Our skin is the largest organ of the body and should be well-cared for. In fact, the Chinese have long said that the skin, the face in particular, is the window into the gut. What we see manifest on our face or skin is evidence of what is happening internally. Skin concerns such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, pigmentation issues, and aging skin all have roots in the internal health of the body, especially within the gut. Read on for nutrition tips for overall health and clear, glowing skin.
Water is foundational to a healthy body, especially healthy skin. Water helps to flush toxins out of the body, therefore promoting a clear complexion. Additionally, hydrated cells reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. We recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces of quality, filtered water a day. This number should increase when exercising and/or taking part in detoxification protocols.
Our bodies are comprised of trillions of cells. Each cell is surrounded by a cell membrane that is made of fat. Consuming health-promoting fats aids in cell membrane integrity therefore giving a healthy glow to the skin. Additionally, healthy fats aid in hormone balance, promote brain function, keep blood sugar levels stable, and decrease inflammation within the body. To nourish our bodies, we recommend consuming beneficial fat such as avocados, grass-fed butter or ghee, free-range egg yolks, coconut oil, MCT oil, extra virgin olive oil, and high quality Omega-3 fatty acids.
Bone broth is also known as "liquid gold" for its numerous health benefits. The collagen and gelatin in bone broth have a healing a sealing mechanism within the gut. This aids skin health by protecting the body from toxins and food particles from entering the body and causing an inflammatory response. Bone broth contains glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are molecules found in the skin’s dermis, along with collagen and elastin. These nutrients promote skin elasticity and provide necessary elements to fill spaces within the dermal layers. There are some quality store-bought bone broths such as Kettle & Fire, Osso Good and Bonafide Provisions. Homemade bone broth is an economic, delicious, and satisfying task to add to your kitchen routine.
Collagen has been researched extensively for its ability to promote health within the body and definitively for the skin. With aging, the body’s production of collagen decreases which results in many health issues. There are multiple types of collagen. Collagen Type 1 is essential for skin elasticity and has long been touted for skin, hair, and nail health and youthfulness. Collagen is particularly beneficial to the skin’s dermis (the deep layer) health, especially for people over age 50. Collagen Type 4 is also highly beneficial for extra cellular matrix and skin support. Our recommendation for a robust, potent collagen supplement is Collagen ECM which is available at the office.
There is ample research showing that antioxidants have a positive impact on the skin, especially for anti-aging effects. Vitamin C, an essential nutrient can only be found in fruits and vegetables and helps to counter the effects of sun exposure. It works by decreasing the damage caused by free radicals, a harmful byproduct of sunlight, pollution, and smoke. Vitamin C not only has these antioxidant properties, but is also a necessary cofactor in collagen formation in the body and skin. Research also shows that antioxidant vitamin E, like vitamin C, helps to reduce effects of harmful sun exposure. It also helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles for smooth skin. Additionally, glutathione is the body's master antioxidant. When the body is low or deficient in glutathione it causes oxidative stress within the cells impacting the aging of the skin as well as overall health status. Check in with one of our docs to see if supplementing with glutathione would benefit you.
As stated above, skin health has roots in gut integrity and a flourishing gut and skin microbiome (flora). Fermented foods give the body a wonderful dose of beneficial probiotic bacteria that nourish the gut microbiome as well as the skin's. Foods such as sauerkraut, pickled beets, dilly beans, kefir and kombucha are all delicious probiotic foods to incorporate into your diet.
Balanced Blood Sugar
Blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance cause a chronic state of inflammation within the body. Additionally, blood sugar imbalances increase oxidative stress. Oxidative stress and inflammation contribute to various unwanted skin symptoms such as aging, acne, dryness, fungal infections, skin tags, and even melanoma. We recommend using no or low-glycemic sweeteners such as monkfruit sweetener, coconut sugar, and coconut nectar to have a lesser impact on blood sugar. It is also important to eat quality protein and fats with meals for blood sugar regulation.
Avoid Processed Foods
For the most part, processed foods contain GMOs, sugars, refined grains, preservatives, and additives. These substances all contribute to an inflammatory response within the body. Inflammation in the body creates inflammation in the skin. Also, processed foods contribute to gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of good and bad gut bacteria) as well as leaky gut syndrome which has far-reaching effects on skin and the overall health of the body.
The skin absorbs the majority of what it comes in contact with. Being mindful to only allow non-toxic products to contact the skin is important not only for the health of the skin, but also for the entire body. The most effective non-toxic skincare products we have seen are Osmosis Our Medical Skincare. This is a doctor-developed holistic skincare line that targets the source of skin concerns and brings true healing to the skin. If you struggle with acne, psoriasis, rosacea, pigmentation problems, or aging skin, contact the office at 610-458-0500 to make an appointment for a skincare consultation with Dr. Ashley to get a customized protocol.