ROOT CAUSE | Inflammation & Skin Health
Brace yourselves ladies (and possibly gentlemen), inflammation is a biggie. It’s a “Root Cause” for a reason. Chronic internal inflammation is thought to play a role in every major disease from cancer to heart disease to depression. Additionally, inflammation is a major contributor to numerous skin issues, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. There are typically two approaches to inflammation when it comes to skin conditions. The first is to address internal inflammation with the expectation that our skin will hopefully correct itself from the inside out. The second is to attack external inflammation through topical products hoping this will magically right the true cause of our skin issues (be it a blood sugar imbalance, hormonal imbalance, leaky gut, etc.)
Rarely are internal and external inflammation addressed together. And that’s a shame because they both matter. Moreover, addressing one but not the other is too simplistic. Acne, rosacea, melasma, psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema are all multi-faceted and require a thoughtful approach.
First, let’s talk about internal inflammation. What’s going on and why is it important? Inflammation is a natural bodily process that helps repair damaged tissue and trap foreign substances. If you bump your shin into the coffee table or get stung by a wasp, inflammation is a good thing. The problem is when inflammation becomes chronic and that normally healthy response turns bad. Smoking, obesity, heavy alcohol consumption, and chronic stress all cause chronic inflammation, as well as unaddressed food sensitivities and leaky gut. In fact, there is almost always a connection between leaky gut and inflammatory skin conditions.
Let’s do something about it, shall we?
(1) Tackle the dietary component by balancing your blood sugar, increasing your consumption of antioxidant-rich foods (e.g. plants), and reducing your intake of inflammatory foods (processed foods, conventionally raised meat, eggs, and dairy, gluten, sugar, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables).
(2) Address your gut health by incorporating probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods. Adjusting to a more anti-inflammatory diet as outlined above will go a long way towards mending your gut. Additionally, this is a great supplement for kick starting the process.
(3) Manage your stress.
(5) Reduce exposure to external toxins lurking in your cleaning, personal care, and other miscellaneous products you use on a daily basis.
That’s a lot to take in and might leave you feeling a bit discouraged and reaching for a topical “cure” instead. Remember to do what you can and keep in mind that all of your small changes will eventually build onto one another. Now back to that topical “cure.” There is a place for that too, except instead of a cure think of your topical products as a supplement. Sometimes the best way to address an issue is the most direct. This is certainly true when it comes to inflammation. Consider acne – new research is suggesting that inflammation plays a role throughout the entire life cycle of a pimple. Topical products are one of the most effective tools for delivering anti-inflammatories to the skin. Anti-inflammatory remedies can really help to modulate your skin’s tendency to overreact to stimuli.
In the next post, we’ll talk about some of my favorite topical products for inflammation! Stay tuned…