3 Ways to Start Improving Your Skin with Nutrition
Clear skin starts with diet and proper nutrition
Let's be honest, every woman wants healthy, glowing skin. We strive for smooth, blemish free complexions and want to age gracefully. But problems on the inside can sometimes show up on the outside, often as uneven skin tones, rashes, and break outs. Today, I'm discussing 3 foundational ways to get started improving your skin. These beginning steps will get you started on improving your complexion from the inside out.
Healing Adult chronic acne naturally
Are you of post-adolescent age and experiencing acne? You are not alone! Acne problems are increasing within this age group and I’m right there with you. Never struggling with acne in my adolescent years, I was alarmed when I started experiencing break outs two years prior to being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition. After adjusting my diet, I noticed huge changes but later as I worked to regulate my hormones acne crept in again. So what does this mean?
Chinese medicine believes that different areas of your face can be linked to internal imbalances. This is called face mapping and it can give you a clue to underlying problems.
Here are a few examples:
Chin/Jawline - Hormonal imbalances, digestive
Right Cheek - Lungs, allergies, stress, too much sugar
Left Cheek - Liver issues, stress, stomach issues
Forehead - Digestive problems, small intestines, liver issues, stress
Shoulders/High Back - Nervous system imbalances, digestive
It can be challenging! Especially with areas that have more than one underlying cause. I'm here to help you navigate that. It is easy to forget that our skin is the largest organ in our body.
Seeing we are covered in skin, that means that what we put on our bodies matters too but I'll get to that in another post. You can use concealer to cover those black circles and use a variety of acne creams to help with breakouts but they only help on the surface. This can be expensive. I want to help you get to the bottom of your skin troubles.
As an extension of this post, I'll be sharing my experiences, products that have worked, and more information about the why behind acne and skin issues. Be sure to sign up for my (no spam ever) email list to receive updates and freebies exclusively for my subscribers.
3 Ways to Start Improving Your Skin with Nutrition
#1 Clear skin starts with proper digestion
Digestion is fundamental to our health! We seriously do not give it enough credit. It is responsible for the breakdown of key nutrients that help our bodies to function properly. When our digestion is impaired, it impacts everything! A key component of healthy digestion is stomach acid. We NEED stomach acid to break down proteins and fats and kill and disinfect potential bacteria and parasites in our food. Having a low stomach acid can dramatically impact how our food is digested. If you are experiencing acne along your chin, jawline, back, shoulders, or forehead you will want to start here. You probably have heard, you are what you eat, but I have come to believe you are what you absorb!
Improving your digestion & Heal your gut:
Chew your food. We are busy beings and we often forget to chew! Carbohydrate digestion begins in your mouth and saliva kicks off the digestive reactions further down south. It is very easy to become disconnected as adults. I never realized how fast I ate until I was in college and my roommates pointed it out. S-L-O-W down! Practice putting your fork down between bites and not picking it up until your food is fully chewed and swallowed.
Feeling stressed? I hear you! Not only are we always on the move but we experience stress every day. Stressors are not always bad. Planning for a graduation party can be stressful even though it is a happy occasion. Take a few deep breaths prior to eating to enter into a more parasympathetic state a.k.a “rest and digest.” Preparing a home cooked meal will also help you slow down. Take the time to appreciate what you are cooking. Enjoying the experience will help bring you into a more relaxed state.
Add lemon to your water and drink between meals. I like to slice half a lemon and keep it in my water for a refreshing drink throughout the day. Why between meals? Drinking water or beverages too close to eating can dilute our stomach acid and we don't want that.
Give your stomach acid a boost! Add 1 tablespoon of organic, raw apple cider vinegar in a ½ cup of water and drink prior to eating. You can even work down to 1/4 cup of water. If you are experiencing a burning sensation in your stomach, cut back on the ACV.
One example of digestion dysfunction is leaky gut. Leaky Gut can have a big impact on the look and appearance of our skin. Why? Well, leaky gut is when the lining of your gut starts to have small holes in it. This allows small food particles to enter into your bloodstream. They are not meant to be there so this sets off an immune response. The chronic response causes additional stress on your body and often leads to food sensitives. If we continue to eat those foods, we will continue to set off our immune system which may also lead to autoimmune diseases. Certain foods and substances can wear down the lining of your gut over time. These include antibiotics, gluten, prescription medicines, environmental toxins, parasite or yeast infections, imbalances of healthy bacteria, decreased stomach acid and even stress.
#2 Feed your skin with proper nutrition
Next, we must be sure our bodies are actually breaking down QUALITY nutrients. Eliminating processed foods with additives like MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes and flavorings, vegetable oils and any ingredient that you can’t pronounce is a MUST! Making the switch to eating real food and shopping on the outside of the grocery store will help you eliminate the processed foods. Strive to buy as much organic produce, grass-fed and pastured raised meats and eggs as possible. If you cannot purchase all organic and grass-fed, buy organic for produce on the Dirty Dozen. For meats, no-antibiotic/no-hormones would be the next best option.
Skin loving foods
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides - Helps to restore the elasticity of our skin and achieve that glowing complexion. Hyaluronic acid is in a few of their products and helps to improve moisture, skin's elasticity, and retain collagen in your joints. It can be found in expensive acne creams too. However, the downside is that they are often filled with toxins that impact our health.
Bone Broth - It is wonderful to restore your gut health and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Bone broth contains an excellent source of collagen too. Drink it in a mug or add it to your favorite soups.
Grass-fed Liver - This superfood is packed with nutrients. Sources of grass-fed liver contain key B vitamins that help support detoxification and helps to clean up your liver. It also supports cellular function. When our body is able to detoxify efficiently, we can eliminate toxins and avoid them surfacing onto our skin.
Food Sources high in ADEK - Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, watermelon, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, chicken liver
Quality Sources of Fat
Don’t sacrifice on quality fats!
Contrary to popular belief, fat is good for you! Sources of quality fat are essential to building strong cellular membranes and healthy hormones. Fat is also extremely important to help absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K which are beneficial for fighting free radicals, improving circulation and repairing our skin.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation in the body and fights free radicals which slow down the aging process of our skin. It helps to support the immune system which is important to heal our leaky gut. Vitamin A deficiency can include dry skin, hair, and brittle fingernails.
Fats to Eat:
raw and soaked nuts
cold-pressed, unrefined oils (think extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil)
quality sourced saturated fats (like grass-fed beef tallow, pastured raised pork lard), bacon fat from organic, pastured raised pork with no nitrates
wild-caught salmon and sardines
If your grocery budget is slim, buying quality fats should be at the top of the list.
#3 Be consistent, track progress and look for patterns
We can work on digestion and eat quality foods but still have problems with acne. If this sounds like you, I suggest keeping a food journal and tracking your acne breakouts. Making connections between certain foods and repeated outbreaks may help you get to the bottom of any food sensitives and know which foods to avoid.
I recommend eliminating dairy and high glycemic/sugary foods for at least 12 weeks to see a significant improvement. Why 12 weeks? Well, this is the average life of a skin cell and you will notice a more dramatic improvement if you are consistent for 3 months.
Dairy products contain naturally occurring hormones that benefit baby cows but are not so beneficial to us. Regularly consuming dairy products changes the hormonal axis of insulin, growth hormones and the insulin like growth hormone (IGF-1) in humans. The IGF-1 hormone increases your insulin levels telling your liver to produce more hormones which may cause higher levels of inflammation leading to breakouts. ( 123 ) Besides that, many cows are raised in confined spaces, so they tend to get sick easier. As a result, they are receiving more antibiotics than ever before.
Once you have worked to support your skin, you can move towards nourishing your skin on the outside with safer beauty and skin care products free of endocrine disrupting chemicals.