Ever wondered how much of what is happening inside of our body is affecting our outer appearance? Your skin is the largest organ of your body and it often reflects internal imbalances. The dermatology community continues to research how optimizing overall wellness can improve skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, oily skin, and acne as well as promote healthier aging of the skin. We now know that gut health, diet and hormones play significant roles in inner health and outer beauty.
Skin disorders can be a sign of unhealthy digestion. The beneficial effects of good gut bacteria (think probiotics) on skin health and appearance have been well documented. Also, a large part of our immune system is regulated in our gut. A lack of balance of good and bad bacteria in our gastrointestinal system is called “dysbiosis.” There are many destroyers of good bacteria including antibiotics, steroids, antacids, high sugar diets and diets high in refined and processed foods. Patients who are suffering from acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis should be on probiotics. There are many strains or types of probiotics and some are better for certain skin conditions. A skin expert can help you choose the best ones for your concerns.
With so much information available on different diets, a lot of people do not know what to eat! We do know this: Healthy eating habits seem to be another tool to improve and manage certain skin disorders as well as reduce the signs of skin aging. A Mediterranean type diet and a low glycemic index diet seem to work well for all skin types. These diets are low in sugar, bad fats, and processed foods and are high in antioxidants, fiber, good fats, and Vitamins A, C, E, and D just to name a few. So, increase the fatty fish, avocados, broccoli, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, walnuts, dark chocolate, and green tea. Kick processed breads and sugary snacks and carbonated beverages to the curb!
Hormones aren’t just about hot flashes! Hormones are involved with all of the processes that affect the maintenance of healthy skin. You need an optimal hormone balance to maintain and manage collagen, elasticity, wound healing, moisture content, face and body hair patterns, and oil production. Estrogen deficient skin in a menopausal women leads to increased fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of moisture and collagen. Excess testosterone can cause acne and hair loss but too little causes thinning of the skin. Low thyroid hormones cause dry skin and itching. If you think that your hormones (or lack of) are partially responsible for any skin concerns, consider consulting a medical professional who is educated in hormones.
While it is exciting for patients to have so much new information and innovative treatments for skin disorders and aging, it can be overwhelming! A dermatological provider can provide an expert skin evaluation and review the best options available to help you achieve that healthy, beautiful bright life inside and out. Often, combination therapy is best. You can help make your skin beautiful from the inside out!