Caring for your skin (it's more than skin deep)
Recently I had the pleasure of sharing Buffy Gills's Scary Facts About the Beauty Industry, highlighting our need to be more conscious of what we lather onto our skin each day. This week I have the absolute pleasure of introducing the founder of my skin care of choice, Jacqueline Evans from Jacqueline Evans Skin Care. Jacqueline takes skin care a couple of steps further and explains that we are what we eat, digest, assimilate, excrete, drink and do!
Skin Care – More than Skin Deep by Jacqueline Evans.
Healthy skin is an integral part of good health. Skin conditions and the health of our skin are much more than skin deep! Our skin is a reflection of the overall health of our body. The skin is one of the main channels of elimination. If any of our other channels are overburdened, such as the digestive system, kidneys, lymphatic system or lungs, the skin must work harder to compensate, and in turn may show signs of this over working, such as redness, acne or other blemishes.
Skin is the largest organ of the body and is involved in eliminating toxins, regulating body temperature and protecting the inside of the body from potential invading micro-organisms. Millions of skin cells are shed each day and our skin completely replaces itself approximately every 27 days. The skin is a semi-permeable membrane, meaning what we put onto our skin is absorbed directly into our bodies. The skin will absorb up to 60% of what is applied to it, sending it full strength into the blood stream where it becomes material for building new body tissues. Or, it becomes potent toxic waste. Tissues will absorb the good stuff as well though, meaning our outer protective layer needs to be nurtured and respected with nature derived ingredients to help nourish and heal.
Most Australians will use between 5-15 products a day, consider that each of those products has a list of 5-20+ ingredients. A recent study has revealed that the average woman applies up to 500 chemicals to her body every day via her skin care routine. That’s a whole lot of potential toxins being consumed everyday! Think of your beauty products not as cosmetics but as food for the skin and body.
It has been said that you are what you eat. However, I believe it goes much deeper than that, I believe you are what you eat, digest, assimilate, excrete, and what you drink, think and do!
When considering internal factors that affect skin health, the direct connection between the gut and the skin in most cases is often overlooked, yet more often than not it plays a critical role in causing some of the manifestations that we observe on the skin. Treating the skin externally can bring a certain level of relief, but if the contributing factors are internal, the condition will continue to manifest. This is because the real source of health and skin condition lies in the inner layers of the skin where cells develop and are nourished by the bloodstream. It's the vitamins, minerals and nutrient rich foods we consume every day that support skin health. On the other hand, pollution that creates toxicity in the body must be eliminated in order for our skin to gain its healthy glow and keep it free from developing premature wrinkles and skin disorders such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and seborrhea.
In our quest for healthy skin, what our body eliminates is just as important as what we ingest every day. Detoxification removes harmful poisons from the body, after it has been bombarded by exposure to food additives, preservatives, artificial flavours, pesticides, herbicides, plastics and toxins in personal care products, heavy metals and other foreign substances. In order for our organs and systems to function at their best, our body needs to flush out these toxins continuously to prevent any build up that may lead to unhealthy skin.
Options for improving the skin/gut relationship for radiant / glowing skin:
1. Heal a leaky gut with substances such as glutamine, apple pectin, slippery elm and inulin.
2. Add probiotics (friendly bacteria) and prebiotics such as resistant starch. Many people who suffer from skin problems have an imbalance in their ratio of friendly-to-unfriendly gut bacteria, which results in the production and absorption of large amounts of bacterial endotoxins that make skin conditions worse. Skin needs vitamins A, the B vitamins, C and D as well as the minerals copper and zinc to be healthy and look great. The ability to absorb these nutrients slows down with age. The nutrient absorption process depends on the amount of beneficial intestinal flora – or good bacteria – the gut has. Restoring the proper intestinal flora through supplemental probiotics (or fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kombucha) can revitalize intestinal health and, in turn, skin beauty. Probiotics support the immune system, which the intestines are the center of. They restore millions of beneficial bacteria to the intestines that a poor diet and lifestyle habits has weakened. They help fight Candida overgrowth from too much sugar or alcohol, antibiotics, or stress.
3. Increase intake of omega 3 fats. One of the first strategies you can use to improve your skin health is to make sure you are getting enough high quality omega-3 fish oils in your daily diet or from a high quality supplement. How do you know if you are deficient in omega 3 oils? Check the skin on your hands – if they are rough, dry and wrinkled, it's usually a strong indication that you are lacking in this essential dietary nutrient. Include deep-sea fish and increase vegetarian sources such as flaxseeds, nuts (esp. walnuts), hazlenuts and brazil nuts. Also green vegetables, especially spinach.
Caring for your skin is not just an inside job — it's an outside job too.
Your skin is much more than an outer surface for the world to see — it's the largest organ of your body! It has a number of amazing responsibilities that you probably don't think about on a daily basis:
- Protects your internal organs from injury and infection.
- Helps detoxify wastes through perspiration.
- Provides an important line of immune defense against infections — your healthy skin creates a barrier to viruses and bacteria.
- Protects you against extreme changes in temperature, through its thermoregulatory effect of controlling heat flow between you and your environment.
- Produces and stores vitamin D, which is important to your immune system and bone density.
- Rich in receptors, it allows you to sense conditions around you like hard/soft and hot/cold and sends information to your brain so you can react to it for self-preservation.
- Protects your body from sunburn
The loss of any of these functions will compromise your health and can accelerate signs of normal ageing.
The condition of your skin is a powerful reflection of just how healthy you are on the inside. Because your skin has the ability to absorb whatever you put on it, careful choices are critical. You want to give your skin the same thoughtful care you give your internal organs.
A little bit about Jacqueline.
Beginning her career as a naturopath, it was in the UK that Jacqueline Evans realised her desire to create a holistic skincare range. She had started creating custom skincare products for her clients, when this success prompted her to launch her products into the wider market, and back home in Australia. It is impossible for her to lecture about improving health without discussing the benefits of natural cosmetics. With this range Jacqueline is committed to creating skincare products founded on naturopathic philosophies, using the best natural and certified organic ingredients she can source, and educating her community about how to nourish their skin, form the inside-out. Her products are available via her website (above) and from select stores.