Suffer from bad skin? It’s often a case of something awry on the inside of your body, together with bacteria that sits on top of your skin. Once you fix up the problems internally and take care of the bacteria externally, you’ll get better results than if you just treat it topically, which is usually everyone's first instinct.
Here’s what to avoid for the clearest skin, from naturopath of 20 years and founder of Ovvio Organics, Anthia Koullouros
Sugar is a problem because it breaks down collagen, the stuff that build your skin up and makes it strong, not saggy. As you get older, collagen breaks down quicker anyway - there’s no need to speed up this process by overeating sugar. "Digested sugar binds to collagen which is a process called glycation,"says Anthia. The trick is to try and avoid glycation for more plump skin.
"Sugar also creates a weakened immune system which is less able to fight off bacteria. Bacteria stuck in pores causes pimples. Sugar also sets off insulin production, which can affect the production of proteins and amino acids that build collagen," she says.
So eating less sugar will give you smoother, firmer, stronger skin that is more resistant to acne and premature aging. Basically, try not to overdo the cupcakes.
"These foods are usually nutrient devoid," says Anthia.
This is a term Anthia uses a lot, she likes everything to be packed with nutrients ‘cause if you eat lots of things without nutrients, you’re basically missing out on all the amazing nutrients you COULD be eating, if you weren’t eating Doritos. "And also," she clarifies, "there’s all those ingredients they add in the processing which aren’t good for you either, like vegetable oils, preservatives, sugar etc."
Because it’s dehydrating. "A glass a day of red wine which is rich in antioxidants is fine," says Anthia, "it’s when you have more than that that it negates the effect. Also avoid soft drinks and cordials especially mixed with alcohol because of the high sugar content."
When you drink too much alcohol, your skin can be the first to suffer because your body will always deliver any much needed hydration/nutrients to the vital organs first, with the leftover going to less vital body parts like your skin, hair and nails. That's why drinking lots of water is good for the skin.
This is often called out as the culprit when it comes to acne issues. And for some people it can be problematic, but Anthia says it’s a matter of trying to cut it out and seeing what works for you.
There was a mass study done on women which showed the link between milk intake and acne, but she says "don’t expect one thing to work for everyone. You might be totally fine with it. If you want to try it, start by cutting all dairy out, and then once your symptoms start improving you can reintroduce things one at a time - for example, cheese or yoghurt. The study was done on milk only, not yoghurt, butter or cheese. You might be fine with those.
Anything that disrupts your gut microbiome
So this is where you really have to analyse your diet and figure out what you're eating that's causing disruption to your gut. It could be the aspartame in your daily Diet Cokes. It could be the antibiotics you've taken routinely throughout the year. It could be all the sugar/alcohol you're consuming which feeds candida which eats into your microbiome. It could be the preservatives in your biscuits and chocolate and chips. One of the best things to do is take a good probiotic supplements for a long time if you think you've got unbalanced gut flora.
"Anything that affects your gut biome and causes constipation or diarrhea - an imbalanced gut biome can lead to a leaky gut and can trigger an immune response in the skin like acne and eczema," say Anthia.
Photo: @namvo Instagram who is major skin goals.