the sun starts to feel less intense, you may think your skin is safe
from harm. But not so fast! There are other factors that can damage your
skin, and they all have one thing in common; inflammation. Inflammation
reduces the blood flow to the dermis, causing the degradation of
elastin and collagen in the dermis (resulting in wrinkles), and causes
the loss of dermal fat (reducing the plumpness of the skin). The dermis
of the skin is composed of rapidly dividing cells that are very
susceptible to changes in inflammatory mediators (such as eicosanoids
and cytokines) that are produced because of inflammation. Thankfully, if
you recognize these factors, you can work to reverse them, even in the
Culprits to Avoid
Sugar: Sugar, (or
more accurately the excess glucose found in sugar) increases
inflammation in the skin. When you eat too much sugar the excess insulin
induced by excess carbohydrates increases the inflammatory hormones
known as eicosanoids that cause skin problems.
However, it's possible to get that
sugar fix without an adverse reaction to your skin. Your brain requires
about 130 grams of glucose per day. This means your total
per day should be about that level. Just beware, any carb intake higher
than 130 grams can lead to inflammation leading to excess cortisol
production that ages the skin.
Alcohol: When we
hear alcohol can cause organ damage we usually think, liver, or
pancreas. But what's our largest organ? Our skin! Add in the fact that
it deprives our skin of vital vitamins and nutrients and can cause skin
disorders such as Rosacea, and suddenly that glass of wine sounds far
less appetizing. Unfortunately, all alcohol does is bring the blood up
to the tissue causing inflammation, hence why it's harmful to the skin.
So, put down that cocktail and pick up a Maqui-tail (not kidding- I make one from club soda and the powder of a MaquiRx
capsule split open). When you skip the happy hour, some great things
happen. For one thing, you're making less free radicals that cause
inflammatory damage. Also, your skin's lipid barrier will begin to heal
itself from inflammation caused by alcohol, and your face will reduce
its puffiness as a result of that decreased inflammation. Your skin will
appear less flushed since there's less vasodilation of the arteries on
the surface of the skin.
Trendy Diets: More
and more people are trying trendy diets in an effort to improve their
skin health. However, many doctors advise against this as it can cause
people to miss out on essential nutrients and can actually increase
So let's take a closer look at some of these diets:
Paleo: A true Paleo
diet has the same macronutrient composition of the Zone Diet without
calorie restriction. Excess calories can promote inflammation.
This is a calorie-restricted diet without any defined macronutrient
composition. Unfortunately, this makes for an imbalance of protein to
carbohydrate which is necessary to control inflammation.
Detox Diet: These
types of diets act as laxatives and diuretics to cause weight loss.
Usually, they are high-protein diets with added fiber and no sugar or
alcohol for a strict period of time because they can't be maintained. As
an unbalanced diet, these can also be considered a pro-inflammatory
Keto: This is a pro-inflammatory diet that increases inflammation.
Atkins: This is a ketogenic diet that is pro-inflammatory.
The dietary key for better skin is
following a strict anti-inflammatory diet. This would be a
calorie-restricted yet balanced diet with adequate
moderate carbs (primarily non-starchy vegetables), and low in fat
(primarily monounsaturated fats). As for supplements, the only two that
will reduce inflammation are
omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols.
Better skin comes from the inactivation of enzymes that degrade
collagen and elastin, as well as increase blood flow to the skin. Adding
extra fish oil is a good way to achieve even faster results for the
skin. Adding polyphenols helps to stabilize free radicals, thus helping to prevent cell damage and its adverse effects. You just have to supplement with enough of both to reduce inflammation in general.
Remember, healthy skin comes far more
from the inside than from covering up inflammation-induced damage. When
you take the time to treat your skin and eliminate these inflammatory
culprits, you'll soon be swapping out bad skin days for good.