We’ve spoken to The Clear Skin Experts founder Asha Evertsz on our latest episode of the Unprocessed podcast to learn all about soothing our skin from the inside out. She revealed the ins and outs of feeling, looking and living well – here are her top tips to heal damaged skin.
“The skin has the largest microbiome next to the gut and that all resides in the skin barrier,” Asha says.
Nurture your skin barrier
While many people reach for harsh chemicals and topical creams to treat their skin woes, Asha says it’s important to understand what’s actually going on underneath and treating the cause rather than just treating the symptoms. Some even consider bleach baths, where bleach is diluted with water, to reign in their eczema, but Asha says these harsh treatments can cause more trouble. Why? It’s all about the skin barrier. The skin expert says that for many of us dealing with issues like eczema, acne and pigmentation problems, there’s a deeper issue happening with a compromised skin barrier. Harsh chemicals can further damage this barrier, leaving us vulnerable to infection and more inflammation.
“The skin can reflect the level of inflammation in the body,” Asha said on Unprocessed. “It’s a very motivating organ we want to age well, we want to look good.”
The goal instead is to build up that skin barrier. So, how can we do this? Asha says it’s not just what we put on our skin, it’s what we eat – or don’t eat. Let’s find out how food affects our skin.
You are what you eat
As Asha put it, “What’s happening on this inside is happening on the outside.”
The beauty expert says sugar drives premature ageing as a result of inflammation, along with triggering a process known as glycation, which she says “will show up in the skin as wrinkles and sagging and all the things we associate with ageing.”
Glycation occurs as a result of long-term excess sugar consumption and it involves sugar attaching itself to the proteins in the body, which then leads to inflammation and oxidative stress in the skin. When it comes to acne, it can be because of the insulin spikes that come with eating high-sugar foods that we see an increase in sebum production, which can then increase acne breakouts.
But it’s the inflammation that is most damaging to our skin – but why does excess sugar create this reaction? It all comes down to the gut – diets high in sugar can lead to changes to the gut bacteria, with research finding it can lower microbial diversity, thereby lowering immunity and increasing inflammation. Studies have found it causes higher levels of Proteobacteria, and this is an indicator of an unbalanced microbiome, known as dysbiosis.
“Your chronological age can be different to your cellular age, you can be 45 but your cellular age might be 60, or if you’re having low inflammatory diet and taking care of your stress and having lots of sleep then your cellular age could be 35. We’re able to tinker with them which is really cool.”
Get your omega 3s
“We know that that’s going to directly affect the inflammation’s effects on the skin cell membrane,” Asha said of omega 3.
We’ve got studies showing that these fats can reduce inflammation and improve our gut health, which then reduces the severity of skin issues and strengthens that skin barrier. Omega 3 also provides a boost in brain function and mood, both of which are affected by those same free radicals and inflammation that drive many of our skin concerns.
Movement and exercise
Asha says exercise “addresses all of the hallmarks of ageing,” and we’ve got the research to back her up. The search for healthier, breakout-free skin isn’t just about what you put on your skin or in your body – it’s also about getting moving! Following a stress-busting, circulation-pumping lifestyle is one of the best ways to have glowing skin, and while we often thing of exercise as an activity to maintain or lose weight, there is so much more that is can do for our bodies – including our skin. The effects include increased flow of blood to the skin, which improves the lymphatic flow, thereby draining out toxins and moving stagnated fluid through. This can reduce our chance of developing acne, wrinkles and puffiness. Though, it’s worth noting, some conditions may not receive the same benefits from exercise, with rosacea believed to be worsened. But this doesn’t mean you should avoid exercise! Simply lower the intensity – for instance, a gentle walk can get your blood flowing without sending your rosacea into overdrive.
Researchers looked into the difference between the skin of physically active people and those who live a more sedentary lifestyle, and what they found was that the skin was far stronger and healthier in those that kept moving. The study found that the dermis – this is the second layer of skin – was thicker in those who kept up their exercise, and we know that the thinning of the dermis is what causes wrinkles and sagging skin. Researchers believed that exercise may trigger the release of what’s known as IL-15 in the immune system, a protein which is believed to boost skin health. So, get those joggers on for the good of your skin – and your whole body!
One last tip from Asha is to try jumping into a sauna:
“We know that sauna activates the immune system,” Asha said in the podcast. “It lowers cortisol and we know that high cortisol ages skin.”
Keen for more exciting skin health content? If you haven’t already, check this exciting Unprocessed podcast episode, Healing Your Skin From the Inside Out, with our passionate guest speaker Asha Evertsz. This pioneering skin guru shares her experience dealing with acne and pigmentation issues and her journey to create a solution outside of the typical pharmacological recommendations. Check out the podcast to hear her discoveries.
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