What does your skin type say about your skin health?

Your skin type is a clue to the root causes of each skin concern.

The good news is you don’t have to guess what might be out of balance as your skin is already trying to tell you what the risk factors are causing your skin issues such as open pores, blackheads, fine lines and wrinkles.

As a nutritional and skin aesthetics therapist, improving skin health is not just about which skin treatment protocol suits our skin type.

It’s about looking at our functional health and understanding the root cause of skin concerns so that you can make a difference at a cellular level to slow down the effects of ageing.

Environmental factors include sun exposure, genetic predisposition, lipid deficiency, and low air humidity, all of which can affect the skin’s health and appearance.

By understanding the different skin types, you can adjust your lifestyle choices to better cater to your skin and address the underlying causes of skin health.

By the end of this article, you will understand how your skin type is a clue to what you can do to improve your skin health.

Our food and lifestyle choices determine our skin health, so is it time to take ownership of our health to improve the outcomes of our skin treatments if you want to slow down the effects of ageing?

I will share what I have discovered after ten years of clinical practice about what you need to do to get healthy skin.

I have discovered that the type of skin my client presents to me is the clue to the root causes of most skin concerns.


How food and lifestyle choices impact skin health

We all know that food and lifestyle choices impact our skin condition at a cellular level, but which ones? So I will share my simple four-step action plan that targets the root causes of all skin concerns.

Regardless of your skincare routine, everyone can improve cell-to-cell communication in their skin cells and naturally achieve healthy looking skin by implementing these four steps into their life.

Understanding how your food and lifestyle choices impact your skin at a cellular level can enhance the outcomes of your daily skincare routine and treatments.

Each skin concern is a clue that your body struggles to cope with current food and lifestyle choices. Addressing the root causes can help you make meaningful changes rather than just reaching for skin creams.

And as a result, you can move away from reacting to skin concerns and managing skin conditions to slowing down the effects of ageing naturally.

When your skin cells are maturing through the epidermal layers, they communicate via cytokines growth factors and with the support of other nutrients like peptides and minerals to regenerate.

Surrounding each skin cell is this extracellular matrix, which contains the collagen, the proteins, and the fibroblasts that form like a glue that holds all your skin cells together and creates the skin’s protective barrier.

Over time, various factors cause the scaffolding of these skin cell membranes in the epidermal junction to be compromised. And this increases the risk of premature ageing and various skin environmental factors because it compromises the skin barrier function.

What is your skin telling you?

Our skin is the body’s largest organ and is a window into our overall health.

It’s very clever and provides clues to what is happening inside us,

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Most of us are searching for external solutions to solve skin concerns.

If your skin can feel tight, have a blotchy appearance, or has a glossy shine or oily on your forehead nose and chin, it’s essential to consider the internal underlying causes.

By understanding your skin type and how it changes in response to different stressors, you will begin to understand what your skin needs to optimise its health and minimise the visible signs of ageing.

Regardless of all the external factors you need to consider and manage, it’s essential to understand that your skin health directly results from how your body functions internally.

The clues are visible lines, flaky skin, acne breakouts or severe acne, large open pores, blackheads, dark circles, puffy eyes, deep wrinkles, loss of tone, age spots, prone to pimples, and dull or thick skin.

Itching and irritation in the skin cells are known as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and dermatitis.

Most skin types to identify with are dry, oily, normal, sensitive, or combo or combination.

The root causes for each of those I have tagged as the following:

The root cause of dry skin

Dry Skin is often an indication of a stomach acid imbalance. Stomach acid is essential for digestion and absorption, but if it’s too low or too high, the body struggles to absorb nutrients from food, leading to dryness in the skin.

To keep our skin cells healthy, we need to absorb the nutrients via our gut and create lipoproteins that enable them to hold moisture and communicate with each other for regeneration.

Your stomach acid requires the right pH level to break food down by producing digestive enzymes to deliver the nutrients into the blood and to protect the gut lining.

When the pH in your stomach acid is imbalanced, the ability to create the lipoproteins from the protein and the fat consumed is inhibited, and this reduces the skin cell binding capacity and the quality of the lipoproteins in each cell membrane.

The long-term effect of imbalanced stomach acid leads to an increase of trans epidermal water loss or TWEL.

TWEL impacts the cell’s ability to bind and hold the water and other substances within the cell.

Additionally, the natural shedding of dry skin on the surface layer slows down, and consequently, the very dry skin becomes too old and sticks together.

This prevents the new cells from reaching the outer layer of your skin surface, resulting in dehydrated skin, that looks flaky, scaly, and extremely dry skin.

The root cause of oily skin

Oliy skin is an indication of sluggish liver clearance. The liver is the body’s major organ responsible for detoxification and removing waste products from our bodies.

When it’s overloaded with toxins, it cannot break down food effectively, and this leads to imbalanced hormones, nutritional deficiencies, inflammation in the gut lining, skin cells that lack moisture, texture irregularities such as blackheads and whiteheads forming on the skin, and an overall dull appearance.

The daily volume of parabens, PHAs, BHAs, and xenoestrogens in our food and skin products soon backs up. The liver will excrete any excess through our skin cells via sebaceous and sweat glands.

These indicate that the liver is requesting the overproduction of sebum to support the detoxification.

What Causes Oily Skin?

The liver recruits the skin cells to protect the body against what it’s believed to be these hurtful substances. And with this constant message, the cells begin to automatically respond and continue to produce the sebum via the sebaceous glands as it thinks it’s doing the right thing.

Excess sebaceous gland activity can result in dry patches elsewhere on the facial skin because the excessive sebum accumulates around that T-zone.

And consequently, the skin cell will adapt, creating enlarged pores to contain more of this sebum, overtime this oxidates and converts into blackheads.

The root cause of wrinkles on normal skin type 

When your skin type is classed as normal, and there is evidence of deep wrinkles, this indicates insulin resistance due to the lack of blood sugar control.

Insulin resistance is a condition that occurs when your cells cannot use the glucose in your blood properly, which can lead to the production of several hormones.

The most common hormone imbalance associated with insulin resistance is excess cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. When cortisol levels spike, it affects collagen production in our skin cells leading to wrinkles and loss of skin tone.

High sugar levels can also compromise the cell’s ability to hold moisture, resulting in dryness and premature ageing.

When your body cannot break down the sugar properly, it stalls the process of glycation, which occurs when sugar molecules connect with proteins such as collagen and elastin, causing them to become sticky and stiff, leading to wrinkles.

Known as advanced glycated end products or AGE’s they are produced by the liver when excess protein and bad fats are combined with the sugar molecules in the blood.

AGE’s will target the collagen fibres in the skin, leading to this accelerated degradation of deeper skin layers. It creates a sticky plaque and builds up in your skin, ultimately becoming a solid, heavy mass.

And over time, the dull, thick skin sags and causes deep wrinkles, particularly on the forehead and found in the chin fold.

The thick plaque also impacts your whole body’s circulation and lymphatic drainage. You can see it most clearly in your legs, on your thighs or above your knees. When you squeeze the skin, you can see the hard fatty lumps of plat, often considered cellulite, on your knees.

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The root causes of sensitive skin

Sensitive skin is seen as a sign of gut lining inflammation. This means that the immune system is triggered and sends inflammatory cells to protect the area from damage, resulting in redness, irritation, tingling and other skin reactions.

The root cause can be traced back to excess harmful bacteria in our digestive tract or dysbiosis. The bad bacteria get into our small intestine and crowd out the good bacteria, weakening the gut barrier.

This happens when our diet consists of processed foods low in nutrients, high sugar levels, antibiotics, alcohol or other chemical substances.

The harmful bacteria release toxins known as lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which can penetrate the skin via our sebaceous glands or sweat glands, leading to skin sensitivity.

These toxins irritate and damage our skin cells, causing them to become dry and flaky. They also weaken the enzymes in our cell walls, reducing their ability to retain moisture.

The lack of hydration makes it difficult for your skin to renew itself naturally, leaving you with susceptible skin that can lead to sweat glands being easily irritated, small bumps, and red patches.

What Causes Sensitive Skin

When stomach acid levels are also imbalanced, this damages the mucus layer and the gut lining, consequently allowing food particles to leak into the blood.

If this is the case, this triggers an autoimmune inflammatory response reacting to the particles that have leaked from the food you’ve ingested, and this is more commonly known as a leaky gut syndrome.

A leaky gut will trigger an inflammatory response, impairing the skin’s own characteristics and membrane integrity, resulting in dryness on the skin’s surface that often feels itchy and flakes become scaly, leading to psoriasis and rosacea.

The root causes of combination skin

A combination skin type results from the skin’s sebaceous glands being in overdrive, producing too much sebum. This excess sebum production will become trapped in the pores, resulting in blackheads and whiteheads on the T-zone area of our face while other parts remain dry.

As a result, the skin pH balance becomes unregulated, and this can cause an imbalance in the skin’s natural flora. The imbalance of beneficial bacteria leads to increased harmful bacteria, resulting in inflammation and increased sebum production.

The combination of the sluggish liver, the blood sugar imbalances, and the gut lining inflammation will slow down the skin cell turnover, leaving sebum and old skin cells to ferment on the surface, causing an imbalance in your skin microbiome, just like the gut pH balance, the skin likes this delicate balance of acidity and alkalinity to perform its skin cell turnover.

So when the skin pH level is imbalanced, this leads to an overproduction of sebum, leading to the typical combination of the oily T-zone and the dry patches.

This prevents the cells from regulating the oil and the water balance, leading again to these open pores, blackheads, fine lines, wrinkles, and thickened skin.

How to improve skin health to address skin concerns

I will share with you how you can address the skin concerns that are ageing your skin and the actions you can take to manage them.

Let’s look at the four steps to improve skin health.

  1. Balance stomach acid pH
  2. Support liver function
  3. Regulate blood sugar levels
  4. Enhance gut bacteria

Step 1: Balance stomach acid pH.

The ability to digest foods depends on the pH level of the stomach acid; it needs to be 1.5 to 3.5.

It becomes difficult to absorb nutrients from dietary sources such as lipids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals if outside that range.

Your gut pH level determines how efficiently nutrients are absorbed from your food. By enhancing the absorption of the nutrients from your food, you can create robust firm skin cell membranes that work in the same way with your skincare.

When the pH balance in your stomach acid is either too high or too low it causes the body to produce too much or not enough stomach acid, respectively, leading to poor nutrient absorption and digestion.

Similar to your facial skin, if your skin microbiome pH levels are too low, the active ingredients in your skincare products will be deemed worthless.

Our stomach pH levels are influenced by the foods we eat, such as processed foods, alcohol, medications, stress levels, and the speed you eat and how much you chew your food.

And interestingly, the medication that causes the most imbalance to the pH in your stomach acid are antacids, and more often the root cause of dry and sensitive skin and commonly linked to eczema and psoriasis conditions.

Therefore, it is essential to balance the pH in your stomach acid to improve your skin health; chewing your food thoroughly and concentrating on what you’re eating by being mindful will aid digestion tremendously.

However, the action to get the best result is to take apple cider vinegar before meals.

One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 250 mls of water approximately 30 minutes before your meals to help balance the pH levels in your stomach acid will improve digestion and absorption of nutrients from your food.

Step 2: Support liver function

The liver is an essential organ for skin health as it helps to cleanse and detoxify the body of harmful chemicals and toxins, which can accumulate in our cells and cause inflammation.

Reducing the intake of processed foods is essential to support liver function.

Any form of sugar substitute or trans fat found in foods will significantly reduce the liver’s ability to detoxify and cleanse our bodies.

They come in the forms of fructose corn syrup, aspartame and saccharin.

The most common use of these artificial sweeteners is adding them to foods deemed healthy by marketing departments.

These fake foods are more toxic than alcohol.

The liver recognizes non-food substances and breaks them down to eliminate them from the body. When regularly overwhelmed, the liver will recruit the skin to help detoxify, leading to many common oily skin issues.

The most effective way to avoid these toxins in healthy food is to enjoy food in its most natural form.

Instead of low-calorie or low-fat foods, enjoy full-fat and natural sugars.

If you cannot identify the ingredients in your food by looking at it, perhaps it’s not for you because they are NOT helping you lose weight – learn more

Spend more time looking at the food labels than your skin cream to reduce the volume of fake foods you consume.

Step 3: Regulate blood sugar levels

You are probably familiar with the phrase balancing your blood sugars.

Those fake foods also play havoc on your pancreas, which is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels and insulin production.

Your liver will support the pancreas to constantly find a balance of blood sugars when these foods are consumed.

Consuming artificial sweetness and fructose corn syrup in your food choices creates fluctuations in the feedback loop of the hormones. It becomes a vicious cycle of dopamine, the reward from food, insulin, and cortisol, which triggers this never-ending cycle of cravings.

When this balance is off, it triggers an inflammatory response in the cells affecting your skin health and excessive fat production.

You must consume foods with a low glycemic load value to regulate your blood sugar levels.

This means less processed carbohydrates such as pasta, white bread, and other processed grains.

These carbohydrates have a high glycemic load rating, so they will break down quickly in the body, causing a spike in blood sugar levels.

These spikes in blood sugars level trigger an inflammatory response in the body, which can lead to acne and other skin conditions.

The best way to manage your blood sugars is by consuming whole foods and a diet high in fibre, healthy fats, and proteins to achieve well-balanced skin.

The action is to enjoy protein with every meal.

Step 4: Enhance gut bacteria

Your gut bacteria influence your skin by forming the barrier that protects your body from harmful toxins and free radicals. It helps to create a healthy, balanced microbiome.

When your gut bacteria is out of balance, it will affect your skin’s pH levels, leading to dysbiosis in the gut.

Microbiome and dysbiosis are caused by external factors such as air pollution, medications, product chemicals, and fake foods.

The great news is that once you remove the trigger to the inflammatory immune response, your gut lining will begin to repair itself in as little as five days.

The concern is the consumption of so-called healthy-flavoured yoghurts and probiotic drinks.

While they claim to benefit your gut health, most contain too much sugar, and it’s not natural.

They are not as beneficial for gut health as you may have thought. This is because sugars in these products can feed yeast, potentially leading to thrush and candida infections.

This creates more inflammation in your gut microbiome; instead, focus on friendly bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacillus as they need short-chain fatty acids provided by fermenting soluble fibre.

The beneficial bacteria found in prebiotic foods create good bacteria for your skin health by reducing dysbiosis in the gut.

Certain foods are commonly the root cause of gut dysbiosis and leaky gut syndrome.

  • Cow’s milk and cow’s milk products
  • Gluten
  • Gluten-free products
  • Fructose free products
  • Sugars such as fructose corn syrup, sucrose and aspartame

Enjoy prebiotic foods instead, oats, beans, peas, berries, asparagus, mushroom, cabbages, garlic, or leaks and onions.

Anything with lots of layers because when there is damage to the gut lining, the immune response in the epidermal junction in the skin cells will be on high alert to any attack, and this increases the risk of premature ageing and certain dermatological conditions such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis because it compromises the barrier function of the skin cell.

You need to dampen the inflammation within your gut lining rather than apply a cream to your skin.

But remember what you put on your skin our immune system needs to recognize the molecular form of the ingredient, as your skin is designed to protect all other organs by keeping things out.

Your skin cell membranes act like a gatekeeper or doorman.

The action step is to remove the trigger; the best way to do this is to keep a food diary for at least three days, recording precisely what you eat and when based upon any upset in your stomach or skin outbreak.

This raises awareness of what you are eating, so you cut out the trigger foods or products for two weeks before reintroducing them to test the effect.

Would you like a copy of my Ultimate Skin Health Guide? Face Mapping Skin Analysis: Reveals Metabolic Health