Nutrition for Your Skin
By Dan Gleason, DC
The largest organ in the human body is skin, which is composed primarily of proteins and fats. It is constantly bathed in secretions from our oil, sweat and sebaceous glands. These emollients and antibacterials contain substances from the foods and supplements a person eats. It’s true then, when it comes to skin, “you are what you eat.”
Skin Absorbs Chemicals
Unlike all other organs, skin is on the outside of the body and provides protection. But it also absorbs things, and some of them are bad. Body care products such as lotions, sunscreens and soaps can contain harmful ingredients. Toxic chemicals that can be present in skin care products include:
sodium laurel sulfate
The choice of skin care products not only affects the health and appearance of the skin, it can affect the health of all the organs.
Too Much Soap
In addition to absorption of chemicals, skin can be harmed by using too much soap because it removes many of the specialized secretions from glands in the skin. Soaps, especially anti-bacterial soaps disrupt the normal ecosystem that thrives on skin. There are specialized bacteria and skin mites that preen dead skin cells and produce a healthy ecosystem. This normalizes the hormonal, neurological and immunological function of skin. When this is disrupted, troubling skin symptoms can result, including:
There are many internal toxins that affect skin. Particularly problematic are things that make up the Standard American Diet (SAD), including:
- Processed vegetable oils
Food additives and preservatives
Toxins can come from internal sources that disrupt the normal gut flora. Digestive symptoms that occur concurrently with skin problems indicate the need for comprehensive GI testing to identify and correct imbalances in normal bacteria, the presence of foreign microbes and deficiencies of digestive secretions. Skin conditions often resolve after testing for and then avoiding food intolerances.
A diet that consists primarily of SAD is deficient in many of the necessary nutrients to support normal skin. The skin requires all known nutrients including all vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and polyphenols from healthy, unprocessed food.
First, identify and stop eating foods that destroy skin health and stop using topical products that disrupt and poison the protective outer layer. The labels on many skin care products may announce “All Natural,” “Organic” or “Gluten Free.” These labels can be misleading. It’s important to investigate products and the companies that produce skin care products. Checking the ingredients can be done at EWG.org, an independent rating agency that rates nearly all skin care products.
Second, make sure that skin is getting the nutrients it needs. Skin problems that have persisted for years may take more time to recover as deficiencies are replenished. In-depth nutrient testing is recommended to determine what individual needs are. For those who can’t get tested, the “Fab 5 supplements” are recommended. These are supplements that have been found to be deficient in many people.
- Quality fish and flax oils
Easily absorbable magnesium
Third, choose the highest quality skin care products that are food-grade and organic. Consult with experts who can guide you in the selection and use of topical products that cleanse, renew, moisturize and repair your skin so that the skin’s unique ability to absorb nutrients is used well. Light therapy, sunlight or cold laser treatment can also help many conditions.
Taking care of the amazing organ called the skin is an important step in taking care of the whole body.
Dr. Dan Gleason is the owner of The Gleason Center located at 19084 North Fruitport Road in Spring Lake. For more info: go to TheGleasonCenter.com or call 616-846-5410. See ad page 29.