make a difference.
Chuck Gaidica: So let’s talk about that because we can, and I know you will take us down the path of all the vitamins and minerals locked up in certain things, but what … I guess start with food. What can we be eating that really has a direct and maybe even big impact on our skin’s health?
Grace Derocha: So some of these things are not going to be shockers. I know they’re things that you’ve heard from me before. So we were joking around about moisturizing, but the moisture of your skin actually does come from the inside out. Putting lotion on and putting things on top of your skin is great to help keep that moisture, but really to have that soft, good, healthy skin we need to make sure that we’re hydrated. Water. Any foods with a lot of water, like fruits and vegetables. Is this sounding familiar at all?
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, it is. And I think, well this time of the year where we are at least recording episode 59 and when it’s going to air is … I mean we’ve got watermelon, we’ve got all kinds of great veggies. You’ve got veggies growing in the backyard. Right? That you’re waiting.
Grace Derocha: I do, I do.
Chuck Gaidica: So all that stuff is dependent on water content and it just translates to good health.
Grace Derocha: Yeah, absolutely. So that would be one of the number one things. Also, fruits and vegetables with that pretty color, which is every color. So eating the rainbow, again very familiar talk for me I know.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Grace Derocha: But they have antioxidants and I’ve said this before, but an antioxidant is something that fights free radicals in the body. Aging skin or unhealthy cells in the body, those are free radicals and we want to fight those with those antioxidants. And what better way to do that than with a rainbow of yummy fruits and vegetables?
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. And what are we actually getting from them? It’s not because we’re eating blueberries or something that … just the blueberry itself, what are we getting from all of these things that are actually helping our skin?
Grace Derocha: Yeah. So antioxidants fall into the phytochemicals, the plant chemicals that are naturally in those foods. So they all have different names depending on which ones you’re talking about but even beta carotene, which is usually in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, that really is another way of saying it’s compared to vitamin A. So those are friends and those are antioxidants and those are really good things to help repair skin. It technically will help and convert some retinol in the skin, which you’ve probably heard if you’ve ever gone to the dermatologist before, to keep that skin smooth, protected against wrinkles. Who doesn’t want that? And so things like mangoes and carrots and sweet potatoes are great sources of that.
Chuck Gaidica: And then there are vitamins that some of us are taking in a daily vitamin tablet, but we can also get the most common vitamin C, vitamin E. I mean we can get a lot of this stuff from good foods, good healthy foods.
Grace Derocha: Yes. I think this is really important when we’re talking about vitamin C. Vitamin C is the catalyst to help increase collagen production in your skin. And for people that don’t know, collagen is what keeps your skin firm and tight. So by increasing and making sure that you’re getting enough vitamin C, you can definitely do that. People take collagen peptides and try to supplement that way, but really if you don’t have enough vitamin C to help your body use any of those supplements, you will not get that benefit. So everything from bell peppers to oranges and citrus, kiwis, bananas. Fun fact actually, bell peppers have more vitamin C than citrus.
Chuck Gaidica: C’mon. More than an orange.
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: Wow.
Grace Derocha: Like about 150 milligrams more per serving.
Chuck Gaidica: So if I run out today and eat bell peppers and oranges, you mean my skin will start to tighten immediately or is this something? I mean will my navel rise up to where my Adam’s apple is? Will it just all work out?
Grace Derocha: Not that quickly.
Chuck Gaidica: No.
Grace Derocha: Another one of my favorite words, consistency.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Grace Derocha: So doing these things consistently and having those fruits and vegetables consistently will. But it really does make a difference. I’ve had patients before in the past who were coming to me for something else, but then started eating healthier, having more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water when they weren’t. And one of the things that they would notice about themselves is they felt like they looked younger and that their skin looked better. And I was like, “Oh, secret bonus.”
Chuck Gaidica: And that wasn’t just a mental thing of looking in the mirror. I mean, that was really the case. Right? They were starting to see change because they started leaning into more veggies and fruits and hydrate.
Grace Derocha: Yes. And I’ve had many patients say that to me, but I also have had patients that would take pictures of themselves when they were trying to make certain changes with their body. But also they would see it in their face. They felt glowier and doier. And I remember I had this lady, she was hilarious. She’s like, “I feel like my 11s,” do you know what 11s are?
Chuck Gaidica: No.
Grace Derocha: 11s are if you have those two marks in your forehead kind of by your eyebrows.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh yeah. Okay.
Grace Derocha: She’s like, “Are my 11s going away or what?” She’s like, “I lost 11 pounds and my 11s are going away.” She’s like, “You’re a miracle worker.” I was like, “No, you’re doing all the work. I just kind of told you what to do.”
Chuck Gaidica: Isn’t that fantastic? Botox free and the forehead was getting better. That’s awesome.
Grace Derocha: Yep.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Grace Derocha: She’s like, “I’m losing 11s everywhere.” I was like, “Yeah you are girl. Get it.”
Chuck Gaidica: That’s great. No, that’s really cool. Because we think of skin damage for obvious reasons. Well, we’re just out baking in the sun too long. But aging is another aspect of this, it’s just a natural process. Right? I mean it all starts to change and all these things that you’re talking about that we can consistently make change in is so encouraging because some of the stuff is, as you’ve pointed out right from the beginning, you’re not discussing some of the stuff for the first time. Maybe in a little different context.
Grace Derocha: Right.
Chuck Gaidica: But it’s just so encouraging that we can get into this stuff so easily.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. And I’m glad you brought up. During the summer we’re at the end of July here and vitamin E is a key to help protect skin. And a lot of times you’ll see vitamin C or vitamin E in skin products, which is great. It’s great to put it on topically too I think. I do it.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Grace Derocha: But to do it from the inside out again is just like that other layer. It can help protect the skin, especially from everything. Environmental factors to the sun, other chemicals that might be in the air. So definitely a good way to protect yourself.
Chuck Gaidica: How are we going to find vitamin E? What would we ingest to help us that way from the inside out?
Grace Derocha: Avocados. So vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin so oftentimes you’ll find them in fattier foods like avocados, almonds, coconut oil, spinach happens to have some as well.
Chuck Gaidica: And coconut oil, I’ve heard people talk about and write about the idea of using that as a topical.
Grace Derocha: Oh yeah.
Chuck Gaidica: I mean, pure coconut oil. Right?
Grace Derocha: Yes. I do.
Chuck Gaidica: Does it work?
Grace Derocha: Oh yeah.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh.
Grace Derocha: And it smells good.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Grace Derocha: And it’s easy. I actually … this is a joke in our family. I have coconut oil in our bathroom as one of my moisturizing supplies, especially for my feet.
Chuck Gaidica: So it’s not too oily to you? Because I have to admit I’ve tried a little bit of it, but I think it doesn’t necessarily seem like it immediately absorbs into your skin. So you’re not putting it on and then putting clothing on right away, are you? Like your feet, socks may be different.
Grace Derocha: No. Yeah. I usually put it on my feet and a little dab will do ya. You don’t need very much.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. So I shouldn’t lather up like I’m trying to french fry my skin or something. Yeah. Okay. Alright. I got it. Alright. Omega-3.
Grace Derocha: Omega-3 fatty acids are definitely, we don’t get enough of them. They’re from our fatty fish at least three times a week. One of the things that we want to keep in our skin is moisture and elasticity so we don’t get wrinkles if we’re talking about aesthetics here. So having your Omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to do that.
Chuck Gaidica: And then some of the other stuff that’s more of a deep dive, we don’t talk about these out loud a lot but zinc is one of the things we should be thinking about. Right? I mean zinc has been getting a lot of headlines during the COVID, but what about from the inside out? What does it do for us?
Grace Derocha: So obviously we shed skin. So it helps with soothing and proper skin turnover so that when you get rid of your dead skin cells, your fresh skin turns over properly and in a good way to help keep your skin healthy. So shellfish, you can find this in lean meats, chicken, nuts. There are a few fruits and vegetables that carry them if you think, bell peppers is one of them, zucchini has some. So zinc is great, obviously too, as an immune booster. So lots of good things with zinc.
Grace Derocha: And then I definitely want to hit on a couple other ones. Selenium, which is a mineral. It helps protect the skin from any damage and it can slow down aging. And most people, we don’t need that much, but you want to again be consistent about getting it. You can find that in spinach … spinach is on here a lot. Spinach, mushrooms, oatmeal is a great source as well. And then lastly, lycopene. Usually we talk about lycopene to protect the prostate, but it is actually also a natural protector against any UV radiation. So tomatoes, anything red. And then moreover though things that are made with tomatoes, which is crazy. Your spaghetti sauce, your salsa, ketchup, you actually get more lycopene bang for your buck in the food made with tomatoes than actual tomatoes.
Chuck Gaidica: You know what’s interesting though is as you’re talking about all these great things, I’m visualizing the potential for a Mediterranean type diet, which I know always shows up pretty high on the list. Right? Of good diets.
Grace Derocha: Yes, the highest.
Chuck Gaidica: And you think of … is it the highest? Okay. So you think of Sardinia. One of those blue zones we’ve heard about and what do they? I mean everything you’re kind of saying is shellfish and fish and avocado and fresh veggies. And then you mention tomatoes and I’m thinking, what is their lifestyle? It’s like all tomato sauce kind of, right?
Grace Derocha: Yep. Yeah.
Chuck Gaidica: Interesting.
Grace Derocha: I mean, if you think about the tomato sauce for the pasta or pizza. I have to ask you this because you said it, have you watched Zac Efron’s Down to Earth?
Chuck Gaidica: No, I haven’t.
Grace Derocha: You should. He goes to Sardinia.
Chuck Gaidica: Does he really?
Grace Derocha: Yeah.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh good.
Grace Derocha: So he travels to different countries and he’s talking about sustainability and healthy living and who doesn’t love Zac Efron? Just saying.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, goodness knows I’ve been moisturizing so he would recognize me and say, “Oh, there’s Chuck.” Alright. So let’s talk about something else that I know you’re big on, which is exercise.
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: What benefit to our skin, because that seems in some ways, counterintuitive in some ways because a lot of exercise we would hope we would be doing outside, especially now. But tell us about the benefits of that.
Grace Derocha: Okay. So I’m going to tell you benefits first and then I’m going to tell you why what you said sounds like it might be bad, but isn’t.
Chuck Gaidica: Okay.
Grace Derocha: So when you think about exercise you’re getting the blood moving, you’re sweating. So we’re promoting healthy circulation, muscle tone under the skin. If we’re not just talking about our face, but our whole body. Can help smooth out the skin so that’s helpful. And it also increases blood flow to the skin. So getting oxygen to the skin obviously is always a good thing. Here’s the thing too is that by sweating, what do they always say? Three salt water things that are good for you. Going to the sea, crying, and sweating. So sweating releases toxins out of the body. Toxins, free radicals, things that we don’t want in there. So by sweating we can actually get rid of some of the icky yuck yucks from the body.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh good.
Grace Derocha: Yeah, that’s a very technical scientific term. And breaking down collagen so it can reheal itself again, can help smooth out our skin.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh, so interesting. So as collagen breaks down, just like muscle tissue, there’s a regeneration to make it stronger, better.
Grace Derocha: Yep, exactly.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh. Well I think everybody understands this idea of sweat. You don’t really think of the skin. Let me confirm this with you doctor. The largest organ in our body is our skin.
Grace Derocha: It is.
Chuck Gaidica: Alright. So if all the stuff we’re talking about, we’ve gotten through the good eating portion, now exercise. If we’re doing all of this, we’re doing it for a really good reason. We don’t think about it all the time, but it’s a great idea to make sure we’re taking care of our skin.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. And I think that’s why this conversation is so important. Often we think about healthy lifestyle changes to fight chronic conditions or to lose weight, but it does help you take care of the largest organ on the body. I’m glad you brought that up.
Chuck Gaidica: So I sweat and I’m out there and I’m riding my new bike and I’m going for it. And I sweat like a lot of guys I’ll get a shower, but it’ll happen Thursday. I mean, it’s going to be later today. Right? You would say that we’ve sweated now out the toxins, all the bad stuff. Should we really be thinking about jumping in the shower almost immediately to get rid of this stuff?
Grace Derocha: I would. I’m a girly girl, but the reason being because so now we got rid of those toxins and ickiness, icky yuck yucks out of the body.
Chuck Gaidica: You are a mom, aren’t you?
Grace Derocha: Definitely.
Chuck Gaidica: I know you’re a supermom, but when you talk to me in super yuck yucks I just know.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. So that sweat is now sitting on the skin with those toxins, with the icky yuck yucks as I like to call them. So to rinse off and clean off, especially if you’re prone to acne. So acne is a whole nother topic that I’m going to bring up a couple of things, but yeah rinsing off and showering.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Well especially if you’ve lathered up on some kind of lotion because you want to protect your skin from the sun.
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: Which to be honest I don’t always think about on a bike ride, but then I come back and I’m like, “Oh, look at my arms and legs.” I got a little more sun than I thought I should or did.
Grace Derocha: Obviously we do like our vitamin D from the sun. It’s the best way for us and our bodies to create vitamin D. But summertime especially, that sun is relentless. So make sure you put your SPF on. That sun protection factor just really helps give you that extra layer to help. Skin cancer runs prevalent and we want to make sure we can do everything to protect ourselves against this. So many things to think about.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, and if we’re putting on an SPF something, and I know for a lot of moisturizers they’re building that in now. So there’s kind of an upside so you don’t even think about it. I think it’s more, I have to say when I think of Susan and me, it’s probably stuff that she’s got built into the cosmetic line.
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: Where she’ll say, “I’ve got SPF 15 on all the time.” And I’m like, “What? How did you get that?”
Grace Derocha: It’s so funny. Tom and I just talked about this because yeah, my moisturizer for my face that I always put on naturally has SPF. So I just got him one that he has been moisturizing his face more. Look at him. But I got him one that has SPF so that he doesn’t have to think about it. Because then he’s like, “Why is my forehead burnt?” I’m like, “Because you probably didn’t put SPF on your face bud.”
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Yeah. And well, let’s talk about this too. So do we have to think about the conditions of the sky? I mean whether it’s cloudy or sunny, do we one day leave it off and the other day put it on and then forget what we were doing along the way?
Grace Derocha: SPF every day.
Chuck Gaidica: Really?
Grace Derocha: Yeah, especially for your face.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Grace Derocha: Sometimes I’ll tell people five to 10 minutes outside with arms and legs exposed, especially if you’re not outside very often for that vitamin D factor. But definitely on the face always because then there’s increased risk for wrinkles and sunspots and our face skin seems to be more sensitive.
Chuck Gaidica: And what about … there are certain things that we all have in our own context. So the kids always kid me, I think I take after my dad in this case, where I step out into the sun. I don’t lay out, I never lay out. But I’m active outside. And they’ll say, “Dad, how’d you get a tan?” “I don’t know. It just happens.” I don’t get really burnt. I get a tan.
Grace Derocha: Right.
Chuck Gaidica: But does the color of my skin, whether I’ve enhanced it in my case or that I’m a little deeper in tone than another person, does that have anything to do with whether we’re using SPF 15? Is a person of color maybe not supposed to use it or am I just assuming things I shouldn’t?
Grace Derocha: No. Everyone should use SPF.
Chuck Gaidica: Everyone.
Grace Derocha: It depends. So my skin can get darker, but that’s all genetics on how much melanin you have in your skin. But it doesn’t mean that you couldn’t get skin cancer. I don’t know if you saw this report. There was a report that an African American medical student did where he made up a book basically that showed different rashes and different issues with the skin on different skin tones. And I thought that was really interesting because oftentimes you don’t know based on different skin tones what something might look like, even a sunburn.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. We have a member of the family that’s adopted from Guatemala and she’s fairly dark skinned. And it’s amazing to me as we get to the end of summer how much of a tan she gets. She knows it, but it’s an amazing difference because you would think, “Oh, well there’s not going to be any change.” There’s an obvious change.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. Kahlea gets tan and Tommy is more fair. I don’t know if he didn’t get my Filipino skin or what happened there, but.
Chuck Gaidica: Interesting. Yeah. Which of course bolsters your point that regardless of how much melatonin you have in your skin still use an SPF 15.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. For sure.
Chuck Gaidica: What else can we do now as we look for taking care of our skin? There are other things we can apply on the outside, but other things we can do from the inside out.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. So we’ve talked about diet, we’ve talked about exercise, we’ve talked about protection in the sun. This one’s a tricky one, but it’s real. If you can manage your stress. So stress increases cortisol in the body, which is a hormone and that hormone then can increase oil production just as a byproduct. And a lot of times then with that might come acne or other blemishes so managing stress becomes really important. And if you eat healthy and exercise-
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Grace Derocha: -hopefully you can do that a bit.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, but think of the period we’ve come out of. So we’ve got a lot of people who are looking at coming through winter months when typically the air inside a house is dry. So you’ve got that issue. Then you may have more anxiety and more stress over your job situation, just the state of the world. Right? So you’ve got that. Now we can get back outside and blow off some steam and exercise and have fun with kids in the backyard, but there can still be stress. So it really is an interesting thing how many different environmental things can impact our skin. And all of a sudden, “Oops,” we’ve got patches of dry stuff over here or acne over there for somebody. Yeah.
Grace Derocha: Right. Well and so sleep is another thing. So again, I feel like these are things that I always say. But again, just talking about them in a different context.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Grace Derocha: If you have poor sleep again, you will have increased cortisol levels. And with all these things piggybacking on each other, sustained increased levels of cortisol. We’re naturally going to have some increases and dips in our cortisol, but sustained can lead to inflammation which is also bad for our skin and our overall health. So especially for adults, that seven to eight hours at least is a key. I need to listen to this and tell myself that.
Chuck Gaidica: Well, it’s tough for everybody. Well like you, you’re multitasking. You’re like a superhero of multitask so that is a problem for a lot of people. And then again, some of us are working from home. You’ve got kids, grandkids that come over maybe now more than they did before. So all of a sudden things are shifting. I started out joking about this idea of moisturizing your skin and we’ve kind of danced around this a couple of times. I have to tell you that we moved to Michigan, what? 1982. Just before we moved here I got into a little yellow lotion that you can buy at a lot of department stores and I’ve used it for like 38 years. It was because it doesn’t clog pores. I’m one of the few men that you’ll probably ever meet that had to wear makeup for a living. It was just part of my job. Right?
Grace Derocha: Yeah, right.
Chuck Gaidica: And so I was always conscious of making sure I moisturized. But for me, moisturizing has just become something I think about. It didn’t sound manly nearly 40 years ago and now I know guys, and I don’t know why I’m saying it like that, but it just didn’t to me. It didn’t sound like something I should do. And nowadays I think a lot of guys are just thinking about stuff cosmetically that they never thought of before.
Grace Derocha: Yeah. I mean, I think there’s no shame in it. I’m so glad that you brought that up and your skin is amazing. So it’s funny in a fortune cookie when I was a kid it said, “Moisturize daily.” I’m not even, this is actually.
Chuck Gaidica: Come on.
Grace Derocha: No, this is so true. You can ask my mom. Because then after that I was like-
Chuck Gaidica: Signed Clinique.
Grace Derocha: Yeah, seriously. But I think I was like 11 years old or 12 years old and we were at a restaurant and it seriously said that. And then I heard it on Oprah and I’m like a little kid and then after that I was like, “Mom, you have to buy me lotion.” She’s like, “What’s happening?” I’m like, “Remember my fortune cookie said?” And so since I was 11 years old, every day slathering on lotion.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah.
Grace Derocha: Isn’t that funny?
Chuck Gaidica: But part of that also you have to have the pre-moisturize moisturize part of this. Right? Tell us about that. So some of it’s obvious, but why would we be washing after we exercise and getting rid of the sweat?
Grace Derocha: So you want to clean the body, exfoliating your skin once in a while too, getting off the dead skin cells. Because our skin, like we’ve talked about, obviously the free radicals are coming out and some of those toxins. But also there’s pollution in the air and we capture that. If you’re a woman and you’re wearing makeup, you obviously want to take that off your skin. I mean if you think about your car or when you go on walks or riding your bike, there’s construction. There’s things happening outside that can get on our skin so more icky yuck yucks that we need to get off our skin.
Chuck Gaidica: And it’s kind of funny because having five kids, which is like seven Canadian, having so many children it’s just you come to learn when even you wipe the floor and there’s a splat of yogurt or something. You need to really clean it well, don’t just move it around from one space to another.
Grace Derocha: Right.
Chuck Gaidica: The same is true of our skin. Don’t just wipe around your face. And if you haven’t really washed well or taken the shower, it didn’t really move at all off your skin. Right?
Grace Derocha: Yes. Please clean it, like actually clean it. Yes, yogurt is such a good example. That just happened yesterday. Tommy spilled yogurt. He’s like, “I cleaned it.” And I almost wiped out because he just kind of moved it around and spread it out.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. I think that’s a standard one. Right? I mean just over time, it doesn’t matter. It’s a Gogurt idea. Right?
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: But what about hot showers versus cold showers? Is there something there that makes a difference?
Grace Derocha: So hot showers can kind of upset the skin’s natural moisture.
Chuck Gaidica: Oh.
Grace Derocha: So there’s a couple of things you can do. Avoid extra hot, but then what you can do is if you do like a hot shower do the cold at the very end to close those pores back up. Because that’s another thing that happens with hot and warm water. We open up our pores, but we don’t want them susceptible to any other icky yuck yucks at that time. So the cold water for a few minutes after is a great way to close those pores back up.
Chuck Gaidica: So we’ve talked about how to shower properly, all that stuff. We’ve talked about actually sunbathing and tanning and using SPF. And this other one maybe we kind of buried the lead story, but obviously smoking.
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: It’s kind of an interesting thing that you can … I don’t know, I shouldn’t say you. I can pick out someone who whether, not because of the way they sound necessarily, but you can see people who were deep smokers, if not still, maybe most of their life based on their skin.
Grace Derocha: Yes.
Chuck Gaidica: It’s almost an amazing thing to be able to pick that out. Right? What does smoking do to your skin?
Grace Derocha: Yeah. So smoking in general constricts blood vessels and that means there’s reduced blood flow to the skin. So part of that is, again, they’re not getting enough oxygen and nutrients to the skin from the blood. And then obviously those constant motions of puckering to smoke.
Chuck Gaidica: You’re telling me that just the motion, the actual physical change of your face, is causing an issue to your skin?
Grace Derocha: Well yeah, because you’re constantly puckering your lips. And because of that movement, the constriction and motion of that skin consistently and constantly will stretch out some of that skin. And also because there is that constricted blood flow, then they kind of piggyback off of each other in a bad way.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Very interesting. Because over time it’s been interesting to me to talk to people who would even tell me that they could notice they were smokers for maybe 25, 30 years and then they quit. Good for them, but they would say, “You know? I notice it always affected my skin.” So they knew it was happening.
Grace Derocha: Well and that’s why with smokers there’s increased risk because of the constricted blood vessels for heart attack and stroke as well. So all of these things that we know, again, talking about them in a context regarding skin is a little different. But these are things that we knew. Obviously we know smoking is bad for you, but that constriction of the blood vessels is bad all around.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Alright. Well we’ve talked about a lot of things, what are your headlines? What are some good takeaways for us to understand here about our skin health?
Grace Derocha: Okay. A few things. One, think about how you can take care of your skin from the inside out with some of the healthy lifestyle things that we discussed. From water to fruits and vegetables. But then also thinking about how you can shed some of those toxins with exercise. So it’s like my basic points, but thinking of them in a different way to maybe inspire you to do them. Getting enough sleep, reducing your stress, and protecting your skin.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Well it’s all good stuff. And I think over time as we’ve had discussions this whole idea about leaning into more veggie, not becoming a vegetarian necessarily or a vegan, but all the stuff that just seems more healthy. Especially in Michigan when right now we’re surrounded by some of the greatest produce that’s being produced right in our neighborhoods. And farms, going to beautiful stands that are available on every Thursday or whatever in your downtown area. There are so many ways to eat healthy. So this is all great.
Grace Derocha: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like Michigan has a wealth of produce. We actually produce over 300 different fruits and vegetables in our state, which not many places can say they do that. So enjoy them, especially this summer.
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah. Well it’s good to talk to you again. Always, always a pleasure. Thanks Grace.
Grace Derocha: Thanks so much Chuck.
Chuck Gaidica: Grace Derocha who’s a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and a Certified Health Coach. And I think she’s coached me along today to give me some new advice, I hope you too. We want to thank you for listening to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. It’s brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like what you’ve heard, if you like the show, you want to know more check us out online. We’ve got all kinds of great episodes. Go to You can leave reviews or ratings on Apple podcast or Stitcher. You can take the episodes with you on your smartphone, on your tablet. Be sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. I’m Chuck Gaidica. Be well.

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