SKIN | Digestive health

What a better time for us to begin the discussion on our third category of health, gut imbalance, then right before the holiday festivities really start. All aspects of health we know start in the gut so this can definitely show up in the skin and determine even the most minuscule dietary imbalance. You may be wondering why we don’t start our SFT workshops by diving into the digestive system first? We believe that it’s important to understand other systems because the digestive system is regulated by the nervous system, endocrine system, and also itself which makes it not only complex but a great place to root every condition back too.  

When we think of our gut health it can be really frustrating to navigate all of the diet suggestions and trendy superfoods to try but like all other SFT categories, we want you to be able to use your skin as a guide towards developing your best intuitive health practices. After all the phrase “listen to your gut” wasn’t speaking to just intuition or digestion, it is speaking to both. Our digestive system has an entire nervous system of its own called the enteric nervous that communicates to our brain with its millions of neurons along the GI tract (that includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine). The neurotransmitters communicate when we need to digest by promoting digestive aid, allowing digestion systems to work together, and also controlling the muscle functions in digestion. This process is very important because the neurons from this system are also able to carry out responses without input from our central nervous system. This basically means that the nervous system of the gut can carry on and communicate it’s own actions to the brain and vice versa.

So what does this have to do with the skin? Well, the skin is part of our detoxification system so if we are experiencing issues with the digestive, nervous, or endocrine systems, it will show up by process of elimination. For example, if you start to overproduce mucus pockets (hard white oil pockets) along your cheeks just under the cheekbones, this is an indicator that you may have a slight allergy to a food as you are no longer able to break it down. Therefore your sinus cavity starts to line up with mucus to protect you from infection. Unfortunately, it pulls out on the skin if it's happened for an extended period of time and can easily be mistaken for acne. 

Part of the communication through our skin can help us determine a lot of imbalances much faster if we think of all of our systems working together as a whole. Nothing is disconnected here. Another area that we consider to be a great place to look at for digestive imbalance is the forehead. With so many people disconnecting themselves from that function by eliminating mobility, they could be missing out on key GI functions. Something as simple as an excess of sugar can change the undertones in your skin by creating a pink or red effect. Looking for little clues are essential so we encourage you to do the following when trying to connect the dots.

1 - Keep a food journal. We understand that this suggestion can seem a little daunting at first but the intention is not meant to shame you on what you are eating. The intention is to help you catalog symptoms that are both physical and emotional. Since the nervous systems communicate from the gut to the brain it can actually help you narrow down some symptoms like brain fog, rosacea flares, and painful cysts. The food journaling will help you narrow down more options that work for you so you don’t have to fixate on what doesn’t. The correlation leads us to our next suggestion.

2 - Implement stress reducing self-care practices. The less you stress, the better your systems work as a whole. Your skin will flush, itch, sting, etc. if you don’t calm the nervous system and in doing so you could actually improve your digestive process. We are going to dive into a few more options on how to do this in the upcoming weeks but to start we want you to focus on taking some shame away. Many of the correlating emotions to our digestion include sadness and anxiety so it’s crucial to take care of yourself emotionally as well. If we lived in a perfect world where harvesting our own food organically could be the easiest way to eat, then we wouldn’t have much to worry about. The truth is that our modern world, most of our food sourcing is a little confusing so just do your best.

3 - Keep your skin care simple! When dealing with the gut, our skin responds anywhere from super quick to very slowly so try to treat your skin with the most gentle, simple care. If you make too many changes you may end up compromising the outcome of change in diet. For example, if your skin is responding negatively to a food but you are treating it like acne, you may not give your skin the chance to calm itself as well as be avoiding the real issue in the first place. Keep it simple and know that a lot can change on the skin as you make dietary improvements. It’s part of the process and the end outcome will result in healthier skin if you’re patient.

Going through the process of digestion will continue next week with more insights on how nutrients are broken down and absorbed. This will help you fine-tune the intuitive markers you need to feel best in your digestion. Comment below with any questions and we look forward to continuing the conversation next week.