When it comes to having healthy skin, it takes more than consistently applying the right products. Our skin is a reflection of what is going on inside of our bodies. When we are experiencing skin concerns it could be due to a number of underlying factors such as poor diet, dehydration, food intolerances, hormonal imbalances, digestive disturbances, stress, lack of sleep, toxins, and nutrient deficiencies. Addressing the skin from a holistic view, means looking at the whole picture and getting to the root cause of our concerns rather than focusing only on the visual symptoms.
There are some specific areas we can work on that will help us in achieving our skin goals.
What we eat has a profound effect on our overall health and wellness, this includes the appearance of our skin. Poor nutrition can lead to inflammation and skin sensitivities, such as rosacea, eczema, acne, and psoriasis. When thinking about what we should be eating in order to support a healthy, glowing, complexion we want to be looking at foods that help lower inflammation and provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The more color and variety we include in our diets, the more we can be assured we are getting all of the nutrients we need to look and feel our best.
MY BEAUTY FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Bright Colored Fruits & Veggies: sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, bell peppers, berries, beets, carrots, melons, citrus, rainbow chard, apples, asparagus, purple cauliflower, mangoes, peaches, pineapple, cherries, tomatoes, grapes, green beans, apricots, papaya, kiwi, cucumbers, celery, pomegranates
- Dark Leafy Greens: spinach, kale, mustard greens, broccoli raab, swiss chard, beet greens, dandelion greens
- Cruciferous Veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, arugula, cabbage, brussels sprouts, radishes, watercress, collard greens
- Allium Veggies: garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, chives, shallots
- Fresh Herbs: cilantro, oregano, basil, parsley, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, mint, dill, sage, marjoram
- Spices: cinnamon, paprika, curry, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger
- Healthy Fats: wild-caught salmon, wild-caught ling cod, sardines, oysters, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, raw coconut oil, pasture-raised eggs, bone broth, extra-virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, dark chocolate (70% or more cacao content)
- Fermented Foods: raw sauerkraut, kimchi, sprouted tofu, miso, kefir
- Legumes: chickpeas, kidney beans, peas, adzuki beans, lentils, black beans, navy beans, mung beans
- Whole-Grains: forbidden rice, sprouted quinoa, gluten-free oats, buckwheat
In general, it is best to choose organically grown and/ or locally grown produce.
Look for wild-caught and sustainably harvested fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in heavy metals.
Soaking and/ or sprouting legumes and grains helps to reduce the phytic acid and allows the food to become easier to digest and increases the beneficial nutrients.
Following a diet that has a lower glycemic load will help keep blood sugar in balance and our mood + energy more stable.
Cruciferous + allium veggies and fermented foods provide us with both probiotics and prebiotics helping to keep our gut microbiomes healthy and balanced. This aids in better digestion and gives our immune systems, moods, and skin a boost!
Don’t be afraid of fat, as long as it’s the healthy kind! Good fats are necessary for hormone and brain functions and the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients. They also keep us full longer, slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, and add flavor to our food.
Adding plenty of fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices ensure that we are getting all of the amazing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help us glow from the inside out.
Typically, it is a good idea to limit or avoid processed foods, refined grains and sugars, cow’s dairy, alcohol, caffeine, foods that are fried or cooked at high temperatures, gluten, trans fats, and high-glycemic load foods.
Our skin has over one trillion bugs inhabiting it, all the way down to the subcutaneous layer. These can include different bacteria and fungi species and will vary depending on the age, gender, hair follicles, skin type, and lifestyle of an individual. A healthy skin microbiome protects us much in the same way as a healthy gut microbiome, by crowding out overgrowth of the bad bugs and keeping infections and inflammation away. It helps to keep our skin healthy, balanced, and free from skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and eczema. The skin microbiome prefers a fairly acidic pH of about 5 to maintain this equilibrium. This is why it is so important to avoid over-cleansing and to choose appropriate products. Most conventional cleansers on the market have a pH of about 10.
MY HEALTHY SKIN MICROBIOME RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Cleanse: It is important to avoid stripping our skin’s natural oils and beneficial bacteria by not cleansing more than twice per day and choosing natural, gentle, cleansers. Look for ingredients that nurture the skin barrier such as high-quality oils suited to your skin type, aloe vera, and Manuka honey.
- Exfoliate: Dead skin cells begin to build up on the surface of our skin over time. Using masks and enzyme peels can help to accelerate cell turnover and allow our other products to absorb into our skin more efficiently. Natural fruit enzymes, activated charcoal, and raw cacao are all beneficial ingredients for exfoliating skin that is congested and dull.
- Tone: Toning helps to balance and restore the skin’s pH after cleansing. Hydrating plant mists or herbal hydrosols and raw apple cider vinegar make wonderful toners. Be sure to always dilute apple cider vinegar before using. I use one part ACV to two or three parts distilled water. You can store the mixture in a glass jar and apply it with an organic, reusable, cotton round.
- Moisturize: Even oily, acne-prone, skin needs moisture. Not moisturizing our skin can actually lead to an over-production of oil and more acne. I like to use pure oils or a natural moisturizer with ingredients that are nourishing to the skin microbiome. Hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, and essential fatty acids help to replenish lost moisture.
- Protect: Shielding the skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays is essential in keeping our skin from aging prematurely. Mineral-based SPF, like non-nano zinc, protects our skin without the use of harmful ingredients and helps to calm inflammation in acne-prone skin types.
- Ingredients To Avoid: Everything that we put on our bodies is absorbed into our bodies. Ingredients used in mainstream skincare can be extremely harmful, potentially causing hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, and disrupted skin microbiomes that can lead to issues and sensitivities. Generally, it is good to avoid ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, triclosan, coal tar, formaldehyde, alcohols, retinols, mineral oils, petroleum distillates, chemical sunscreens, dimethicone, heavy metals, phthalates, artificial colorants, and synthetic fragrances.
Our gut health plays a large role in our overall well-being, including our skin’s appearance. Inflammatory skin disorders tend to be common in those who have poor gut health. Diet and lifestyle can go a long way in improving our digestion and our gut microbiomes.
MY IMPROVED DIGESTION RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Eat whole, unprocessed, foods: Add a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, leafy greens, herbs, spices, healthy fats, prebiotics, and probiotics.
- Get plenty of fiber: We need both soluble and insoluble fiber for good digestion. Be sure to include an assortment of foods such as oats, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and plant foods to your diet.
- Eat mindfully: It is not only what we eat, but also how we eat that can affect our digestion. Mindful eating may be especially helpful in those who suffer from digestive issues. Start by sitting down to eat and turning off all distractions. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. Focus on how your food looks, smells, feels, and tastes. Not only does this help with digestion, but it also helps improve nutrient absorption. It also allows us to tune in more fully to our hunger and satiety cues, which can keep us from overindulging and emotional eating.
- Move your body: Regular physical activity helps the food we eat travel more efficiently through our digestive systems. It also helps lower inflammation and can improve symptoms of digestive distress.
- Avoid: Smoking, alcohol, food additives, artificial sweeteners, eating after 9pm, overuse of pain killers and antibiotics.
- Stay hydrated: (see below).
- Manage stress: (see below).
Staying adequately hydrated is extremely important in keeping us healthy, feeling great, and looking our best. Water regulates our body temperature, delivers nutrients to our cells, keeps all of our organs functioning properly, improves sleep quality and mood, lubricates our joints, flushes toxins out of our bodies, and helps our skin GLOW. Water makes up about 60% of our body weight and we are constantly losing it throughout the day via sweat, excretions, and breath. We also lose small amounts of electrolytes along with the water. Even mild dehydration can leave us feeling fatigued, anxious, and unable to focus. In addition, our skin can look dry, flaky, and lackluster. The amount of water each individual needs per day will vary with weight, climate, and activity level.
MY ADEQUATE HYDRATION RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of pure, filtered, water each day. You may need more than this if you are very active, pregnant, breastfeeding, or live in a dry climate.
- Adding citrus, berries, herbs, or cucumber can help add flavor without sweeteners.
- Herbal teas, clear broths, unsweetened soda or seltzer waters, and vegetables and fruits with high water content can also count towards your daily fluid intake.
- Unsweetened, organic, coconut water is great for rehydrating and replenishing electrolytes.
Stress is our skin’s worst enemy. When we are stressed, our adrenal glands produce more cortisol, which then increases the production of oil and sebum in our skin. Stress also creates inflammation and can trigger hormonal imbalances. The result of this can be breakouts, increased skin sensitivities, and premature aging. In addition, blood and energy is diverted away from our digestive systems when we are stressed, thus leading to poor digestion, dysbiosis, and impaired gut barrier function. Stress is inevitable, however it is important that we learn to manage our stress in healthy, effective, ways so that we can adapt to it better.
MY STRESS MANAGEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Breathe deeply
- Practice mindfulness
- Connect with friends and loved ones
- Spend time in nature
- Do activities you enjoy
- Get enough sleep
- Find time for self-care
While we are sleeping, our skin repairs and regenerates itself. It also rebuilds collagen. There’s certainly something to be said for getting our “beauty sleep”. A good night’s sleep can have us waking up looking fresher, younger, and more radiant.
MY BEAUTY SLEEP RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Go to bed by 10pm
- Sleep 7-9 hours
- Avoid caffeine after 3pm
- Reduce blue light exposure from electronics 2 hours before bed
- Limit alcohol
- Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine
- Cleanse, tone, and moisturize your skin before bed
- Try a silk pillowcase
As a holistic nutritionist and aesthetician, I always look at diet, lifestyle, and skincare first and foremost when working with clients. Supplements, as the name implies, are always supplemental when it comes to helping individuals improve their health and their skin. With that being said, there are some supplements that can be beneficial for those looking to reduce inflammation and overcome skin concerns.
Look for high-quality, professional-grade, supplements and consult with a nutritionist or health care professional on which ones would be best for you. Keep in mind, some supplements may not be safe for every person to consume. ALWAYS be sure to discuss with your primary care provider before taking any new supplements.
MY HEALTHY SKIN SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Collagen Peptides
- Vitamin C
- Digestive Enzymes
- Omega-3 Fish oil
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Flaxseed Oil
- Burdock Root
- Holy Basil
Holistic skincare is a true whole-body approach to obtaining healthy, glowing, skin and it is about much more than what we apply topically. It is important to address all of the elements that can affect our complexions if we wish to achieve beautifully balanced skin.
The PART can never be well unless the WHOLE is well.-Plato
Are you looking for personalized advice and support? Book a DISCOVERY CALL with me now! I would love to chat and see how we can accomplish your goals together. 😊
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