Switching to clean, non-toxic beauty products can make a huge difference for our skin and overall health, but at the end of the day, glowy, supple, healthy skin starts from within. We can use the cleanest products out there, but if our diet mainly consists of processed foods, preservatives, and other inflammatory additives, our skin is going to pay the price.
This post was written by Sam from Sam Wolk Wellness.
Plus, the health of our skin is dependent on so many other things in our bodies, including but not limited to: the health of our gut, hormones, liver, thyroid, nervous system, and so on. Things like leaky gut, hormonal imbalances, or a stressed-out liver can all be the culprit of skin issues. Your skin is a great communicator. Usually, if something is off balance internally, it will be reflected on the surface. This can manifest as acne, rashes, eczema, uneven skin tone, and so on.
Your skin is a great communicator. Usually, if something is off balance internally, it will be reflected on the surface.
Throughout this post, we will not just be focusing on foods that are great for the skin alone, but rather focusing on food that supports our gut health, hormone health, liver health, and overall bodies, as all of those things will have an effect on the appearance of your skin.
When it comes to nutrition, the easiest way to start positively benefiting your skin is by focusing on going back to basics. This means eating whole, nutrient-dense foods in their purest form, avoiding processed or packaged foods, as well as anything else you cannot pronounce on a food label. In fact, the fewer foods that have a label, the better!
As long as you’re focusing on these key principles, you’re headed in the right direction. If you want to get even more granular, there are definitely some particular foods that you can add to your diet to get the glowing, youthful skin we are all looking for. Keep reading for more tips!
Tip 1: Stay Hydrated
One of the most important things we can consume for healthy skin is quality water. Water improves the skin by flushing toxins from the body, balancing pH, reducing wrinkles, and keeping skin elastic.
That being said, the type of water you’re drinking matters. Tap water often has highly toxic contaminants like lead, chlorine, mercury, pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and pesticides. It’s extremely important to research the water that you’re consuming, and if you find that it’s at all contaminated, invest in a quality filter. You can look up the quality of your tap water here: EWG Tap Water Database
Just like anything else, too much of a good thing can sometimes be…well, not great! In this case, drinking too much water. When we chug water that has been stripped of essential minerals and electrolytes, we are not only going to remain dehydrated, but we are going to pee all day long, never really absorbing it. Adding a pinch of quality, unrefined sea salt into your water is a great way to replenish lost minerals, plus it helps absorb our water on a cellular level 🧂
Aside from water itself, there are many whole foods that you can incorporate into your diet that are highly hydrating, including:
- Cucumber 🥒
- Strawberries 🍓
- Watermelon 🍉
- Peaches 🍑
- Oranges 🍊
- Coconut water 🥥
- Summer squash
If you’re finding that your skin is feeling particularly dry or you’re noticing signs of dehydration, it’s important to limit naturally dehydrating foods, such as caffeine. I know, I know, that’s not a fun thing to hear. But aside from being dehydrating, too much caffeine can also spike blood sugar, which leads to stress and inflammation in the body. And over time that can lead to skin issues.
A few healthy tips to make caffeine consumption easier on the body:
- Don’t drink caffeine on an empty stomach
- Ensure you’re steadily consuming healthy fats and protein, which will keep blood sugar stable
- Stick to 1 cup a day
- Always make sure you’re drinking adequate water
Tip 2: Heal Your Gut
Many skin concerns are a result of a gut issue, specifically leaky gut. This is when our intestinal lining has large cracks or holes, letting bacteria, partially undigested food, toxins, and bugs into the bloodstream. This can cause inflammation in the body, negatively impacting our gut flora. Plus, it can cause a whole mess of issues down the line. The first step in healing acne is to work on healing your gut. And the easiest way to do that is by consuming a nutrient-dense diet. Some specific foods you can add to your diet with extra gut-healing properties include:
- Bone broth
- Fermented foods
- Apple cider vinegar
- Beef liver
- Probiotic-rich foods
Many people also find that removing or limiting their gluten and refined sugar consumption can help heal their gut issues.
Tip 3: Support Your Liver
I’m sure that you have heard that skin is our largest organ. But did you also know it’s our largest detox organ? This means that if our liver isn’t functioning properly, toxins can continuously get pushed through our pores in the form of acne. Interestingly, exposure to endocrine disruptors in the form of beauty products can take quite a toll on our liver as well. (This is another reason why clean beauty is so important!)
If the liver is constantly in overdrive, working way too hard to flush out toxins, those toxins could potentially keep reabsorbing, causing long-term hormonal effects, including things like…you guessed it, acne. So what foods can we incorporate to support our liver? Things like dandelion root tea, beets, healthy fats, organ meats, bone broth, collagen, and fermented foods are all amazing places to start! When we are eliminating toxins, we don’t have to worry about our skin paying the price.
Tip 4: Incorporate More Honey
Honey has been used by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and East Indians for thousands of years in the treatment of acne. In fact, the combination of raw milk and honey was known as the “elixir of life” and Cleopatra’s most prized beauty secret! Sign me up. Honey has many essential vitamins and nutrients that can help keep the skin looking younger, improve its radiance, and leave it feeling silky smooth. These include amino acids, B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
Whereas most raw honey is made by bees from flowers, manuka honey, produced in New Zealand, is made by bees that pollinate the manuka bush. It is said that manuka honey is one of the most beneficial kinds of honey in the world, with up to four times the nutritional content of flower honey. It’s often prized for its acne-reducing antimicrobial properties. It’s very important that when you’re sourcing honey, you ensure that it’s raw, so the amazing properties aren’t damaged by heat 🍯
If you’re wondering whether it’s more beneficial to consume the honey or use it topically on the skin, the answer is both! The options are endless when it comes to consuming honey. You can add it to your oats, teas, or on top of greek yogurt with berries. You can also swap cane sugar in baking recipes for honey. In terms of a topical treatment, you can use it as a mask!
Tip 5: Don’t Be Afraid of Fat or Dairy
If you were born in or before the 90s, you will remember how much fat was demonized for many years. Low-fat and no-fat were all the rage. But, contrary to what we were told for so long, healthy fats are ESSENTIAL for optimal health.
Foods like: extra virgin olive oil, avocados, coconut, nuts, seeds, fatty fish like salmon, grass-fed butter, raw milk, and pasture-raised eggs are all extremely important foods when it comes to the health of your skin, and overall body.
When incorporating fatty acids, it’s important to ensure you’re avoiding the very common industrial seed oils. These pesky oils can be found in everything from advertised “healthy” packaged snacks, nut butters, plant-based products, and frozen meals. They are highly inflammatory and unstable when heated meaning they can contribute to free radicals in the body. They also have an imbalance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio, which can cause chronic inflammation. Examples of these oils include but are not limited to:
- Canola ❌
- Corn ❌
- Cottonseed ❌
- Safflower ❌
- Soybean ❌
- Sunflower ❌
When shopping for oils, prioritize extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and don’t be afraid of grass-fed ghee or butter! ✅ These are all amazing sources of fat that are filled with quality nutrients that our bodies need and will make for glowy skin.
Up next: Dairy 🐮
Oftentimes, people assume that dairy is the culprit for their acne, eczema, or other skin concerns, when in fact, that is rarely the case. Oftentimes, these symptoms are manifesting due to a leaky gut. (see above for how to work on healing and sealing your gut lining)
Another reason that people could be reacting negatively to dairy is that they’re consuming poor-quality dairy. Not all dairy is not created equal. In fact, most of the dairy consumed in the U.S. shouldn’t even be legal. When gone through pasteurization, the quality of milk is degraded and lactase is destroyed. It is sterilized and fortified with synthetic vitamins. It came from cows that were confined to small spaces and fed mostly soy, corn, and grains, which are heavily sprayed with pesticides.
The cows then get sick due to the pesticides on their food, which requires them to go on antibiotics. These antibiotics end up in the very milk you’re drinking for breakfast. Those antibiotics can then cause inflammation and a myriad of issues in the body over time.
Raw milk, on the other hand, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods that we can consume and is highly beneficial for the gut, therefore is great for skin. It contains a variety of bioavailable nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Plus, it’s rich in enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants, and beneficial bacteria. If you don’t have access to raw dairy where you live, opt for grass-fed whole milk. Bonus points if it’s local! 🥛
So there you have it! Remember that restoring your skin is not a quick fix or something that can happen overnight. As the health of your skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside, it will take time to heal. It’s also important to realize that there is no such thing as “perfect skin.” Not every month will be the same, based on hormonal shifts and changes which are normal. It’s the imperfections, scars, and spots that make each and every one of us unique.
About the author:
Sam is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Certified Yoga Teacher based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is passionate about female hormones, gut health, and living a healthy (balanced) lifestyle. Her main goal with her clients is to help them get to the root cause of their issues, through nutrition and lifestyle shifts. You can learn more about her and follow along with her journey on Instagram @samwolkwellness.
- How Industrial Seed Oils Are Making Us Sick
- Good Fats for Glowing Skin
- 5 Ingredients That Can Deeply Hydrate Your Skin
- Benefits of Drinking Water According to Derms
- Why Should You Be Adding Ceramides To Your Skin Care?
- Natural Skin Care: The Skinny on Fats