The recent trend for accepting the link between how diet and nutrition affects your skin isn’t simply a modern fad. According to Grace Liu, a nutritional scientist and pharmacist, more than 80 percent of the body’s immunity is located in the gut. Not surprising then that what you eat has such a huge impact on your skin, the largest organ in your body.
The science of clear skin
While not everyone’s dull skin or acne (or rosacea or eczema) may be caused by gut imbalances, it is certainly a piece of the puzzle. Ideally you want plenty of good bacteria, which helps to strengthen the lining of the gut. Too much bad bacteria, which when combined with fungi (yeast) or viruses can make the gut more permeable, means it’s more susceptible to microbial toxins.
“Your immune system then detects these invaders, overreacts, and causes inflammation,” says Liu. For example skin issues such as acne and rosacea are considered inflammatory skin conditions. By concentrating on improving your gut health through pre- and probiotic foods, you can reduce these and keep your skin looking fresh.
Benefits of pre and probiotics
“Prebiotics are ‘food’ for our good bacteria strain, while probiotics are actually ‘live’ bacteria,” explains skin specialist Ky Dolce. Eating more foods that contain prebiotics, such as bananas, berries, artichokes, asparagus and garlic, can improve your digestion.
Taking pro and prebiotics in capsule form is the easiest way to increase your gut health, but recently a host of skincare products have been introduced that contain probiotics in their ingredients. The jury is out as to whether these have a lasting benefit for the skin, but it certainly makes sense to become more ingredient-savvy when it comes to choosing skincare.
3 key ingredients for healthy skin
“Vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants in skin care,” says Dolce. “It protects our face from blemishes and also helps to stimulate the body’s natural production of collagen, helping protect your skin against fine lines and wrinkles”.
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For centuries this has been a key ingredient used in traditional Chinese medicine. Ginkgo improves blood flow to the brain and to the skin, giving you a healthy glow. It also acts as an antioxidant, which can help prevent against premature aging and may help to improve the texture and tone of your skin.
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Green tea has long been considered helpful in protecting the skin against external aggressors, such as pollution. The polyphenols in green tea possess potent antioxidant and skin-soothing properties. Green tea’s restorative qualities also mean it’s considered useful in helping to repair sun-damaged or aging skin.
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