Skin is a true reflection of internal health. You can apply all the “dermatologically tested” creams, cleansers and toners you like but the truth is, if you’re unhealthy on the inside, it shows on the outside.
I have first-hand experience of this, having suffered with facial flare-ups throughout my life. As far as spots and blemishes go, I have been very lucky, only seeing one around the time of my period. In fact, if it weren’t for the bright red flushing at least once a day, I would have no complaints about my skin. I was fortunate enough not to suffer with acne or excessively oily / dry skin, but having these flare-ups did make me feel very self-conscious. Tomato-red blotches would appear on my cheeks, chin and occasionally over my chest and upper arms, typically lasting a few hours. These symptoms are frequently associated with rosacea and I was prescribed, and unfortunately took, the antibiotic doxycycline in my desperate search for some relief. Doxycycline did not positively impact my skin, in fact, the only effects of taking it were negative, including disruptions to my menstrual cycle.
I started to track my food, noting down whether a flare-up followed quickly after particular foods. Initially, I thought I noticed a pattern: caffeine, butter and eggs all seemed to provoke this inflamed reaction. But, even after eliminating these from my diet, my symptoms persisted. I was now flushing after eating avocados, coconut oil, even sardines and salmon, foods recommended to help heal rosacea due to their anti-inflammatory properties. When I realised that foods high in fat seemed to result in faster flare-ups, I started to doubt whether a ketogenic diet was right for me. However, as it did not matter what I ate (low fat / high fat / high protein) I considered that maybe the food was not the problem. It was then that I started to learn about the connection between the gut and skin.
Throughout my childhood I was frequently unwell and medical advice at the time meant many different antibiotics. Of course, my gut suffered, which in turn lead to further health problems. My skin is gradually improving and I hope that once my gut is in optimal health, my skin will be too.
Here are some of the staples I take internally to heal my gut and use externally to nourish my skin:
- Coconut oil
- Bone broth
- Fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut
- Resistant starch
- Lightly steamed green vegetables
- Lemon juice
- Digestive enzymes
- Krill oil (omega 3)
- Omega 3:6:7:9 complex
- Plenty of natural mineral water
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
- Castor oil
- Raw Manuka honey
- Apple cider vinegar
Having incorporated more bone broth, digestive enzymes, krill oil and the omega 3:6:7:9 complex into my diet, I have noticed a reduction in the frequency and severity of my flare-ups. They used to be a daily occurrence but now I have spells of a few days without any; a much welcome relief!
Here are some informative articles detailing the connection between the gut and skin:
Stay tuned for my skin care routine as well as a recipe for homemade toothpaste, coming soon on the blog.