What Your Skin Breakouts Are Telling You
The face is like a mirror of the body and mind. Issues showing up on your face can be indicative of much deeper issues. As the seasons change, you may notice dry or red patches, blotchiness, or breakouts on your skin.
Blemishes on your face don't pop up randomly, they can reveal a disharmony in the body that gives you clues to what is going on internally.
Particular areas of the face relate to certain organs, and each organ carries carries a connection to one of the body systems. Whether it's acne, rosacea, eczema, or hypersensitivity, most skin disorders have one thing in common: inflammation.
Usually, distress in one organ or area of the body triggers inflammation somewhere else in the body but becomes most apparent in the skin. For example, congestion in your face (such as white-spots, or hard, granular-like bumps under the skin) or blotchy areas can be an indication of too much dairy or sugar in the diet. Redness could be a sign of stomach acidity caused by not enough digestive enzymes and an inappropriate diet.
The degree of acidity significantly affects the body's own ability to prevent illness, disease, and premature aging. A delicate balancing act occurs in our bodies at all times, known as our PH balance.
If our PH balance gets too acidic, we are more prone to illness. The acidity prompts the immune system to respond negatively, creating more of a workload for our body to protect itself. Highly acidic food, smoking, hormonal imbalance, and a high-glycemic diet are the biggest offenders. These stressors cause a free radical cascade fueling inflammation internally and depleting our mineral reserves to neutralize the acid.
In addition, glycation (a metabolic process where sugar molecules bond to proteins and DNA causing premature and wrinkles) becomes apparent from too much sugar or high glycemic foods. Inflammation and glycation are two related reactions that impact the body's natural state of balance and appearance of the skin.
If you want, smooth and radiant skin, here are some tips to follow:
1. Combine food strategically.
Smart strategies can cool down the excessive fire and inflammation in the skin and body. For example eat fruit on its own, and avoid protein with starch. Acid present in protein, which is made up of amino acids, blocks the action of an important salivary enzyme necessary for proper starch digestion and can result in gas and bloating.
Because vegetables contain water and fiber (important for optimal digestion), combining either animal protein or grains with vegetables is best.
2. Eliminate refined sugar and wheat.
These increase inflammation and an acidic environment in the body. Cutting back on sugar and wheat will support the organs of elimination and in turn will increase your energy and skin clarity.
If you've already cut out all refined sugar, continue to monitor your body when you eat even a minimal amount of natural sugar. Sometimes even fruit sugar will generate acne, because it feeds inflammation.
3. Incorporate fermented foods into your diet.
These foods are full of beneficial bacteria and probiotics that help support the body beyond digestion, reduce inflammation and keep yeast overgrowth and pathogenic microbes in check that can trigger breakouts. They are very potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals. If you have poor digestion, it's' important to start incorporating these foods into the diet slowly to ensure the gut has proper time to heal and cleanse the body and the skin.
I recommend eating about a quarter to a half a cup of fermented vegetables, or cultured food such as raw yoghurt, per day. Kombucha, a fermented drink, is another great addition. The greater the variety of fermented and cultured foods you include in your diet, the better, as each food will inoculate your gut with a variety of different microorganisms.
4. Eat good fats.
Increasing your Omega-3 fatty acids (EFAs) helps the body produce prostaglandins, hormones that reduce inflammation. EFAs are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility, but because the body cannot produce its own EFAs, they must be obtained through the diet.
The best places to find omega-3 fats include cold-water fish, organic coconut oil, krill oil, walnuts, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, flaxseed and sea vegetables.
5. Manage your stress.
When we experience stress the body activates the “fight or flight” response, which triggers stress hormones thereby slowing the digestive process and compromising your digestion. Most of us are in a “fight or flight” mode all day, which starts the minute our alarm goes off, starting the days rushing around to get ready for work, check email, get the kids off to school, etc.. and most likely skipping breakfast in the process. This rushed behavior is stressful and shuts down our digestion increasing acidity and more inflammation in the body.
To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body's natural relaxation response and bring the nervous system back into balance. Fitting in and finding the relaxation technique that's best for you can help.
Activities like yoga, meditation and more exercise reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood. I recommend natural therapies like Acupuncture or Kinesiology to identify and correct imbalances. Kinesiology addresses the communication and connection between all systems and enables you to clear the blocks or barriers so you can accomplish your goals, tap into your inner resources and feel your best while providing tangible results for your health.
6) Repair with antioxidants.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and quench minor inflammation by sacrificing their own life as a replacement for missing electrons around the cells. Antioxidants also stop the cascade of destructive damage, since free radicals are inescapable, we must have a constant supply of antioxidant nutrients to keep our skin cells healthy.
In addition, antioxidants may actually encourage our cells’ “fix-it” enzymes to repair damage. Our cells have a wonderful ability to heal themselves, but this mechanism works less efficiently as we get older. They also provide histamine regulation. Consider ingesting and using the following antioxidants topically adding a volume of antioxidant support.
- L-Ascorbic Acid – (Vitamin C). The most effective form is in pure crystals. It increases new collagen and increases the skin’s ability to heal.
- L-Superoxide Dismutase- One of four major skin antioxidants, crucial for disarming the most dangerous free-radical and superoxide radical.
- Coenzyme Q-10 (found naturally in our cells but decreases after age 20)
- Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA; found in plant and animal sources)
- Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE; found in fish)
- Carotenoids (phytonutrients found in the red, yellow and orange flesh of plant leaves, flowers and fruit)
7. Supplement With Adaptogens.
They are effective herbal tonics that can help handle stress by restoring the body’s homeostasis when undergoing stress, which means they have the ability to balance and stabilize the body’s systems (cardiovascular system, nervous system, endocrine system, musculature, lymphatic system, etc.)
They also possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the most widely regarded adaptogens you should consider are: Ashwagandha, Asian ginseng, Cordyceps, Guduchi Holy Basil, Licorice, Reishi, Rhodiola, and Schisandra.
Yoga is incredible for keeping your body & mind healthy. Ready to learn about how the power of food can also create a sound body & mind? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.