The Skinny on Bad Skin

skin2Let’s face it. Bad skin is the worst. We spend so much time and money trying to make it look good with miracle cures and magical creams. It's no wonder beauty is a billion dollar industry. But what if we’re going about it all wrong? What if it’s not about what we put on our skin on the outside, but instead what we’re feeding our skin on the inside.

No, seriously. Our skin is made up of two major layer, the epidermis and the dermis.

flowerPicture the epidermis – the top layer – like a bed of flowers, and the dermis – the part underneath – is the soil. The soil provides all the nutrients for the flowers. If the soil isn't great then the flowers also aren't going to be great.

Our skin – the epidermis – is just a bunch of cells that can only do what they need to do if they are getting what they need.

So instead of rubbing yet another waste-of-money, barely-based-on-any-science skin product, why not try to make it more beautiful from the inside.

Side note: Have you ever heard of the skin being referred to as the “third kidney” because of how many things it secretes? It sounds gross but don’t worry, it’s just sweat, not urine. If your skin is bad, maybe it is because your body is having a hard time getting rid of toxins (I hate that word, but you know what I mean) and you need to do a detoxification program. I've heard countless patients rave about their skin after doing a good detox.

Here's what to do if you don't love your skin. The first thing to try is an elimination diet. This basically means cutting out certain foods for about three weeks. (And by the way, if you can’t give up your favorite foods for three weeks, you don’t really want better skin anyhow.) Eating foods you’re sensitive to is a sure fire way to bad skin. PS...this costs zero dollars, so you have nothing to lose.

Second to this, improve digestion. Remember, you are what you eat and absorb. You can eat healthy all day long but if you're not digesting and absorbing, it's pointless. This is a bigger topic than can be written about here, but testing for common gut infections, taking digestive enzymes, and adding in resistant starches may very well do the trick.

Once you stop eating foods you might be sensitive to and improved your digestion, then consider supplementation. Specifically, essential fatty acids can be very helpful (especially for dry skin). Remember, you have to take it every day for between 3-6 weeks before noticing a significant difference so don't be all jump-the-gun-ny. One tablespoon of flax oil or fish oil is a good dose for most people.

Two of the big skin nutrients are vitamin A and zinc. Both help the cells of the epidermis (the flowers), flourish and thrive. Vitamin A can likely be taken safely at 25,000IUs daily for a couple of months, and then backing off to 10,000IUs daily for maintenance. (I recommend taking it along with the other fat soluble vitamins D, E, and K.) And zinc at around 25mg per day is a fairly conservative dose for a few months.

One last thing that must be considered for bad skin is low thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormone is the metabolic hormone in your body. If it is low, everything works more slowly, including your skin’s ability to look vibrant. If you have skin issue, consider getting your thyroid hormones checked by a qualified practitioner. PS...I happen to know a really good one.