First of all .... what is your largest organ? Your skin. Besides being your first line of defense, it can also give important clues to your overall health.
One out of three Americans are affected with skin conditions/disease at any given time. These can include acne, dermatitis, benign tumors, eczema, psoriasis, and cancers. Skin cancers are the most commonly U.S. cancer diagnosis.
Everyone wants to look good but not everyone has the same issues with skin. So, what are the top skin concerns?
- acne (this is the #! concern - no matter what the age everyone wants clear skin)
- aging skin (loss of elasticity, wrinkles)
- redness (sensitive and inflamed)
- sun damage
- dull (lack of oxygen or buildup of dead skin cells)
Healthy skin is a reflection of overall health and wellness. Observed changes are signals indicating there is a need to look "deeper than the skin" for imbalances in other areas as digestion, hormones, immune function, blood sugar, and inflammation.
What your largest organ reveals about you
- Dehydration - pinch your skin > if it doesn't go back to normal shape right away, you may be dehydrated
- Auto-immune condition - butterfly rash could indicate Lupus, eczema or rosacea
- Thyroid issue could be indicated by dry, coarse-looking skin
- Yellow pigmentation may indicate a liver disease
- Moles - changes in size and/or color could indicate cancer
- Food allergies/intolerances - can lead to conditions of acne and rosacea (dairy/gluten for example)
- Celiac - more than just an intolerance it causes damage to the small intestine and can cause rashes (Dermatitis Herpetiformis) ... I have had this and it is not fun. If the gut is inflamed it can not do it's job of getting rid of the toxins so your body tries to get rid of it another way. You can see a picture of one of my flares here. I am very happy to say I no longer experience this.
- Iron deficiency - paleness, dark circles under the eyes
- Eating too much sugar - collagen is decreased during the aging process, sugar damages collagen resulting in dull and saggy skin and worsening existing inflammation
- Stress - similar to sugar .... stress triggers inflammation triggering acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema flares
How to support your skin
- eat a healthy diet of whole, organic foods
- get plenty of rest
- stay hydrated - drinking lots of water does not mean your body is assimilating it .... get enough electrolytes
- use a good sunscreen
- use a non-toxic, gentle skin care product like this one for younger adults or this one for more mature skin
Your body begins to lose collagen at age 30. As mentioned, sugar damages collagen along with the sun, smoking, excess alcohol, inflammation and nutritional deficiencies due to poor diet or poor assimilation nutrients such as vitamins C, Biotin and Zinc. In everything, collagen is the glue that holds the body together. Dr. Oli Wenker compares it to a building with steel bars in between for structural support. Over time, the building starts to deteriorate just like the human body does.
Collagen in the body cannot be increased by topical application. It also, cannot be "naturally" derived from plants. Any plant collagen is produced by genetically modified yeast or bacteria.. The best form of collagen is "hydrolyzed" as this is broken down into smaller, easily digestible pieces and Type 1 marine collagen is the best for skin. There are all kinds of collagen available on the market. However, this is my favorite because it not only contains the best marine collagen, but it also contains other skin supporting ingredients like phyto-ceramides, Vit C, Biotin, Zinc, hyaluronic acid, vanilla (powerful antioxidants) and tapioca fiber (prebiotic to support the gut/skin connection).
Find more information on the different kinds of sunscreens, electrolytes, and hydration here.