5 tips for healthy skin you’ll love!
Healthy-looking skin is an inside-out job at its core. I know there are a lot of phenomenal skin care products on the market these days, but those products are working from the outside in…and news flash- the skin is the body’s largest physical barrier to the outside world by design. It is also our largest organ and something I don’t think many physicians give much thought about. But the skin tells us so much about what is going on deep inside of our bodies before perhaps other alarm systems start going off. As a functional medicine driven Physician, I believe the best approach to having healthy skin is through a holistic approach, that way the external product you’re using will help enhance the internal health you can change. We all know what healthy, glowing skin looks like, let’s discuss some of the most basic ways we can support our skin through good nutrition practice.
5 Tips For Healthy Skin From Dr. Kali
1. Drink More Water- the “too simple” but overlooked tool
Proper hydration is important when it comes to the health of our bodies, including the skin. You cannot have plump skin without hydration. More importantly, when we are dehydrated, we concentrate inflammation in our bodies. Chronic inflammation can increase the deterioration of collagen in our bodies and contribute to the worsening of inflammatory skin conditions including acne and rashes. The general goal is to try and get half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Coffee and excessive caffeine intake will increase your water demands on your body, and any activity that causes your body to sweat will also increase demands (saunas, physical activity, etc.)
Contribution by Dr. Kalli Prater, D.C.
Dr. Kalli Prater from Sage Healing Collective, started her professional career at the National University of Health Sciences where she earned a Doctorate of Chiropractic Medicine and Acupuncture Certificate in 2012. During her education, she discovered the Internal Medicine Diplomate from the Council on Diagnosis and Internal Disorders through the American Board of Chiropractic Internists. In addition to traditional Chiropractic Care, Dr. Kalli specializes in internal medicine diagnosis and treatment through lifestyle modifications & nutritional therapies. She is proficient at laboratory testing and analysis to seek out the root cause of dysfunction in order to correct or support the body’s natural ability to heal.
2. Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
I know skin care brands have been using these nutrient-rich and protective compounds in their products for years so you’re probably more aware of what the benefits of these are. Antioxidants help protect the skin, and body, from oxidative stress and free radicals (toxins). This includes Vitamin A, Beta Carotene, and Vitamin C. These nutrients are rich in carrots, yellow and red peppers, sweet potatoes, berries, dark leafy greens, and even green tea. Astaxanthin is a special antioxidant that can work as UV protection for the skin working from the inside out, I first remember hearing about this practice from Dr. Mercola, so I thank him for sharing his knowledge on the topic. Astaxanthin is what gives salmon, and flamingos for that matter, their pink coloring!
3. Reduce Stress and Get Good Sleep
These two topics are often not discussed when we think of skin care. Your nighttime routine might need to include better sleep hygiene after your nighttime skin care regimen. Making sure you get adequate sleep helps support your body’s collagen production. Lack of sleep can also drive up the stress response which by nature is inflammatory. When we are under high stress our inflammatory response goes up which can create more damage to the skin including accelerating skin thinning and breakdown. Stress also leads to cortisol production which over time leads to more dehydration, impaired wound healing, and increased loss of collagen in the body.
4. Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are important for protecting the skin against the damaging effects of sun exposure or UV rays but are also important for the fatty layer on the top of the skin that locks in moisture!! Making sure your Omega 3 intake is high can be very important for not only helping with the inflammatory response but helping your body make less damaging cholesterol and more balancing skin oils. We need fat, it makes up every cell layer of our bodies, but the best sources come from fatty fish like salmon and sardines, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and olives. If you’re not a huge fan of healthy fatty fish (because your battered, fried fish and tartar sauce don’t count ) then you can supplement with a good clean Omega 3 Supplement which can be fish oil, algae oil, or flax oil.
5. Eat Good Protein
Too many of us undereat protein which is essential for repair of the tissues of our body. It can take up to 28 days to notice changes in our skin when we start new healthy habits so don’t expect overnight miracles. One of the most important proteins for healthy skin is collagen, which is not always rich in the Standard American Diet. Collagen can be consumed by doing old-school bone broth, but nowadays there are many collagen peptide supplements on the market that are flavorless powders that can be added to your smoothies, coffee, and tea. Collagen can help with healthy skin bonds, repair damaged or scarred tissue in the skin, and support healthy hair and nail growth as well. It should also come as no surprise that collagen is great for gut health, as skin health is very reflective of what is happening in the gut!
How do I do it all?!
Making diet and lifestyle changes can seem daunting and overwhelming. Little steps count and add up to big changes over time. I hope everyone enjoys an indulgence, but even adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole foods to your diet can often crowd out the damaging foods and make a huge difference in overall health. I think if we focused more on harm reduction instead of thinking everything is “all or none” we can approach change in a manner that makes sense and is manageable to the individual. If you can only do one thing, I would suggest drinking more water. Be mindful when you can to avoid drinking from plastic, especially the flimsy kind. Use glass or stainless-steel refillable bottles when you can to help limit your intake of plastic particles which can act as estrogen in the body.