We know that the memo for gut health has been received but somehow, we forget to connect the fact that healthy, radiant skin can be dependent on the state of our guts. So we thought we would delve a bit deeper at Organa’s inaugural Urban Beauty & Wellbeing event, hosted by Africology. Our expert panel included the Founder of Africology, Renchia Droganis and Allison Sheppard from Naturopathy For Living who discussed skin and gut health with our special guests.
The symbiotic relationship between the health of our gut and the appearance of our skin isn’t a new concept. The ‘skin-gut axis’ was first identified as far back as 1930s.
Many people forget that the skin is an organ. It’s our largest organ and the only one we have complete and ongoing visual access to. This skin is involved in both elimination and detoxification via the lymphatic system and represents a metabolic window to what’s happening inside the body, especially the gut.
As a Naturopath, Allison discussed that one of the first things she looks at when working with clients is their skin. It gives her immediate clues about what might be going on with the body’s system.
She frequently supports clients through detoxification programmes and there are obvious differences between the appearance of their skin when they arrive and when they leave. Whilst going through the detox, clients may develop all manner of weird and wonderful outbreaks that have no relevance to the individual, but by the end the detox the skin is clear and their eyes are shinning.
So, what might be happening in the gut that’s manifesting in the skin? Although this will vary between individuals the driving factor is inflammation. We now understand that inflammation is the route of all health complaints and the gut is no exception.
Stress, namely the effects of cortisol at a local level; poor diet and nutrition; all place a burden on the gut and threaten the balance of good bacteria needed for both optimum health and healthy-looking skin. The microorganisms that live in our gut our part of wider a community of microbes, collectively known as the microbiome, which includes the surface of our skin.
Beneficial bacteria sit on skin and protect us from pathogens, bacteria and viruses, that might make us unwell. Just as we need to feed the bacteria in the gut, we also need to provide the right nutrients for the bacteria on our skin to thrive.
Dietary changes that reduce inflammation, such as avoiding processed carbohydrates and confectionary, poor quality meat and sugar, have a positive effect on both the integrity of the gut and skin.
Foods that have high glycemic index, meaning they release sugar into the system very quickly, are appropriately know as AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End Products). This sugar attaches to collagen proteins in the skin making them hard and brittle, leading to a loss in elasticity, wrinkles and accelerated aging inside and out. Poor exercise and lack of sleep also speed up glycation so ask yourself if you’re getting enough.
Green tea or Macha tea (shoppable in our store!) is one of only a few dietary sources that helps to prevent both glycation and dehydration so drinking it contributes to healthy looking skin. Our gut, just like us, loves variety. Beneficial bacteria thrive on as many as twenty different types of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds each week.
Introducing probiotics in the form of fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir; and dining on ‘good fats’ including oily fish, avocado, flax and olive oil, represents the ultimate skin food. These essential fats lock hydration into the skin preventing dryness.
What we do first thing in the morning is also crucial and warm water (with lemon) is still the best tonic to ‘wake up’ the gut in a gentle and restorative way. However, for a 7-day revitalizing program, celery juice (made fresh) can be an amazing skin hack technique. Get organized and try it – what do you have to lose?!
The next time you’re thinking about updating your skincare routine, or dealing with a troublesome breakout, maybe its your gut that needs some attention.
Get in touch with us with any questions and we will make sure that we get our experts to get you the answers.
Watch this space for more of our Urban Beauty & Wellbeing events – see you soon!