What you put on your skin is as important as what you put in your body. Avoiding inflammatory foods and eating more anti-inflammatory foods, as well as those that promote gut health, are among the solutions for skin inflammation (or what I often refer to as inflammation).
Addressing inflammation is one of the most crucial actions you can take for your overall health, including the skin. Redness, breakouts, and cracked skin are among the signs that the skin isn’t healthy. A solution is a two-part approach that includes treating the outside and the inside of the body.
Why is addressing inflammation important?
Inflammation is a vital part of the immune system’s response to injury or infection. When the body is inflamed, whether internally or externally, it is a sign that something is not functioning properly. Inflammation is the way the body signals to the immune system to repair or heal damaged tissue and defend against viruses and bacteria. Sometimes this signal is in the form of skin inflammation.
Signs of Skin Inflammation
Whether we realize it or not, our skin reacts to what we put on it as well as what we ingest and what is in our environment. Signs of skin inflammation include:
- Scaly skin
- Itching, burning, or stinging
- Redness or warmth in the affected area
- Blisters or pimples
- Raw or cracked areas of the skin that may bleed
- Thickening of the skin in the affected area
Most skin conditions are caused by inflammation, making it important to do everything you can to calm the skin.
Internal Causes and Solutions for Skin Inflammation
Skin conditions like rosacea often are the result of digestive problems caused by a food allergy or imbalance in gut flora. Addressing internal issues is the first step to healing the body.
Food allergies occur when the immune system sees a certain food as harmful and overreacts to it, sometimes leading to a life-threatening reaction. When you eat foods you’re allergic to, your body goes into attack mode that triggers a cascade of immune system reactions, including internal and external inflammation. Even when the response isn’t life-threatening, the body’s reaction is ongoing and may eventually be debilitating.
To avoid these complications, focus on anti-inflammatory healthy fats such as wild Alaskan salmon, avocado, and olive oil as well as skin-friendly spices like turmeric, ginger, and rosemary. For Emmett skin types, food allergies and sensitivities are particularly important to address. A naturopathic physician or functional medicine doctor can run a food allergy panel so you can make food choices that are good for your body.
Gut flora is another cause of skin inflammation. While germs often get a bad rap, there are microorganisms that are good for the body. Also called beneficial bacteria, these microorganisms can be found in foods that promote overall health. Addressing gut flora includes eating foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics and perhaps taking a supplement like Microbiome Builder.
Probiotics are food for the good bacteria while prebiotics promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Probiotic-rich foods include fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, yogurt, and kefir. Prebiotic foods include dandelion greens, garlic, onions, and leaks. If you are eating a well-balanced diet and are still experiencing nausea, gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea, I encourage you to consult with a naturopathic physician or functional medicine doctor who can do specialized testing.
External Causes of Skin Inflammation
External causes of skin inflammation include damage to the skin barrier and environmental factors. While we cannot control the environment or weather all the time, we can take steps to protect ourselves.
Damage to the skin barrier, the outermost layer of skin, is a cause of skin inflammation. The purpose of the barrier is to be a protection in keeping out harmful dirt, bacteria, and germs, while at the same time, locking in moisture. When the barrier is damaged, it can lead to skin inflammation and dryness that seems to not be resolved with a regular skincare routine.
Protect your skin by minimizing your time in harsh conditions. Wear hats and a good sunblock when you are outside.
Avoid environmental pollutants like smoking, second-hand smoke, and air pollution. These cause oxidative damage that speeds the collagen breakdown. Consider getting an air purifier for your home and office.
Clean Skin From Within is the foundation for finding solutions for skin inflammation. Eating anti-inflammatory foods, probiotics, and prebiotics is an essential part of your skincare routine. When it comes to healthy skincare products, your best bet is to read the label and look for natural AND nourishing ingredients. Here’s to your health!