How nutrition can help treat skin conditions

The Red Tea Detox

The state of your skin can mirror your general well being, in response to accredited dietician Geraldine Georgeou.

We typically dismiss breakouts and rashes as insignificant, however, she says, adjustments within the skin can typically be the primary signal of an underlying well being problem.

“Just as the eyes are said to be the window to the soul,” she says in her new e-book, The Australian Healthy Skin Diet. “I consider your skin to be the window to your health.”

She likens the skin, the physique’s largest organ, to the layers of a cake. Each of the three predominant layers – the dermis, the dermis and subcutaneous fats – has its personal type and function to play. “It’s our barrier to the outside world,” she tells SBS Food.

Georgeou’s curiosity within the relationship between skin and nutrition sprang from years spent battling polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal problem that can influence skin and hair well being.

In The Australian Healthy Skin Diet, Georgeou gives meal plans and recipes to assist skin well being, with particular person sections dedicated to particular conditions together with psoriasis, dermatitis herpetiformis, eczema, and rosacea.

Her e-book will not be a diagnostic software, she stresses, however a information for readers who need to perceive doable connections between their skin and their eating regimen. 

The relationship between your skin and what you eat

Macronutrients like protein and wholesome fat play an integral function in skin well being, as do Vitamins A, C, B7, D and E, and minerals akin to calcium, iron and selenium.

Carbohydrates typically get a nasty rap in wellness circles, however Georgeou advises in opposition to reducing out this essential macronutrient that’s important for vitality. Not all carbohydrates are equal, she notes. If you need to minimize out carbs, it must be the refined selection that scores excessive on the glycaemic index, a sliding scale that displays the absorption of glucose within the bloodstream. 

Low-GI meals launch glucose into the bloodstream slowly, offering extra sustained vitality. High-GI carbohydrates break down shortly after digestion, which ends up in spikes in insulin within the blood that can contribute to hormone imbalances and irritation related to skin conditions akin to psoriasis.

“It’s our barrier to the outside world.”

High sugar consumption additionally disrupts the microbiome, the huge colonies of micro organism that populate our digestive tract. A destabilised microbiome can result in ‘dysbiosis’, a state of imbalance that causes irritation related to a raft of skin conditions. “By managing our diet so that it feeds the right balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, we are enabling a cascade of signals that supports healthy skin,” Georgeou writes.

Probiotics – stay micro organism consumed in meals or taken as a complement – can enhance intestine well being. “Different strains of probiotic can be used to target different skin conditions,” writes Georgeou. “L. acidophilus and bulgaricus are advisable for zits; rhamnosus for UV injury; reuteri, delbrueckii and salivarius for atopic dermatitis.”

Also contributing to a wholesome microbiome are prebiotics, a kind of non-digestible fibre present in starchy greens, fruit, legumes and entire grains. Prebiotic fibre ferments within the intestine, producing a short-chain fatty acid known as butyrate that reduces intestinal permeability and irritation. 


Should you go gluten-free?

When it involves skin well being, it is also essential to consider meals allergy symptoms and intolerances, that are on the rise in Australia. Georgeou notes that in Australia there was a 41 per cent rise in anaphylaxis reported between 2009 and 2014. While it is essential to pay attention to allergy symptoms, Georgeou advises in opposition to adopting a restrictive eating regimen that eliminates sure meals with out first in search of medical recommendation. Coeliac illness and non-coeliac gluten sensitivity are related to skin conditions akin to itching, hives, eczema advert psoriasis, however gluten have to be current within the physique for a analysis to be made.

Other triggers for skin conditions embody chemical substances that naturally happen in meals, akin to salicylates, amines (a by-product of fermentation present in chocolate, cheese, wine, beer and fish) and glutamate, which is commonly added to meals to boost pure flavours. 

When it involves eating regimen, Georgeou’s key message is stability. “It’s not about no carbs, it’s not about fasting, it’s not about Keto diets; it’s about understanding how to look after our whole health,” she says.


“We want to consume a good variety of fibres, so prebiotics, whole grains, low-GI carbohydrates, plant-based proteins, legumes and nuts; we want to make sure we’ve got lean protein, and we’ve got good fats – think olive oil.”

In addition, some folks may want additional immune assist, akin to particular probiotics. “With any skin condition, you need to be working with your medical team…Make sure you’re using the creams you’ve been given,” she says. “It’s got to be a multidisciplinary approach to manage your skin condition.”

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