George Orwell once said, “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.” Why? Because your skin portrays the kind of lifestyle you’ve led and even more so, the type of diet you’ve lived by. How is that possible? You might think that skin problems are on the surface, but most skin problems originate in your body, not just on your skin. The reason for this is because the body is one whole integrated system. This includes your skin. So no matter what condition, disease, or health problem you face, the root causes can be traced back to the same underlying factors such as diet problems (food allergies, leaky gut, etc), a need for detoxification, inflammation and stress.
When it comes to your diet, first and foremost, it’s important to identify what food allergies and sensitivities you might have (such as gluten or dairy). You can do this by doing an elimination diet or a simple blood test. There’s also the matter of the leaky gut. How do you know if you have leaky gut? There are tests your doctor can run but the symptoms include: digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); seasonal allergies or asthma; hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS; diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease; diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia; mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD; skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema; diagnosis of candida overgrowth; and food allergies or food intolerances. What is leaky gut? Leaky gut occurs when tight junctions in your intestinal lining break apart allowing things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, and more to escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. The main culprits are foods, infections, and toxins. Gluten is the number one cause of leaky gut.
So how can you help your skin when it comes to your diet? After eliminating food allergies, have a look at the foods that will help your skin glow. Antioxidant-rich foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are at the top of the list of skin-boosting foods because they help to fight free radicals, which can contribute to signs of aging. Olive oil and legumes are also beneficial. Omega-3 fats, which are found in fish and fish oils, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are also important for skin health, as they support healthy cell membranes, which will help keep skin cells hydrated and plump. Green tea has also emerged as a powerful beverage for skin health. With both antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties, green tea is protective against harmful oxidative stress. Take probiotics for a healthy gut. Turkey, tuna and brazil nuts are also good because they contain the mineral selenium, which experts say plays a key role in the health of skin cells. And always remember water! In addition to keeping cells hydrated, water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which Lipski says automatically leaves skin looking better.
Some of the above mentioned foods also help fight inflammation. Antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and veggies have anti-inflammatory compounds. And green tea has anti-inflammatory properties as well (not to mention possibly helping to reduce the risk of skin cancer!). The polyphenols in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties that may also be beneficial to skin health overall. Omega-3 fatty acids also fall into the anti-inflammatory category. Another excellent way to fight inflammation? Move! Get out and take a walk around the block, take a yoga class, do anything you enjoy that will get the blood pumping.
Stress is a huge factor in our lives and can have a huge impact on our skin. Emotional stress can take a major toll on the appearance of your skin. Not only does stress lessen your skin’s ability to function properly, putting it at risk of skin diseases and increasing the length of time wounds take to heal, but stress also speeds up the rate of cellular aging, which can make you look older, faster. We know how hard it can be to de-stress, but try your best to carve out some time for yourself where you can be alone everyday. Meditate, read a book, take a walk, call a friend. All of these things can help lower your stress levels.
We know you already know this but we’ll throw it out there anyway, just as a reminder. Do your best to avoid these following things: 1) smoking – smoking damages collagen and elastin while decreasing blood flow to your skin. This makes it difficult for your skin cells to receive enough oxygen and nutrients to stay healthy. The physical act of smoking can also contribute to expression lines around your lips and eyes (from pursing your lips and squinting); 2) drinking alcohol – while an occasional glass of wine is not likely to cause your skin much harm, too much alcohol can damage blood vessels over time, leading to permanently flushed skin or visible blood vessels on your skin’s surface; 3) sugar – eating too much sugar or refined carbs leads to the production of advanced glycation end products. These molecules damage collagen and elastin, and contribute to wrinkles and sagging skin.
And finally detoxify. Detoxification is a fabulous way to look and feel better while eliminating toxins from your body. We have a wonderful program (called the CLEAN Program) at Integrative Wellness Advisors that can really help you get back to basics and feeling great.
Beautiful skin isn’t achieved by what you put on the outside, it’s what you put on the inside that counts!