When it comes to skin, we sometimes feel like we’re doing all the right things…washing our face several times a day, spending hundreds on skincare that promise to clear or heal our skin and getting facials and other treatments religiously. And yet, our skin can still be inflamed, dull and stricken with acne. This can be extremely discouraging and leave us feeling hopeless and like were destined for a life with bad skin. But what this really means, is that we just need to take a look inwards…because there is a lot more truth to the phrase “beauty comes from within” than we think.
Believe it or not, almost all skin conditions can be linked back to gut health. Unfortunately that’s not the message we’ve been sold, because if our guts are healed and our skin is naturally glowing, big food and cosmetics companies won’t be able to make money off of us. If you’re dealing with skin issues and are curious whether the state of your gut health could be the culprit, there are a few things to look out for:
1. You suffer with inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis or rosacea. These have been commonly linked to leaky gut syndrome and food allergies, although we’re not always told this. If you deal with any of these issues, try working with a healthcare practitioner to test for any food allergies or leaky gut.
2. You’re constipated. When you’re unable to go to the bathroom, all the processed chemicals and toxins that you’re body is trying to excrete through your bowels are now getting reabsorbed into your body. When a system in your body isn’t working properly, another system usually jumps in to try and compensate. In this case, the skin and lymph detox pathways pick up the slack and eliminate waste through your skin cells in the form of acne, pimples and a dull complexion.
3. Your skincare products just aren’t cutting it. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and are only using “the best” products out there, but still have lacklustre skin, this is probably the most obvious sign that the problem is internal. Instead of continuing to spend hundreds on skincare products, take the time to work on healing your gut.
On top of working with a functional doctor or naturopath to get any testing done, the best thing you can do right now for your skin is to focus on a gut-loving diet. Think lots of plants, organic proteins and healthy fats. Try and focus on adding in nourishing whole foods like greens, cruciferous vegetables, probiotic fibre-rich carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and root vegetables, fermented foods, berries, citrus, apples, raw nuts and seeds, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised organic poultry, wild-caught fish, avocados and extra virgin olive oil…just to name a few. If you can, minimize your intake of processed foods, refined sugars and alcohol, since these tend to irritate the gut, especially if consumed regularly. Beauty is much more than skin-deep, and a healthy glowing complexion truly does start in the gut.
Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and write currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.
photo by @tylerwouldgo for Shelby Naturals