You are reading this article about skin healing probably because you are wondering how else you can help yourself to improve your skin condition.
It could be allergic skin conditions that you are experiencing, such as eczema or dermatitis, or something less severe such as blackheads or acne, or even something else simpler, such as skin dryness or wrinkle concerns.
Whatever your skin woes, it all comes down to one thing – are you getting the right nutrients in?
The skin is our body’s biggest organ for protection, as it serves as a barrier between our body’s internal systems to the outside environment, the first line of defence like infantry in the army. It is also our body’s largest elimination organ for waste and toxins, and that is demonstrated through sweat. It also works in regulating our body temperature! How amazing is our skin?
Aside from protection, your skin also allows for penetration of substances through the epidermal layers, as our skin is porous. So for all the skincare products that you apply on your face or body, most of it gets absorbed into the skin, particularly if it is of a smaller molecular weight. Some ingredients found in these skin care products are potentially harmful, and through the skin when it enters the bloodstream, it could lead to serious detrimental effects to your health.
When things go wrong
Our body eliminates waste through various ways – urine, carbon dioxide (breathing), excrement, earwax, tears, sweat, and gas. For our skin, the body eliminates waste and toxins in the form of sweat. Sometimes people do react to their own sweat, causing rashes or skin reddening.
In most cases, skin conditions arise from the lack of nutrients required to support skin healing when waste and toxins are being eliminated through our skin. A few points lead to this lack of support:
- Lack of stomach acids to activate enzymes required to breakdown first-pass of foods.
- Leaky gut syndrome, leading to a decrease in lower gut nutrient absorption.
- Auto-immune disorders (where your body is fighting itself)
- Non-vaginal births, where there is a lack of vaginal bacterial contact to initiate the body’s natural immune system.
- Poor or misinformed diet choices
- Certain pharmaceutical medications inhibiting absorption of nutrients.
- Imbalanced hormonal cycles, especially in women leading to pre-menstrual acne.
How do I help myself with skin healing, inside out?
We got to eat well to achieve good skin. Quoting Erno Laszlo “Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle”, so to get better, you have to look from within to achieve glowing skin on the outside.
Here are a few ways to help your skin condition get better, from the INSIDE OUT:
Vitamins for skin healing
Our skin is made up of fatty layers, and it is only fitting to replenish it with fat-soluble nutrients, such as Vitamin A & Vitamin D. They are both important for skin health, with Vitamin D focusing on skin renewal & new skin growth, and Vitamin A important for skin repair (especially from sun damage). Another key vitamin for glowing skin is Vitamin C, as it is important for decreasing skin pigmentation.
- Vitamin A: Sweet potato, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin D: Fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon), egg yolks (select free-range options!)
- Vitamin C: Most fruit & vegetables, particularly oranges, strawberries, capsicums.
- Cod liver oils (capsules or liquid), as it contains both Vitamin A & Vitamin D.
Minerals for Skin Healing
One of the key minerals for skin repair is zinc, which is also one of the key minerals for protein building. Zinc is key for improving skin healing rate by supporting skin collagen building and also support skin oil regulation.
- Organ meats
- Seed & Sunflower seeds
- Clean seafood.
A lot of city-dwelling folks tend to be high on adrenal, leading to overdrive and stress. When stress occurs, it causes your skin to produce more oil. This may eventually lead to a clog up of your pores which could develop as acne. Because of that, it is important to ensure your Magnesium levels are sufficient, as magnesium reduces stress & anxiety. This is what we call fixing the root of the problem!
- Whole grain nuts and seeds (almond, walnuts, Brazil nuts).
Cut down on simple carbohydrates!
‘Simple carbohydrates’ are made up of one or two sugar molecules and are easily broken down and absorbed by the body. It is readily used by the body as fuel, but it runs out as quickly as it is absorbed. Excess of these simple sugars leads causes a spike in insulin levels, which provokes inflammation internally. This inflammation then translates to poor skin health due to break down of collagen and elastin, leading to an appearance of sagging and wrinkling.
Simple carbohydrates to avoid:
- White bread
- White & brown sugars
- Sweets (candy)
- Soft drinks/ Drinks with added sugar
So instead of the above, do try to consume more complex carbohydrates for better skin health. Complex carbohydrates give you longer sustaining energy, as well as reduces any contribution to poor skin healing.
Food sources of complex carbohydrates:
- Green vegetables
- Brown rice
- Fibrous foods
Take in good fatty acids!
As mentioned, our skin is made up of fatty layers, and the only way to replenish the right fats into our skin is to consume them. The ever-popular omega-3 supplements found through Fish Oil is making its mark here, providing hydration to your skin.
Most times when we have dry skin, our skin attempts to produce more sebum to hydrate it. This attempt by the skin sometimes causes disturbances, which then manifest as clogged pores. To prevent this, ensure that you are taking in good quality omega-3 foods or supplements to hydrate the skin through natural oils.
- Oily fishes: salmon, tuna, mackerel.
- For vegetarians: flax seed & chia seeds (But amounts vary and may require more to achieve the same results as animal fats).
- Fish oil liquids or capsules
- Linseed/ flaxseed oil
- Chia seed oil
- Hemp seed oil.
Increase antioxidants in your diet
Antioxidants are a saviour to pigmentation, aging, and wrinkle concerns! They are compounds that prevent your body from becoming oxidized, like a nail getting rusty. Antioxidants protect our skin against free radicals, such as ultraviolet (UV) light. If not careful, UV light causes oxidative damage to our skin, which manifests as pigmentation and premature skin aging.
- Berries (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry)
- Prunes, Cherries, Pomegranate
- Raw cacao,
- Sweet potato.
You need good bacteria
While you are taking in all these goodies, your body requires support from good gut bacteria! Good bacteria assist in breaking down foods which allow your gut to absorb nutrients in you. These good bacteria come in the form of probiotics, which can be easily obtained through various means.
Probiotics are a living ecosystem of your body that connects your gut to your skin. It protects you inside and outside against foreign particles that might upset your body’s natural ecosystem. Scientific research has shown that probiotics are effective for healing from eczema, psoriasis, and other skin allergies & inflammation.
- Kefir (make your own probiotics!)
- Yoghurt-cultured drinks
- Live-culture yoghurts
- Probiotics (examples of bacteria strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. rhmanosus, Bifidobacterium)