Just google “gut and skin” and you’ll find over three million search results, suggesting that there is something to more than surface problems. There has also been a massive increase in evidence that our gut health affects all other aspects of our wellness. But, we’re here to talk about skin.
Here’s my skin story. As a kid, my skin was great. My skin maladies started in my early teens with the typical pimples and friends. By my late teens, it had progressed to massive scarring and me trying way to many lotions, potions, foundations and powders. For me however, I disliked the maintenance that makeup required so I decided that I needed to fix the foundation, my skin. That led me to a dermatologist in my early twenties and birth control to help with my breakouts. This began my lesson that ignorance is never bliss. The birth control exacerbated my underlying health issues and I quickly (in 6 months) slipped into nutritional deficiencies and depression.
It was a long journey over the next several years (through my twenties), trying to keep myself well with whatever nutritional knowledge I had, avoiding as much medication as I could. It took a lot of research and I did okay for a few years, until I had my second episode of atrial fibrillation. The first one was pretty bad. I had such anxiety that I would often have to pull over on the side of the road at least once during a twenty-minute drive.
I am ever grateful to my mother for being a constant learner and because of her own health issue, always exploring information in that area. It was my mom who connected me with the wonderful woman who is now my doctor and I’ve been working with her for almost nine years now.
As I slowly healed my insides, my skin healed too.
Like with weight loss, you cannot just ‘loose your stomach’. No part of your body exists in a vacuum, it’s all connected, including your emotions. My skin took time to heal, but so did my insides and my emotions.
I still have some scarring on my face and still get ‘skin issues’ popping up periodically. That’s usually a sign to me to pay more attention to what I eat and my lifestyle.
Digestion has also a standing issue for me, echoing a lot of what I read about the gut-skin connection. A baby who is breastfed develops a healthier digestive system (1), and has a better chance of avoiding teeth issues (2) and eczema (3). I also have several personal family examples that illustrate the connection between the gut and these issues. PS: I’ve had teeth issues too. (See the gut-healing protocol I used to help my teeth here.)
But does that mean we treat inside and ignore the outside? Not at all. So here is what I typically do.
– Be kinder to me. Unless you have an esthetician that uses a magnifying glass to look at your skin, chances are no one else sees as many blemishes as you. So go a little easier on your self and your skin.
– Wash with a mild soap or periodically skip the soap altogether.
– Exfoliate every couple days with a cloth. I have one I acquired at a Korean spa, but a washcloth works well too.
– Use food based oils on your skin – cocoa butter, olive oil, shea butter, castor oil, grapeseed oil, and more. Food-based so my chance for unnecessary chemicals and ingredients is less. The oils listed have been used on the skin for generations and by many different cultures. I do like trying new commercial products, but I don’t often and there is none I can currently give a good recommendation on. Apply the oil sparing, you only need a little. Also, if you have scarring, cocoa butter is great for lightening dark areas of the skin and grapeseed oil works against those wrinkles.
– Support your digestive system. I gave some supplement recommendations in this post – https://yesroanne.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/lets-chat-belly-teeth-diabetes-enzymes/. I currently use the Rainbow Light enzymes. You also support your digestive system by giving it lots of fertilizer in the form of vegetables, using healthy fats, a good salt and getting enough water. All things that also directly impact the health of your skin.
– Rest/Sleep. It’s not just great to keep your skin looking younger, it is vital to the health and repair of your body’s systems, including your gut and your skin. (Still working on this one.)
– Give it time. As I shared, it was not a quick fix. Your skin will get better in proportion to the healing of your insides. Be patient and keep making healing choices.
See my after ‘photo’ in this Let’s Chat video.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you used any of these suggestions before? Also, if you’ve been on your own wellness journey and has seen an improvement in your skin and have your own recommendations to share, please do so in the comments.
1 – http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/02/03/how-breast-milk-engineers-a-babys-gut-and-gut-microbes/
2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2897872/
3 – https://nationaleczema.org/leaky-gut/