Skin Issues: The Mirror of Internal Health

Updated: Jan 17

Do you suffer from unwanted blemishes, psoriasis, eczema, hives or other skin concerns? Have you considered that you may be going the wrong way about improving the health of your skin? Let me guess- you’ve gone to your nearest drug store and bought a topical cream (most likely full of toxins and harmful chemicals) or your doctor has prescribed you a steroid cream? You’ve probably seen none to minimal improvement but can’t seem to now get off the creams physically or emotionally?  

Let’s talk about the three real pillars of optimal and permanent skin health.

Cleaning Up the Diet:

Hidden food sensitivities, leaky gut, processed sugars and foods, poor levels of healthy fats will all contribute to poor skin health. Work with a functional medicine nutritionist to uncover food sensitivities and poor diet choices with an elimination diet and gut-healing program.

Hormone dysregulation can without a doubt trigger skin problems as well. Work with your physician and nutritionist to get to the root cause and begin stabilizing your hormones.

Top food triggers for skin problems: sugar, dairy, gluten, corn and eggs

Sugar is pro-inflammatory and increases insulin, which can increase androgen activity, leading to more acne breakouts.

Dairy is pro-inflammatory and has the same effect as sugar on the body. Skim milk has been shown to be particularly poor for skin health as there is less fat to balance out the insulin spike.

Skin Health Supplements:

Probiotics- both orally and there is research behind topical probiotics for acne and skin health

Fish Oil to reduce inflammation and increase healthy fat levels

Multivitamin to eliminate micronutrient deficiencies as a cause of problematic skin

L-glutamine to support healing and health of your gut lining, especially for those battling leaky gut

Vitamin D has been shown to improve skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis

Learn more at [].

Stress reducing supplements- stress has been shown to exacerbate skin problems as well.

My skin story- I suffered with chronic urticaria (hives) for over a year. It was extremely uncomfortable and significantly affecting my daily living. I tried everything from avoiding clothing items, healing my gut, eliminating foods, ensuring my detergents and lotions were clean to applying every cream I could find at the drug store and had minimal improvement. It wasn’t until I started a regimen of anxiety reducing supplements and took up yoga and 5-7-8 breathing that my urticaria subsided. Stress can and will wildly affect your body so do not rule this out. I used Relax Max by Xymogen before work and before bed or l-theanine during the day.

Skin Care Regimens:

What goes on the skin is just as important as what you eat, drink and breathe! Harmful ingredients in the make up, body products, shampoos, soap, etc. can be absorbed through the skin and wind up circulating in the body. Many of these can be obesogens, endocrine disrupters or disease promoting agents. So my advice to you is to research some natural body care brands and pick 1 or 2 you want to start to replace today. Eventually this will become priority to you and you will reap the benefits and sooner than later the majority of your skin-care line will be clean and natural! I personally love Dr. Hauschka’s and Rad Soap Co. but there is an abundance of natural lines out there for you to choose from! Look up your products on Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep [] to see the rating and ingredients of products.

Katie Morra MS, RD, LDN, IFMCP is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner and Registered Dietitian specializing in gut health, the microbiome, and nutrition. Her functional medicine nutrition practice is based in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.

Katie focuses on the root causes of inflammation, autoimmune disease, irritable bowel syndrome, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, candida overgrowth, food sensitivities and leaky gut, amongst other chronic disease states.​

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