Modern skincare techniques are moving away from managing the skin from the outside in, instead focussing on supporting the body’s own ability to nuture the skin from the inside out.
When you think about it, it makes sense that a patch of eczema is linked to something internally, and that our acne flare-up is worse when we have bad digestion; but exactly how to manage this is not generally well understood.
The skin is a complex organ that relies enormously on the inner functioning’s of the body – digestion, hormones, immunity and adrenals all play a part. If there isn’t a strong synergy between these organs then problems such as stubborn acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis; or simply as dull, listless skin can manifest. So if your skin is playing up, we sometimes need to look deeper into the body and work out if there might be other things going on that might be impacting on skin.
Here’s everything you need to know about inside out skincare, courtesy on nutritional therapist and founder of Equi London, Alice Mackintosh:
Hormone balance has long been acknowledged as a contributing factor to blemish or acne-prone skin, and this can sometimes be impacted on by testosterone levels in the body, as well as imbalances between oestrogen and progesterone.
Your diet and lifestyle can have a big impact on hormone balance, so you could consider making the following changes:
• Eat zinc rich foods to help support normal testosterone levels such as tahini, seafood, sunflower seed and poultry. Equi London contains 15mg zinc per dose to help prevent deficiencies and boost collagen production.
• Eat anti-inflammatory superfoods such as turmeric, omegas and resveratrol (studies demonstrate improved protection against sun damage and oxidative stress, to help slow sign of ageing).
• Keep your blood sugar balanced by reducing sugar intake as well as ensuring meals contain fibre, healthy fats and protein.
• Eat a fibre rich diet as well as trying probiotics
• Taking B12, B6, selenium and iodine.
The liver is responsible for removing harmful compounds from the body (pollution, plastic residues, alcohol, cigarette smoke) as well as our hormones (such as oestrogen and stress hormones). The skin is the one of the largest routes of elimination of toxins from the body and if the liver function is sluggish or there is a build-up of harmful or toxic detoxification by-products, then this can also affect skin health.
The liver requires many nutrients to work properly, and many of these need to come through the diet.
• Equi ingredients for liver function – milk thistle – been shown in multiple studides to gently support liver function and hormone balance.
• B vitamins, folate (a more natural form of folic acid which isn’t as well recognised by the body)
• Super grasses and berries that are nature’s multi-vitamin – great sources of amino acids, vitamin C and antioxidants.
• Also contains methionine and alpha-lipoic-acid to aid liver function.
There are also a whole array of liver supporting foods, including: cumin, fennel, organic celery, broc, cauli, leeks, fennel, onions, garlic, sprouts, broc sprouts, nettle tea all good detox supporting foods, beetroot, blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, pomegranate, red peppers, tomatoes (tinned, fresh, pureed) green leafy vegetables, ginger, salmon, smoked mackerel, green tea, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, tahini, fresh turmeric, butternut squash, sweet potato, cruciferous veggies, egg yolk, raw cacao, all fresh herbs, pretty much all nuts (especially brazil, almonds, walnuts) avocado.
The gut’s bacterial ecosystem also has a complex interplay with the skin. Certain harmful strains can not only can cause inflammation in the body, but low levels of beneficial gut bacteria can also depress the immune system, negatively impacting upon skin health. Research continually links the imbalanced gut flora and poor digestive function with conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis, and many find that symptoms worsen after taking antibiotics or during times of stress.
This is largely owing to their involvement with detoxification, immunity, hormone balance, nutrient absorption, inflammation and anti-bacterial activity. Because our bacteria are incredibly sensitive to the environment, antibiotics, the pill, too much sugar, alcohol and a whole host of other things can also disrupt it.
Equi contains a variety of gut-supporting ingredients:
• Glutamine – studies show improved digestive function and reduction in dry skin and eczema.
• Probiotics – Lactospore®, bifidobacterium bifidum, bifidobacterium longum) – Studies show reduced skin sensitivity, reduced inflammation and improvement to acne.
• Anti-inflammatory gut supporting ingredients such as turmeric and reishi mushroom.