Oftentimes when our skin is acting up or irritating us, we look to topical treatments. And that can help in the short term, or provide a bandaid-like effect. Yet at Proclivity, we are all about getting to the root cause of our symptoms. What is actually causing our skin to flare up or show damage? Here are our top 3 places to look first!
One: Gut health
Poor gut health can lead to skin issues like acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. Poor gut health can look like a daily or weekly bloating, heartburn, excessive or smelly gas, having more than 2 stools (usually loosely formed) a day, or not having a bowel movement at least once a day (think pebble-like or hard stools). If you’re experiencing any of these, there is likely an imbalance of our gut microbiome, poor stress habits, or eating too many poor quality foods in combination with other unhealthy habits (alcohol use, minimal sleep, chemical exposure, etc.). To learn more on how the gut can affect our skin, read here. Yet for our simple tip today, start to pay attention to what your digestive system may be telling you. What things may contribute to your gut not feeling so well? Types of foods? Are you eating too fast? Stressed and tense? Not sleeping well? Eating out or a lot of sugar? Start with awareness and slowing down, then make small adjustments. We recommend starting off by removing dairy products and gluten, as those tend to be the top 2 food triggers for people. If you want to go deeper, hire a coach, consult a functional medicine practitioner to get some testing done to see what may be at the root of your imbalance or discomfort.
Two: Blood sugar
When our blood sugar is high and then low, or unbalanced, our hormones are affected. And our hormones affect the amount of oil secreted. If you have a gut bacteria or yeast imbalance that feeds on sugar, it will only exacerbate the issue. And when we eat a lot of sugar, our skin can accumulate too much and cause glycation, which can lead to wrinkles in the skin. So when it comes to keep our gut and hormones balanced, and minimizing wrinkles, we really want to make sure we keep our blood sugar regulated. The top 2 tips to do this is to 1. when you eat, always have a protein paired with it to reduce the higher spikes, and 2. if you do eat higher carb or sugary foods, make sure to move your body! Daily, and even better would be to implement a post meal/snack walk to reduce your blood sugar spikes. Read more here to learn more as to how and why blood sugar can affect your skin.
Or foods rich in Collagen, C, A, Zinc and Omega-3’s. These are the most nourishing to skin health. Others to consider are probiotics/prebiotics, vitamin E, Niacin and Sulfur – read more on the specific nutrients here. Ideally we are getting all our micronutrients that help with proper skin health (and gut health) via whole foods, yet in our day and age, our soils are more depleted, which then translates into our food. So even if you’re eating a whole foods or ancestral style diet, we may not be getting as many micronutrients we need. And for some people, it’s a simple addition of a supplement (or adding in more of a certain food) that can make a big change in your skin’s health. We recommend taking inventory on your daily and weekly diet, see what nutrients may be missing from the nutrients we listed, and go from there – add in foods high in the nutrient you think you’re low own. OR, go get lab work done to see, and try the specific supplements out for at least 60-90 days, see if you notice a difference.
As a start, choose one of the categories above that you may think is affecting you most, and make one change to experiment with. Be patient, give yourself grace, and keep learning about your body and what it’s affected by.