Many holistic health care practitioners believe that our skin is the window to our health & wellbeing. It provides us with a map and set of clues as to what is going on beneath the skin.
Looking after our skin is a vital part of looking after our whole-selves. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and there is a significant interplay between your skin and the environment around you. Just as you need quality materials and foundations to build a strong house, the same also goes for your skin!
Our skin is home to a vast number of microbes (microscopic organisms that make up our “microbiome”) which change constantly depending on our environment, age and gender. This means that just about anything in our environment can affect skin bacteria, from what we apply to our skin to the weather and air around us. The skin on the various parts of our bodies will react differently too – as you would have noticed, some areas tend to be more dry, hairy or oily than others!
Emerging research is suggests that a healthy skin microbiome protects against infection in much the same way a good gut microbiome does; by crowding out overgrowth of the ‘bad’ bacteria. The skin microbiome also supports wound healing, minimises oxidative damage and UV radiation as well as keeps the skin plump and moist.
As you might have suspected, there is no magical ‘quick fix’ solution. Start by following our five key principles below to help build a strong foundation for healthy and naturally glowing skin, and look out for the next part of our Nutritional Beauty series!
Our skin absorbs about 60 percent of what it encounters. Frequent use of antimicrobial hand sanitizers, cleaning products and antimicrobial liquid soaps can actually damage the skin microbiome and cause an imbalance of bacteria. This has been associated with skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, dandruff, and fungal infections, so beware of stripping your skin of good bacteria while cleansing!
You’ve definitely heard this one before - a healthy, balanced and varied diet is key to a lifetime of health and good skin. Good fats are supportive of healthy skin, as well as quality, lean protein and colourful range of vegetables and fruit. Reducing or cutting out the processed foods and added sugar will also have an enormous impact on your skin health. Read our previous post for tips on how to easily tweak your daily diet for better skin.
Vitamins A, B, C, D & E, are all important antioxidants that are linked with good skin health and numerous other health benefits. These vitamins can be found in most fresh fruit & vegetables, good fats such as oily fish, olive and coconut oil, avocado as well as raw nuts and seeds.
It is extremely important to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. However, vitamin D is also best absorbed through our skin’s exposure to the sun. For those of us living in cities, there is a growing problem with vitamin D deficiencies. You only need around 20 minutes of skin to sun contact for your body to create enough vitamin D, so it may be beneficial to get out at lunch time and get a little sun on your skin. Just remember to be careful, avoid midday sun and do not stay in the sun for long periods of time.
Most skin issues are arguably influenced by the gut microbiome. At GSB, we believe that taking a daily high-quality gut supporting probiotic supplement goes a really long way to achieving your best skin. We love The Beauty Chef’s fantastic range — and we've identified a few excellent sources of pre- and probiotics in some of our favorite foods in this post.
It’s becoming more common to apply probiotics to the skin directly! Try this ‘Outer Beauty’ recipe by The Beauty Chef or a ready-made topical formulation like The Beauty Chef’s Probiotic Skin Refiner.
Resident GSB nutritional expert, Alice Fotheringham, is a registered nutritional practitioner and chef, specialising in working with young children and women’s hormone health. Based in London & Hong Kong, Alice has a successful clinical practice as well as running aromatherapy candle & beauty workshops.