Anti-aging skin products and treatments comprise a $10 billion market globally. Rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema affect millions of Americans, sending them in search of topical skin care solutions. While the effectiveness of anti-aging and skin care treatments range in their success, they overlook the most vital aspect of skin care: addressing skin health from the inside out.
The skin is an immune barrier. Another large immune barrier is the digestive tract. Both the skin and the gut protect the sterile bloodstream from potentially harmful substances from the outside world. Other immune barriers are the respiratory tract and the blood-brain barrier.
For people with thyroid or hormone disorders, addressing skin health from an immune perspective is important. Thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. In these cases, whole-body immune management is necessary, and, as a bonus, can improve skin.
Skin that ages too fast
These barriers can break down when health is suboptimal. In this way, the skin is a window into the health of the gut and the rest of the body. While aging skin is normal, especially with more exposure to sunlight, accelerated skin aging can indicate poor digestive and immune function. In women it may also indicate a hormonal imbalance as healthy, elastic skin depends on sufficient estrogen and progesterone levels. Good skin care includes addressing the health of the body.
Rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema
Other common problems people grapple with are rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis, which cause red, inflamed, patchy, or oozing skin. These embarrassing and sometimes painful conditions are signs of inflammation or an autoimmune reaction, in which the immune system attacks the body. Rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema are frequently triggered by a food intolerance, such as to gluten, egg, dairy, corn or other grains, or soy.
Because hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition, it is not uncommon for those with Hashimoto’s to also struggle with rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema. Managing your autoimmune condition can relieve not only your symptoms, but skin issues as well.
Some adults grapple with acne long after their teen years. Acne can have its roots in many things, including poor diet, inflammation, or a candida (yeast) overgrowth. In women, acne may also signal a hormonal imbalance, such as excess testosterone. A diet high in sugars and carbohydrates causes a woman’s body to overproduce testosterone and throw hormones out of balance, which not only can cause adult acne but also affect skin health in general.
Skin care secrets from the inside out
Because the skin is an immune barrier like the gut, skin that is aging too fast or is affected by rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema is a sign the gut has become inflamed and overly porous (“leaky gut”), which means it’s allowing undigested foods, bacteria, yeast, and other pathogens into the bloodstream. This can trigger inflammation, autoimmune reactions, and disorders that affect the appearance and aging of your skin.
By following the basics of gut repair, many people see great improvement or complete alleviation of rosacea, psoriasis or eczema, a more youthful glow, and reduced signs of aging. Conveniently, these approaches also provide a foundation to managing thyroid and hormone disorders.
Basics of skin care from the inside out
- Find and eliminate your food intolerances, such as gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, or grain. Either lab testing or an elimination-provocation diet can help you do this.
- Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. If your body is inflamed your skin will show it. Avoid sweets, sodas, fast foods, and processed foods and instead follow a cleaner, whole foods diet with lots of produce rich in antioxidants and vitamins. This not only will prevent assaults on your skin health, but will also feed your skin with the right nutrients. You may also want to support gut repair with nutritional compounds designed to restore the immune barrier.
- Address yeast and bacterial overgrowths. A leaky and inflamed gut harbors yeast and bacterial infections, which will inflame your skin as well. Yeast overgrowths are often implicated in rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of clean water and avoid or minimize the beverages that are hard on skin: caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and of course sodas.
- Reduce stress. Lack of sleep, over exercising, over working, or constant anger or negativity are some other ways you can speed the aging of your skin. Chronic stress promotes inflammation, imbalances hormones, and accelerates aging, which show on your face.