Bye-Bye Blemishes... It's Time to Feel Good In Your Skin!

July 2024 | Dr. Madelein Shafferman

Healthy Skin

Your skin is a reflection of your overall health! Changes in the integrity of your skin barrier or gut microbiome, disruptions to the skin microbiome, exposures to allergens or environmental factors, chronic bacterial or fungal infections, as well as your genetic makeup can contribute to the development of eczema, acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. 

It’s not just about what you put on your skin — it’s also about how you take care of your body! Let’s dive into the external and internal factors that can shape your skin’s foundation.

What Is the Skin-Barrier?

The skin barrier is structured like a brick wall, made up of skin cells, lipids, proteins, and fats. It’s your body’s first line of defense, protecting the skin’s microbiome from allergens, harmful microorganisms, pollutants and other environmental factors such as soaps, cosmetics, antibiotics, temperature, humidity, and UV exposure.

Keeping your skin hydrated helps to fortify your skin barrier and foster a healthy skin environment. Chronic dehydration (especially in PCOS women) has been shown to increase inflammation and acne. Drinking at least half your body weight in ounces can help to combat acne breakouts and improve the skin barrier! Additionally, using moisturizers can keep the skin hydrated, reduce trans-epidermal water loss, and maintain a smooth and healthy complexion.

Personal Care Products

Your Skincare and Personal Care Products Matter

Not all skincare products are created equally. Women put on an average of 150 chemicals on their body, every day! What we put on our skin will find its way into our bloodstream, potentially affecting our endocrine function! We want to make sure that the products we use are safe for our skin and bodies. This means diligently avoiding endocrine disruptors, which can impact everything from our hormones to gut health to skin health.

The EWG Skin Deep database has extensively researched and compiled a list of products that are EWG verified. These personal care products are upheld to the strictest standards for health, avoiding ingredients of concern, are partnered with companies that provide full transparency about their products and process, and are backed by science, so you aren’t jeopardizing your health or wasting money on gunk. If you’re unsure about the skincare or personal care products you use, I highly recommend checking out their Skin Deep database, or downloading their free EWG Healthy Living App!

Acne Breakout

The Domino Effect of Stress

Stress sets off a chain reaction that can worsen skin issues like rosacea, eczema, and redness. It affects not just your skin, but also your hormones, immune response, sleep quality, and mental health! Elevated cortisol levels can increase and thicken sebum production, leading to clogged pores, oily skin, and acne breakouts. Additionally, high cortisol can reduce your skin’s elasticity, making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable.

The effects of stress don’t stop there; it can be exacerbated by hormonal and thyroid imbalances. Low progesterone and testosterone (or high testosterone in women with PCOS) can boost sebum production, paving the way for breakouts. Changes in thyroid function can manifest as dry, lackluster skin. Stress can also weaken the body’s immune response and disrupt the gut microbiome. This can trigger the release of inflammatory neurotransmitters, increasing skin reactivity and sensitivity.

So, How Can We Break The Cycle?

Getting to the root of underlying imbalances is the best place to start. By addressing these, we can recover your skin’s health, reclaim your vibrant complexion, and get the rest of your health on track. Incorporating stress management techniques like regular exercise, mindfulness, meditation, and sleep is essential! These practices can help regulate cortisol levels, optimize hormone function, and stimulate collagen production, leading to healthier, more resilient skin.

Skin and Gut are Connected

Your Skin Has It’s Own Microbiome

Similar to the gut microbiome, your skin has its own delicate balance of microorganisms. Disruptions in the skin’s microbiome can lead to conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. For example, Cutibacterium acnes is an acne-causing pathogen present in the skin’s microbiome throughout adolescence and adulthood. New studies have also found that individuals with psoriasis have a different skin microbiome than that of healthy people.

Changes in our diet, gut microbiome, and immune response can directly impact the skin. When we have an overabundance of ‘bad’ bacteria in our GI tract, that can increase inflammation and leaky gut, compromising our immune system. If dysbiosis is left untreated, it can lead to chronic conditions including IBS, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and inflammatory skin conditions like eczema. While using antibiotics and topical steroid creams can be helpful in some instances, it can drastically affect the balance of our gut and skin microbiomes.

Looking and Feeling Your Best Is Connected!

Occasional pimple parties are not always a cause for concern. But pay attention to the changes in your skin — they often mirror what’s going on internally! If you’re constantly fighting battles with acne or experiencing eczema flare-ups, let’s put our detective hats on and follow these clues back to the source.

At ISAIH Natural Medicine, we focus on uncovering the root cause of your concerns. Hormonal imbalances, dietary changes, stress, and even the personal care products you use are key factors we can investigate and improve! You deserve to feel great in your skin — and in your overall health! Take the first step to looking and feeling your best by scheduling an appointment with our team.