The Hidden Link Between Stress and Acne

 

So many people suffer from acne that just never seems to go away. They eat a seemingly perfect diet, are meticulous with their skincare, and drink gallons of water. So what is holding them back? For many, it’s the toxicity of chronic stress.

 

What is stress?

For many, stress is simply a feeling of pressure or overwhelm. However, stress is more than this.

Stress, in relation to biology, is defined as the body’s response to a stressor of any kind. It responds to this stress by activating a branch of the nervous system known as the sympathetic nervous system.

 

Why is this specific definition important? It means that work and family are not the only things that add to your stress. Noise, pollution, chemicals and more can add up to a chronic stress load that the body is unable to deal with.

 

How does stress impact the body?

When the sympathetic nervous system is activated, it has a number of short term impacts, including rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing and a change in how blood is distributed throughout the body.

 

However, it’s the long term stress impacts that become a real issue. Chronic stress can lead to an impaired immune system, an imbalance of stress hormones, and resulting sex hormone issues.

 

It also has the potential to drain many essential nutrients, including B vitamins, sodium and zinc, and cause low-grade inflammation.

 

How does stress impact the skin?

All of the impacts of stress on the body can in turn lead to skin issues, particularly acne:

  • The reduction of immune function can leave you more prone to infections, and encourages the bacteria associated with acne flare-ups.
  • The imbalance of stress hormones will throw out the delicate balance of the sex hormones, affecting the production of sebum and inflammation levels.
  • The deficiency of vital skin nutrients means that the skin is unable to heal itself efficiently, leaving it prone to injury and infection.
  • Ongoing inflammation will cause further flare-ups, as well as using up even more of the essential nutrients and antioxidants needed for healthy skin.

Stress, in all its forms, can play a big role in acne. This is why many people struggle to control their acne flare-ups and heal their skin effectively.

How to manage the effects of stress

Although stress can be toxic for the body and the skin, there are ways to manage it. Research supports several interventions for reducing the impact of stress on the body.

 

Meditation

Dozens of research papers have shown the benefits of meditation for calming the nervous system. It can also be a great addition if you’re managing anxiety, depression or pain.

 

Meditation doesn’t have to be hard – simply start by downloading a guided meditation app, and practice a few times a week. It might feel difficult at first, but the more you practice, the greater the benefits.

 

Yoga

Yoga isn’t just for health nuts and hard-core yogis. In fact, pretty much everyone can practice some form of yoga! And everyone should – it can greatly reduce your stress levels, thanks to a combination of breathing, gentle movement and awareness.

 

You can practice at home with some YouTube videos, or attend a class at your local gym. Try to add it in 2-3 times per week as a minimum. You’ll feel more relaxed in no time.

 

Gratitude

Sometimes, stress relief is as easy as focusing on what we do have and being grateful for it. Research shows that practicing gratitude can be an excellent way to relieve stress and offer a new perspective.

 

How you choose to practice gratitude is less important than consistently practicing it. Some people choose to journal, others use apps on their phones, and some simply speak it out loud. You can do it as a list, or simply offer up a silent thanks when something good happens. Try to incorporate some sort of daily practice for best results.

 

Music

Music can have a big impact on how we feel. An upbeat song can energize, and a sad song can help us cope with grief. But did you know music can relieve stress?

 

Research shows that music can play a big role in relieving stress naturally. Want to give it a go? Check out the song that was designed for optimal relaxation – but make sure you’re not driving while listening!

 

Remember, a happy hormonal system is the key to happier skin. Why not try to incorporate some of these tips today?

 

References

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0070156

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/bul/140/1/256/

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/development-and-psychopathology/article/div-classtitlebeyond-allostatic-load-rethinking-the-role-of-stress-in-regulating-human-developmentdiv/C70450852E890ECD7D22A6CC12D536E9

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.47.1.113

http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2004-15935-004

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1809754?e2token=SEN1cmNpb0BhYXJwLm9yZw==?cmp=MIV-SSMEMPG-LINK-20150316

https://bpsmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1751-0759-8-1

http://josotl.indiana.edu/article/view/19998

Want Gorgeous Glowing Skin? The 5 Herbal Teas You Need To Know

The 5 Herbal Teas for Glowing SkinSometimes, looking after your skin can seem like a full-time job. But did you know that you can support clear, healthy happy skin with just a cup of herbal tea every day?

 

Herbal teas are a great and delicious addition to your diet. They are an easy way to keep you and your skin hydrated, and can be enjoyed either hot or cold depending on the weather.

 

Each one has different health benefits to offer, but that are several that can make a big difference when it comes to inflamed and sore skin.

 

Here are a few of my skin-loving favorites.

 

Green Tea

Is there anything that green tea can’t do? Not really! Packed full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it truly is a health elixir for skin.

 

Green tea is also a natural source of caffeine, but unlike other caffeinated drinks, it has a more positive effect on your skin health. This is because it contains a compound that deactivates stress hormones in the body. Fewer hormones means less stress on the liver, and happier skin.

 

A lot of people think green tea is bitter, but there’s a trick you need to know. If you use boiling water on green tea, it will bring out the bitterness. But if you add in about 20% cold water first, then add the hot water, it will bring out the more delicate flavor.

 

Nettle Tea

Nettle has a host of skin benefits, with a history of both topical and internal use. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that protect your skin. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory that soothes sore, red complexions.

 

It also acts as a natural anti-histamine, meaning that it can help your body reduce allergic and intolerance related reactions. If there’s an allergy at the root of your skin issues, you can bet that nettle tea will help relieve your symptoms.

Nettle tea is an acquired taste – it’s not unpleasant, but unusual. It has a deep and earthy flavor that can be incredibly refreshing hot or cold. If you need, you can add a couple of drops of stevia for a bit of sweetness.

 

Peppermint Tea

Does your tummy bother you regularly? If your digestive system is on the sluggish or irritable side, that can translate to skin issues. Luckily, peppermint tea can improve your digestive function and soothe inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract.

 

Peppermint is also thought to slightly boost your estrogen levels and quench excess androgen hormones like testosterone. This means that if your skin problems are hormonal in nature, it can naturally relieve some of your symptoms.

 

Peppermint tea is incredibly refreshing, with a strong minty flavor that gives you fresh breath for hours. It’s ideal for a morning when you need something to perk you up, or after a heavy meal to aid in digestion.

 

Dandelion Tea

Skin health is more than skin deep, which is why dandelion is so helpful. Its main therapeutic action is supporting your liver function. This means that it can help to clear out any excess hormones and other toxins that might be flaring up your skin.

 

Dandelion also supports digestion by stimulating bile production, so you can extract more nutrition from the foods you consume. The more essential nutrients you can absorb, the happier your skin will look and feel.

 

Dandelion tea can be a little on the bitter side, making it a favorite for coffee lovers. However, you can blend it in with other teas, such as chai, to balance out the bitterness and make it more palatable. If you need to, add a couple of drops of stevia to sweeten it up.

 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is often used topically to soothe inflamed skin, but there’s no reason why it can’t do the same if you drink it! It has natural anti-inflammatory properties that draw the heat out of sore skin, encouraging it to heal.

 

As a bonus, if you save your tea-bags and allow them to cool, you can then pop them straight over your eyes to relieve any irritation or puffiness.

 

Chamomile has a delicate flavor, although you may prefer to sweeten it with stevia to start with. It’s perfect for the end of a long hard day at work, or even as a sleep aid consumed about 30 minutes before bed. You will have a deeper, more restful sleep, and your skin will thank you for it.

 

 

So if gorgeous, glowing skin is the aim of your game, pop the kettle on and get brewing.

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190962205002525

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0084468

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2012/564367/abs/

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.2763/abstract

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/J157v05n01_09?journalCode=iher20

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/J157v05n01_09?journalCode=iher20

 

Breakouts? The 7 Sneaky Foods That Trigger Acne

 

7-sneaky-foods-that-trigger-acneThere is nothing worse than an unexpected acne breakout. You’ve been diligent with your skin-care regime, you’ve avoided the beauty products that you’re sensitive to, but still your skin seems to have a mind of its own. It’s time to look to your diet.

 

There are seven foods that might be triggering your flare-ups without you even realizing.

 

Dairy

Dairy might be tasty, but it can cause major issues for people with skin conditions, particularly acne. This is because it causes an exaggerated response in blood sugar levels, causing fluctuations that can trigger hormone imbalances. Research supports that dairy can be a trigger food for a variety of populations who suffer from acne.

 

The good thing is, there are plenty of dairy alternatives to try out. Switch your cream for coconut cream, your milk for almond, coconut or other nut milks, and your yogurt for coconut yogurt.

 

Gluten

Good health begins in the gut, and your skin is no exception to this. But gluten may be part of the problem when it comes to your acne. Gluten-containing foods trigger a compound called zonulin, which creates ‘holes’ in your gut lining. This allows undigested food and other particles into the bloodstream, which cause inflammation and a higher toxin load on the liver. The end picture is that your skin suffers the consequences.

 

There’s plenty of gluten-free alternatives available for you to use instead. Look out for brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth options. Some products may substitute in other gluten-free flours, such as potato.

 

Peanuts

Even the humble peanut can cause issues for your skin. Although the mechanisms are still being studied, it’s believed that peanuts can increase testosterone levels. This throws out the balance of sex hormones and increases the production of sebum on the skin.

 

If you’re munching your way through a jar of peanut butter, you may be making it even worse thanks to the combination of peanuts and sugar. Peanuts are also a major source of aflatoxins, fungal poisons that can make you very sick and affect your immune system.

 

Luckily, you can switch over to other nut products instead. Make up a trail mix of almonds, walnuts and macadamias, or try a new type of nut butter.

 

Corn

Suffering from cystic acne? There is thought to be a link between uncontrolled cystic acne and undiagnosed corn allergies. Corn allergies are known to cause skin issues, and health practitioners believe that cystic acne may be a sign that your body is reacting to corn.

 

When you have an allergy, it can flare acne by causing systemic inflammation, causing oxidative stress on the body, and throwing out the immune system’s delicate balance.

Corn also has a high glycemic index, which means it can spike your blood sugars and cause hormone balance disruptions.

 

Corn is easy enough to replace – simply use brown rice products instead, and switch your corn-based sweeteners to Stevia.

 

Caffeine

Caffeine might wake you up in the morning, but it also puts an extra heavy load on your liver. This load adds up quickly, and can lead to excess hormones circulating around your body. Imbalanced hormones lead to excess sebum production, and the next thing you know, you have a flare-up of skin symptoms.

 

Caffeine also impacts on adrenal hormone production, which is closely linked to sex hormone production. By throwing out one balance, you will inevitably impact on the other, and your skin will suffer the consequences. Caffeine-based beverages are often a source of added dairy and sugar, so your morning Starbucks fix becomes your skin’s worst nightmare.

 

Caffeine can be difficult to wean off, but there are a few tasty options. Dandelion and chicory based brews give you the bitter flavor without the caffeine of coffee. Herbal teas are also a great option to include, and can soothe your skin.

 

Alcohol

Having a bottle or two of wine per week might seem like moderation, but it’s enough to wreak havoc on your skin.

 

Alcohol is inflammatory and increases the burden on your liver, meaning it can’t detoxify other toxins such as excess hormones. As we know, inflammation and toxin build-up are two major causes behind acne flares.

 

Going alcohol-free doesn’t mean you have to miss out on flavor. Try whipping up some low-sugar mocktails with sparkling water, or make your own kombucha.

 

Sugar

Got a sweet tooth? It might taste good, but sugar is a terrible trigger for your acne flare-ups. Sugar causes your blood sugar levels to spike, which then leads to imbalanced sex hormones and inflammation across the body.

 

All of this adds up to increased sebum, a sluggish immune system, and a flare-up of your symptoms.

 

If you want to enjoy a sweet treat, keep it whole and natural. Snack on fresh whole fruit, and if you want a sweetener for a dessert recipe, try using Stevia.

 

 

By switching out these major triggers, you will find your skin improving daily, and your confidence will grow.

 

References

http://www.jle.com/fr/revues/ejd/e-docs/the_influence_of_dietary_patterns_on_acne_vulgaris_in_koreans_286618/article.phtml

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04002.x/full

http://www.centerforfoodallergies.com/acne.htm

 

Vitamin D: Your Skin’s Best Friend

Vitamin D is a hot topic when it comes to health and well-being. But what many people don’t realize is that it’s one of the most important nutrients out there when it comes to skin health.

 

It’s time to look at the role of vitamin D in skin health, and how to get enough of it safely.

Vitamin D for Happy Skin

About Vitamin D

Vitamin D, strictly speaking, isn’t a vitamin. It’s actually a natural seroid that your body produces. There’s a few different forms, but they are all grouped under the heading of ‘vitamin D’.

 

Vitamin D in the human body is usually produced when UV-B rays hit the skin, which is why it’s known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin. However, you can also get small amounts in foods such as eggs, fish and mushrooms. Some foods may also be artificially fortified with vitamin D.

 

For people who are at a high risk of deficiency, such as those with dark skin or who work long office hours, supplementation may be necessary.

 

Skin Benefits Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has a host of general health benefits, including supporting immune function and skeletal health. But there are also many ways that it benefits your skin.

 

Acne

If you have sore, inflamed acne, vitamin D may be able to ease your symptoms. This is thanks to vitamin D’s role in boosting the immune system, as well as it being a vital precursor to sex hormones.

 

By having enough vitamin D, you will have the building blocks for hormones, and also protect yourself from bacteria that can infect your blemishes.

 

Psoriasis

Itchy, scaly psoriasis prone skin? Vitamin D might be part of the solution. Multiple studies have shown that higher vitamin D levels through UV-B ray exposure can significantly improve psoriasis symptoms.

 

Though there is no official explanation as to why this happens, it’s likely to be thanks to vitamin D’s role in balancing the immune system, as psoriasis is an autoimmune condition.

 

Eczema

If you, or your little one, have eczema, it might be time for you to check those vitamin D levels. Research suggests that both children and adults with eczema are likely to have low levels.

 

Lower levels of vitamin D are also linked to more severe symptoms, and people with low vitamin D have a greater risk of getting infections related to their eczema.

 

Like psoriasis, the most likely mechanism behind these is vitamin D’s immune balancing effect, as eczema is considered to be an autoimmune condition.

 

Inflammation

Have any kind of skin condition that involves inflammation? Whether it’s acne, rosacea, or just general redness of the skin, good vitamin D levels are vital for bringing your skin back to health.

 

Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties in the human body, so if you don’t have enough of it, inflammation may run riot. But by boosting up your levels, the level of inflammation in your skin will lower naturally.

 

Appearance Of Complexion

Vitamin D’s benefits aren’t just confined to skin conditions – it can also give you beautiful skin. Vitamin D production stimulates your keratinocytes, which are cells that make up most of your skin.

 

When you don’t have enough vitamin D, you have fewer skin cells in total, giving you thin and fragile skin. By getting plenty of natural vitamin D from sunlight, your skin cells will constantly renew themselves, so you have a more youthful appearance, no matter what your age.

 

Getting Your Vitamin D

Most health organizations recommend that your blood levels of vitamin D sit between 30-100ng/ml, although many complementary health practitioners would prefer you to have at least 50ng/ml for optimal health.

 

You do need to be safe with getting enough vitamin D. This is not a permission slip to go to a tanning salon – that level of exposure will cause damage to your skin, due to the high doses of UV.

 

How much exposure you need depends on where you are in the world, what time of year it is, and what type of skin you have.

 

One guideline suggests that short but frequent exposure, such as 10 minutes without sunscreen around midday, is the best way to boost vitamin D levels without exposing you to excess risk of damage.

Through the winter months, the right amount of Vitamin D can be next to impossible to get from sunlight.  In this case, you’ll want to consider supplementing with a liquid Vitamin D3 from a reputable supplement brand.

 

If you’re not certain of where you’re sitting right now, schedule an appointment to have your levels tested and find out how to get the best dose for you.

 

References

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S209012321400023X

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21034990

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2006.tb09833.x/full

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/testing-for-vitamin-d/

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010510-100611

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09767.x/full

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcb.20095/full

 

The Toxic Skincare Ingredients That Can Ruin Your Health

toxic-skincare

 

It’s no secret that skincare is a necessary process in modern society. Thanks to all of the chemicals and toxins that we are exposed to throughout the day, as well as artificial lighting, heating/cooling and more, our skin needs a bit of TLC to be at its best.

 

The problem is, many conventional skincare products actually contain ingredients that can be harmful to your skin and your health.

 

Here are some of the most common ingredients you will want to avoid in your skincare choices.

 

Parabens

What are they?

Parabens are widely used preservatives, used for their ability to prevent growth of bacteria, yeast and molds in cosmetic and skincare products.

 

Where are they found?

They are most commonly found in facial cleansers, as well as deodorants, shampoos, make-up and body washes. They may also be added to pharmaceutical products, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

How can I spot them?

Any paraben listed is pretty easy to spot, as they will usually have the word ‘paraben’ in the name – such as methylparaben.

 

How do they affect health?

Parabens mimic estrogen, which can not only throw out the delicate balance of sex hormones and worsen your current skin issues, but may also be associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.

 

Phthalates

What are they?

Phthalates might be hard to spell, but what they are is pretty simple – they’re a type of chemical that increases flexibility and softness of plastics used in products.

 

Where are they found?

The main phthalates that are used in skincare are those found in perfumed products and lotions, however they can also be found in nail polish and hair spray.

 

How can I spot them?

There’s three main phthalates to look out for – diethyl phthalate, or DEP, is most used in skincare, but also watch out for dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, and dimethyl phthalate, or DMP.

 

However, if it’s part of a fragrance, it won’t be listed separately, so you’ll want to avoid any artificial fragrance just to be safe.

 

How do they affect health?

Phthalates are thought to be endocrine disruptors, throwing out the delicate hormonal balance and may worsen your skin issues if they are hormonal in origin.

 

Endocrine disruption can also increase risk of breast cancer, and early development in young girls, as well as birth defects of the reproductive system in infants.

 

Phthalates are also linked to damage of major organs such as liver, kidney and lungs, as well as suspected links to cancer. In fact, they are banned in Europe because of the potential health issues.

 

Petrochemicals

What are they?

Made from by-products of petroleum, these chemicals are generally used to create a film on the skin, to give a moisturized feeling.

 

Where are they found?

They are commonly used in moisturizers, skin oils and baby oils, as well as in styling gels for hair.

 

How can I spot them?

There’s a lot of petrochemicals out there. Here’s a few to avoid:

  • Mineral oil
  • Paraffin wax
  • Toluene
  • Benzene
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • PEG, or polyethylene glycol
  • Any ingredient ending in ‘eth’ such as laureth
  • DEA, or diethanolamine, and MEA, or ethanolamine
  • Butanol and any ingredient including ‘butyl’
  • Ethanol and any ingredient including ‘ethyl’
  • Artificial fragrance or parfum

 

This is not a comprehensive list, but is a good starting point – with most skincare products, if they have one petrochemical you can spot, there will most likely be multiple others listed under various names.

 

How do they affect health?

Petrochemicals have multiple effects on health. The film it forms on skin can block the skin from releasing sweat, toxins and more, reducing your skin’s effectiveness as a pathway of elimination.

 

The main issue with petrochemicals is that they can generate a substance known as 1,4 dioxane. This compound can cause cancer, and be toxic to kidneys, brain and lungs.

 

The risk with this is higher than you might think – research showed that 22% of all products contain levels of 1,4 dioxane that are considered unsafe.

 

Synthetic Fragrances & Colors

What are they?

Just like the name suggests, these are artificial colors and fragrances, used to create scent and color in cosmetic, haircare and skincare products.

 

Where are they found?

These can be found in almost any type of skincare product – cleansers, toners, moisturizers, creams and more.

 

How can I spot them?

Fragrance listed without any further information is a pretty big giveaway that it’s artificial – if it’s natural, the company will list that. Colors are easy enough to spot – look for D&C followed by a color and a number, such as D&C Red 27.

 

How do they affect health?

Fragrance blends are associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory issues and may even act as endocrine disruptors. They can also exacerbate asthma and trigger headaches or dizziness.

 

Synthetic colors are suspected to cause cancer, as well as irritating skin and being linked to ADHD in children. In fact, Europe have banned artificial colors.

 

Both colors and fragrances are also a common source of petrochemicals and phthalates, and all of the health issues that come along with those products.

 

Sulfates

What are they?

A degreaser, sulfates cause the foaming that many of us know to be associated with cleansers and shampoos.

 

Where are they found?

Sulfates are found in almost every product in skincare and haircare that foams up, including cleansers, soaps and shampoos. It’s commonly used in acne skin care products due to its degreasing action.

 

How can I spot them?

Luckily, sulfates are pretty easy to spot – the two main types to look out for are sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, and sodium laureth sulfate, or SLES.

 

How do they affect health?

Sulfates can irrritate the body, particularly irritating the skin, lungs and eyes. Unpleasant, but not the end of the world.

 

But, the big bad about sulfates is their potential to react with other chemicals and form a potent carcinogen known as nitrosamine. This can also lead to kidney and respiratory issues..

 

Looking for the right skincare products and regime for your healthiest skin? Make sure to book an appointment!

 

References

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128042.htm

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm128250.htm

http://www.ewg.org/news/news-releases/2007/02/08/ewg-research-shows-22-percent-all-cosmetics-may-be-contaminated-cancer

https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/ingredients-concern/food-dyes

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673607613063/abstract

http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditivesinSpecificProducts/InCosmetics/default.htm

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Ingredients/ucm388821.htm

Should I Use Accutane, Antibiotics or Birth Control For Acne?

dangers-of-accutane-birth-control-antibiotics-for-acne

One of the most common questions I encounter as a skin specialist is whether someone should take the medications that most doctors recommend for acne control.

 

Personally, I’m not a big fan of this, and for good reason. Today, I want to explain why I don’t recommend these treatments, and how they can be dangerous.

 

A Quick Review Of Acne

 

We had a look at this in depth in a recent article, but acne is generally caused by an imbalance of hormones combined with a lowered immune response.

 

The reasons why these occur are varied, but often it comes back to a diet that doesn’t support hormone balance and is low in nutrients, and a build-up of the liver’s toxic load.

 

Unfortunately, many practitioners don’t understand the mechanisms behind acne, and instead offer medications that cover up the problem, rather than treating the root cause.

 

Why You Might Be Recommended Accutane

 

If your acne is severe and unresponsive to other treatments, your practitioner may recommend a round of Accutane, a medication that is created from a high dose of vitamin A.

 

Vitamin A helps to reduce the production of sebum in the skin. But don’t be fooled because it’s a vitamin – it’s far from natural, and very far from safe.

 

Why It Can Be Dangerous

 

Any medication that requires multiple sign offs and a compulsory pregnancy test before use is not your safest option.

 

Accutane is a high dose of a fat soluble vitamin, which carries a much higher risk of vitamin toxicity than water soluble vitamins. It’s known to cause severe birth defects, which is why using 2 forms of birth control is compulsory for women who take Accutane – even for women who have had their tubes tied.

 

You may also need to have your liver function monitored, to make sure your liver isn’t experiencing toxicity. Accutane might seem harmless, but it can cause side effects such as joint pain, bleeding gums, impaired vision, depression, suicidal thoughts, and even death. In fact, the list of side effects known is about as long as this entire article!

 

Even with all of this risk, there are a lot of people who suffer the side effects of Accutane and don’t even see any improvements in their acne.

 

Why You Might Be Recommended Antibiotics

 

Doctors will often recommend antibiotics to treat acne, particularly acne that becomes inflamed and infected, to treat the acute infection and sometimes to control the population of the bacterial strain most associated with acne.

 

Why It Can Be Dangerous

 

Antibiotics have a host of nasty side effects that vary depending on the type you are prescribed. They also contribute to the load on the liver, as they need to be detoxified just like any other medication in the body, leading to worsening of acne symptoms.

 

Use of antibiotics also disturbs the gut flora, which is shown to be one of the main triggers for release of skin-inflaming Substance P, so long term you may actually be worsening your acne instead of improving it.

 

Finally, antibiotics can disrupt the good bacteria of both the gut and the skin, lowering your immune function even further and leaving you prone to further infections. It basically becomes a downward spiral where you use more and more antibiotics to control infections, and cause even more.

 

Why You Might Be Recommended Birth Control Pills

 

Particularly if your acne flares according to your cycles, doctors will often recommend you use an oral contraceptive pill to ‘balance your hormone levels’.

 

Why It Can Be Dangerous

 

This is a case of using a bandaid to cover up symptoms that are the body’s cry for help. These pills do not actually balance your hormone levels – they introduce artificial hormones that strain the liver further and come with a host of side effects.

 

Often, use of the contraceptive pill can cover up symptoms until a condition is well and truly underway – women who come off the Pill often find out that they have depleted their bodies to the point of PCOS or even complete infertility.

 

Contraceptive pills are also not something that someone should take just to address acne, given that they greatly increase the risk of serious health issues such as clots and heart disease.

 

Why Your Safest Answer Is Natural

 

So why is introducing an acne-reducing diet and treating your skin with natural skin care products the safest option?

 

It gets to the root of the problem – it addresses the hormone imbalance and the load on the liver, so instead of covering up symptoms, you are re-building and nourishing your body.

 

Believe me, your skin will thank you for it.

 

References

https://gutpathogens.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1757-4749-3-1

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa003216#t=article

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190962201025907

http://journals.lww.com/americantherapeutics/Abstract/2003/03000/Overview_of_Existing_Research_and_Information.12.aspx

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1517/14740338.3.2.119

 

Keep It Cool – Why You Should Follow An Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Anti-inflammatory diet for skin

 

Anti-inflammatory is all the rage in wellness today. But what does it mean, and does it matter to you? Today I want to look at the benefits of an anti-inflammatory
diet – for your skin, and your overall well-being.

 

An anti-inflammatory diet is one that contains lots of foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, as well as eliminating foods that can cause inflammation.

 

Why is inflammation bad? Well honestly, a little bit isn’t – it’s good for you. Inflammation in the short-term is beneficial and helps your body to heal itself.

 

But the type of inflammation that we experience today is generally low-grade and chronic, and is a contributing factor to hundreds of health conditions, including those that impact on your skin.

 

An anti-inflammatory diet offers a solution to chronic inflammation, helping you to get your health back under control.

 

Benefits For General Health

 

An anti-inflammatory diet can protect all of the systems of your body – some known ways it can help include:

  • Reducing heart disease risk and associated factors
  • Reduced risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke
  • Helping the body to heal after a heart attack or stroke
  • Reducing risk of cancers such as breast, prostate and colorectal cancers
  • Longer life span – living longer and healthier than the average person
  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Better control of type 2 diabetes and blood sugar levels
  • A healthier alternative to a low-fat diet when trying to lose weight
  • A lower chance of a neuro-degenerative disease such as dementia
  • A reduction in inflammatory markers such as C reactive protein and interleukin-6

 

So really, when it comes to general health and well-being, there’s very few reasons to NOT take an anti-inflammatory approach to your food!

 

Benefits For Your Skin

 

Can it make a difference to your skin though? That’s the real question you want to ask.

 

You bet it can – inflammation is a key component of pretty much every skin condition out there, whether it’s a cause or just something that exacerbates it.

 

Every time your skin feels hot, or tender, or swollen – that’s inflammation happening, right there on the surface. So it makes sense that an anti-inflammatory approach can help.

 

When inflammation is low, your skin can feel firm, plump and well moisturized. Everything from acne to rosacea and auto-immune conditions like eczema can benefit from the anti-inflammatory effect gained from this way of eating.

 

Common Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients

 

So what is in an anti-inflammatory diet? There’s no one set diet plan, but generally they all involve anti-inflammatory foods that have been proven to relieve inflammation on a cellular level in the body.

 

The most common foods thought to have anti-inflammatory effects include:

  • Oily fish such as salmon and sardines
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • A variety of seasonal vegetables
  • A variety of fresh fruit
  • Herbs and spices
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Green tea

 

An anti-inflammatory diet will often exclude inflammatory foods, such as wheat and dairy, either for short or long-term – it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

 

It will also generally have a low GI overall – using only whole-grain carbohydrate sources, as well as plenty of fibre from plant foods.

 

Sample Plan

 

Want a bit of a glimpse into what an anti-inflammatory diet might look like on a day-to-day basis? Here’s a simple 1 day sample diet to get you thinking.

 

Breakfast

Breakfast bowl – oats or quinoa flakes in almond milk, topped with nuts, seeds and berries and a pinch of nutmeg

 

A cup of green tea

 

Lunch

Super Salad – a mix of dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, rocket and spinach, mixed with pumpkin seeds, diced avocado and blueberries, drizzled with olive oil and Italian herbs

 

Serve with protein of choice, such as leftover roast chicken or kidney beans

 

Dinner

Seared salmon served over a bed of wilted Chinese greens and sesame seeds

 

Snacks

Homemade spicy nut mix – a mix of nuts coated with spices such as turmeric and paprika

2 squares of 80% dark chocolate

 

Dessert

Fresh berries topped with a spoonful of coconut cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon

 

An anti-inflammatory diet doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless – in fact, it includes all of the most flavorsome foods around!

 

Want a personalized diet plan? Make an appointment and we will customize an anti-inflammatory diet to suit your needs.

 

 

References

http://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/321197

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037851220900259X

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0708681#t=article

http://www.diabetesresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S0168-8227(10)00201-9/abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17378953

 

The Different Types of Acne and Their Cause

Types and cause of Acne

The word ‘acne’ is thrown around all the time, along with medicinal and traditional ‘cure’ suggestions, but many people don’t understand exactly what acne is or the cause.
So today, I thought I’d share a bit more about the common types of acne, and why they occur.

 

Comedonal Acne

Comedonal acne is a simple condition – it occurs when pores become plugged with oil, causing small bumps under the skin, particularly around the T zone area.

This type of acne has a couple of contributing factors. Firstly, slower skin cell turnover can cause a build-up of cells that make it easier for the oil to become trapped under a layer of skin.

Secondly is a lack of factors that exfoliate away these excess skin cells, often combined with use of products that can clog the skin, such as heavy makeup.

Finally, an excess production of sebum, the oil produced in the skin, can cause a plug to form quickly. Sebum production is linked to a variety of factors, including liver and gut health and hormone balance.

 

Inflammatory Acne

Inflammatory acne is caused by clogged pores, and often begins as comedonal, but then the body has an inflammatory response to the clogged pores.

This then leads to the common idea of acne – formation of blackheads, whiteheads, and redness of the skin around the spots.

Inflammatory acne has all of the contributing factors of comedonal acne – slow skin turnover, clogging of the skin, and excess sebum production – but also has other factors involved.

The inflammatory response can be exaggerated in those who already have inflammation due to other health issues. Inflammation in the skin can also be triggered by an imbalance of gut flora in the digestive tract.

It can be increased due to a lack of anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that protect the body from the damage of inflammation.

Finally, many people with inflammatory acne also have a higher amount of a particular bacteria strain that can infect the spots, which means that bacteria balance and the immune system also play a part in this form of acne.

 

Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne, with a combination of clogged pores, deep inflammation and chronically infected spots leading to the deep scarring of the skin.

It often comes with nodules forming under the skin from the inflammation, as well as involvement of other parts of the body, such as the back.

Cystic acne is definitely a sign that there is an imbalance in the body, particularly in the immune, digestive, hormonal and detoxification systems.

Clogged pores, sebum excess and skin turnover all play a role, but particularly hormones and inflammatory bacteria seem to have a big impact on cystic acne. The inflammatory substance P and the bacteria P. acnes also play very prevalent roles in cystic acne.

There are also likely to be multiple nutrient deficiencies at play – particularly those that support gut health and the immune system.

Finally, the inflammation in response to infection is the main factor behind the scarring of the skin in cystic acne.  It can cause an abnormal healing response and collagen production in the skin is altered.


Hormonal Onset Acne

Hormonal onset acne is a little bit different, in that it generally has a later onset than most types of acne, and its main cause is a hormonal imbalance.

Hormonal onset acne generally occurs in women in their late 20s or early 30s, often in women who have never experienced acne before.

The main change is often in estrogen levels. This in itself can have multiple causes – whether it be too much testosterone production as a side effect of conditions such as PCOS, or from excess or too little progesterone, or even from insufficient nutrients to support healthy estrogen levels.

This type of acne can show in forms of comedonal, inflammatory, or cystic acne, and is often identified based on the location and timing of the acne in a woman’s cycle.

Hormone testing is recommended for proper treatment of this form of acne.

 

Other Causes of Acne

There are a number of other things that can contribute to one of these forms of acne, or even cause acne to form. While many of these types of acne have internal causes, there are also things in the environment that can trigger the formation of acne.

Common irritants include make-up or skin-care that doesn’t suit the skin, certain medications, wearing hats, or even the hair products you apply to your hair. Anything that can inflame or damage the skin has the potential to cause acne in a vulnerable person. Even excess heat and humidity has been known to cause acne.

Does this mean that if you’re vulnerable to acne, that you’re doomed to never wear a hat or wear foundation again? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that you need to be on top of your well-being to reduce your risk.

If you want to reduce your current acne, or prevent further break-outs, your best bet is to book in for an appointment so we can create a personalized treatment plan to give you your healthiest skin yet.

 

 

References

http://www.kalbemed.com/Portals/6/komelib/dermatologicals/Kulit/Climadan%20Acne/topical%20therapy%20for%20acne.pdf

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-3083.2010.03919.x/full

http://iai.asm.org/content/63/8/3158.short

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM198304283081701

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s007950100002

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22849351

 

 

 

5 Everyday Superfoods For Beautiful Skin

Everyone talks about the latest ‘superfood’ – whether it be acai berry, goji berries, maca or lucuma, they all seem to be exotic and incredibly expensive.

But for those of us who want to reap the benefits of beautiful skin from our diets, there are several more budget friendly foods that can clear the complexion and keep us looking youthful.

 

Avocado

Avocados are all the rage in the health scene at the moment, and for good reason. The good news is, their amazing health benefits extend to your skin as well.

They are an excellent source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that is one of the skin’s most potent antioxidants. It protects the skin from the damage caused by free radicals, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and may even help protect from UV rays.

Avocados are also a good source of carotenoids, which can form vitamin A in the body, creating another fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant powers.

Avocado goes wonderfully with breakfast, lunch or dinner, whether you blend into a smoothie, add some slices to the side of your meal, or blitz it up into a delicious avocado sauce.

 

Berriessuperfood for skin

If you’re looking at the best
fruit for gorgeous skin, look to berries such as
blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

Berries are incredibly high in antioxidants that help to protect the skin from damage. They also contain plenty of skin-friendly vitamins such as vitamin C, which aids in the formation of strong healthy collagen that keeps us looking younger for longer.

Berries also have the benefit of being lower in sugar and higher in fiber, keeping blood sugars balanced and reducing the chance of increased inflammation and associated skin issues.

Enjoy berries as an easy snack, dessert, or addition to a meal – simply grab a handful to munch on whenever you feel a bit hungry.

 

Oily Fish

When it comes to the integrity of any cells, particularly skin cells, your top nutrient is omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish, such as salmon or sardines, are your top source of omega-3s.

Omega-3s reduce inflammation in the body, which can aid in taking the redness out of blemishes and acne flare-ups. They help to keep your skin moist and hydrated, which is essential for skin health.

Fish is a great source of protein, which is the building block of the body, including the skin.

You can substitute fish into salads to replace processed meats, added to rice for a quick meal at work, or enjoyed freshly cooked (or raw if you’re a sashimi fan) – aim for at least 3 serves per week to get the most benefit.

 

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, aren’t just the leftovers from a holiday celebration – they’re a powerhouse of skin-supportive nutrients.

Pumpkin seeds are packed full of zinc, which aids in healing the skin quickly, protecting the skin from UV radiation, and can even act as an antioxidant on the skin, shielding it from toxins.

A lack of zinc is associated with dry skin, acne and dermatitis. In fact, supplemental zinc is one of the top non-medicine based treatments for acne, with studies showing it to be almost as effective as acne drugs.

Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of biotin, an essential nutrient for the skin.

Enjoy them on their own, added to meals, or mixed into a trail mix with other nuts and seeds.

 

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables might have been your least favorite as a kid, but now they will be your skin’s best friend!

These vegetables are a great source of sulfur, which is essential for healthy liver detoxification. They also have a component called indole-3-carbinol, which can clear excess hormones from the body. This combination of effects can greatly improve skin health, particularly for those with hormonal acne.

You can add a serve of cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage, to your diet daily for a boost to your detoxification.


Including healthy skin foods has far more benefits and fewer side effects than skin medications when it comes to skin health and overall health. So if you want to have a glowing complexion, make sure you add in these foods regularly to gain the benefits for your skin and your body.  Click here to receive my one week meal plan packed with all kinds of creative ways to enjoy these amazing superfoods.  The plan includes delicious and easy recipes and a done-for-you grocery shopping list to get you on your way to fantastic skin right away!


References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20150599

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-4362.2002.01567.x/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11586012

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s005350050192

http://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/40020305009/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11130-010-0177-1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1656396

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2004.tb00076.x/full

 

Want Clear, Firm Skin? Why You Should Skip Fried Foods

You might hear all the time that for beautiful looking skin, you should avoid fried foods and junk. But no one has ever really explained to you WHY there is a link between the two, so you keep heading to the drive-through for your fix.

Today, I’m going to explain to you why fried foods are the enemy when it comes to healthy skin. It’s all thanks to something called AGEs.

 

What Are AGEs?

AGEs stands for advanced glycation end products. This sounds complicated, so let me break it down into English. AGEs are when a protein or fat molecule bond with a sugar molecule. This bonding process is called glycation.

AGEs can be found both in foods and produced in the human body. The problem is, no matter what the source, AGEs aren’t really very healthy for our bodies.

 

How Do AGEs Affect Our Bodies?

 

AGEs have some pretty nasty side effects when they’re in our bodies. These include:

  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Interfering with blood pressure lowering mechanisms
  • Stiffening collagen by cross-linking the collagen together
  • Oxidating the ‘bad’ cholesterol LDL, making it more toxic to the body
  • Binding to cells and forcing them to create further inflammatory processes

Overall, AGEs act sort of like gate-crashers at a party. One or two doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, but when there’s a heap of them they trash the house and leave you to deal with the aftermath.

 

How Does This Impact On Skin?

 

There’s a few key side effects of AGEs that we want to consider when it comes to skin health – specifically inflammation, oxidative stress, and cross-linking collagen.

We’ve already chatted about the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in skin health, but here’s a quick recap.

Oxidative stress leads to greater strain on the liver, which means it can’t detoxify hormones and toxins, and that backlog can lead to break-outs and skin inflammation. Inflammation feeds into this by creating more oxidative stress and leading the body to produce more skin-inflaming Substance P.

Cross-linking collagen has serious long-term impacts on the skin though, as sometimes the cross-linking is irreversible. So what’s bad about cross-linking? When collagen is cross-linked, it becomes stiffer.

As we know, when skin is stiff, it’s less able to perform its job of protecting us, increasing the likelihood of skin tears, infection, break-outs and wrinkles. That’s right – AGEs are thought to be one of the number one causes of premature ageing.

 

What’s The Link Between AGEs And Fried Foods?

 

This is probably the easiest question to explain. AGEs are produced rapidly when high heats are involved, which means that fried foods are the number one source of dietary AGEs for us.

In particular, meat products tend to be most vulnerable to high heat cooking and can produce a lot of AGEs, which is why it might be best to skip the hot dogs and burgers.

 

How Can We Avoid The Damage Of AGEs?

 

The easiest way to avoid all of this chaos is to avoid fried foods. Yes, that includes deep fried foods from restaurants, take-outs and your own home. If you do fry a lot of your foods currently, try new cooking methods with lower temperatures or that include water, such as steaming or poaching.

 

However, it’s not always possible for everyone to avoid fried foods 100% of the time, so if you are going to indulge, there’s a few ways that you can reduce the potential damage.

 

Research shows that herbs such as rosemary and turmeric, as well as resveratrol and vitamin C, can all help to counteract the effects of AGEs. Marinating meats for at least 1 hour can also halve the number of AGEs produced.

So if you are going to cook yourself up a steak, make a marinade with red wine vinegar and rosemary, and serve with a side salad that contains orange slices or red peppers.

 

 

References

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002822310002385

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24614199

http://www.toukastress.jp/webj/article/2015/GS15-26.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10903896

http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajb/article/view/128737

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443905000153