The sun's starting to spend more time in the sky and that means we’ll soon be exposing more skin – so let’s make it glow!
Feed Your Skin from the Inside Out
Our skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside our bodies. Skin problems can stem from issues with our detoxification organs (kidneys, liver, digestive tract), hormonal imbalances, aging and chemical exposures. A poor diet will also contribute to a lackluster look and even a clean eater can add in specific nutrients to take their skin to the next level!
- Ditch the sugar: Just say NO. Sugar contributes to inflammation & breakouts and also replaces the calories you could be getting from skin supportive foods. Try reducing your intake, especially of refined sugars and you'll notice how quickly it impacts your skin
- Omega 3s: where sugar causes inflammation, omega 3s take it away. Salmon, hemp hearts & walnuts are great sources. Include these daily
- Gut health: digestive issues? These can affect your skin – a lot! If you have a history of gas, bloating, constipation or antibiotic use consider increasing fermented foods in your diet such as kimchi, miso, sauerkraut & kefir.
- Skin food: antioxidants prevent cell damage and in general can be obtained in high amounts from fresh fruit & vegetables. The darker the colour, the more antioxidants – think mango, blueberries, tomato, red bell peppers, sweet potato & broccoli.
- Overall nutrition: any nutrient deficiencies can affect the health of the skin, be sure you’re getting everything you need! Frequently I’ll have my clients complete a food journal for a week so we can go through and evaluate what needs to be added in
- Food intolerance: food intolerances don't always show up as digestive symptoms and can manifest as breakouts, joint pain, sinus issues, brain fog & more. Identifying and removing these triggers can help improve the look of the skin
Supplements: if you're finding it hard to get in enough skin boosting ingredients daily you can always boost your intake in supplement form - omega 3s, probiotics, vitamin A (if no chance of pregnancy), zinc & a greens powder are my go tos for skin health.
Clear It Up
If you’re dealing with frequent breakouts it’s important to get to the root cause. Commonly hormonal imbalances are at play. If you've recently come off birth control, are in your teens or are dealing with a hormone related condition, such as PCOS, the following is for you!
- Liver Support: Include at least 2 cup of cruciferous vegetables daily (broccoli, brussel's spouts, cauliflower, kale, cabbage). Life happens and it’s not always possible to get in our greens daily so consider a greens powder that contains these veggies or a supplement called I3C (indo-3-carbinol) which supports hormonal detoxification in the liver
- PCOS: if PCOS or excess androgens/testosterone are involved include spearmint tea 3-4x per day
- White heads? Try taking dairy out of your diet
- Redness & inflammation? Include 1 oz aloe juice + ½ tsp of turmeric daily
Map it Out
In eastern medicine the location of your breakout is an important indicator when it comes to treatment. It can give clues as to which internal issue or imbalance is contributing to your skin issues
Keep It Youthful
Aging skin has different needs than young skin & Holistic Nutrition is all about "what for whom." If avoiding wrinkles and keeping your skin's elasticity in tact is your goal - read on!
- Collagen: collagen is a protein that supports joint health but also supports the elasticity of skin. Collagen naturally declines with age and the decreased elasticity contributes to saggingthin skin. Collagen is available as a supplement in powdered or capsule form but can also be obtained through bone broth. In order to support your body’s natural collagen production include sources of the amino acid lysine as well as vitamin C. Most animal products are a rich source of lysine while pumpkin seeds & lentils provide a great vegetarian source. Vitamin C is high in papaya, red bell peppers, kiwis, pineapple & strawberries.
- Healthy fats: include these with every meal. Not only will it keep your skin looking young, it also supports hormone production, energy, brain health, absorption of nutrients & it curbs appetite. Healthy sources include: avocados, hemp hearts, nuts & seeds, cold pressed oils (extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, walnut oil, avocado oil) coconut oil & MCT oil
- Broccoli sprouts: these little guys are packed with a chemical called sulforaphane which slows down cellular aging – including skin cells! I recommend buying the seeds & sprouting them yourself (sprouts purchased at the grocery store commonly contain mold - yuck)
Don’t Forget the Basics
- Water: you want to be consuming AT LEAST 1L per 100lb body weight - so for a 150lb woman that's 1.5L per day. If you’re consuming much less than this, work your way up slowly. Herbal tea, water infusions and broth based soups all contribute to water intake. On the other hand, coffee, alcohol and black tea all act as diuretics and their regular consumption requires you to drink more water
- Keep it clean: wash & moisturize your face 1-2x per day but always before bed especially if wearing make-up. Wash your pillow cases at least once per week and don’t press your cell phone against your face! Think about everything you've touched throughout the day - pushed against your face.. not pretty
- Sleep: Deep restorative sleep is crucial for healing and repair. If sleep is an issue for you, you'll want to address this as part of your skin care plan
- Get Moving: and sweating! Just remember to wash your skin & body soon after.
- Be gentle: with your skin & with yourself Don’t use harsh chemicals and I recommend not exfoliating more than twice per week. Remember that changes in the skin can take time, so be consistent and know that these strategies will improve all aspects of your health, with the end result being glowing, clear, youthful skin :)