Remember that skin can be inflamed from the outside as well as the inside.
Externally, skin can be triggered by UV light or allergens in soaps and cosmetics which cause the skin cells to produce cytokines and chemokines (inflammatory hormones that bind to certain cell receptors and then trigger more inflammatory hormones leading to increased blood flow and immune cell activity).
Internally, an inflammatory response occurs when viruses, toxins, food allergens / intolerances, or even medications deem a threat to the immune system. Histamine is released as a inflammatory mediators which in turn causes inflammation in the gut.
Inflammation of the skin often stems from inflammation of the gut which then leads to leaky gut and an even more increased exposure to foreign invaders causing more inflammation.
Inflammatory triggers and what we can do to remove them:
Food Sensitivities. The top foods that cause inflammation for people are:
-Processed or Artificial Ingredients (colors, flavor enhancers, sweeteners, HFCS, hydrogenated oils, and vegetable oils (canola, corn, soybean, etc that are oxidized at high processing temperatures causing oxidative damage in your gut and tissue linings)
-Sugar (highly acidic, causes inflammation, and fast tracks aging)
-Dairy (proinflammatory, common food allergen, increase sebum production)
-Gluten-containing grains (common food intolerance (IgE and IgA), increases gut permeability and pro-inflammatory)
-Alcohol (high in sugar, dehydrates the body, and depletes the body of nutrients)
-Caffeine (acidic, dehydrating, and shifts body into sympathetic “stress” mode)
-Eggs (common allergen)
-Corn (a GMO crop that is commonly sprayed with glyphosate – a known inflammatory chemical that may cause leaky gut)
-Nightshades (fruits and veggies that belong to the Solanacae family – could be difficult for you to digest)
-Peanuts (a legume that harbors a fungus called Aspergillus flavus that produces aflatoxin which is toxic to our livers)
-Soy (a legume that is typically a GMO crop)
These aren’t necessarily bad foods, but they do seem to trigger more inflammation in people than others. We recommend checking with your doctor first, but consider eliminating the 11 foods (and their family members) in order of importance for at least 2 weeks each until you decide which causes you the most symptoms.
Healing the Gut to heal the skin.
You’ve likely heard of ‘leaky gut’ or hyperpermeability of the cell lining in your digestive tract which triggers our immune system into ‘kill mode’. Avoiding the inflammatory foods above is the first line of action to healing your gut. Next comes repair of the microbiome and cell lining.
You can foster a healthy gut by eating plenty of antioxidant rich foods like wild caught salmon, colorful fruits and veggies, and nuts and seeds high in omega 3s. You can also supplement with tumeric, ginger, curcumin, bromelain, boswellia, and rosemary for an increased protection from inflammation. Getting your hands on a good probiotic (along with fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, and kombucha) that contains lactobacillus, bifidobacteria and other soil based bacteria can be beneficial in enhancing the gut flora, too. Another product to try is called RESTORE which acts as a ‘binder’ to toxins in your food and water so that they cannot be absorbed or cause harm to your GI tract.
Removing Environmental Toxins to heal the skin.
Reducing our exposure to environmental toxins can seem overwhelming. The important thing to remember is that we will never achieve perfection in reducing ALL contact with toxins – it’s just impossible with the world we live in today. However, like anything, we can do our best to reduce exposure.
Would you slather on gasoline or diesel fuel on your face? Probably not on purpose anyway, but that’s exactly what you are doing with some of the most popular skin care products on the market. These toxic compounds are often hidden on the labels of most products, making them even more mysterious.
Here are the top 5 skin care ingredients to avoid:
1. Fragrance – avoid all fragrances unless they are coming from natural sources like essential oils.
2. Formaldehyde Releasers (quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, bronopol, imidazolidinyl urea) – known carcinogen and irritant found in many shampoos, nail products, hair dye, and false eyelash adhesions.
3. Mineral Oil (petrolatum, petroleum jelly, paraffin oil) – made from petroleum, may be linked with cancer.
4.Parabens (propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl-, and isobutyl-parabens) – used as preservatives and found in breast cancer tissue and have high estrogenic activity.
5.DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamide), and TEA (triethanolamine) – studies linked with cancer.
Replace your harmful products with natural alternative. My favorite skincare company is Beautycounter – they provide you with a Never List of chemicals they pledge to NEVER put in their products. All of which you read above are included on this list. Plus, you can get amazing, high-end feeling products that are safer, cleaner and pretty dang luxe. You can also check out other products by going to thinkdirtyapp.com or sign up with them for a monthly subscription to get clean and safe beauty products shipped to your door.
How to Calm Skin Inflammation.
Two of the best natural ingredients for calming your skin are aloe and arnica. Aloe vera is able to penetrate the skin and transport healthy fats, amino acids, and anti-inflammatory compounds through it. Arnica flower extract has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can help alleviate pain and swelling and improve the healing of blemishes. If you are interested more in the natural healing power of plants, check out the book, “Heal Your Skin from Within” by Trevor Cates. Most of the information you’ve read on this post has come directly from that book, so be sure to check it out if you want more!
Just remember, when fixing skin inflammation, the most important step is removing the thing that is causing the inflammation. Next is healing. If you follow those steps in order, you will no doubt find a new glow and radiance in your skin. Let me know if you have any questions!