If you have skin issues, you might think you have bad luck or that it’s just something you need to deal with. However, your skin is actually a magic mirror that reveals important clues about your internal health.
I’ve spent years investigating the causes of skin issues. And what I’ve discovered with my clients is that more often than not, there are root causes of these skin issues.
Identifying the underlying causes of imperfect skin makes it much easier for you to make a plan that is centered on clearing and strengthening your skin. Some root causes are of course related to genetics – but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck. With a healthy diet, exercise, and lifestyle, you can point your health in the right direction.
So, what are the six root causes of skin issues? Let’s explore them together and learn about how they are all connected.
Inflammation is a big root cause of skin issues. Internal inflammation causes what I call “skinflammation.” This means internal inflammation shows up on the skin, and it may look like:
- Scaly skin
- Itching, burning, or stinging
- Red, warm skin
- Blisters or pimples
- Cracked, bleeding areas of the skin
- Thickening of the skin
It’s important to address inflammation because it is a vital part of the immune system’s response to injury or infection. When the body is inflamed, it’s a sign that something is not functioning properly. Inflammation tells the immune system to repair damage, and sometimes this signal is in the form of skin inflammation.
Inflammation can be triggered by foods, toxins, gut imbalances, and much more. One of the easiest ways to address skin inflammation is by eliminating specific foods from your diet. Two of the top trigger foods are sugar and dairy. Find your other trigger foods and avoid them. Then, eat anti-inflammatory foods like wild Alaskan salmon, avocados, and antioxidant-rich foods.
You may need to work with a functional medicine or naturopathic doctor to discover your trigger foods.
Topical ingredients can also play a role in skin inflammation. Use skin care with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as teas, and use oils like sea buckthorn fruit oil, which is high in Vitamin C. Our RENEW: Revitalizing Cream is made with a green, black and white tea blend to restore your skin and protects against oxidative damage.
#2 Microbiome disturbance
The second root cause of skin issues is microbiome disturbance. Microbiome disturbance happens internally in the gut, as well as externally on the skin. The gut microbiome directly impacts the skin microbiome. To restore the integrity of the microbiome, it is important to improve digestion, overall gut health, and the balance of the good bacteria that live in and protect your digestive system.
Eating probiotic-rich foods and prebiotic-rich foods is one way to improve the gut microbiome. Probiotic-rich foods include fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut yogurt, and fermented coconut kefir.
Prebiotic-rich foods will help you increase and improve the number of probiotics in your system.
To help your skin microbiome topically, make sure you’re using skincare products with mild acidity in the 4.5 to 5 pH range, such as The Daily Essentials Skin Care System. We designed the products to be in that mildly acidic range, so it helps support the pH of the skin and improves the skin microbiome. You also want to be avoiding topical products that contain ingredients and toxins that can disrupt the skin microbiome. If you don’t know what pH level your skin care products are, contact the manufacturer and find out.
#3 Oxidative damage
The third root cause of skin issues is oxidative damage. Oxidative damage can occur from too much sun exposure and cause the skin to age quickly.
Hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone are signs of oxidative damage on the skin.
Although oxidative damage usually occurs from sun exposure, it also happens from exposure to toxins, such as air pollution. Free radical damage speeds up the aging process, so it’s important to reduce toxins in our environment.
Protecting your skin on the outside can help reduce oxidative damage. Use a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide instead of chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone. Avoid chemical sunscreens because many of those have been connected to hormone-disrupting effects, so choose a zinc oxide-based sunscreen. Eating antioxidant-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables can help promote skin health and reduce oxidative damage. You can also increase your intake of antioxidants with supplements. For example, Astaxanthin + Omega Krill has powerful antioxidant properties to support skin health. *
#4 Blood sugar issues
The fourth root cause of skin issues is blood sugar issues. When we eat foods that are high in sugar or foods that turn into sugar, it increases our blood sugar levels. This causes glycation, which speeds up the aging process. Glucose will bind to proteins in the body and then bind to collagen in our skin. Instead of collagen having that nice, firm texture that gives us a youthful look, it becomes less elastic. The results are wrinkles, sagging skin, and premature aging.
Also, when our blood sugar is off-balance, it can predispose us to other skin issues.
Having multiple skin tags is oftentimes a sign of blood sugar imbalances. Also, blood sugar increases from eating a lot of sugar, insulin increases, and that can trigger excess sebum production. This series of events may trigger acne, the most common skin condition.
Blood sugar issues are complicated and highly personal. Eating a balanced diet, cutting back on sugar, and eating more balanced meals can help. Fruit naturally contains sugar – so make sure you eat it in moderation. Eat balanced meals with protein, fats, vegetables, and other fibers. You can also click here to discover 8 smoothie recipes for glowing skin.
#5 Nutritional deficiencies
The fifth root cause of skin issues is nutritional deficiencies. This is a very common trigger of skin issues. For example, in a common condition called keratosis pilaris, many people don’t realize that there’s a nutritional component of this. It usually shows up as the little bumps on the backs of the arms and the upper arms. People usually think it’s dry skin or little pimples, but it’s usually due to a zinc deficiency or essential fatty acid deficiency. Either you’re not getting enough of those foods in your diet, or your digestion is not allowing you to absorb these nutrients.
If your digestion is not balanced, you’re not going to absorb the nutrients properly, which leads to nutritional deficiencies.
Sometimes I have clients that say, “Yes, but I take these supplements and I eat these great foods and I still have this skin issue.” Then when I look closely, they’re not digesting and absorbing the nutrients from the foods they’re eating.
On the outside, a lot of the common prescriptions for skin issues are topical steroids. However, it’s important to use nutrients that actually can nourish your skin on the outside, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Sea buckthorn fruit oil has both of those nutrients, so you can get them as they’re found in nature. And it’s one of the key ingredients in our RENEW: Revitalizing Cream and Renewing Scrub.
#6 Hormonal Imbalances
The sixth root cause of skin issues is hormonal imbalances. This is a very common root cause of imperfections. Before you think “hormones don’t relate to me,” consider this. Hormones are not just sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. It also includes your adrenal hormones, which are impacted by stress in your life. This can impact your skin. For example, if you have cortisol imbalances and you tend to have spikes in cortisol (the stress hormone), that can trigger inflammation and cause your skin problems to worsen.
The thyroid is also involved with your hormones. If you have low thyroid function, you could have dry skin. Furthermore, insulin is another hormone to be aware of. Insulin is related to blood sugar balance, metabolism, weight, and more – and all of that plays a role in hormonal balance and your skin health.
Stress management is a great place to start working on hormonal imbalances.
Figuring out a practice that works for you, whether it’s meditation, breathwork, yoga, forgiveness exercises, journaling – all of these can be very helpful in helping balance your hormones and reducing stress.
Choosing clean skin care products is important to balance your hormones. Many personal care products contain hormone-disrupting chemicals. They’re in fragrance, parabens, and so many other personal care products. As you get older, I know it’s tempting to use more and more products that have these hormone-disrupting chemicals in them. However, your hormones are already changing with age. Use clean, non-toxic ingredients in your skin care and body care products as much as you can.
It’s important to remember that it is perfectly okay to have skin imperfections. Being able to see pores, fine lines, and other signs of age is normal! It’s when these are exacerbated or more pronounced that they might be hinting at something else going on below the surface. If your magic mirror is leaving clues, it is important to talk to a healthcare practitioner about it when you’re concerned.