To restore your skin’s natural radiance, the best place to start is your diet. As a nutritionist who specialises in skin regeneration, Alice Mackintosh explains ‘eating for good skin is all about ensuring that the skin is getting the nutrients it needs to renew and make healthy, resilient skin cells.’ Making a few small dietary adjustments can help to improve skin healing, balance hormonal activity to help prevent hormone-induced skin conditions, reduce inflammation and regulate digestive dysfunction. Our skin is often an outward manifestation of how well your body is functioning internally so, by beginning with nutrition you are working from the heart of the problem and laying the groundwork for beautifully healthy skin.
Start with Nutrition
For a clear complexion, Alice recommends zinc-rich foods (sunflower seeds, salmon, chicken) to help support collagen production and healing, vitamin A and C and protein.‘Variety is essential for all diets, and even foods we consider to be unhealthy, like butter or fatty red meat, can actually contain essential nutrients for the whole body, as well as the skin. The key thing is to not be afraid of fats as these are what can help make the skin plump, dewy and glowing.
Eating colourful, nutrient-rich meals affects the way the entire body functions, from our mental function, hormones, skin health, digestive health and of course of our weight. ‘If you get your nutrition right, you tend to have a better chance of looking and feeling your best, so it’s certainly worth prioritizing.’
This isn’t about ‘eating clean’ or being overly restrictive, but finding the right balance
With stress as a common cause of skin problems, Alice points out that psychological wellbeing is an important part of skincare. In order to counter the stresses of city living, taking time out to breathe, meditate and let the body heal is essential. In the following guide, Alice has shared her holistic approach to skincare including dietary advice and treatments.
A guide to Good Skin
by Alice Mackintosh
Start with a Healthy Gut
Often repeated by beauty experts, the ‘the skin is the mirror to your gut’. In order to achieve healthy, glowing skin we have to think about how it interacts with the rest of the body. Often we can trace a tired, uneven complexion back to imbalances in the gut micro-flora, weakening our immunity and making us more prone to inflammation and deficiencies. The skin relies on healthy digestion and hormone balance, so Alice recommends we include foods containing good bacteria such as organic yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchee or miso in our diet.
Gut Loving Saurkraut
from: The Happy Kitchen
Eating pickled or fermented foods helps to improve gut function, as they act as prebiotics. From 'The Happy Kitchen' cookbook, the full recipe can be found in our article 'Mood & Food'.
Try A Supplement
If you find your skin has lost the radiance that can be hard to achieve when life is busy and on the go, try topping up with a supplement providing your skin directly with all the bio-available nutrients it needs to rebuild cell health and efficiency. The best formulations for skin contain omega 3 and 6, nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, silica. Probiotic supplements are also really fantastic way to boost skin health, and hormonal support from schisandra and milk thistle can also help, especially alongside nutritious algae and grasses such as and wheatgrass and spirulina.
Tip: Good quality omega 3 fish oils and turmeric capsules help to support systemic inflammation and digestive health – both are particularly good for eczema and psoriasis.
Equi Beautiful is formulated to support every system in the body required to keep skin glowing: hormone balance, digestion, immunity, adrenal function and inflammation. With collagen and adaptogenic herbs that help to offset the negative effects of a modern stressful lifestyle, it is ideal for those wanting to keep a clear, bright complexion and for those suffering with conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, rosacea, dark circles or premature signs of ageing.
For more information on probiotic supplements read our interview with The Nue Co.
Prolonged problems and increased skin sensitivity can be a sign of systemic inflammation. In order to help balance the complexion, we should be aware that certain foods can make this worse, including sugar, fatty and processed meats, dairy and white carbohydrates. Alice also recommends people think about foods that help to prevent excessive inflammation, try including the following foods; colourful vegetables, ginger, garlic, green tea, almonds, tumeric, salmon, mackerel, sardines and oily fish.
‘Stress isn’t good for skin, but we all know how tricky it can be to stay stress free all the time. To anyone who sees their skin flare up when they are stressed I always recommend they take a time-out for 10 minutes each day to slow down and stay grounded. Try Headspace, Calm or similar apps to get into the habit.’
Use Epsom Salts
‘An old school pastime in Britain, Epsom salts have been added to baths as a restorative, healing tonic for hundreds of years. It may not seem like much, but bathing in these salts is a powerful way to support the whole body, promote normal detoxification and skin health. They are also deeply relaxing, and provide a great opportunity for meditation and a face masque.’
Sulpur is also one of the most important structural components in our skin and joints. Helping us to make collagen and naturally boosting MSM, bathing in salts can help improve skin’s integrity – making it more supple and resistant to aging. It also help the body excrete excessive oestrogen, helping to harmonize hormones in women and men, which can help to clear up skin.
Directions: Add 200 g (2-3 large handfuls) of the salts to hot water and soaking in the bath for 20-30 minutes, scrubbing the skin to promote circulation. Over the course of around a month, this can be built up to around 400-500 g, or more depending on your size. Stay in for a minimum is 20- minutes.