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 The Truth About Beauty: An Interview with Kat James - Part 7 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled The Truth About Beauty: Journey to Total Transformation® with Kat James by . View all columns in series
This Saturday: Kat James and The Truth About Beauty on TBS!!

Today, author Kat James gives us a peek at some of her key product and skin regimen upgrades from Part III of her acclaimed new book, The Truth About Beauty, but don't miss her nationally televised Mind/Body/Spirit makeover this Saturday, Nov. 29th, Thanksgiving weekend on TBS' Movie and a Makeover during the movie "Three Wishes" (11am EST and PST, 10am Central, 9am Mountain)!!

HealthWorld: Kat, last week you shared some of your insights regarding upgrades to what we put in our bodies to transform ourselves from Part II of The Truth About Beauty. This week could you give us a glimpse of your recommendations regarding how we can upgrade what we're using externally?

Kat James: Sure, but in this part of the process of "shedding," I would first encourage anyone looking to improve their skin - and likely their health - to take and evaluate the Dawn-to-Dusk Self-Inventory at the end of Part I of my book, which will help give them a clear picture of what they're putting on (and in) their body. Then the first practical goal is to reverse any regimen overkill (stop harsh and irritating products) that's challenging your skin and get back its basic protective functions, before we pile on new products and regimens.

Too many of us have bought into harsh, stripping and over-exfoliating skin regimens that actually heighten the skin's vulnerability over time and can cause problems, and even speed its aging. An example is the over-use of alpha-hydroxy acids, which forces young skin cells to reach the surface prematurely and may even tire out the collagen-producing fibroblasts with long-term use and make skin vulnerable to serious sun damage and even skin cancer - a concern for which the acids are being investigated by the FDA.

Foaming cleansers and bath products, antibacterial soaps and perfumes are the other most skin-challenging products. Any time the skin is left with a tight feeling, it has been stripped. Stripped skin has lost both some of its water-proof hydrolipid barrier, and some of its acidity that helps it fight bacteria. Both of these compromises invite a world of new problems, and so you are fighting a losing battle and becoming a slave to high-maintenance regimens you are completely dependant on.

Antibacterial soaps often destroy protective bacteria that is naturally present to keep pathogenic bacteria in check. As far as perfumes and perfumed products, the only things you can count on is that you absolutely don't know what's in them - because manufacturers can use anything without listing it, including known carcinogens, air pollutants and neurotoxins - and that you are applying a top-ranking skin irritant that may be adding insult to injury if your skin is already sensitized from the aforementioned regimens.

I should also mention that synthetic emollients, like mineral oil are another challenge to the skin, as they interfere with the proper function of sebum, by blocking its actions, as well as the pores.

The only way to escape this merry-go-round of problem causing solutions is to find healthier alternatives that purify the skin without stripping it (like essential oil-containing products), going through a usually-short withdrawal period as you allow the skin to re-establish its own defenses, using potent supportive substances, and taking a whole new approach to skin problems that can transform your skin from the inside-out. You'll find a comprehensive, 12-page chart in my book that gives both the conventional as well as the best-researched alternative options for most common skin issues.

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