How to Improve Your Skin from Within
It’s hard to believe summer is already over and we are two weeks into September! Fall is lurking around the corner with the changing colour of the leaves and brisk morning air. Now is the time to fall back in love with your skin and remedy any sun damage and blemishes that may linger from beach days, sand, sunscreen and patio hangouts.
Instead of focusing on topical products, have you ever considered that the answer to healthy skin might lay within what you are putting into your body?
We can’t effectively talk about your skin without mentioning hormones. The impact these strong chemical messengers have on our skin are evident with every major physical change our body experiences. Remember going through puberty and the havoc it wreaked on you and your classmates’ skin?
This was the first hormonal shift of potentially many to come.
Pregnancy and menopause are the next two natural hormonal shifts that females experience, and both can have negative impacts on the way skin looks and feels. The monthly female cycle may cause breakouts around ovulation, most commonly showing up around our mouths and T-Zones. While these three cases stand out, our skin is constantly controlled by our hormones every day, of every year. Stress from our busy and complicated lives can throw our hormones out of balance. This can take a significant amount of time to recover from, even long after we feel like our mental health has resumed to its original prowess. When exploring skin health, it is imperative to consider the role that hormones are playing on our outward appearance.
Diet and the Gut
Another major topic when it comes to skin health is what is happening inside your gut. If the gut is unhappy, chances are your body will try to show you by altering the look of your skin – think eczema, psoriasis and acne. Being conscious of what you eat can have a significant impact on the overall appearance of your skin. The following are a few items I suggest adding to your diet:
- Water. Are you getting enough? Aiming to drink 2L of water a day is a good rule of thumb. This can be done over different intervals, but I recommend having a large glass when you wake up, one glass between each caffeinated drink during the day and some before you go to bed. Water is essential in lubricating our bodies and keeping our skin hydrated.
- Antioxidants. These oxidation reducing compounds help protect and repair our skin after its been damaged. In their most readily available and cost-efficient form, they can be found in the bright colours of the foods we eat. Think rich and dark purples, reds, greens and yellows. These colours can be found in all types of berries, cabbages, leafy greens and citrus fruits to name a few.
- Fats. Healthy fats keep our skin lubricated, plush and are very important in the synthesis of our hormones. Choosing oils, such as coconut or avocado, when we cook or heat foods and using olive oil as dressings and drizzles is an easy way to boost your healthy fats. Also, choosing foods that are naturally high in fats like avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, and salmon are essential in maintaining that healthy glow.
Foods to Avoid and Limit
The most commonly known and experienced food sensitivities come from eggs, dairy, wheat, corn and sugar, all of which can cause inflammation and skin damage to varying degrees. The following are also a few examples of easily avoidable foods to help you get back on track:
- Deep-Fried & Processed Foods. Though filling, these are not the nutritionally dense foods that your body craves. When the wrong (yet most cost-effective) oils are heated to a high temperature, they produce compounds that cause inflammation in the body and pose greater risks with large consumption. These foods contain a variety of preservatives that help maintain shelf life at the cost of reducing nutritional value. Preservatives are foreign to our bodies and we don’t have mechanisms to help digest their contents.
- Alcohol. Alcohol adds to the ever-growing list of toxins that our bodies are subject to along with creating unnecessary inflammation with empty calorie consumption.
Some of my top supplements for skin health include:
- Fish Oils. Choosing a small cold-water fish oil supplement is the way to go. We’ve talked about lubricating your skin and balancing your hormones and these oils will do exactly that.
- Vitamin D. We’ve all experienced the skin rejuvenating effects that going on a sunny vacation can bring. This is vitamin D from the sun. Living in a northern country, many Canadians are deficient in Vitamin D. This is due to our limited UV exposure for the majority of the year and, for most of us, supplementing vitamin D is necessary.
- Probiotics. Live microorganisms or “friendly bacteria” that help protect your gut through a healthy flora.
Fall In Love with your skin one healthy choice at a time.
— Dr. Kaylee Driedger, ND
For further inquiries on how to improve your skin from within, get hormonal and/or food sensitivity testing and a treatment plan specific to your goals, call us at 604-974-8999 or visit our website at theiv.ca to book an appointment.