"Ah summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it."
But maybe if you pay attention to holistic skin-care guru Dr. Howard Murad, you won't have to suffer to chill in that bikini this season.
The 2009 Elle Magazine Genius Award winner -- also named one of the nation's top dermatologists by Vogue -- gives us a few tips in warding off summertime scaries, like dull skin, environmental damage and ... yes, even cellulite (DUN dun dun).
But it turns out cellulite isn't as scary as we thought. "Cellulite is a skin problem, not a fat problem," says Murad, and there are ways to treat it.
First off, memorize Dr. Murad's mantra: Internal treatment is more important than external treatment.
Certain foods keep the skin firm, keep water in the cells and promote strong blood vessels, he says.
Consuming high-antioxidant products such as pomegranate, blueberries and green tea help stave off connective-tissue damage, while eggs, beans and nuts provide your body with essential fatty acids, which hydrate your cells. Foods like eggs, soy and cauliflower are rich in lecithin, which strengthens skin and makes it harder for cellulite to show through.
Free-radical damage -- caused by pollution, sun, smog and stress -- and a number of other factors damage and weaken the cells and blood vessels. “By consuming foods loaded with antioxidants, EFAs and anti-inflammatories, you are ingesting the nutrients needed to repair and maintain healthy cell walls, connective tissue and blood vessels. Foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 and omega-9 oils are soothing foods,” says Murad.
Applying these vitamin-rich foods topically can also repair skin. Pomegranate extract and green tea can do the trick, but ... “Believe it or not, cayenne pepper is also a good ingredient,” says Murad. The doc’s award-winning Firm & Tone Serum contains cayenne pepper, which invigorates circulation when applied topically.
Also, don’t forget sunscreen! Foods high in caratonoids, like carrots and other yellow vegetables, make SPF more effective.
But the most important thing you can do to look great this summer is to “take sometime for yourself,” says Dr. Murad. “Eating right and putting good things in your body will make you feel better about yourself and improve self-esteem.”
In other words, your health and appearance are positively influenced by your emotional and mental well-being -- and vice versa.
“I always ask my patients, ‘Who is the most important person in the world?’ They usually bring up their mother or significant other and I say ‘No! YOU are the most important person in the world!'”
Aw shucks, Dr. Murad.