By Mila McManus MD and Nancy Mehlert, MS
The skin is the body’s largest organ. It helps to regulate temperature and serves as the first line of defense against infection. It is an organ with the capacity to both absorb and eliminate substances.
The skin is also an outward manifestation and communication of what is going on inside the body. Healthy skin is reflective of a healthy internal body and ideally it should be clear and glowing. Any skin condition, such as oily or dry skin, blemishes, discoloration, eczema, psoriasis, acne, hives, rashes, itchiness, and premature aging are all signs that there’s something internally in the body that’s out of balance. These are not normal and should not be written off as “aging” or “normal for me”. Suppressing your skin problem with topical antibiotics and steroids, for example, is a disservice to your body because the underlying causes have not been addressed. Also, remember that the skin is a detoxification pathway and the body is, in many cases, trying to eliminate something through the skin. Stopping that process topically may prevent the body from detoxifying successfully.
When skin issues lead us to searching for the internal issues, in almost every case, it leads us to internal inflammation. This can come from many sources and, for some individuals, it may be the result of several factors. The most common are:
• Nutrient deficiencies
• Diet high in processed foods
• Hormone Imbalances
• Poor gut health with pathogenic microbial overgrowth
• Toxicity from heavy metals and chemicals
• Food sensitivities and allergies
• Compromised immune function such as autoimmune disease
• Viral, bacterial or parasitic infestation
Addressing these internal issues, along with improving liver detoxification pathways and doing so every day, in the lifestyle choices that you make, can result in healing that becomes evident in the skin too. An integrated, holistic approach addressing each of these areas is the optimal way to achieve healing of “skinflammation”.
Important nutrients for healthy skin include Vitamin A, Zinc, Vitamin C, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Biotin, Selenium, Silica, Niacin, Vitamin K2, Sulfur, Vitamin E and Pantothenic Acid. Each of these are essential for radiant skin health.
Because nutrition plays such a significant part of achieving and maintaining healthy skin, diet is one of the first items to address when healing skin problems. From this perspective, the most likely culprits that contribute to skin issues are sugar, dairy, gluten, corn and eggs. Anyone trying to identify sources of inflammation both inside and out would do well to abstain from these foods to see if improvement or healing is achieved. It is equally important to consider other possible food sensitivities through elimination or testing (e.g., IgE via skin and/or blood tests, IgG via bloodspot, ALCAT). Foods that support healthy skin and are anti-inflammatory in nature include avocados, wild salmon, bone broth and antioxidant-rich greens and other colorful vegetables and fruits. Click here for a real bone broth recipe or contact us for resources for buying quality, properly prepared bone broth.
It is a common misconception that skin care products are harmless and don’t penetrate the skin. In America, the FDA has only banned 11 ingredients in skin care products while Europe has banned over 1000 ingredients. The FDA leaves it up to skin care manufacturers to disclose and consider whether an ingredient is safe. What research clearly shows is that many of these ingredients are toxic, hormone-disrupting and/or are carcinogens. It is not safe to assume that a product is safe simply because it’s on the store shelf. You may find it helpful to use the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” guide for cosmetics (www.ewg.org) We carry one of the cleanest skin care lines (AnnMarie) available today in our office so be sure to come by and check it out.
Finally, supporting the liver and detoxification pathways is also critical for supporting an anti-inflammatory environment in the body and on our skin. There are many such protocols including supplemental and dietary detoxification as well as infrared sauna, salt therapy, and ONDAMED. Often the body is not effective at eliminating toxins and the body needs support to promote drainage so that detoxification can occur. Simple strategies such as lemon water, green juicing, proteolytic enzymes, deep breathing, and dry brushing can help to stimulate improved drainage and detoxification.
©2016 www.DrJayDavidson.com. The Magic Mirror of the Skin, Guest: Dr. Trevor Cates