Skin Health From the Inside-Out
Personalized skin care through nutrition, supplements, exercise and genetics.
My two-prong approach is inside out: start with the gut, end with the skin.
Skin is our first line of defense against world. Exposure to all dust, exhaust, cosmetics, pollution can't be entirely known so predicting outcomes or proving causation is nearly impossible. As women we are estimated to put over 200 chemicals on our skin before we’ve even had breakfast! That’s just what’s found in our morning skin-care routine (care being the ironic word). We must approach skin care as an n=1, meaning every person counts as their own case study and never is one person’s approach the exact same as another’s. I’ll cover skincare through nutrition, topicals, sunscreens, and personalized components like lifestyle, exercise, medications and genetics.
Let’s dive in- to the inside-out approach.
Skin health begins in the gut! Dr. Marvin Singh is an integrative gastroenterologist, his focus lies in the gut-skin connection. He discusses specific nutrients have specific roles in skin care. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but here’s some of those nutrients, their roles, and what foods you can find them in:
Omega fatty acids, vitamin D, collagen, Ca, vitamin E
Hormone health and detoxification
Salmon checks many off of this list.
Vitamin A and it’s specific carotenoid, astaxanthin
Collagen, anti-oxidation, fine lines, age spots
Purple or orange sweet potatoes for this win.
Reduce wrinkles, hydrate, fine lines, increase elasticity
A lipid compound found in fatty foods like eggs and small fatty fish and a very good reminder that we need and want quality fats!
Fiber, pre- and probiotics
Found in fermented foods, starchy vegetables or complex carbs.
My favorite way to tick this box is with a spicy cilantro sauerkraut.
Nicotinamide is a B vitamin
Aids in DNA repair of skin cells. When DNA can't be repaired the cells die!
It’s found in bone broth, which also has collagen and other bioactives that can make it more available to our bodies than isolates: soups, protein powders.
Betaine and choline
Important for many metabolic processes and brain health.
These two are found in eggs and spinach help to keep you making daily great decisions for long-term health.
So that’s a lot of information and sources, how do I implement that in an easy way?
Here’s a 1-day sample meal plan to satisfy all of your skin’s desires.
Breakfast: over-medium eggs with spinach, bell pepper, and sweet potato hash, topped with cilantro kraut.
Lunch: bone broth + grass-fed meatballs
Snack: berries, ½ apple + Nuttzo, or tapenade on sprouted crackers
Dinner: crispy salmon skin + garlic, mustard, and ghee roasted broccoli/Brussels sprouts
Hidden benefits within the meal plan: contains the rainbow, blood-sugar balancing, whole/real foods, hormone-regulating.
What to stay away from.
Inflammation! By reducing your intake of refined or excess sugars, sensitive foods, vegetable oils, processed carbohydrates, all of which mess with sebum/oil production. Drugs that interfere with nutrients like vitamin A include acid blockers, antibiotics, cholesterol medications, birth control, and antacids. I am NOT saying to stop taking your medication! It’s important to be aware of these possible interactions and how to offset their negative effects. Yet another reason every body is different, remember n=1?
Lifestyle approach to calming inflammation includes decrease stress, improve vagal (read: rest/digest) tone through stress reduction techniques, ensure skin repair through adequate sleep. Allow nutrients from food to do these skin-related jobs rather than being allocated to more pressing matters: fighting toxins, inflammation, and stress. Adaptogens can help mitigate the spikes in stress responses, ask about supplementing or try this potent, quality, personalized approach to adaptogen coffee. Excessive exercise or doing the wrong exercises for your hormones serve as major stressors to your body! Some health conditions that include overactive inflammatory molecules can play a negative role: IBS, Crohn’s, Celiac disease or low pancreatic or digestive enzymes.
Let’s move on- to the out-side in approach.
Topicals for skin care aim to improve collagen, repair damage, and boost hydration.
Vitamin C- collagen and repair, plus works hand in hand with collagen production
Hyaluronic acid- water retention
Vitamin A- antioxidant vitamin aids in cell turnover
*Retinoids are not for sensitive skin, as it turns over the damaged cells, furthering spread of damage. I have to avoid retinoids otherwise it aggravates my dermatitis.
CBD photo-protection, aka stopping the sun's damage. Dr. Cather of Mindful Dermatology dives deep into the effects of CBD and how it can help with the oxidation and inflammation involved in sun damage.
*My favorites topical is a concentrated oil, check out ThomasGrove
The two main camps are mineral vs chemical, both have pros and cons but I lean towards mineral.
Chemical- absorbs sunlight, UV rays, and converts them to heat which is released by skin. The chemicals penetrate the skin so the compounds absorbed into skin layer and sometimes into the body, remember the 200+ chemicals before breakfast?!
Mineral- zinc oxide, titanium dioxide. These block sunlight by creating a barrier that reflects UV rays. It stays on top of the skin and isn’t absorbed. Best for sensitive skin, safe for babies and during pregnancy. My favorite brands are SuperGoop and ColoreScience
Now that you’ve layered on those minerals, swam in the ocean, got sweaty playing Bocce and found sand up to your ears, let’s clean up.
After calming my dermatitis through this inside-out approach I’ve learned to use no-frill style cleansers. I love oil-based products with tea tree. They leave my face feeling squeaky clean without being stripped of hydration or altering the pH. Now, to exfoliate, a step I can’t recommend enough. I’ve recently been using a nightly peel by Beauty Counter. My husband turned to me last week while having our morning coffee and said, “wow you look radiant”, a compliment I owe all to my new exfoliant, the sweetness in husband, and possibly the bit of skin-kissed glow from summer.
I only clean my face in the evening so to protect my natural oil production. If you go to bed clean, there isn’t much to clean off in the morning besides the good stuff (bacteria, oil). I find my skin to be much more hydrated by minimizing my morning routine to a splash of water. After that, its SPF 50+ lotion, a tinted moisturizer with more SPF and then, throughout the day, I brush on a powder 50 SPF I keep in my purse.
During COVID I’ve kept Thayer’s aloe, rose, witch hazel spray handy for refreshing antiseptic spray after I take my mask off.
What role do genetics play in skin care?
MANY. Genes that code for vitamin production like vitamins A, C, D impact how you absorb nutrients from food, how those nutrients are able to perform their roles at the skin’s layer, or how well they act as antioxidants to reverse sun and toxin-related damage. Moreover, genes play an impact at the gut level. For example, FUT2 is involved in probiotic production within the gut. Overall gut health is imperative when talking about skin health, as the skin is a reflection of the gut health. That means that an inflamed irritated gut can present itself as inflamed irritated skin. This is the gut-skin axis and has a huge role in the beauty of our skin.
Are you curious about what your skin needs to thrive? Do you have symptoms of poor nutrition that are surfacing on your skin like acne or eczema? Do you have premature wrinkles or dark spots?
Let’s figure out what you are missing, how to resolve your current issues, and prevent any others from surfacing! Tactics include nutrition, supplementation, exercising for your hormones, and many other lifestyle tips. I’d love to share my personalized approach to skin care along with my favorite cosmetics and skin care brands! Book your free consult here!