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Uncovering the Root Causes of Common Skin Issues and Tips to Clear Skin

The top four main skin conditions that seem to be the most concerning for people are:

  1. Acne- often considered an issues for teenagers as they enter puberty but it can happen at any age. Two reasons your acne could be popping up are hormonal and gut imbalances or super oily skin. Common etiologies include bacterial overgrowth, genetics, birth control or other medications that can be hormonally disruptive, pro-inflammatory diet (typical Western diet), and elevated, uncontrolled stress. All of these things can trigger an overactive inflammatory response which can show up as acne anywhere on the body.

  2. Rosacea- sometimes confused with acne as red bumps can appear in similar places but these cannot be popped and don't come to a head. This condition can also cause eye irritation and in severe cases can lead to hair loss and patchy hair. This is known as a chronic inflammatory condition and has no known etiology but seems to be largely linked with an unbalanced immune system. Sun exposure, extreme weather conditions, stress, alcohol, certain foods and heavy exercise can all exacerbate the condition and lead to flare-ups.

  3. Eczema- AKA atopic dermatitis that shows up as dry, itchy skin accompanied by a red rash that can come and go with seasons or with certain environmental exposures. Studies have shown a connection with leaky gut and eczema. Using a natural moisturizer like coconut oil can help alleviate symptoms.

  4. Psoriasis- a long lasting autoimmune condition associated with itchy inflamed patches of skin that most commonly affects the elbows, knees and scalp. This is actually a condition that Kim Kardashian struggles with. This condition can be a risk factor for developing psoriatic arthritis, heart conditions and mental health disorders. This condition occurs because the body turns over skin cells too quickly resulting in immature cells building up on the skin creating those thick patches.

If you don't struggle with any of these four conditions and are just concerned about irregular skin tone, redness, occasionally acne, etc. these could be the issues behind your general skin concerns:

  • gut-skin microbiome imbalances leading to malabsorption and leaky gut

  • hormonal imbalances, especially in puberty we see this show up as acne and during a woman's cycle it can show up as acne as well

  • internal inflammation showing up as skin issues like eczema, rashes, hives, and psoriasis

  • nutritional deficiencies, zinc and essential fatty acids

  • glycemic balance and blood sugar irregularities

  • oxidative damage from certain environmental exposures

Tips for reducing inflammation and clearing skin:

  • Quitting smoking and reducing or eliminating alcohol are going to be two huge factors in aiding in the health of your skin.

  • Eliminating pro-inflammatory foods (those high in refined carbohydrates, oils and saturated/hydrogenated fats) and/or common food allergies and replacing them with whole foods, omega 3's and lean proteins.

  • An elimination diet can help pinpoint specific foods that could be a trigger for various skin conditions. Try eliminating spicy foods, diary, gluten, and certain fruits and vegetables (cruciferous, nightshades, etc.). Once fully eliminating in the diet for at least 4 weeks, you can re-introduce each one separately to see if it causes a skin-related reaction.

  • Eating from the clean-15 list and avoiding the dirt dozen list is another great way to avoid possible toxins and pesticides on foods which can affect the quality of your skin.

  • Adding a pre and probiotic (code ALEXISFITCO) can be helpful to overall gut health and repopulating your gut with the good guys and improve your immune system. Also supplementing with collagen, vitamin C and Zinc can be helpful in improving your skin barrier function.

  • Drinking enough water and eating the right fruits and vegetables to hydrate your skin from the inside out. These foods include cucumbers, lettuce, celery, pineapple, berries, tomatoes and cantaloupe. A minimum of 2 liters of water per day is generally what everyone should be drinking. To assess adequate hydration, look at your urine- if it's yellow and cloudy, drink up but if it's pale yellow or clear, you're likely well hydrated.

  • Avoid synthetic ingredients, fragrances, parabens, propylene, phthalates, mineral oils, dimethicone (used to trap in moisture but does not directly improve skin quality and keeps skin from breathing naturally). I personally use Beauty By Earth products (code ALEXISFITCO) as they are free of all potentially harmful ingredients!

  • pH of products should be mildly acidic which would be a pH between 4.6-5.5 to assist with the health of the skin's microbiome.

  • Try dry brushing, massage and/or lymphatic drainage techniques, saunas and avoiding long durations in the sun (20 min without sunscreen is generally healthy for vitamin D absorption but after that we need protection).

  • Check out the EWG Website to search for an ingredient, brand or product to see if its healthy for you and what the safe rating if for the product you're searching for!


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