Understanding Your Results & Your Skin

Digestive System Is Your High Score

If your digestive system scored the highest, it is possible that even if you are eating the healthiest foods in the world, your skin is not getting the nutrients it needs to glow and be acne free. Every cell in your body, including your skin cells, needs good nutrition to function properly. So focusing on strategies to ensure you are achieving complete digestion of the foods you are eating is going to help feed and nourish your skin from the inside out.

Your digestive system also serves as a barrier to pathogens from the outside world. In a healthy body, there are mechanisms in place to protect “invaders” from entering your bloodstream and launching an immune response. However, if digestion is impaired, you are more vulnerable to the bacteria, germs or even foods you are allergic or sensitive to breaking past these barriers and causing problems, which can manifest in the skin.

And because we are interested in a holistic approach to healing (right?), it’s important to recognize that optimal digestion affects every other system. For example, the foods you eat can help build your hormones and prevent hormonal imbalances, it can cause or calm inflammation in the skin and internally, and the wrong foods, or undigested foods can feed bad bacteria, causing breakouts.

Liver is Your High Score

The liver is one of the main blood purifiers in the body. As the blood delivers both nutrients and toxins to your skin cells, you want your liver to be working optimally so that it’s feeding your skin cells nutrients, and not toxins. Your liver processes everything, from medications, pesticides and additives in poor quality foods, to chemicals in body care products. Overwhelming the liver with poor dietary choices and exposure to too many environmental chemicals, can cause skin to quickly become congested and inflamed, resulting in acne, eczema and hormonal imbalances.

Your liver also produces bile, which is essential for detoxification, and for helping your body digest and utilize dietary fats. If your liver is out of balance, and bile production is impaired, you may experience symptoms such as constipation, nausea when eating fats, and hormonal imbalances, as fats are an important hormone building block.

Intestinal System is Your High Score

The health of your gut determines the health of your entire body, including your skin. If you have any problems with your skin, it’s safe to assume that you could benefit from supporting and healing your gut. Processed foods, excessive sugars, stress (including emotional stress) can cause physical damage to your gut lining and cause an imbalance in the good and bad bacteria of your intestinal environment.

When the “bad bacteria” start to outnumber the “good bacteria” it can cause cracks in the healthy foundation of your gut lining, or what’s known as “leaky gut”. This can impair your body’s ability to absorb and utilize nutrients and feed your skin. It can also allow for undigested food to pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream, which launches an immune response causing extreme inflammation, allergic reactions, and autoimmunity, all of which can manifest in the skin as acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. An overpopulation of bad bacteria produce toxic byproducts of their metabolism, which can manifest as acne in the skin, especially if you have an overwhelmed liver.

Endocrine System & Hormones is Your High Score

When it comes to skin, the hormones most often talked about are reproductive hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and androgens. However, hormones in the body do not work in isolation, and other hormones such as cortisol and insulin can play a large part in the health of your skin.

In fact, all of your hormones are on a constant feedback loop with one another, and all of them need to be working optimally for you to feel your best. When one hormone starts to become slightly out of balance, your body may begin to overproduce other hormones, or actually convert existing hormones into new ones to compensate and adapt to situations. For example, stress can lower progesterone as the body may “steal” it and convert it to cortisol to deal with stressful situations.

Estrogen dominance is one of the most common causes of hormonal acne. It can also affect androgens in the body, increasing sebum, or oil, production in the skin and leading to breakouts. There are a number of ways in which the body may become estrogen dominant, such as:

  • High blood sugar can raise estrogen and testosterone, which can lead to even more estrogen being created in excess fat cells.
  • A compromised gut can cause your body to reabsorb hormones intended for elimination in your poop.
  • A sluggish or congested liver can impair proper metabolism of hormones.
  • Poor digestion can lead to a deficiency in the essential nutrients required to make hormones, causing an imbalance.
  • Exposure to synthetic environmental endocrine disruptors called xenoestrogens, found in pesticides, chemicals, plastics, etc, can mimic estrogen in the body and cause an imbalance.

Addressing hormonal acne takes having an understanding of all body systems. Often an imbalance in another part of the body will have an effect on acne. Nothing in the body works in isolation, so having a holistic approach is key!

Immune System & Inflammation is Your High Score

If you find that you are always getting sick, have recurrent bladder infections, or feel like you’re allergic to everything, then you likely have a weakened immune system. An imbalance with your immune system is intrinsically connected to an imbalance in your gut. It is now believed that 80% of your immune system stems from the bacterial environment that exists in your intestinal tract. So if you suffer from acne or other skin problems due to allergies, I always recommend first addressing healing the gut.

The second component of correcting the immune system is addressing inflammation in the body. This is done in part by using holistic strategies to heal and seal the gut lining, but it also requires a focus on eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and including a number of alkalinizing foods to reduce acidity in the body.

What does it mean when you have two high scoring systems?

As I mentioned a number of times in the above system descriptions, no body system works in isolation in the body. It is very common for more than one system to be out of balance, and it often means that the imbalance of one system has started to skew the balance in another system as your incredibly smart body strives to compensate.

The key is first to understand which body systems need to be addressed first so that you can focus your healing strategies and stop wasting your time, money and energy guessing.

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