Whether you are a teenager or an adult, acne is a scurge that's unwelcome on anyone's skin. Other dermatological problems such as eczema, dermatitis, or just dull skin are not fun to deal with, either. Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but outward appearance is the first thing we respond to before we can get to know someone's personality. As a physician, I cannot tell you how many people suffer from low self-esteem and lack of confidence because of their skin problems, and it saddens me.
My first approach is to inquire about overall lifestyle, including stress and nutrition. Research has linked high levels of stress with acne outbreaks, as well as changes in cortisol and hormone levels. And while there always seems to be controversy about whether sugar, dairy, or greasy foods can cause pimples, research has suggested that these foods do in fact trigger acne and poor skin health. Eating or drinking foods that have a high glycemic index like soda, juices, cookies, and pastries can stimulate a release of the hormone insulin which leads to increased sebum or oil production in the skin glands, clogging pores and making way for breakouts. Dairy products have been shown to cause inflammation throughout the body, on every level from cells to tissues to organs, and if you remember your biology classes in high school, you know that the skin is the largest organ.
A diet low in essential fatty acids like omega-3, which is often the case in the Western diets, can be a culprit in unhealthy skin and many skin conditions. The "good" fats are beneficial because they offer anti-inflammatory properties: not only do the heart and brain benefit from these fats, but also the skin. Many GI disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn's, are linked to poor gut health overall, are implicated in more serious conditions like psoriasis. When I see patients with any type of skin condition, I immediately check their hormone and cortisol levels along with a gut health profile which includes food allergies/intolerance and markers for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
I advise my patients to reevaluate what they are eating, and I teach them how to decrease mental/emotional stress. The synergy of mind, body and spirit is essential for optimal health. You cannot have one part of the equation working without the others. There are a few things in life that every human will positively benefit from, and it is essential to find and make time for these things.
1) Restful and adequate sleep
2) Healthy diet
4) Good sex
If you stop and think about these things, it really makes sense. All these things allow cortisol and hormone levels to be regulated while sugar is balanced and the body is being detoxified on the mental and physical realms. And when you are treating your body well, it will radiate from the inside out: and there is nothing better to have radiant skin, hair, and nails. Following these four rules will guarantee you glowing skin.
When you consider what to drink, choose simple drinks like water and coconut water, what Mother nature has readily available for us. Avoid sugar overload and artificial sweeteners and colorings. Replace milk with almond and coconut milks. Detoxify and alkalinize your body—all of the drinks mentioned below can increase toxicity and acidity in the body, which has deleterious effects on the skin.
Cheers to radiant and healthy skin!
Soda (Diet or Regular)
Loaded with more sugar or artificial sweeteners, these drinks contain many harmful chemicals than the body is capable of handling. The sugar load incites a detrimental cascade of events in the body, which eventually leads to insulin resistance, weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems.
Unless you whole-juice at home, you are buying yourself a very unhealthy drink loaded with sugar, preservatives, and artificial colorings, all of which cause acne and lackluster skin. Packaged juices or boxed juices are loaded with additives, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup, and these can all cause skin to lose its elasticity and youthfulness.
Dr. Deepa Verma of Synergistiq Integrative Health believes that healthy and holistic living is the key to happiness and aging gracefully. Follow her on Twitter @DrDeepaVerma and subscribe to her Youtube Channel.
This post was originally published on June 27, 2014.