Radiant skin: An Inside Out Job
I was lucky as a teenager to have clear, pimple-free skin. Then in my early twenties, I developed adult acne. I was devasted and didn’t understand why it was happening.
Looking back, it’s fairly obvious to me why it was happening (oh isn’t hindsight a great thing). I was under a lot of stress doing a postgraduate degree in psychology. I wasn’t eating well: consuming too much sugar, caffeine, and alcohol whilst not eating enough protein, healthy fats, and veggies. I was underweight from an eating disorder, my microbiome was in a mess.
My body was signaling to me that it had reached its limits, that something needed to change.
I tried various remedies. Went for facials, spoke to dermatologists, applied expensive products to my face.
If you haven’t experienced skin issues, you might not realise how insecure it makes you feel. I mean there’s no hiding from your face. Everyone can see it.
I remember having to make a very clear decision with myself, that even though I didn’t want anyone to see my face, even though I’d rather look down rather than meet someone in the eyes, use my hair to cover my face as much as possible and even avoid going out to meet friends. I choose that despite all these feelings I was going to look people in the eye (even though I was sure that they would be horrified by the pus-filled pimples on my face) I was going to smile, even though I didn’t feel like smiling, and I wasn’t going to allow this to stop me living my life.
The beauty industry teaches us that if we look any different from the airbrushed models that we are less than perfect, and that of course, we need to buy certain products to help us. So I searched for solutions outside of myself. I looked for the magical creams, the perfect concealers, and the cleanser that would finally work. I never thought to consider that it might be something that I needed to change in my lifestyle.
The truth is… the health of our skin has less to do with what we put on our skin, and more to do with what we put in our bodies.
Every single cell in our bodies is made from:
- The food we eat,
- The water we drink,
- The air we breathe.
And the skin is the largest organ in our body is no different.
In the end, I gave up trying to ‘cure’ my skin, and accepted it, I accepted myself as I was, even though I wished I looked different.
After about a year my skin started to heal…. naturally.
What had changed?
- I was under less pressure as I had finished my postgraduate degree and had decided to start my business as a yoga teacher. I was doing a job I loved and teaching others how to find more balance in their lives (which encouraged me to take my own advice!).
- I was in a happy relationship with the man who would become my husband and he didn’t seem to notice that I had skin issues and believed I was beautiful anyway (which helped my confidence).
- I was getting over my eating disorder and started to eat better and more nutritious foods.
Whilst the beauty industry might tell you that they hold the answers to your skin issues, for the most part, it’s an inside-out job. What you put in your body, is more important than what you put on it.
Radiant Skin: An Inside Out Job
From my own experience, and working with clients as a health coach, I have determined that there are 3 main reasons for skin issues:
1 Gut/digestive health
What you put in:
- You are what you eat. Your skin is a reflection of the foods that you’re consuming and the overall health of your gut.
- Have you ever noticed looking puffy or inflamed after a meal? Those foods do not work for you.
- Foods to avoid are: sugar, processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Foods to eat in abundance are: healthy fats esp omega 3 (I take a vegan omega supplement), enough protein to support the renewal of your skin, plenty of veggies and fruit, which are high in antioxidants and vitamin C.
Elimination: The skin is our largest organ of elimination help it by:
- Drinking plenty of water, which helps the kidneys and keeps moving toxins out
- Make sure you are pooping regularly. If you suffer from constipation the toxins that were meant to be eliminated re-circulate into the bloodstream.
- Exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells.
- Body brush to help circulation, detoxification, and lymphatic drainage.
- The microbiome is the health of your gut. If you have digestive issues such as IBS, leaky gut, candida there is likely an imbalance of the ‘good’ bacteria to the ‘bad’.
- It’s important to rid the gut of the ‘bad’ bacteria first and then
- Re-balance the microbiome by taking probiotics and eating probiotic-rich foods.
Stress is a word used so often that I think we’ve come to consider stress a normal part of life. So we underestimate the effect stress has on the system.
When we are stressed we produce more cortisol which creates an imbalance in our hormones and can cause inflammation.
Particularly skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, rashes, wrinkles/aging correlate with stress.
Think of the sereneness of a meditating monk compared to a tired and stressed corporate professional. Think of your face when you’ve been working too hard, partying too much, or up late worried and anxious compared to what you look like on holiday. See if you can relax your face more throughout the day and use simple lifestyle habits to lower your stress levels.
Top Tips to managing stress:
- Moderate exercise (not too intense)
- See this blog for more detailed information on managing stress.
“If you have good thoughts, they willShine out of your face and you will always look lovely.” Roald Dahl
Most acne is caused by excess oil production which clogs the pores in your skin. And your hormones can have a big effect on how much oil you produce.
Skin issues can be a sign of low levels of oestrogen and progesterone and high levels of testosterone.
During times of hormonal changes, it is common for skin issues to come up.
- During puberty: hormones are shifting and it’s common to experience excess oiliness. This is a time when what teenagers PUT on their skin as well as IN their bodies can make a significant difference to how their skin will cope with hormonal fluctuations. Most teenagers buy products from the supermarket that strip their skin entirely and only go on to make matters worse.
- During pregnancy: As anyone who has experienced pregnancy knows our hormones can have a significant effect on the look of our skin, and can also make it feel itchy. Making sure to be eating plenty of healthy fats and possibly supplementing additional omegas can help in this time, as well as all the other details in points 1 and 2.
- During menopause: It’s common during menopause to experience dry skin due to dropping oestrogen levels. This is a time to use deeply hydrating skin products, as well as following all the previous points.
What we put on our skin is also important after changing what we put in our bodies, and I will share with you more about this in next week’s blog.