It’s no surprise that the state of your skin can add (or subtract) ten years to your face. However some skin conditions are particularly stubborn, including eczema, psoriasis and acne. Here are 5 ways you can start to heal your skin from the inside out.
Remove your food triggers: What you eat (or how you digest it) is often worn on your face, particularly when it comes to skin conditions ranging from eczema to acne. Food sensitivities or intolerances usually involve a set of immune system antibodies called IgG antibodies. Symptoms are less intense and typically do not appear immediately, but rather within 12–48 hours, after eating the offending foodstuff. In my practice, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are commonly connected to food intolerances and are greatly reduced when the key culprits are removed and proper topical products are used. One study included more than 600 infants who were 3 months old and exclusively breast-fed from birth. They were tested for eczema and checked to see if they were sensitized to the six most common allergenic foods. It’s believed that the breakdown of the skin barrier in infants with eczema leaves active immune cells found in skin exposed to environmental allergens — in this case food proteins — which then triggers an allergic immune response, the researchers explained. So not only do food allergies cause eczema, eczema causes food allergies. An easy litmus test would be to go on a 14-day elimination diet and then slowly re-introduce each food group to see if your diet is behind your skin distress. In addition I highly recommend doing the HCL Challenge in my Supercharged Hormone Diet Book or adding digestive enzymes to meals.
Steer clear of stress for clear skin: Not only is stress bad for your health, it’s particularly offending for your skin. In fact, a branch of medicine called psychodermatology focuses on how the mind affects the skin (http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/articles/psychodermatology). Stress also makes the skin more permeable, allowing bacteria to infiltrate and product a protein that actives the immune system, thereby leading the path for eczema, acne and psoriasis. In one study, researchers at Stanford University examined the severity of acne in 22 college students during final exam week (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3085951.stm). Not surprisingly, the students under greater stress, suffered more acne than their calmer counterparts. Just another reason to practice stress management techniques.
Switch to alkaline water: I regularly conduct a bio-impedance test which, among other things like bodyfat, tells me a patient’s cellular health and hydration status. More often than not I find that a dehydrated state can be a contributing factor to skin conditions, from dry skin and itchy skin to eczema and wrinkles. A slightly alkaline environment allows the body’s metabolic, enzymatic, immunologic and repair mechanisms to function at their best – and your skin is certainly the first to reflect that change in chemistry (http://www.chatelaine.com/health/diet/tired-overweight-you-might-be-too-acidic/). Our bodies continually strive to maintain a normal pH balance of about 7.0-7.4. When the pH of our bodily fluids, digestive system and tissues is pushed out of that comfortable neutral zone, health problems can be the result. Not only should you invest in a non-chlorinated, alkalizing shower filter, I highly recommend using a reverse osmosis or alkaline water filter (www.santevia.com).
Fix your deficiencies: There are a few nutrients that can make the difference between skin that has people asking ‘what is your secret?’ versus ‘what is the matter?’. In one study, people taking fish oil equal to 1.8 g of EPA (which has been shown to reduce inflammation and rejuvenate the skin) experienced significant reduction in symptoms of eczema after 12 weeks. Zinc has also been shown to boost the immune system and raise the production of anti-inflammatory compounds in the body. An older study found that 73% of the eczema patients experienced a remission of their eczema flare-ups after just a month on 60mg of zinc a day. If you are battling a flare up, I recommend taking 30mg of zinc per day and using a fish oil in a 6:1 ratio of EPA to DHA to reduce inflammation.
Take the edge off inflammation: Green tea is a well-known staple for many health conditions, from glaucoma to diabetes, with one more to add to its list: psoriasis. Already shown to suppress inflammation, green tea has been shown to regulate a protein in genes that controls the life cycle of a skin cell. While I often recommend taking green tea extract daily, you can certainly choose to set a quota of 3-4 cups of green tea per day instead. Another hint: you can also apply it topically. For example, Try adding it to your cleanser in the morning. Run a tea bag over hot water, cut it open, and empty its contents into a small bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons of an organic cream facial cleanser into the bowl and mix it together. Apply it to your face, leave it on for 5 minutes and then rinse well. Post your homemade green tea mask recipes below!