If the eyes are the window to the soul, our skin is a window to our inner health. Being the largest organ of elimination, it reflects what is going on on the inside, and is potentially indicative of problems related to digestion, liver function, hormone balance and even the state of your immune system.
It can be complicated to pin down what could be contributing to persistent skin troubles, varying from bouts of acne, blemishes and rosacea to very dry or oily skin – and everything in-between. However, there are a few things you can do to specifically support the health of your skin, namely by assisting those internal elimination organs and also by increasing the integrity and regenerative capabilities of the skin itself.
5 Things to Think About
Are you Constipated?
Constipation can have you feeling backed up and bloated and if it is related to further digestive issues it can also mean your nutrient absorption isn’t what it should be either. Not defecating regularly can mean the colon is re-absorbing toxins from waste product – leaving your skin to cope with the excess that gets recirculated through the body.
It’s important to remember constipation isn’t normally indicative of a problem with your large intestine; it can result from problems higher up in the digestive tract, such as food intolerances or poor digestive enzyme production. If you suffer from frequent or ongoing issues with constipation you should seek help from your healthcare practitioner.
Are you eating too many Dairy products?
Dairy can cause skin inflammation for a number of reasons. Firstly, its content of insulin-like-growth-factor hormone (IGF-1) can increase natural hormone levels leading to stimulation of keratin and excess sebum production. Secondly, casein – the protein found in milk – can be extremely inflammatory to the digestive system, particularly the A1 type found in our regular milk. A2 milk is infinitely better in this respect, and it also contains antibacterial lactoferrin and fat-soluble nutrients.
Are your Hormones balanced?
Imbalanced hormones are notoriously responsible for being one of the main causes of teenage acne, but they are also play a huge role in adult acne as well. For women especially, hormones are continually fluctuating and the slightest disturbance can cause an increase in inflammation, which will eventually have a flow-on effect on the skin.
Is your Liver working well?
As with constipation, if toxins aren’t being eliminated via the liver efficiently, they will be eliminated in other ways – like through our skin. Our liver is the main organ of detoxification in the body, so if the function of this vital organ is compromised our skin cells will suffer, as toxins will build up in the deeper layers and cause inflammation.
Are you drinking enough Water?
It’s one of the most common pointers to good, clear skin, however so many of us forget to drink enough water! Staying properly hydrated is linked to increasing the detoxification capacity of skin cells, as well as being a fundamental proponent of collagen – one of skins building blocks. Being hydrated also helps with the suppleness of the skin.
5 Foods to Consume Regularly
Healthy fats are extremely important for keeping skin nourished and well hydrated. Omega-3 fats are particularly beneficial as they also add an anti-inflammatory action. Eating wild oily fish such as Salmon, Mackerel and Sardines is a great way to provide plenty of omega-3 fatty acids to your body, along with essential amino acids necessary for building collagen and elastin.
Chocolate was once thought of as being an absolute no-no for troublesome skin, however it appears that it is predominantly the sugar and dairy content of commercial chocolate that can contribute to inflammatory type skin conditions like acne. However, raw, unprocessed cacao contains high levels of flavonoids and resveratrol. These potent antioxidants help protect collagen from UV rays, as well as improving blood flow and therefore delivery of nutrients and oxygen to skin cells.
Green tea has high levels of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which not only provide powerful antioxidant activity but can slow collagen break down, and potentially lower levels of androgenic hormones and fasting blood sugar levels. Spiking blood-sugar and hormone levels are a major contributor to acne and this is why cutting back on sugar and carbohydrates can be so beneficial for chronic suffers of the condition. So including blood-sugar regulators like green tea in your diet can really aid in lowering the associated inflammation.
Bone broth is a natural source of gelatin – a protein component of collagen. It contains many amino acids including Glycine, which helps lower inflammation especially in the gut. Good gut health is one of the keys to healthy, clear skin; however the gelatin and collagen content in bone broth are also important for skin cell renewal and maintaining its strength and integrity.
Once again back to gut health… coconut oil possesses antimicrobial activity. It has been shown to be beneficial against the P. acnes bacteria due to its lauric and capric acid content. It also plays a role in keeping the liver functioning as it should by boosting its glutathione levels and reducing inflammatory markers. This helps the liver clear toxins efficiently and a happy liver is going to improve the quality of your skin.
5 Supplements to Bolster Skin Regeneration
Collagen peptides are made up of linked amino acids and may help improve the structure, integrity and hydration of your skin by supporting the health of the skin's collagen, which is its main structural component.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3’s are both hydrating and anti-inflammatory to the skin. They promote fuller, smoother looking skin by nourishing its cells, and also help combat inflammation in certain skin conditions.
Vitamin C is vital for several of the body's many processes. Its action as an antioxidant plays an important role in regulating collagen production and ensuring proper wound-healing.
Zinc is a super nutrient for the skin. It is required for proper structure of skin proteins and cell membranes. It also promotes healthy wound healing, is anti-inflammatory and also helps control oil production meaning it can help in the treatment of acne.
Vitamin A & Beta-Carotene
Vitamin A deficiency can often result in in dry, rough or scaly skin. It is a key nutrient for healthy skin, as it is responsible for skin cell regeneration and repair, and provides antioxidant protection. If you are pregnant – or considering becoming pregnant – do not take vitamin A supplements without consulting your doctor.