Skin health is a broad and overwhelming topic. There are obviously a lot of skin conditions and each of us are probably dealing with at least one concern if not many. This post is going to try and stick to general skin health with brief hints on how to help certain conditions most of us may struggle with at some point in our lives. Please reach out to us at Highlands Health & Wellness about any specific concerns we can help you address. Some skin issues of concern could be in relation to acne, aging/wrinkles, collagen production, sun protection, or even psorasis.
We wouldn’t be a good functional medicine practice if we didn’t mention-you have to take care of your gut. The health of your gut is central to the health of the entire body and the skin can be a huge reflection into our inner health. Therefore, leaky gut which causes an immune system response leading to systemic inflammation can manifest as skin issues. Maybe we are not getting/absorbing enough nutrients or eating too many foods which are causing us problems.
In general we need to follow a diet which includes whole foods, less processed and refined carbohydrates, and these healthy nutrients and recommendations listed below to help nourish and detoxify.
- 1. Hydration-drink plenty of water to flush the toxins out. Try to drink at least ½ your body weight in ounces.
- 2. Healthy Fats including Essential Fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6) and Monounsaturated Fats will help decrease inflammation and provide essential amino acids to help your skin stay firm and elastic. They can also protect the fatty membrane around skin cells to help keep your youthful appearance.
Good sources: wild caught fatty fish, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, avocado, olive oil, olives, natural nut butters
- 3. Antioxidant Foods-Think of colorful fruits & vegetables which are orange, red, yellow, and green. These foods have a protective effect from oxidative damage and speed the skin’s ability to repair itself. This can important in sun protection as well.
Good sources: sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, berries, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, avocado, green tea.
- 4. Collagen is a structural protein which helps the skin stay firm, retain elasticity, and keep its “youthful” appearance. As we age, we naturally produce less therefore it is important to support through our diet.
Good sources: hydrolyzed collagen peptides in powder form, bone broth, foods high in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, bell peppers, berries, and dark green leafy vegetables.
- 5. Zinc also helps with collagen formation along with minimizing inflammation, especially important in acne. This could be harder to meet if you are vegetarian.
Good sources: oysters, shellfish, legumes, pumpkin seeds, cashews, poultry, beef
- 6. Probiotics and Prebiotics: Besides helping your gut with a healthy microbiome, they can also help the bacteria on the surface of the skin by helping the skin’s lipid barrier and immune system. Probiotics have also been shown to help acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and in sun protection. Prebiotics help promote digestion/elimination an important part of detox.
Good sources: fermented foods, onions, bananas, garlic, artichoke, dandelion greens, whole grains.
To learn more about gut health and your skin check out this video: