Excerpt: Dr. Jessica Wu's 'The Feed Your Face Philosophy'

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Free radicals exist all around us— they're even natural by- products of the body's metabolism, the network of chemical reactions that keeps us alive. But they're also found in abundance in pollution, toxins, pesticides, and cigarette smoke. In addition, they are produced when UV rays interact with the skin. Typically, your body can neutralize most free radical damage on its own, but if you're bombarded by such factors as UV light, pollution, and secondhand smoke, you'll overwhelm that innate ability. The net result is a breakdown of healthy cells and a face that looks old and tired.

The Feed Your Face Philosophy

LAYER THREE: Subcutaneous Tissue, a.k.a. the Fat Layer

Not only are we born with beautiful skin, but we're also born with a nice, thick layer of fat right underneath it. (Continuing with the orange analogy, we're talking about the meat of the fruit now, the part you eat.) This subcutaneous fat, which looks like the thick yellow fat you might fi nd under chicken skin, provides a barrier between the dermis and your muscle tissue; it insulates the body and gives your face its contours. (It's why babies and children have such soft, curvy cheeks.) As we grow up, we lose some of that fat, and our faces sort of deflate; the cheeks hollow out, and the lips flatten. So where does all this fat go? Instead of gravitating to the cleavage— where we could use it— it migrates down to the belly and butt. Go figure.

Hey, Dr. Wu

Q: My dermatologist says wearing makeup can cause breakouts because it clogs the pores and doesn't let your skin "breathe." Is makeup really bad for my skin?

A: Good news, girls. Breakouts are typically caused by bacteria, hormonal fluctuations, and the foods you eat— not by Laura Mercier. In fact, some makeup can even be good for you. Certain cosmetics can provide SPF protection, which is great for those of us who sometimes forget to put on sunscreen. (You know who you are.) Wearing makeup may also remind you not to touch your face as often, cutting down on the transfer of germs from your hands. And as long as you're choosing the right makeup for your skin, it shouldn't make you break out. If you have oily skin, large pores, or acne- prone skin, look for a water- based makeup that is noncomedogenic. And if you're still breaking out, don't worry. In Chapter 4 you'll learn more about acne and how to fi ght it with skin- friendly foods.

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