Hemp. Herbs. Health.

The What, The Why, The How.


More Than Just Skin Deep

You are what you eat right? And nothing could be more true for skin health. Often skin conditions are a reflection of what is happening inside your body.

Some of you may already be well aware that the food you put in your mouth can cause your skin to become dry, irritated, and eczema prone. And some of you may not. But it's happening, and if you don't believe me, I have a simple task for you. But first, I want to explain what I mean.

When you eat, your food gets broken down to its simplest components of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Depending on what you're eating there may also be additives, which are chemically developed to help make food taste and look better, and keep for longer. Once broken down these simple molecules get absorbed across from the gut into the bloodstream, and carried around the body to where they are utilised as building blocks to keep us alive. If they happen to be a molecule your body cannot utilise, it will recognise it as a foreign particle and do one of two things - 1) put it into a process to eliminate it, or 2) initiate an immune response to attack it. Which of these two things happens can be different for each individual.

Generally speaking, your body should be able to move foreign, unuseful molecules straight into detoxification pathways and eliminate them. However, if your detoxification pathways are already saturated these molecules remain in circulation and get flagged by your immune cells. The other thing that can happen is that your gut may be absorbing larger molecules than it should be, which will also be flagged by your immune cells as foreign molecules. Both of these circumstances initiate an immune response which can present in a number of ways. It may mean you feel 'foggy', fatigued, get hay fever like symptoms, or a skin reaction.

It can be hard to make the connection at times, especially when symptoms can be non-specific, and in the case of skin reactions, appear anywhere on the body. So how do you know if the food that you rare putting into your mouth is contributing to the skin reactions you are experiencing?

Here is the task - keep a symptom food diary. What exactly is this I hear you ask? A symptom food diary is a day by day documentation of what you are eating and a description of your symptoms. In the case of skin irritation, document where the irritation is happening, how large the area is, and how severe, say on a scale of 1 to 10. Keep a note of what you eat that day, including all snacks and drinks. After some time you may start to see a pattern. At times it is obvious, at others, it can take some detective work. But you may just start to see that the time you consume certain foods or drinks correlate to the times you get an aggravation of skin irritation. Once you have seen this, the next step is clear - eliminate these things from your diet, and continue to monitor your symptoms.

There are of course underlying factors that need to be addressed, such as correcting the overloaded detoxification pathways, and improving the gut function to stop the passage of large molecules into the blood stream. However identifying and eliminating aggravating foods is a great starting point to taking control of your skin health.

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