Beauty for Sale
It seems to me that nearly every billboard, magazine headline and television commercial practically shouts “Beauty for Sale!” From silky-smooth-shiny hair to tantalizing toes, and all points between, there appears to be a product, procedure, potion or pill to create or enhance beauty. As a woman who has weathered many seasons, I feel particularly concerned as young girls absorb this hype and cultivate their identity from external features rather than from internal disciplines and values.
The world’s view of beauty differs greatly from God’s view. Being a long-time Natural Health Consultant-Author-Speaker, I’ve passionately taught that outer beauty radiates from our inner being. This internal physical, emotional and spiritual well-being can be beautifully reflected in our external countenance. Women will always be beautiful in God’s eyes, however, our earthly journey toward beautiful completeness is a process that can only be accomplished with patience, preparedness and perseverance.
I Peter 3:3-4 (The Message) reminds us that, “What matters is not your outer appearance –– the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes –– but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.”
Now, friends, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not opposed to personal care and hygiene or self-improvement. And, I wholeheartedly believe we must present ourselves as a reflection of our Creator. Our fearfully and wonderfully designed bodies will shine beautifully when we follow the care instructions from our heavenly Father. Let’s explore some ways we can mature physically, emotionally and spiritually as lovely women using God’s Word as our beauty guide.
Physical beauty may be inherited to some degree, but it must be maintained with attention to internal health. When the glands, organs, hormones, and body-systems perform as they were designed, the body not only feels well, but appears healthy and attractive as well. Since we wear our largest organ on the outside of our body, it’s no wonder we want it to look and feel beautiful. Skin serves as more than just an attractive covering for our inner parts. Its performance list is extensive, but the key point is to recognize the relationship between inner health and outer beauty.
The aging process causes the skin to lose its youthful suppleness and elasticity because of its inability to retain moisture. Continued exposure to external factors (intense sunlight, wind, smoke, chemicals, etc.) quicken cellular aging of the skin. The timeworn solution seems to be finding the next “fountain-of-youth-fix.” Prior to the 20th century beauty recipes were formulated in the family kitchen. These beauty secrets were handed down from grandmothers to daughters and granddaughters. Today, the cosmetic industry is one of the largest in the United States. In 2004, Americans spent nearly $12.4 billion on cosmetics. Those billions of dollars of cosmetics contain over 10,000 ingredients, with eighty-nine percent of those ingredients not fully tested or evaluated for safety or toxicity. It may be years after using particular products that the link to cancers, problems in pregnancy or other health disorders are revealed. Sadly, the freedom of expression in advertising allows cosmetic and skin care companies to embellish their claims of a product’s efficacy. This is especially true for anti-aging products.
So, how do women preserve their outer beauty safely and economically? Let’s look inward. The liver may not be the most glamorous organ, however, one of its 500 functions is to promote healthy, beautiful skin. The liver assists in digestion, absorption and elimination. It is imperative to overall wellness that this process is completed efficiently. An overburdened or toxic liver may lead to various skin disorders, including itching, rashes, acne, dullness or excessively oily skin. The remedy? Love your liver! The daily food choices we make greatly influence the performance of our liver. Regular consumption of high fat foods, caffeine, alcohol, sugars, chemical-laden foods, highly processed or fake foods put a heavy burden on the liver to sort out the nutritious compounds from the toxic overload.
Choosing foods from God’s pantry of naturally grown, fresh produce brings life to your liver and a glow to your skin. Did you know that the cleansing benefits of lemon can improve your liver’s performance and will positively affect your skin? Freshly juiced spinach, cucumber and apple discourage a troublesome complexion. A high fiber diet (whole grains, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables) greatly support optimum liver function and promote radiant skin. My favorite skin- food is Aloe Vera. This miraculous plant is full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and collagen peptides. It’s impressively supportive for liver health, improved digestion and restoring skin tissues. Just drinking one to two ounces of high quality Aloe Vera juice daily restores and renews the body inside and out!
Now that we’ve improved the internal action, let’s look at some healthy and safe topical skin applications. Coconut oil and olive oil are healthy additions to your food pantry and your skin care cabinet. They moisturize, delay wrinkle formation, and relieve psoriasis, eczema and dryness without side effects.
The second area of consideration for inner-outer beauty is the emotional piece. The “Beauty for Sale” concept doesn’t skip the emotion element. There is no end to the pharmaceutical-fixes to reduce stress, calm us down or rev us up. The nutrients –– or lack of –– affect the brain’s neurotransmitters, which in turn affect our mood, thereby possibly affecting our behavior. Nutritionists from the Mayo Clinic suggested in a 2009 report that the link between nutrient dense foods (fresh produce, lean proteins, low glycemic, smart carbohydrates and fats) and a positive, uplifting mood compared to nutrient deficient foods (processed fast-foods, high sugar and caffeine) and a stressed-out, depressed, sleep-deprived mood are well worth investigating. Actor Susan Sarandon commented in The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets, “Ladies, stress shows up on your face. Happiness is the true beauty weapon.” It is so much easier to feel happy with a nutritiously well-fed body. The remedy for emotional health and beauty echoes the remedy for physical health and beauty. Foods that come from a garden and not a box greatly improve our mood, attitude and behavior! The last building block in our beauty project is the spiritual element. Jesus teaches his disciples that “...It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth” (Matthew 4:4 The Message). As important as nutrition is to our overall wellness and wholeness, we must not overlook our spiritual health. A daily diet of God’s Word strengthens us in a way that no food ever will.
God assures Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:29 that He would provide every sort of seed-bearing plant and every kind of fruit-bearing tree for their food. That God-created food still serves us today. Our perception of beauty changes each new year. Trends, fads and new products tempt us to keep up with the rich, powerful and famous. I am reminded in Romans 12:1-2 to offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God––this is my spiritual act of worship. Most importantly, not to conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. I appreciate the simplicity of beauty by God’s Book.