Skin health is on most people's radar because you see it every day. At least 28 million people in the United States have a skin issue. Eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis can make people feel self-conscious about exposing their problem areas for fear of being criticized or receiving bad comments. You've most likely heard the phrase about "feeling good in your skin." But why should someone feel obligated to hide themselves, especially in the heat of summer? Fortunately, if you have any kind of skin condition, there are certain things you can do to help your skin so that you may enjoy the summer months without having to hide it! When I think of skin health I automatically think of gut, mood, and stress. Take a look at these ideas for getting your troublesome skin ready for the summer!
If you don't drink enough water, you'll notice a change in your skin even if you don't have any skin problems. Make sure you drink at least half your body weight in ounces, of water every day (more in the summer) so that your skin (and whole body) can stay hydrated. Water helps your skin stay smooth and elastic by flushing toxins from your body that may be causing it to flare up more than usual.
Investing in a water bottle that can track your intake is a fantastic method to ensure that you're getting enough water. There are lots of bottles with time stamps on them so you can keep track of how much you're drinking. Some bottles have sophisticated technology that will illuminate when you need another sip and can even connect with your Fitbit to ensure you're getting enough water!
The food you eat can sometimes have a significant impact on your skin's condition. A simple dietary modification can often dramatically improve people's skin.
- Eliminating gluten can sometimes be a very effective strategy to help get clearer skin. This is especially true if you have a sensitivity or celiac disease. Some people aren't aware they have an intolerance until they eliminate it. Intolerances can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from unpleasant GI symptoms to troublesome skin, so talk to your dietitian to see if it's worth trialing a gluten-free diet.
- Dairy is another huge factor that contributes to skin problems. I personally believe everyone should reduce or eliminate dairy from their diet (for health, environmental, and animal welfare reasons), but more to the point, dairy is a pro-inflammatory food and comes up high on just about every food sensitivity panel that I run on clients.
- Go to nutritional counseling to learn more about which foods could improve your unique skin issues.
- Increase your consumption of vegetables and fruit, which are high in nutrients that aid in skin healing. Nightshade vegetables have been linked to the aggravation of skin diseases.
- If you're overweight, it's worth noting that some studies reveal that people who are overweight have higher rates of skin disorders. Weight loss may be a consideration but always talk to your dietitian.
- Smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages can irritate your skin.
Reduce and manage stress
Stress can aggravate your skin problems, and a flare-up can make you even more agitated, creating a vicious cycle. To alleviate stress, try the following methods:
- Meditate on a daily basis, or your version of a mindfulness practice. Meditation is only one example!
- Make a list of what's bugging you. When people have a lot on their minds, this strategy typically helps them sleep.
- Set boundaries in your work life.
- Eat a balanced diet. Eating the right foods helps to maintain the chemical equilibrium in your brain, which means you won't be as stressed.
My skin has always been reactive, sensitive, and transparently showing what I feel. I have come to respect my skin as a messenger of what is going on inside me. How cool is it that we can have a relationship with a body organ that lets you know when there is an internal imbalance? For me, it's my skin! If you incorporate these practices into your daily routine, you should see a significant change in your skin in no time.