Our skin is the first impression people have of us. It can reflect our health and some people use it to determine our age.
As we go through menopause our hormonal changes can cause our skin tone and texture to shift. Many women find that their skin seems to dry out more easily. It is important to continue nourishing our body with good foods and water to support our skin.
In recent years, the medical community has been focusing on the gut microbiome and has found that the gut and skin are connected. The skin is our largest organ and is covered in a diverse spectrum of microorganisms making up the microbiome. We need these various microorganisms to keep our skin healthy and protected.
The gut and skin are densely vascularized, richly innervated organs which play a vital role in our immune and neuroendocrine systems. The skins surface is much greater than the gut, so it is important to protect it for our overall health.
When our skin is healthy it provides us with protection from environmental factors, helps regulate our temperature and maintains our hydration. Our skin naturally sheds from the epidermal surface so that it is constantly regenerating and renewing itself.
There is a natural turnover of the epidermal surface that is constantly regenerating and renewing itself.
The skin microbiota is a natural habitat for a multitude of microbes including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. When it is healthy our skin will provide a protective barrier against external invasion, but when damaged it is known as leaky skin. This damage will lead to symptoms including redness, itching, dryness, eruptions, breakouts, premature aging, or anything that is less than vibrant skin.
Some of the root causes for skin issues are inflammation, oxidative damage, hormonal imbalance, blood sugar issues, nutritional deficiencies, and microbiome disturbances.
Our skin microbiota is impacted by many things including our lifestyle, environment, hygienic practices, diet, age, and sex. Antibiotics have had an impact on the health of the microbiome of the skin creating superbugs that can lead to issues such as dryness, acne, and aging.
Another major impact is an overzealous skin care routine which can disrupt the skin microbiome.
Caring for our Microbiome
Healthy skin starts from within it is important that you are eating clean foods. Foods can often trigger skin outbreaks. Common allergens are dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish. If you have tried an elimination diet and are struggling to figure out the cause of an outbreak, consider having an allergy test. Learn more about anti-aging foods in my article here.
There are some supplements that can help support your skin including:
Essential Fatty Acids
Vitamin D which supports the immune system
Zinc which supports wound healing and immune functions
Vitamin A prevents keratinocyte cells from sticking and plugging follicles
When it comes to using supplements, it is important to consult with your primary doctor to ensure that it fits your health needs. Also, ensure you are purchasing a quality product that is pure and bio-available. Learn more here.
To support your skin externally ensure that your skin care products are nourishing. You will want to avoid ingredients that disrupt the natural microbiome and trap in heat. It is important to avoid antibacterial and antimicrobial products they tend to contain an ingredient dimethecone that can trap heat near the skin. Our skin has an acid mantle that is at about 4-4.5 pH which keeps the bacterial flora attached to the skin. Many products are at a pH of 5.5 which dries out the skin and makes the skin prone to infections and premature aging.
When you are shopping for skin care products ingredients to look for include:
Shea butter can help provide a protective barrier
Glycerin is a humectant (preserves moisture)
Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties
Nicotinamide cream cream is an amide form of vitamin B3 which improves cellular energy. For aging skin check the SPA doctor skin care line as a possible option for your daily routine.
Oatmeal especially colloidal oatmeal (make sure gluten free because it can cause issues with gluten sensitivity)
Aloe Vera gel is good for inflamed skin
Argan Kernel Oil is rich in vitamin E, restore acid mantle, anti-inflammatory. Blends well with other plant-based oil.
Resveratrol is a ferment extract made from grapes which is antioxidant and antibacterial
Turmeric is good for skin care to balance sebum production and can even skin tone
Coconut Oil can control common bacteria on skin, hydrating, but can be drying for some skin types
A quality skin care product will contain clean non-toxic ingredients and be formulated with natural actives that will support the skin’s mild acidity creating a healthy microbiome.
Make sure to avoid these harmful ingredients, fragrances, and parabens these are estrogen mimicking. Oxybenzone is found in sunscreen, formaldehyde, and formaldehyde releasers. Mineral oil and petroleum these both will trap in heat.
The final part of a good skin routine includes working on your mental energy. Take 5 or 10 minutes a day to complete some meditation or write in a gratitude journal. This will help to reduce stress and sooth worries.
Taking the time to focus on internal and external aspects of your skin health will ensure you have long term success. Every positive action you take will get you one step closer to living your ideal lifestyle.