Through my work and research, as well as my personal history with chronic skin conditions as a child, I made five holistic skin discoveries.
Holistic health – the idea that you must consider the whole person – has become much more accepted in recent years. Healthcare professionals across disciplines now recognize the interconnectedness of how food, our environment, and much more play a role in our overall health and wellness.
My Skincare Philosophy
Your skin is a direct reflection of total body health and your skin’s health is heavily influenced by the foods you eat and the personal care products you use. An estimated 25 percent of Americans now experience some type of chronic skin condition. Part of that is due to an aging population, but the impact of the average American’s diet, heavy on processed foods loaded with sugars, cannot be overstated.
As your body’s largest organ, skin often provides the first signs that something is wrong internally. Western medicine typically looks to fix the symptom – your skin condition – without addressing the underlying problem.
When you visit your primary care doctor for a rash, acne, psoriasis, or other skin problem, the common practice is to give you a referral to a dermatologist. That specialist then prescribes medication, such as an ointment or antibiotic. What’s missing from this equation is figuring out why you developed the skin condition to begin with.
My skincare philosophy is to treat the whole person, not simply place a Band-Aid over it. Medication may clear up the problem in the short term, but if lifestyle choices led to the original issue, it keeps returning.
Don’t get me wrong; dermatologists do a great job diagnosing skin ailments and detecting cancer. And, the medications they prescribe often work to clear up a problem quickly. However, lasting skin health typically requires long-term lifestyle changes.
My 5 Holistic Skin Concepts
While trying to determine the source of common skin conditions, I made five holistic skin discoveries.
- Your skin provides a direct reflection of what’s happening inside your body.
- Common prescriptions rarely address the underlying problem.
- Your skin’s health relies on maintaining its delicate pH balance and community of bacteria.
- What you eat may have a big effect on your skin.
- The personal care products you use on your skin affect your internal health.
Let’s look at each item.
1. Your skin provides a direct reflection of what’s happening inside your body
Your body is amazing and it has a highly developed system that it uses to communicate with you. The symptoms of any illness are how your body tells you that something is wrong (and sometimes how it works to expel the problem, such as coughing and sneezing).
The skin often shows the first sign that something is wrong. Unless you discover and address the reason behind your skin issue, reoccurrence is practically guaranteed. For example, people who are allergic to cats often develop rashes and hives where their skin came into contact with a cat. If they treat the rash but keep playing with kittens, the rash keeps coming back.
Imbalance within the body often shows itself on your skin. Problems with your immune system may manifest as psoriasis. Uncontrolled diabetes may lead to a wide array of skin conditions.
The most common causes of chronic skin conditions include imbalances in blood sugar, hormones, and the immune system.
When you treat only the symptom, you ignore the message your body is trying to send.
2. Common prescriptions rarely address the underlying problem
The most common prescriptions for treating skin problems are antibiotics and topical steroids. These medications may clear your skin, but they ignore the underlying problem. What’s more, simply suppressing the symptoms – your skin condition – may actually make the problem worse.
Again, I am not saying there is never a need for antibiotics. If you have an infection, you may need antibiotics. And, topical steroids help reduce inflammation quickly. But, if you have high blood sugar or autoimmune issues, treating the symptoms – your skin problem – without addressing the underlying issue allows it to persist and become worse over time.
There is a further complication with the prescription solution and that is the fact that many doctors overuse these medications. In addition, antibiotics kill all bacteria, including the good bacteria that are crucial to maintaining healthy skin. In the long run, this may actually worsen the problem.
3. Your skin’s health relies on maintaining its delicate pH balance and community of bacteria
You’ve likely heard of the gut microbiome, the delicate balance of microorganisms, including bacteria that help maintain proper digestive function. Your skin has its own microbiome and maintaining it helps protect it against premature signs of aging, acne, and breakouts.
Part of your protecting your skin is maintaining its proper pH balance, which is slightly acidic. This can be difficult when even water throws off your skin’s pH. Adding alkaline skincare products disturbs your skin’s microbiome even further, as do topical medications.
4. What you eat may have a big effect on your skin
Researchers have found links between skin conditions such as acne and eating foods with a high glycemic index (GI). It isn’t just chocolate like your mother claimed, either. All refined carbohydrates have a high GI.
The most common culprits are processed foods, which are loaded with added sugars, but also white flour and bread, pastries, sweets, white rice, and pasta.
Of course, you can also encourage skin health by eating nutrient-rich foods, such as those containing omega-3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acids (GLA), which help reduce acne breakouts. Great omega-3 choices include wild salmon and spinach.
5. The personal care products you use on your skin affect your internal health
The products you put on your skin do not just rest there; they can be absorbed into your body. While you likely recognize that, you may not have given it much thought. After all, how much moisturizer do you really use?
If skincare products were a one-and-done deal, meaning you apply them once and then never touch them again, it probably wouldn’t make a big difference. In reality, of course, you apply these products daily, typically twice per day. Multiply that by cleansers, moisturizers, toners, hair care products, and more to understand how many personal care products your body actually absorbs.
The issue is that many of these products contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that interfere with bodily processes such as adrenal, thyroid, and sex hormone function. EDCs are even linked to breast and prostate cancers, fertility issues, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
The Spa Dr. Diagnosis
There is also a growing body of evidence that our current practice of simply suppressing the symptoms of disease is not sustainable.
I wrote “Clean Skin from Within” based on years of clinical practice and research, after seeing the lifestyle changes I recommended (and patients implemented) lead to real, lasting changes in their skin’s health, as well as their overall wellness. High quality, natural, plant-based skincare products combined with a healthy, nutritious diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods help you enjoy glowing, vibrant skin at any age.
If you’d like to learn more about my two-week program to attain naturally glowing, youthful skin, you can order a free copy of my book, just pay shipping and handling fees.