It’s unavoidable – how we’re managing our health will always show up on our skin. The skin is an easy barometer of how well we’re managing our health on a deeper level – pores don’t lie!
Top functional medicine doc, Dr. Mark Hyman, is breaking down the internal issues and healthy habits that can lead us to our best skin ever…
If you believe the dermatology, plastic surgery and cosmetic industries, you should slather on numerous products to get your best skin ever. Of course, these industries have a wide range of products to sell you! I take a different approach.
What if I told you the secret to healthy skin is not about what you put on your body, but what you put in your body? The dirty secret these industries don’t want you to know is that beauty really does come from within. You can heal many skin issues by balancing your hormones, changing your diet, optimizing your nutrient status and healing your gut. Let’s explore:
A Functional Medicine Approach to Skincare
Functional medicine, which focuses on the underlying causes of disease, is the medicine of why, not what. Functional medicine doctors are like soil farmers: We create a healthy “soil” so pests can’t invade and weeds can’t flourish. As that soil doesn’t allow disease and disfunction, overall health becomes an inside-out, rather than outside-in, approach. The science behind creating your best skin ever is actually the science of cultivating healthy soil to reset your system.
I handle skin issues like acne and psoriasis the same way I deal with other issues. I define the imbalance, address the causes first (usually diet and lifestyle) and then help the body repair and regain balance. The body’s natural intelligence takes care of the rest.When you use this method, your skin clears up, you look and feel better and other issues begin to heal on their own.
Better skin starts not with expensive cleansers and other beauty products, but from within by way of simple, healthy habits that many people overlook. For building overall health as well as your best skin ever, I find these nine strategies can help tremendously:
9 Keys To Your Best Skin Ever
Get great sleep. Chronic poor-sleep quality increases signs of aging, diminished skin-barrier function and lower satisfaction with appearance. Lack of sleep, as well as other types of stress, could impair skin integrity. Those are among the reasons getting eight hours of solid sleep every night becomes so crucial.
Ditch The Sugar
Dump sugar and processed foods. Among its many other problems, excess sugar sticks to amino acids present in collagen and elastin, producing advanced glycation end products or “AGEs.” Like the acronym suggests, sugar literally ages your skin and other organs.
Balance your gut
Fix gut imbalances. Your gut influences healthy skin far more than you might realize. Researchers find probiotics impact gut microbiota to influences various conditions including inflammation, oxidative stress, glycemic control and skin conditions like acne. If you suspect leaky gut or other gut imbalances, I recommend working with a functional medicine practitioner to pinpoint and eliminate these problems.
Be Sensitive of Sensitivities
Eliminate food sensitivities. Food sensitivities can trigger or exacerbate bad skin conditions. Studies show dairy contributes to acne. Other studies link autoimmune diseases, allergic diseases, psoriasis and miscellaneous diseases with gluten intolerance.
Max Out On omega 3s
Eat an omega 3-rich diet. Dry, itchy, scaling or flaking skin could signify a fatty-acids deficiency. Eat omega 3-rich foods like wild-caught fish and flaxseed regularly and also supplement with a high-potency fatty-acid formula.
Load Up On nutrients
Optimize nutrient status. A variety of nutrients play a role in healthy skin. Zinc deficiencies can contribute to eczema, acne and other skin rashes. Studies also find vitamin D can help treat skin problems like psoriasis and acne. At the very least, I recommend a high-potency multivitamin/mineral that provides efficacious amounts of these and other nutrients.
Sweat Out The Bad
Exercise and sweat regularly. When body temperature rises, like when you exercise, skin blood flow transfers heat from the core of the body to the skin. Sweating helps move and excrete toxins from your body. Saunas or steam baths are another smart option that help release the toxins through your skin as you sweat. One study found a protective effect of regular sauna on skin physiology. Get the toxins off your skin after the sauna or steam. Use a hot shower with soap and even a skin brush.
Detox your beauty routine
Be careful with skin products. Stop using creams, sun block and cosmetics that contain paraben, petrochemicals, lead or other toxins. Drugs and chemicals are easily absorbed through your skin. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.
Curb stress levels. Studies show emotional stress can affect, reveal or even exacerbate a number of skin disorders, including psoriasis. Find something that helps you de-stress and do it regularly. I like yoga, meditation and massages.