9 Science-Backed Holistic Tips for Healthy Skin
Prepared by: Allison Tannis, MSc., R.H.N.| allisontannis.com
You can have healthy skin naturally with these 9 holistic beauty tips. The key to healthy skin is about limiting inflammation. Inflammation plays a major role in how the skin looks. Sometimes, the inflammation is obvious, giving the skin a puffy, red appearance. But, the kind of inflammation you can’t see is most concerning. Chronic, low levels of inflammation, caused by inflammatory-inducing foods (sugar, dairy, packaged foods, non-plant-based fats), stress, a lack of sleep, and environmental factors (soaps, cosmetics, pollution) are wreaking havoc on the fragile pigmentation and structures that give your skin a tight and youthful appearance. Get healthy skin naturally with the help of these 9 science-backed holistic health tips.
9 Science-Backed Holistic Tips for Healthy Skin
- Reduce Stress
- Sleep On
- Improve Gut Health
- Clean Cosmetics
- Sweat it Out
- Eat Cranberries and Chocolate
An active component in turmeric, curcumin, has been used medically to treat a variety of dermatologic diseases, naturally promoting healthy skin. Research shows curcumin is helpful in the treatment of some inflammation-based skin problems, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. This capacity to promote healthy skin is likely due to curcumin’s ability to bind and stop pathways that activate inflammation (TNF-alpha production by macrophage, IL-2). Since inflammation is linked with aging, a process called ‘inflamm-aging’, researchers are looking into the anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin and its potential to promote healthy skin as we age.
More research is needed to determine the ideal route of administration, dosage, and duration. Curcumin is not a very easily absorbed nutrient. In the meantime, it’s always a tasty choice to fit some turmeric-rich dishes into your meal plans or cuddle up with a warm turmeric latte.
This essential mineral is an anti-inflammatory and well-known supporter of skin wound healing. Zinc plays a pivotal role in the normal function of healthy skin. Yet, are you getting enough? Since oysters aren’t a common staple at convenient stores or drive-thrus, and they are the food that contains the most zinc per serving, it’s important to look for other sources to ensure you’re getting enough. Red meat and poultry are animal-based sources of zinc. But, it’s always a good idea to reach for plant-based foods whenever possible. Chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts, and seeds are sources of healthy skin promoting zinc. Nuts and seeds are full of nutrients, besides zinc that supports healthy skin, including omega-3s. Plus, nuts and seeds can improve blood flow – they contain the amino acid arginine which helps relax blood vessels. Healthy skin needs good blood flow.
Your brain and your skin are connected. They really like to talk to each other – all the time! If the brain and skin are in touch with each other so much, does stress affect your skin as much as it does the rest of your body? Let’s consider how when stressed, the brain and central nervous system trigger a host of symptoms, including headaches or tightness of the chest. One can just imagine the potential of what stress could do to your skin.
Scientists have found that stress signals from the brain tell the skin to react by activating hormones and inflammation, two factors known to be unhelpful when trying to maintain healthy skin. In particular, stress triggers the promotion of pro-inflammatory factors and prolactin (upregulates sebum production). Sebum can build up in pores along with dead skin cells to form pimples, blackheads, or acne. You can’t avoid stress completely, but you can develop coping skills to help you limit the effects stress has on you. Time blocking is an effective means to help alleviate stress – give each part of your day a focused amount of time, including the part of the day where you do something that brings you joy. Adaptogens, such as ashwagandha, may help with stress. Ashwagandha is an herb traditionally used to reduce stress and enhance wellbeing. Researchers note ashwagandha’s stress-relieving effects might be through modulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis.
Remain Calm and Sleep On
To help lower your overall stress levels, practice deep breathing. It helps improve your mental health, emotional wellbeing, and enhances your parasympathetic responses, according to research. Calming your body, even if only for short periods of time, can help reduce cortisol levels and promote healthy skin. High cortisol levels stimulate the immune response, reduce wound healing, and may contribute to dry skin. Perhaps, more importantly, lowering your cortisol levels helps you sleep. The skin mirrors the tired, sagging feeling of fatigue that comes with insufficient sleep. Skin elasticity declines after sleep restrictions shows researchers. You need your beauty sleep!
Improve Gut Health
The brain-skin connection also includes the gut. They all love to talk to each other. Growing evidence supports how the microbes in your gut drastically influence the immune system, including how inflammation is affecting your skin. Some studies have noted probiotics can help reduce inflammation in the skin, including strains from these species: L. acidophilus, L. brevis, L. casei, L. lactis, and L. gasseri. In addition, the health of your gut microbes affects nutrient absorption and use. Unhealthy guts can allow harmful metabolites from the gut to enter the body and negatively affect the skin. On the skin, are a variety of microbes, and the balance between helpful and harmful impacts its appearance.
Choose Clean Cosmetics
Avoid skincare products that contain chemicals known to irritate the skin, disrupt hormones, or pose potential harmful effects to your health. These include sodium lauryl sulphate (skin irritant), parabens (hormone disruptor), phthalates (banned from many kids’ products in the US), fragrance, butylated hydroxyanisole (a potential carcinogen). The state of California has banned 24 chemicals from personal care products. Enjoy healthy skin naturally by avoiding beauty products that contain chemicals that may harm you.
Sweat It Out
When you sweat, it helps your body cool itself. Consider sweating it out, as exercise is a key part of a holistic lifestyle for healthy skin as research shows it helps hydrate the skin. And, as we all know, hydrated skin is gorgeous! The effectiveness of sweat glands as excretory organs is unclear. It likely helps in some forms of detoxification; however, it appears the kidneys and liver are far greater contributors to this important task.
The liver is well known to influence the appearance of your skin – consider how liver disease can cause the skin to yellow. The kidneys and liver are detoxifying powerhouses in the body, helping to eliminate harmful toxins. Toxins can enter the body in food (pesticides), water, air, or through the skin (personal care products). When toxins are not removed by the kidney or liver, they can pass to the skin, causing itchy skin, or dermatitis (inflammation of the skin). Drinking water is a great way to help your body eliminate toxins. Plus, drinking water helps hydrate the skin giving it a more radiant, plump appearance. According to the Journal of Nutrition Metabolism, a whole food approach is also a great way to support and modulate detoxification functions. As for herbs, milk thistle is a well-known natural supplement to support liver health.
Cranberries and Chocolate
Healthy skin is possible at any age. If you’re noticing age-related and photo-induced changes in your skin, you’ll be interested in researcher’s news that antioxidants, such as resveratrol, can help! Studies show resveratrol speeds up how skin repairs itself and stimulates the production of collagen types I and II. Resveratrol is found in red grapes, peanuts, pistachios, red wine, blueberries, cranberries, and dark chocolate – talk about delicious ways to promote healthy skin, naturally.
– Posted March 2021 –
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