Real talk, getting that effortless dewy-glow (you know the one) cannot be achieved merely by purchasing the right skin care cream, serum or mask. The truth is 80% of our skin health is determined by the state of our gut health. Meaning glowing skin is ultimately achieved by what we are consuming versus what we are putting on our skin. The remaining 20% is dictated by our daily exposure to things like pollution, toxins, and UV exposure as well as what we put on our skin. Although diet, sleep and stress management play a large role in our skin's health, there are a few supplements that can help boost skin health, slow down the aging process and give you that healthy glow.
Omega 3 Fish Oil
Fatty acids are a key component of the outer layer of each and every one of our cells. By increasing our consumption of omega rich fatty acids, we optimize the integrity of our cells membranes. Omega 3s decrease inflammation and help to mitigate damage from free radicals (unstable molecules that damage healthy cells). Free radicals contribute to and exacerbate the aging process by increasing inflammation. Inflammation causes collagen and elastin to break down resulting in sagging and wrinkles. By minimizing inflammation, it can help to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Omega 3s have also been shown to down-regulate sebum production (minimizing blemishes). Quality is important when it comes to supplementing with a fish oil. I prefer to use professional brands that are made in Canada and adhere to good manufacturing practices that ensure their quality, safety, and potency. Fish oil has been shown to have some blood thinning properties and therefore is not suitable for everyone. Contact your healthcare provider before beginning to supplement to ensure it is safe for you.
As mentioned above 80% of our skin's health is dictated by our gut health. Our gut naturally houses billions of microbes (6 lbs to be exact!) which is referred to as the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome functions to digest our food appropriately, optimize the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients as well as eliminate toxins. When our gut microbiome is not properly balanced it results in a higher ratio of bad bacteria to good. This can lead to inflammation, decreased absorption of nutrients and increased free radicals. Chronic inflammation and free radical damage could cause acne and exacerbate the aging process. Probiotics are supplements which contain millions-billions of healthy bacteria, meant to provide the proper ratio of healthy bacteria in the gut. Similar to Omega 3’s quality is important with probiotics, and the sourcing and handling of the product can have a large impact on the overall quality and efficacy of the supplement. Be sure to contact a healthcare practitioner to see which product will be the most efficacious for you.
Collagen is a protein found in our bodies responsible for providing cushion and elasticity to many parts of the body. Collagen is particularly important in maintaining the plumpness and elasticity of our skin. As we age our production of collagen decreases. Oral supplementation of collagen has been shown to improve skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles and improve water retention in skin cells. Collagen supplements are generally available from bovine, porcine and fish sources, with some companies providing a vegan option made from algae. Fish peptides have been found to be the most bioavailable(easiest for the body to absorb into circulation) and hence theoretically would be the most effective. It is important to supplement collagen with Vitamin C, as vitamin C is an essential cofactor in the formation of collagen, and thus having an adequate amount of vitamin C is essential in the formation of collagen in the cells. There is also been research to suggest that supplementing with collagen alone may increase oxidation in the body due to the nature of how it is synthesized. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps to mitigate the oxidative effects.
Ultimately the key to glowing skin will be to nourish it from the inside out. Diet, sleep, stress management, and supplements will have the most profound effect. If you are currently seeking an additional alternative to help improve or resolve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars or ongoing acne lesions, facial rejuvenation acupuncture is an excellent option*. It functions to stimulate blood flow to the area and improve muscle tone, while also correcting underlying energetic imbalances. It has been shown to help improve skin elasticity, complexion and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has also been shown to reduce scar tissues and reduce the size and appearance of scars. I have found in practice for it to be particularly effective in reducing the size and number of cystic acne lesions.
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*I am currently seeing patients for facial rejuvenation acupuncture at Namaste Spa.
Doran V. An introduction to facial revitalization acupuncture. European Journal of Oriental Medicine. [Internet]. 2006;5(5) [Cited 2017 Oct 18 ]. http://www.ejom.co.uk/vol-5-no-5/featured-articles/an-introduction-to-facial-revitalisation-acupuncture.html