On a recent episode of the Rachael Ray Show, ace stylist Gretta Monahan and I helped a woman named Kat through an age-defying makeover. Now, when we think about makeovers, we usually think about the surface elements such as clothes, makeup or hairstyle. But many of those things you want to change on the outside, like brittle hair or dull skin, may be signs of health issues on the inside that need attention. If you address those with a “health makeover,” you can transform your looks AND your well-being. And the benefits of a health makeover will last much, much longer than that new haircut will. On the Rachael Ray Show, I mentioned some key areas of the body that may be trying to tell you about something going on inside:
- Deep skin wrinkles: Do you have deep wrinkles? This may be a sign of osteoporosis. Research has suggested that your bones and skin share a key building block – collagen – and that if you see it breaking down on the skin in the form of wrinkles, you might be losing it in your bones as well. Speak with your doctor to find out if the time is right for you to get a bone mineral density test.
- Dull Skin: We all want to have a smooth, dewy complexion, but in addition to skin products such as moisturizer, also consider your diet. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can improve your skin’s health and appearance. You may want to ask your doctor about a complete multivitamin if you’re worried about getting enough nutrients from the food you eat. And don’t forget to drink water regularly to keep your skin hydrated.
- Dry, Brittle Hair: Growing hair needs protein; without it, new strands won't be as strong and resilient as they could be. Essential fatty acids (found in fish oil supplements, wild salmon, and flax seeds) may also play a role in keeping strands strong, shiny and healthy. If your diet is lacking in protein or fatty acids, try increasing how much you consume. Keep in mind that what you eat can only impact hair that is just starting to grow, so it may be several months before any improvements are evident.
- Nail ridges: Vertical ridges are normal and are not a sign of any medical health concern. However, horizontal fingernail ridges may sometimes be a sign of a medical condition such as malnutrition, uncontrolled diabetes or circulatory diseases.
These are just a few examples of many warning signs you can see. Of course, when it comes to health, there are even more you can’t see. So in order to truly embark on a health makeover, follow these five simple steps:
- See your doctor for a complete physical
- Prepare before you go by collecting all the information you can about your family medical history
- Also, before your appointment, take notes on anything you observe, including sleep habits, any pain or other symptoms, or any changes in your body
- During your visit, ask your doctor to prioritize the most important “to do’s” so you aren’t overwhelmed
- Now, follow through: go see the specialist, take the test, or fill the prescription and take the medication as directed
Repeat as needed! Remember: A physical makeover can show you dramatic results in a couple of hours. With a health makeover, stick with it and you see the results over time.