Acne? Eczema? Annoying rashes? Ugh. Been there. I also had my fair share of journeying from unhealthy skin to healthy skin.
What have you tried for them? Did you spend a lot of money on topical things- creams, ointments, maybe even medication?
Truth is- we’ve been looking in all the wrong places.
What we’ve been doing is putting a bandaid on the symptom – trying to cover up, conceal, and reduce instead of figure out why this is happening in the first place.
A functional medicine approach looks at skin from the inside out, digging deeper than just the outside layer that we see in the mirror.
Now I love a good face mask but if you’re dealing with skin issues or just want to fight the aging process, we have to look a little deeper- where this all begins. Save your money on the acne-cure-all-cream (that really just leaves us feeling dry and flaky am I right?).
I’d argue that I’m more concerned about what to keep out of the products we use vs what is in them to promote skin and overall health. Keep out ingredients like parabens, lead, BHA, formaldehyde. Think of how easily these are absorbed when we apply them topically.
The secret to healthy skin is not what we put on our bodies, but what we put in them.
In my practice, we focus on pulling back the layers and finding the root of what’s going on with a person’s symptoms.
We first have to address why the skin is irritated. When I think irritation I think inflammation. Inflammation happens when our immune system is fired up. This stems from…you guessed it…our guts.
With 75% of our immune system in our gut, it is easy to see how taking care and optimizing this area sets the tone for our immune response, and eventually inflammation, which can show up in skin issues.
Start here when looking to have healthy skin:
1. Take a look at your diet.
A diet high in gluten, sugar, processed foods (think those that come from bag, box, window) are damaging to the gut lining and are also inflammatory which will show up as acne, rashes, eczema.
2. Consider food sensitivities: dairy, soy, eggs, gluten are 4 very common food sensitivities that could be playing a role in the health of your skin. These foods are inflammatory in nature. Try to pull them out one at a time for 3 weeks and see if there’s a difference. Record how you feel during this time, there may be things you have gotten used to or view as “normal” that really are just the opposite.
3. Off-set inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods. Think COLOR. Fruits, veggies, lots of leafy greens, wild fish, healthy fats like avocado, olive, coconut oil, chia seeds. Herbs like ginger, turmeric. Inadequate zinc levels are tied to rashes, eczema, acne. You can find zinc in protein sources, such as seafood, meats, beans, nuts, and seeds, avocados, and berries.
4. Optimize nutrient levels. Vitamin D has been shown to help treat psoriasis and acne. It is common to be deficient here. Check out my video regarding how to test and what to look for. I also like the potent antioxidant, OPC-3, as it is shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Also, consider a probiotic supplement to provide your gut with some love and good bacteria.
5. SWEAT. Exercise helps the body produce natural inflammatory responses. Sweating helps move toxins out of the body. Saunas and hot baths are another great option. Look into dry brushing as well to help encourage new cell renewal a.k.a brighter, smoother skin.
Extra Tips For A Healthy Skin
Consider your sleep pattern and quality of sleep as poor sleep speeds up the aging process.
Identify areas of stress and work to manage or reduce these as stress can exacerbate skin conditions.
Start here- working from the inside out will bring you to where the problem begins.