Take a second and look at your skin from head to toe. What do you see? Many people observe wrinkles, acne, eczema, uneven rough skin or rosacea. Although these are all conditions we wish to live without, they're also gentle whispers of the body telling us there's an imbalance going on inside that needs to be addressed, so they shouldn't be ignored.
The skin is a mirror of what's going on inside the body. What's it trying to tell you? Maybe you need to detox, add more nutrients to your diet or even reduce the stress in your life. Your skin often gives you clues to what it needs — all you need to do is pay attention.
Here, the main imbalances in the body, the skin issues they manifest as and what to do about them:
Skin Issue: Acne
Internal cause: Toxic buildup, leaky gut, bacteria imbalance, hormonal imbalance
Acne often appears when the body is dealing with more toxins than it can handle. If the liver is overloaded and can't process the toxins coming in, it will often push those toxins through the skin.
Acne is also a sign of an unhappy gut. Food intolerance and a leaky gut can lead to blemishes because the body is sensing toxins in the blood that have leaked through your gut lining. Many studies have found that acne sufferers have imbalances in their gut bacteria, with more bad bacteria and yeast in the body than healthy, cleansing bacteria. Acne that appears around the mouth and chin is usually a sign of hormonal imbalance.
Skin Issue: Wrinkles and/or dry, dull skin
Internal cause: Nutrient deficiencies
Although our skin will change as we grow older, wrinkles and dry dull skin are often a major sign of dehydration and nutrient deficiencies. I often tell my clients to drink at least 70 ounces of filtered water and incorporate healthy fats like avocado, coconut products, olive oil, fish and nuts every day for 30 days and they'll notice a significant difference in their wrinkles and skin tone.
Skin Issue: Rosacea
Internal cause: Toxic buildup, leaky gut, bacteria imbalance
Similar to acne, rosacea has also been linked to toxic overload and bacterial imbalance in the gut. Conditions like Crohn's, celiac disease and bloating often come along with rosacea. Healing the gut with diet and probiotics often improves and eliminates the rosacea.
Skin Issue: Eczema
Internal cause: Allergy, leaky gut, toxic buildup
This condition is often triggered by an allergy, food sensitivity or stress of some kind. I always recommend doing an elimination diet to determine what your trigger foods are. Keeping a food journal also allows you to see how the food you eat is effecting your skin as you might notice more breakouts around the time you eat certain types of food.
Many people struggling with eczema also have intestinal permeability or leaky gut and the body is responding to the food and toxins that are slipping through the gut lining. I've also found that many of my clients with this condition also have high levels of stress. I often recommend clients go on a gut healing diet, incorporate daily stress relieving techniques such as deep breathing/meditation and address any bacterial infections and their eczema dramatically improves.
Solutions for glowing skin:
Detox daily: With the insane amount of toxins we're exposed to on a daily basis, the body needs all the help it can get to detoxify and keep its skin glowing and clear. To detoxify daily, try dry brushing, oil pulling, alternating hot/cold in the shower, drinking detoxifying teas such as ginger, turmeric and milk thistle, and incorporating foods such as apple cider vinegar, spirulina and tons of vegetables.
Balance hormones: Avoid sugar and processed foods, reduce stress, support your detoxification organs and eat a hormone-balancing diet.
Eat nutrient-dense foods: Getting the right amount of macro and micro nutrients in your diet is just as important as getting the toxins out. Our skin needs certain nutrients to be healthy and glowing. Particularly Vitamin A, Zinc, Vitamin C, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Biotin, Vitamin E, Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5), Selenium, Silica, Niacin, Vitamin K2 and Probiotics.
These can be found in a variety of foods, including leafy greens and vegetables, fruit (berries in particular), nuts and seeds, organic animal products such as fish, eggs, organ meats and superfoods like chia seeds, spirulina and fermented foods.
Megan Kelly is a functional nutrition practitioner and esthetician based in Denver, Colorado, specializing in women's health, neurobiology and quantum hormonology. As a writer and speaker, Kelly's work guides people to transform their body and mind through functional nutrition, mental and emotional training, and habit mastery.