Tips for Beautiful Skin from Local Experts

1.  Take care of your Digestive Tract

“Good digestion and elimination are important for beautiful skin,” says Karen Spirer, Certified Holistic Chef and teacher. To increase the digestibility of food, Karen recommends adding fermented foods, such as Sauerkraut and kimchi, to meals, because the enzymes and healthy bacteria contained in these types of fermented foods allow greater absorption of nutrients from meals. She also recommends pre-soaking whole grains in slightly acidic water (with a touch of vinegar or lemon juice) and legumes in slightly alkaline water (with a touch of baking soda, sea salt, or small piece of seaweed) to help with their digestibility. In addition to being nutritious, whole grains and beans are high in fiber and help eliminate toxins from the body.

Carl Germano, owner of The Nutrition Therapy Center in Pomona, NY, and author of seven best-selling nutrition books, agrees.  “It’s not what you eat, it’s what you digest and absorb.” For a healthy digestive tract and beautiful skin, Carl advises supplementing with both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains of bacteria and – FOS –  their food source, to keep the healthy bacteria growing.

2.  Eat Enough Protein
Good quality protein is paramount when it comes to great skin. “Because there are a lot of protein structures in the skin, people who are protein deficient often have skin problems,” says Carl. “The older you get, the more important [adequate protein intake] is.”
Gelatin, found in homemade bone broths, plays an important role in collagen production and is particularly helpful in plumping the skin. Karen teaches people how to make gelatin-rich broths by simmering organic chicken, fish or meat bones, to create delicious and beauty-enhancing soups and stews.

3.  Hydration – especially important in the winter
You might think we need to drink less water in the winter. But, in fact, winter air is dryer than summer air, so even more water is needed to stay hydrated.  “Proper hydration is top of the list [for beautiful skin],” says Carl. “Drink lots of clear, purified water every day.”

4.  Coconut Oil and Olive Oil, and not just in cooking

To help keep skin hydrated, consider slathering yourself with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, either exclusively, or in combination with a small amount of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. “Coconut oil is good for both inside and outside of your body,” says Karen, who recommends using coconut oil and water, instead of soap, in the shower.

Gabriella Valentine, President and CEO of Olivier New York Boutique in Rye, agrees. “Coconut oil is an all natural plumper for the face. If you do nothing else for your skin, take out your cold pressed olive oil or coconut oil and put it all over your body,” encourages Gabriella. “A wrinkle is just your body dehydrated. Feed your body what it needs.”

Coconut Oil is antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial, as well as a moisturizer, and makes a great natural lubricant, according to Karen.

5.  Spa Recommendations

Olivier sells all natural, hand made, organic and ecological skin care products containing organic extra virgin olive oil and cold press coconut oil. For winter, Gabriella recommends a moisturizer, designed for the harshest weather conditions, made with cold pressed olive oil, calendula and propolis, a bee product. For chapped lips, try Olivier’s lip balm, made of organic olive oil, patchouli, and tea tree oil, which keeps lips soft, crack-free and treats cold sores as well.

At Le Petite Spa in Croton-on-Hudson, owner Mary Prenon recommends getting a professional facial once a month to keep your face looking its best. The spa offers custom-made facials with organic and botanical-based products, but for an easy, inexpensive at home facial, Mary suggests combining instant oatmeal with water and applying to the face. And to help reduce dark circles around the eyes, another simple at-home beauty treatment is placing wet green-tea bags over the eyes.

The biggest skin care mistakes people make? “People use sodium lauryl sulfate or astringents to strip off layers of skin to regenerate new layers,” says Gabriella. “Better to allow your skin to self-heal and rehydrate,” rather than try to get squeaky clean skin or peel away rough layers.

6.  The Mind-Body Connection

“Skin disorders show themselves with stress conditions,” notes Carl, who advises his clients to “support adrenal function [with] meditation, yoga, B vitamins, additional calcium, magnesium and zinc.” For  chronic stress, he recommends  “additional nutritional supplements, such as vitamin C, zinc, Rhodiola rosea root extract, Holy Basil, and American Ginseng.”

“Stress has a part in how your skin behaves,” Gabriella agrees. “Skin care is a direct reflection of well-being.” And, to that end, relaxation is on the menu at both Olivier and Le Petite Spa, with reflexology and massage available for customers. Along with your next facial, treat yourself to a peppermint-rosemary foot scrub, followed by a relaxing reflexology treatment at Le Petite Spa. Your skin will thank you.


Carl Germano, RD, CNS, CDN, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist and owner of The Nutrition Therapy Center in Pomona, NY.  845.499.0420.

Karen W. Spirer, Certified Holistic Chef, Educator, Dietary Consultant.914.310.2949.

Mary Prenon, Le Petite Spa, 1 Baltic Place, Croton-on-Hudson. 877.572.7851.

Gabriella Valentine, President and CEO of Olivier New York Boutique, 12 Purchase St, Rye. 914.305.2000.

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