People want nice skin. It is a sign of good health and wellbeing, yet- when we have skin problems our first reach is for a cream or drugs to reduce our symptoms.
Re-read that- “Clear, smooth skin is a sign of good health and well being”. So, therefore, it makes sense that to get clear, smooth skin we should reach for good health and wellbeing to reduce our symptoms rather than trying to fix the symptoms topically without addressing the cause.
I have been down that path. The Dr’s visits, dermatologists, cosmeticians. “It’s your hormones, you can’t do anything- here are some drugs, creams, special soaps, cleansers, peels etc etc”. Nothing worked. I had acne, chronic eczema, hives, severe redness, extreme oiliness and dryness at the same time. As a kid, teenager and young adult this all takes its toll on your self-confidence. Acne scars tell their tails on my face daily and with the cosmetic industry being worth over 138 Billion dollars, it’s clear how much we want beautiful skin.
Now there are definitely good products out there (that’s for another post), but none that will work alone without good health and wellbeing!
Our outer skin health is massively linked with our inner skin health- our gut lining. The gut-skin axis is now well studied, to show how the gut microbiome and epithelial lining (gut health) has a great influence on the immune system and how dietary and environmental triggers create inflammatory responses.
Poor gut health is a very broad term used for almost everything! So very quickly lets narrow it down to what it actually means.
Poor gut health means that you have damage to the gut lining (which is one cell thick and takes a minimum of 21 days to completely renew its outer layer). It’s like a really long fence with countless gates on it that should protect you from the outer world (large food particles, bacteria, toxins) but still be able to let whatever it wants in such as nutrients, vitamins, minerals. This is an extremely complex job and there are unfortunately many many ways in the modern world in which we can harm this wonderful gate
If the gut is always continually getting damaged or tricked to leave the gates open then it will never fully be able to know exactly who and what comes in through the gates. Once foreign materials are inside the body (remember this can be bacteria from when you licked your fingers, to large improperly digested food particles), the immune system has to stop them from getting into the body’s circulation. Only vitamins, minerals and nutrients should get into the blood and lymph!
Poor gut health can also refer to an overgrowth in bacterial populations. These overgrowths can have a variety of negative impacts especially if they are able to enter the blood stream through a ‘leaky gut’.
The last main usage of poor gut health refers to digestion issues. Low stomach acid, lack of bile secretion can have a massive impact on sanitising the foods that you eat, breaking the foods down and binding to elements the body wants to excrete such as hormones, byproducts, bacteria and dead cells.
In patients with acne, eczema, psoriasis and other skin issues- there is a common link between leaky gut and microbial translocation (microbes found in systemic circulation where they should not be) which has a great inflammatory response on the outer skin. Below are 3 main categories for skin issues and what points are important to look for in your own lifestyle and diet to optimize your health and wellbeing and therefore your skin.
#1 Poor gut health (gut damage)
What we eat should be optimally processed, assimilated and excreted with no stress to the body. The following list is several main points of interest when someone has a damaged gut or points that can damage the gut lining which when unresolved can lead to issues.
- Food intolerance
- Food allergy
- Food sensitivity
- Microbial imbalance
- Oral contraceptives
- High Histamines
- Low fiber intake
- Poor eating habits
- Lack of sunlight
- Lack of sleep
#2 Liver congestion (detoxification issues)
You can NOT excrete toxins through the skin. Not in sweat not or baths or any other detox plan you have seen that claims to pull toxins through the skin. Our bodies process toxins in the liver and kidneys to where they are excreted in urine and stool. Toxins recirculate and get stored in the body if we are congested or if there are more toxins coming in than our body can process and excrete. Several main reasons being:
- Poor bile function
- Poor lymph circulation
- High toxic load
- Poor methylation
#3 Nutrient Deficiencies
Nutrient deficiencies are not something I like to state without analysing the body and its functions as a whole. If you have hypochlorhydria, poor wound healing, mouth sores- the chances are high you have also a zinc deficiency but to accurately state deficiencies-a blood test analysis and a subjective and objective symptomatic analysis would be needed. The following are common nutrient deficiencies that are necessary for skin health
- B Vitamins, B5
- Water intake
- Low fat intake (helps with the absorption of vitamin A,D,E,K)
#4 Skin Irritants
Ideally choosing ingredients that are free from the following products gives your body one less thing (or if we are talking about a woman’s skincare routine- 24 fewer things) to worry about a day. Whatever toxins or products we consume in one way or another must be processed by the body. You can easily find all of these ingredients in normal shampoos, skin lotions, hair products, make ups.
Parabens (anything ending in -paraben)
Silicone (anything ending in siloxane -cones, -conols, -silanes)
SLS, SLES (sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate)
Mineral oil (paraffin, petroleum products)
PEG, PPG (Polyethylene glycols, polypropylene glycols)
Check your products at home and see how many of the products you use contain these chemicals.
- Skin creams and cosmetics
- Washing powders
- Shampoos and soaps
Cleaning up your nutrition and skin care routines are the first and most important step when wanting to improve the appearance of your skin.
If you have any questions or thoughts let me know!