The skin is not only the human body’s largest organ but also the most visible. Because of its visibility the skin will often reveal clues about the state of our internal health. Getting to know our skin means we can be our own best detective and ensure we maintain optimal levels of internal health.
If you cleanse, tone and moisturise everyday but are yet to see an improvement in your skin it could be a sign to start looking internally.
So, what is your skin telling you?
Acne in teenagers is linked to hormonal changes but acne in adults is often linked to diet. For acne that is inflammatory, discover if you have any food intolerances and steer clear of hot and spicy foods. For oily skin, avoid fried, greasy food. Several studies have linked acne to milk consumption, leading many health professionals to recommend avoiding dairy to clear up troubled skin.
Acne is a form of inflammation, so reducing inflammation in the body is key. This could also mean cutting back on grains and fruit (these foods stimulate blood sugar and insulin, which causes inflammation). Getting 8 hours of deep sleep a night, managing stress, exercising and meditation can also help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Your skin is your largest organ of detoxification, so if detoxification avenues are compromised it can play a role in causing acne. If you strengthen your digestion you will be able to break down hormones and food better and therefore improve your quality of detoxification.
Rosacea has often been link to gut-health and considered to be an autoimmune response. Symptoms begin as a small rash or redness on the skin but quickly spread and become progressively worse. Though it is related to hormonal balances, rosacea has a long list of possible triggers, including coffee, alcohol, fatty foods, hot or spicy food, dairy, hot saunas, stress and anxiety, sun exposure, baths and warm weather.
Each time a rosacea breakout is triggered the blood vessels in the face lose some elasticity, so singling out and eliminating individual triggers as much as possible is key. Bovine collagen supplementation can also help with the treatment of rosacea as it rebuilds the collagen and elastin fibers below the skin, therefore improving elasticity of the skin.
FINE LINES AND WRINKLES
As we age the collagen and elastin levels in the dermis naturally decrease, leading to sagging skin, frown lines and wrinkles. This is a continuous process that usually begins in our twenties, although signs are not typically visible for years later.
Environmental factors such as smoking, air pollution and diet exacerbate the process, causing our skin to age prematurely. UV radiation caused by sunlight can damage the elastin and collagen fibers in the skin and although the effects are not seen immediately, this damage causes sagging and blotchy skin. While pollutants such as smoking block off the oxygen supply to the skin and increases an enzyme that breaks down collagen, causing deeper wrinkles and a loss of volume.
Research suggests that only 20% of ageing is attributed to genes and that extrinsic ageing produces more prominent changes. This means that majority of our ageing is defined by us and our lifestyle choices.
Skin dehydration often requires more action than simply lathering on excess moisturisers and creams. It can be linked to diet and may be due to a deficit of healthy fats or lack of B vitamins. Rather than using rich creams which are laden with chemicals and synthetic fragrances, try and use plant-based emollients like coconut oil which are easily absorbed and reduce skin inflammation.
If you are suffering with dehydrated skin, try to avoid excess coffee and alcohol, reduce salt intake and drink water every 10 minutes throughout the day rather than consuming all at once. Ensure adequate intake of essential fatty acids, including oily fish, avocado, nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil. Bovine collagen supplementation can also help to combat dry and dehydrated skin as it raises moisture levels and as clinical studies have shown, increases skin hydration by up to 91%.
THE ROLE OF COLLAGEN
Until our mid-twenties, our bodies naturally produce collagen, therefore giving us a better chance of fighting premature ageing. But once we hit our mid-twenties, production naturally decreases by about 2 percent every year. By the age of 60, production has slowed considerably, therefore replenishing collagen levels becomes imperative.
When collagen is ingested, it is absorbed by the bloodstream within 22-34 seconds, then distributed via blood vessels to the dermis. Here it stimulates fibroblast proliferation, thereby increasing the body’s natural production of collagen. Collagen works from within to promote optimal skin function, by restoring skin’s youthful appearance, improving tone and texture and plumping the skin.