What you're eating is ruining your face

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

If you haven't read Dr. Nigma Talib's book (Younger Skin Starts in the Gut), reading it will blow your mind, cause you to question your behavior, research the claims in hopes of disproving them, fail, become somewhat depressed, and then finally become motivated to change your behavior. (That is exactly what happened to me when I read it.)

Although I highly suggest reading it in full, Dr. Talib's advice is too amazing to sit on your bookshelf until you find the time so I'm sharing a summary here (and shouting it from the mountaintops, and boring my coworkers with it, and my husband, etc.)

Before we begin, let's start with a little exercise based on the premise of Dr. Talib's book, which is that consumption of sugar, dairy, wine, or gluten causes distinct signs of aging on your face.

Take a look at the below diagram, read the descriptions of each, and then look in the mirror at your own face. Do you have any signs of Wine Face, Dairy Face, Gluten Face or Sugar Face (or all four...)?

Sugar Face Symptoms:
  • Sagging under eyes
  • Widespread blemishes
  • Pustular or cystic acne
  • Thinning skin
  • Dark gray or pasty white hue to the complexion
  • Lines and wrinkles on the upper forehead

Dairy Face Symptoms:
  • Under eye bags
  • Darkness under the eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Widespread acne and blemishes
  • Pale cheeks
  • Concentrated pimples on the chin

Wine Face Symptoms:
  • Lines between the eyebrows
  • Enlarged pores 
  • Reddish cheeks
  • Dehydrated skin
  • Feathery lines across the cheeks
  • Deep nasolabial folds 

Gluten Face Symptoms:
  • Puffy cheeks
  • Jowls
  • Blemishes across forehead
  • Bloated appearance to face
  • Redness or red spots on cheeks
  • Blemishes or dark patches on the chin

Why is this happening?!

In the book, Dr. Talib explains that sugar, dairy, wine (and all alcohol), and gluten are all common causes of inflammation that lead to the symptoms described above.

We are all familiar with acute inflammation, the response your body has to injuries like cuts and bruises. White blood cells rush to the area to repair the damage, resulting in redness, swelling and discomfort.

Dr. Talib suggests that consuming sugar, dairy, wine and gluten cause a similar inflammatory response in our bodies but that it is chronic and long-term, leading to a variety of health issues in addition to the aging face scare tactic that she used to lure me in to reading her book in the first place! Here are some of the reasons why they're so bad in cause you want to fact-check her like I did:

  • Sugar leads to glycation, a process that breaks down the collagen essential for keeping your skin firm and youthful
  • Dairy is extremely difficult for our bodies to digest because we lose the enzymes that process dairy as we age
  • Wine is full of sugar, sulfites, pesticides and alcohol which dehydrates you, causes your liver to work overtime, and disrupts your gut bacteria
  • Gluten causes a leaky gut for many people, which means that things you are supposed to be digesting literally leak out of your digestive tract to who-knows-where in your body

I have Wine Face, and I'm going to fix it

Although I cut gluten and dairy from my diet earlier this year at the insistence of my dermatologist (and with great results), I love wine - in full disclosure, I have a glass or two almost every night. Dr. Talib showed me that as a result of that habit, I may have Wine Face (!!!!) and am likely causing myself to age quickly and paving the way for future health issues. Considering that I am pushing 31 and willing to spend $130 on an ounce of Skinceuticals serum to keep my skin in tip top condition, this is NOT ACCEPTABLE and I decided to do something about it.

Before any of my fellow winos freak out, know that the book advises that moderation can eliminate the issues. Dr. Talib suggests taking four straight days without alcohol each week, and keep it reasonable (no more than three glasses) on the "off" days.

I'm testing her theory by cutting out wine entirely and replacing it with La Croix, Perrier and chamomile tea during the work week. Although the logical part of my mind would love to do a full month without any wine or sugar, the illogical impulsive side of my mind lacks the will power to survive the holiday party circuit under such austere circumstances. (Suggestions welcome.) I'm considering this advance training for 2017 behavior changes...

If you're a fellow candidate for Wine Face (or Sugar, Dairy or Gluten Face) and considering making some changes, I'd love any ideas you have on healthy substitutes for wine and chocolate, or cheesecake and French bread. (For the record, I just got hungry typing that...)

Thanks for reading, and hope you have a chance to check out this book!

9 comments on "What you're eating is ruining your face"
  1. Thank you Colleen for totally ruining my already bad morning! :D Surprisingly I seem to have a sugar face. I thought I would have been a strong candidate for all the other types of faces too, but come to think of it I do consume sugar every day. Apparently I need to fix that, now for obvious reasons.

    As a fellow wino I suggest you the following: focus on wine's quality. Enjoying really good fine wines is usually more of a pleasure. Hence the positive joyous effect is bigger and lasts longer, you might survive with less wine! Some of your friends might then think you have turned into a bit of a snob but that's a small price to pay for great experiences with wine and a non-wine-face!

    1. Hi Mari!! Hahahaha to your comment - I am sorry for running your morning with this very unpopular topic!!! Your point about being a candidate for the other types of faces is spot on... I felt the same.

      Thought of you at the wine store last weekend, and picked up some nicer bottles and organic wines. It was definitely a more joyous experience, and I am in total agreement that being a wine snob is much better than a wine-faced commoner!!! Thanks so much for reading and for your comment - hope you are having a great week!

  2. As much as I enjoy reading your posts hardly ever make a comment but really feel like I have to say this. If stop drinking your daily glass of wine makes you happy....then do it! If you feel chocolate is your skin enemy then cut it out of your life.

    I just turned 41 (last Sunday to be more specific) and never felt more confident and happier in my life, now that I take life as it comes, now that I exercise because I want to rather than to look in certain way, now that I go to the parties I want and not the ones that I have to, now that I want to make people around me and myself happy! Now that I appreciate what really matters because who knows how long we're staying in this world?

    I'm not saying go wild and crazy or like some others would say YOLO but we'd rather embrace life right now and do whatever makes us happy (of course considering being kind to each other)!!!!

    I like tequila.... No, no, no.... I love tequila. I don't drink it everyday but only 3 shots in the days off, come on. For the record I try to drink one shot of tequila and then a glass of water. Sometimes (like in my birthday party) I forget the water but never ever forget the tequila.

    1. Erika, first of all, I cannot believe you are 41 because you look younger than me. You're absolutely right about focusing on what makes us happy - will be revisiting my daily habits for the new year :) Love your thoughts on feeling more confident and happier in your life, focused on what really matters. That is definitely something that I need to think more about. It is so hard to do, but absolutely necessary.

      And LOL to the tequila!!! My father-in-law is also a connoisseur, has the flavored ones that he makes me try when I visit!

      Anyway, thank you for reading and for your thoughts - looking forward to chatting more soon,

    2. Whenever you come to Mexico I'll show you the best tequilas and I'm sure you're going to like them.

    3. Hahaha sounds like a plan!!!! I will hold you to that Erika!

  3. Honestly Colleen,
    I don't see that you have the wine face :) Also, isn't wine very good for you?

    I myself don't drink at all, I am allergic to alcohol, especially red wine, it gives me really bad headache. My hubby is more of a beer guy, but he appreciates wine. He's still trying to get me to appreciate wine although he's failed. But look at the bright side, I am a cheap date :)

    I am a Chinese so naturally I love rice, noodle(rice and wheat noodle). I don't think I have a gluten face though...I must admit I still need to double check what is gluten.

    I consider myself a somewhat healthy eater. I barely eat meat; I definitely do not like dairy products and sweets; I hardly eat deep fried food. I mainly eat vegetables, fish and fruits. But I love rice, especially pan fried rice, whenever we are in an Asian restaurant we order it. I usually eat a bigish lunch and try to eat smaller dinner. On weekend, hubby and I eat one big lunch and fruits for dinner, it saves money too :)

    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts dear!


  4. Hi dear,

    I also wrote comment for this one but it also disappeared...

    This is really interesting Colleen. I don't know if I know anyone who's that into wine. and I certainly don't think you have a "wine face"! I myself don't drink at all, I am sort of allergic to alcohol, and red wine (just a few sips)gives me real bad headache. My husband appreciates a good wine but more of a beer guy. He tries hard to get me to appreciate wine, describes them vividly and richly, but I just don't get it haha...oh well, at least, I am a cheap date, wine isn't cheap here :)

    And also I am one of those rare people who does not like sweets. Sure, sometimes I enjoy ice creams or a bite of dark chocolate, but I really do not care for sweet things at all, even thinking of them makes me frown. I never have cravings for them. I can totally live without them. I am though, almost addicted to rice and noodles, I can eat them everyday.

    I think of myself overall a healthy eater. I dont eat meat most of the time, I don't eat deep fried food, I love vegetables and fruits. I must confess, after living in the U.S for more than 15 years, I still do not like western food, perhaps even more. You know what's funny? I really like bread, but I almost hate sandwichs and burgers(I occationaly eat sandwichs but never burgers). I like eating bread alone, the ideas of bread of other things mixed together makes me cringe. I know, it's very weird. I can't explain it.

    Looking forward to more of your blogs!

    1. Hey Echo!! I'm sorry your comments got lost - I went into my moderator tab and they were sitting in a queue for some reason! Anyway thank you for your comments and for reading! It's interesting to hear that you don't know any winos... maybe I need to make different friends to reduce my bad habit!! It's great that you are so healthy by habit - I love dark chocolate but am like you where I typically avoid processed and fried foods. And I don't like bread!!! Never crave it, I just stopped eating it entirely one day and never looked back really. Sometimes gluten free cinnamon raisin toast if I'm feeling wild ;)

      And sorry for my long blog delays - I've been out of my pattern of organizing my posts ahead of time, one of my resolutions to change for next year. Talk to you soon!