When it comes to taking care of our skin, skincare products play a smaller role than you might think. (WHAT?!) Yes, you heard us right. As many of our KraveBeauty friends know, the skin is a window into our mental and physical health. In other words, your skin and your body are connected. Let’s take a look into the two most relevant organs to our skin. Our brain and our gut.
“Mmm… explain please?”
In our gut, there’s a whole new world of creatures happily living in balance and this is called our microbiome. It may be creepy to think that there are trillions of microorganisms setting up a camp on your body, but in a healthy microbiome, the majority of them are actually neutral or beneficial in helping you keep out bacteria that can do harm.
"So, what do these gut bacteria do?"
Imagine your gut microbiome to be a bouncer for your body. It will only let good nutrients come in and will keep out the bad guys. And how does this affect your skin? Well, we learn about a compromised skin barrier a lot, but the same thing can happen to your gut lining. Once it’s compromised by poor diet, it creates holes on the gut wall which becomes leaky. Yup, that’s the “leaky gut” syndrome you might’ve heard. Then the toxic substances that should’ve been kept out travel into your entire body causing inflammation, which can worsen inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and more.
Processed, artificial foods can easily throw off the happily living bacteria which thrive on fibers. Say yes to whole grains and healthy fats. Load up on antioxidants and brightly colored fruits and vegetables. These will keep the live creatures inside you, happy :)
“Now, I get it about the gut and skin relationship, but what does our brain have to do with our skin?”
Anxiety, pressure, constant stress. Sounds familiar to your day to day life? Back in the days, stress is designed to protect us switching on the ‘fight-or-flight’ mode which allowed us to respond to a threatful event such as encountering a bear in the woods. But in modern days, the stress hormones are constantly living in us. This is how the brain can mess up your skin. The chronic stress breaks down collagen, one of the most abundant proteins in your skin and body. This will interrupt your skin’s natural process of renewal and can rapidly accelerate signs of aging.
Ever experienced stomach cramps, constipation while stressed? Stress hormones can also slow down your digestive system, which brings us to… a leaky gut. Again, this “leakier” gut can cause inflammation and your skin can suffer.
So please, take some ‘me time’ to wind down each night and really, take care of your mental health.
As we learned last week, our skin is a reactive, adaptive system. It constantly responds to your environment and deciding whether or not it needs to protect itself from UV radiation, environmental pollution or allergens, irritants, etc. Since your skin communicates distress to your brain, your brain will coordinate a secondary stress response causing double the inflammation which can lead to a vicious cycle. As a result, your skin will slow down its production of collagen (uh oh-) and other structural fibers and if the inflammation continues, (oh no) that is when we start to see conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, etc.
You can avoid this by having a basic understanding of what is good and bad for your skin by keeping track of what allergens and irritants affect you the most.
At the end of the day, thinking of your skin and body holistically will help you tackle even the most stubborn of skin issues. Always remember, healthy skin is a byproduct of taking good care of your body.
- By Cece & Liah