Do you know what your largest organ is?
We don’t often think of our skin as an organ. But it is!
And as such, has many functions that all require support. Firstly, it’s a protective barrier. It’s where we synthesize vitamin D from UV rays. It also regulates temperature, has immune protection properties, prevents dehydration and expels pathogens. It even has its own microbiome.
We all want to feel good in our skin. To have healthy, glowing skin, you must evaluate what’s happening inside your body.
You can use all the fancy and expensive creams and ointments you want, but when it comes down to it, if you aren’t paying attention to what’s happening inside, your skin is going to tell you.
It’s reacting to an issue somewhere else.
And even if you don’t have specific concerns, your skin’s overall appearance–how bright, plump and glowing it is–is largely a result of what’s going on elsewhere.
What can impact your skin? The same things that can impact other areas of your health: digestive issues, imbalanced gut microbiome, nutritional deficiencies, poor sleep, unmanaged stress, underlying inflammation, blood sugar imbalances. Optimizing these areas of your health will give you healthy, glowing skin!
Gut & Skin: Your gut is home to 70-80% of your immune system. It also has similar functions as the skin! It protects against infections. It helps regulate hydration levels and toxin removal. It breaks down food and absorbs nutrients. Its microbiome is made up of the same organisms as our skin (just in different quantities).
And like our skin, it’s also comprised of epithelial cells. So when your gut isn’t functioning properly, it can often be seen in your skin.
Poor Sleep: Sleeping is restorative for our entire body, including our skin. When we sleep, our cortisol is able to lower and melatonin increases. Quality sleep helps to keep cortisol in balance, blood sugar regulated and lowers inflammation–all important factors in skin appearance. Skin also heals and repairs during sleep so restorative sleep is vital.
What we choose to use on our skin is equally as important for our skin’s appearance as it is for our overall health.
We don’t realize skincare products actually have very little regulation in the US. (And as a healthcare provider whose industry is full of regulations, this is baffling).
Some little-known facts:
- The last major federal law in the US regulating the personal care industry was passed in 1938
- Since WWII, there have been over 80,000 chemicals introduced to market with less than 10% having safety data
- There are only 30 banned or partially banned chemicals from personal care products
- The FDA does not have the power to require companies to remove products from the market if harmful ingredients are found post-market
- There is increasing data showing ingredients in everyday products are impacting our health in a negative way without any updated legislation
As much as what we put into our body matters for skin health, what we put on our body matters for both skin and overall health.
Certain ingredients are being linked to health concerns, like phthalates and parabens (though there are many more).
Luckily, there are companies who recognize the legislation in the US is poor and are doing better by choosing ingredients without safety concerns. (Read more about the state of the beauty industry here).
Working together to address your skin health includes a multi-faceted approach. Internal factors must be addressed. But skincare does play an important role. Skincare with conscious and safer ingredients that won’t have negative impacts on your overall health is critical.
While there is never any obligation to use the skincare products recommended in the office, you can feel reassured knowing the brands I work with and recommend are invested in your health!
In addition to working together to address imbalances that may be causing skin concerns, there are aesthetic procedures that can help with targeted concerns like scarring, aging, pigmentation issues and skin texture.
Microneedling is an available option to help maximize your skin’s appearance and you can read more about it here.
Skin is both an inside and an outside job. While there are many targeted external treatments that can provide benefit, without addressing internal factors, half the picture is missing.
Temporary relief may be gained in the short term, but long-term health and happy skin requires a full-body approach.