Your skin is your largest organ, so it makes sense that if something is wrong systematically in your body, your skin will show it. Usually, this comes in the form of acne, redness, or dry patches, but it can also take other forms as well.
More often than not, we don't think about all that factors that are involved in our skin health. We usually just think of the topical, surface level factors. However, it goes so much deeper than that! Here are a few of the factors involved in skin health, as well as how they affect our skin:
There is a little buzz about what you eat and how it shows on your skin, but usually this is just pointed towards fast food. However, fast food isn't the only food cause of skin issues. Gluten, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, white potatoes, eggplant, etc), soy, dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds, and chocolate can also be other offenders as well. Basically any food that your immune system doesn't agree with can cause skin issues. This will vary greatly from person to person. By far though, the main offenders from that list are gluten, soy, and dairy.
When we eat a food that is inflammatory to our body, the systemic inflammation that is created in our bodies starts to show itself outside on our skin. Taking a few weeks to clean up your diet by removing the top offenders will definitely help reduce inflammation, thereby helping clear up your skin!
Stress effects every single aspect of our health, and our skin health is no exception. When we are stressed, the systemic inflammation in our body rises and manifests itself on our skin. Stress can also keep us from sleeping or make it hard to stay on track with eating real food, creating other potential issues for our skin.
If you are regular exerciser or someone who sweats quite easily, your skin can start to show the effects of that activity. Usually, this is caused by sweat trapping oil and/or makeup in your pores. The best solution is to exercise with clean skin or a minimal amount of makeup and to wash your face afterwards as well.
Our hormones are in control of our bodies, and effect our skin on a cyclical basis each month (especially for women). Many female teenagers will actually go on birth control to help clear up your skin, so it should be obvious to us that hormones are a key factor in skin health. However, I do NOT recommend going on birth control for acne. That's a whole other can of worms, but just know that it will probably do more harm than good.
Not having a good skincare routine (aka not washing your face on a regular basis), leaving your makeup overnight, or using low-quality skin care products can all lead to skin ailments as well.
If you touch your face often, the oil from your hands can cause acne. The same goes if you sleep on dirty pillow cases. Try to wash those once a week or so to help keep the oils from your hair and hands from your face. And of course genetics are at play. If your mother or father had certain skin issues, it is possible that you might suffer as well! Lastly, having an autoimmune condition can also lead to skin issues as well, either from the nature of the disease itself or from the reaction of the foods you eat to your immune system, which is amplified with autoimmune diseases.
How to Improve Your Skin Health
Clean up your diet by removing gluten, soy, and dairy for at least two weeks. If you really want to see results, I recommend completing a Whole30.
Wash your face in the morning and before bed using a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. Don't use scrubs on your skin more than twice per week (even if the product says for daily use).
Determine the status of your hormones - are they in the correct ranges or are they out of whack? If they aren't quite right, focusing on diet, stress, and sleep will help improve them, thereby also helping your skin.
Don't wear heavy makeup while you exercise.
Stop touching your face with your hands or picking at your skin.
Consider a more natural brand of skincare that will do more good than harm. My favorite is Beautycounter. You can read more about my favorite products here. I would recommend the charcoal bar and CounterMatch moisturizer for starters.
When it comes to your skin health, it goes deeper than just what is on the surface. It is important to evaluate what is going in your body topically and internally through the products you use and the foods you eat. Also, keeping an eye on your stress levels will also help keep your skin looking its beset. If you have any questions or want specific recommendations for Beautycounter products, let me know! I don't sell them, but I do love and use many of their products daily.