Holistic Skin Considerations, by Geelong Naturopath Jade Williams
May 27, 20213 min read
Everybody wants to feel at peace with their skin, free of dryness, oil, acne and inflammation. Often our skin manifestations are a good indication of what's going on inside and can tell us a lot from just the outer appearance.
When we set out to achieve good skin health, we must look at it with a multifactorial approach. If you have experienced skin troubles that have been over a monthly or yearly basis, and you've tried every trick in the book, it is crucial to go further than just skin deep. An excellent place to start is beginning to become aware of the pattern of your skin symptoms and some other associated symptoms that may arise.
Common underlying factors I see in practice as a Naturopath include:
— Hormonal imbalances?
Acne, the minor blemishes, the ones that typically form around the chin, cheeks and jawline, may develop as cysts, whiteheads or blackheads.
Androgens are hormones that include testosterone and can drive hormonal acne because of their ability to increase the skin's sebum. High androgens are dysfunctional in PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), causing typical signs such as abnormal hair growth, acne, hair loss and irregular cycles. Treating this varies from person to person and usually involves addressing blood sugar imbalances, inflammation, and stress.
Estrogen dominance is another hormonal driver. Particularly in the premenstrual days leading up to a menstruation, estrogen may be abnormally high and again contribute to sebum production at the skin's surface, resulting in acne blemishes.
If you notice signs of high androgens or skin changes at certain times of the month, getting a basic hormonal test is an excellent place to start.
— Sluggish liver?
Using over the counter skin, cleaning and other household products over time can put pressure on our detoxification pathways. Most products at The Natural Supply Co are free from a range of harmful chemicals such as diethanolamine, SLS and parabens. As well as altering the pH and irritation to the skins ouster surface, these chemicals can also disrupt internal mechanisms in a couple of ways. Firstly they can act like endocrine disrupters' mocking' our natural hormones and interfere with our biological, hormonal systems. Secondly, they can become built up in the body, putting pressure on our organs responsible for filtering them out, exiting through the skin, presenting as breakouts or inflammation.
*To read more about the many toxic chemicals to avoid in skincare products, head over to this post.
— Leaky gut/inflammation?
Gut health is a significant factor when it comes to skin health. Many lifestyle, environmental and dietary factors such as intake of sugar, preservatives, alcohol, nutritional intolerances, dysbiosis, certain medications and environmental chemical exposure wear down and irritate the gut lining. Over time, this can result in a phenomenon known as leaky gut. What does this have to do with skin health? If left untreated, microbes and other particles can penetrate the gut wall, activate an immune/inflammatory response, and even travel to the skin surface.
The key here is to identify your triggers, remove and heal if necessary.
Other underlying dysfunctions that I see in practice affecting skin health include psychological stressors, skin hygiene, diet, insulin resistance and more. Treatment is specific person to person, and a one size fits all approach doesn't apply.
Jade is a Geelong Naturopath working out of The Sana Co Naturopathic clinic in Geelong West. Her specialty is women's health, and she loves helping her clients achieve hormonal harmony. She offers Naturopathic consultations face-to-face and online.
Ju, Q., Tao, T., Hu, T., Karadağ, A. S., Al-Khuzaei, S., & Chen, W. (2017). Sex hormones and acne. Clinics in Dermatology, 35(2), 130–137. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2016.10.004
Kucińska M, Murias M. Kosmetyki jako źródło narazenia na ksenoestrogeny [Cosmetics as source of xenoestrogens exposure]. Przegl Lek. 2013;70(8):647-51. Polish. PMID: 24466711
O'Neill, C. A., Monteleone, G., McLaughlin, J. T., & Paus, R. (2016). The gut-skin axis in health and disease: A paradigm with therapeutic implications. BioEssays, 38(11), 1167–1176. doi:10.1002/bies.201600008