The desire for good skin drives men and women everywhere to spend thousands on beauty products that promise all manner of results from deep exfoliation to intense moisturisation, cellular regeneration, and surface renewal. Alice Mackintosh from The Food Doctor takes a deeper look.
The skin-care market is estimated to be worth £2.1 billion in the UK alone; a demonstration of the deep-seated vanity that drives us to reach deep into our purses and pocketbooks. While there is no doubt that many of these products will help support skin structure and discourage blemishes and wrinkles, it is puzzling that we attempt to manage our skin in a way quite unlike the way we manage our health otherwise. Rather than ingesting something, we apply products topically.
This is a rather perplexing phenomenon. Though our skin has a visible outward layer, supporting it is from the outside is not necessarily the best mthod. Just like every other cell in the body, nourishing the skin requires the support of the body’s natural reflexes, requiring far more than simply putting lotions and potions on its surface.
As the largest organ in the body, skin is incredibly complex and is under the influence of many other bodily systems. Immunity, liver function, hormones and digestion all impact its health and, thus, its appearance as well.
Our skin is a reliable barometer of the health of the body. It can tell us a lot about what is going on internally. Since undesirable symptoms often suggest imbalances in one or more of the body’s systems, modern skin care regimes seem rather counterintuitive. Throw all the money at it that you want, but no amount of expensive microderm abrasion will get to the heart of the matter.
People rarely grasp just how much skin health hinges on good nutrition. From a basic structural point of view, vitamin C and zinc work together to recruit collagen, the glue that holds skin together, keeping it strong and elastic rather than soft and saggy. Essential fats surround every cell in the body and skin cells are heavily reliant not only on the presence of these in our diet, but also on the assimilation and absorption of them in the digestive system. Plump hydrated skin is a sign that essential fats are in abundance in our diet – as they should be. The importance of anti-oxidants is also well known, and the presence of these in our diet helps to protect DNA and cell membranes, ensuring a strong integrity of skin cells that keeps them resilient to the signs of aging.
In addition to this, many other factors will impact the skin’s behaviour and its subsequent appearance. Hormone balance has long been acknowledged as a contributing factor to blemish- or acne-prone skin. This is largely due to over-activity of the sebaceous glands, which can lead to increased sebum production in the skin. Given that testosterone levels impact the activity of these glands, women with hormonal imbalances and high concentrations of testosterone can be more prone to such skin conditions. For men, there are certain types of testosterone (namely, 5-dihyrdotestosterone) that can affect the skin more aggressively. The production of testosterone can be impacted by liver function and nutrient deficiencies.
The processing and intricate balance of our sex hormones is largely governed by how well we process them, which comes down to the liver. Poor detoxification capacity or a high toxic burden (from alcohol, smoking, pollution, plastics, etc.) can go hand-in-hand with hormonal imbalance, meaning that supporting the liver should be central to all regenerative skin regimes. Digestion also becomes a factor here, as the liver relies on the digestive system for the removal of waste from the body.
The ecosystem of the gut also has a complex interplay with the skin. Certain harmful strains of bacteria can reside in the gut, not only exacerbating infection in the skin but also depressing the immune system, the function of which will have a significant impact on skin health. Research has linked the imbalanced gut flora and poor digestive function with conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis, and many find that symptoms creep up after taking antibiotics. This also helps clarify the link between skin health deteriorating during times of stress, as heightened adrenal function can significantly impact gut flora and our ability to absorb nutrients from the food we eat.
Skin is yet another demonstration of how synergistic the body is; no system works independently; if one is imbalanced, the knock on effects can be far reaching. Nutrition is not as simple as eating the right foods; it is a matter of assessing the intricate functioning of the internal environment of the body in an effort to identify why symptoms are manifesting in the way they are. It is easy to see just how effective it can be as a way of managing skin health in a sustainable way.
Get Glowing with The Food Doctor’s Skin Regeneration Package
Based on the most up-to-date scientific research and experience, The Food Doctor’s skin nutrition consultants have developed the Skin Regeneration Program. During your personalised nutritional program, a skin specialist will tailor a protocol to maximise your skin health and promote beautiful young-looking skin that glows at all ages. We use scientiﬁc evidence to help get to the heart of disorders such as:
• Blemish-prone skin
• Dark circles under eyes
• Blotchy skin and pigmentation
• Dull, listless skin
Modern skin care techniques are moving away from managing the skin from the outside in, instead focussing on supporting the body’s ability to regenerate and resist the signs of aging from within.
For more about Alice MacIntosh, please visit: www.alicemackintosh.com