#30 Creating Healthy Skin - Food, Supplements, Oils & Lifestyle Tips
The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast
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In Episode 30 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss how to get healthy glowing skin by reducing inflammation and reducing your lifestyle stress.
- Gut skin connection
- Diet recommendations for healthy skin
- The role of smart supplementation. Which ones and why
- Essential oils for great skin
- Lifestyle hacks to help improve skin health
- Lots more 🙂
Natalie K. Douglas 0:01
Hello and welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. My name is Natalie Bourke, Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist from HealthByWholeFoods.com.au and with me as always, I have Kate Callaghan, the Holistic Nutritionist from TheHolisticNutritionist.com. Kate, how are you going?
Kate Callaghan 0:18
I’m really good. Thanks, Nat. How are you?
Natalie K. Douglas 0:22
I’m pretty good. How’s your morning been?
Kate Callaghan 0:24
It’s been good. I’m looking after children. And I had a client just before so I’m back from maternity leave and seeing clients, which is fun, using my brain again.
Natalie K. Douglas 0:36
Excellent. That’s why, we’re like, opposite. I’m like starting to, to like wined down. Like as it comes closer to Christmas, which is actually kind of nice. I found myself with like, spare time the other day. And I was like, oh, what do I do with this? This is cool.
Kate Callaghan 0:50
And what did you do?
Natalie K. Douglas 0:52
Sat there appreciating that I had spare time.
Natalie K. Douglas
And then it was time to do something you can’t and I was like, oh.
Kate Callaghan 0:56
The reason why I asked is because I was, I’ve been reading a lot about creating space or leaving space. Because one of my things, one of my concerns. So I’m trying to work on is when I have that free time. I’m like, right, what can I do? I’ve got so much to do I need to feel this time.
Natalie K. Douglas
Reading about the importance of creating space for mental clarity and for reducing that sense of overwhelm is really, really important. So I’m trying to, you know, one of the times is when I’m driving back from dropping off Olivia to daycare, which is about 20 minutes from the car. I’ve started to not listen to podcasts or the radio and just sit with my thoughts.
Natalie K. Douglas
There’s a huge difference to my overall day, I actually feel a lot clearer, a lot more organized, less stress, less overwhelmed. It’s awesome.
Natalie K. Douglas 1:47
Yeah, it’s interesting, you say that, because recently probably in the past kind of, Oh, I’d say four months or so I’ve actually been doing something kind of similar. So, every morning, I get up and I go for like a 30-minute walk. And instead of putting headphones in and listening to music, or podcasts or anything like that, that’s kind of like my morning meditation where I just, I walk and I’m just present and I just, it’s a kind of just use that to do daily gratitude or just to just to be as opposed to plan and think or learn or all that kind of stuff and I agree, it definitely makes a big difference to how you approach your day. And just having that little bit of calmness in in your day, that’s often really busy is really nice, but I completely understand your, I guess the thing around needing to fill space in time, when you do have spare time, I definitely feel that I particularly feel it when it comes to like that holiday time. And there there isn’t as much to do or I guess there’s no time pressure per se, in terms of someone relying on you to be somewhere. But I’m like you, I get it. Like, I kind of get a little bit of a rush anxiety when I have too much spare time. And then I’m like, well, I should be feeling it with this thing that I have to do. And you know, there’s always something to do. And I think the challenge is actually just sitting in that and, and realizing that it’s okay to watch Netflix and just chill.
Kate Callaghan 3:20
Natalie K. Douglas
Which is what I also did in my spare time. But anyway,
I actually think watching TV is not bad, especially for type-A personalities who are always on. It’s actually often one of the things that I recommend from my HA clients is to watch some trashy TV, and just allow themselves to just fully immersed in the crap on what they watching.
Natalie K. Douglas
So don’t freak out about everything else perfect.
Natalie K. Douglas 3:48
Yeah, totally, I know, I definitely do that. And I wasn’t, I didn’t for a while, I didn’t watch any TV for ages. And then recently, I was just like, you know what, like, it’s not. It’s okay to watch, I used to watch a lot of documentaries, because I find those interesting, and I still do, but now I have like some trashy TV that I also watch, which is entertaining for me.
Kate Callaghan 4:08
Natalie K. Douglas 4:10
Anyway, um, today, what we’re actually going to be talking about is skin health. So we’re going to approach it from both a diet perspective, supplementation perspective, and also talk about essential oils, and lifestyle management. So, Kate, I think a really good place to start with this topic is the idea or the concept of the gut skin access. So I think this is really one of the key foundations in any approach to healing skin disorders or to promoting optimal skin health. So to explain a bit further. The reason why I got interested in this in the first place, is actually because I do a lot of work with gut conditions. So I found that really intriguing that patients that were presenting to me with gut conditions often had skin conditions. And then I looked into the research. And there’s definitely a lot of evidence to back that up. So to put things into a bit of perspective for us, I’d like to point out for everyone a few really interesting findings. So there’s research linking SIBO, which is a form of, which is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. So it’s a gut condition. And that’s been linked to to acne. And in fact, it’s 10 times more likely to occur in this population. And once it’s actually eradicated, acne also improves significantly. So that’s research that has shown that and also I definitely have experienced that when I’ve treated people for SIBO, who also have acne or eczema is another one that I see a lot and other gut skin access links can be seen in conditions like Celiac disease, Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis were a large proportion of those people also have some kind of skin manifestation as part of their disease picture or clinical presentation. So one that people might be familiar with is those kind of chicken’s feet on the back of people’s arm who have celiac disease, and that I think that occurs in about 25% of people who have celiac disease. And I’m also pretty sure that there was a drug trial in Crohn’s disease, which is a gut condition, which was usually used to treat psoriasis, aka skin disease or skin condition. And it actually showed to be effective in both populations. So I’m not suggesting that we all go out and recommend drugs, first off to that. But it’s just an interesting link to make that I thought was a good thing to point out for everyone. So we could go on forever in terms of the link between the gut skin access. But what we want to address moreso is how can we actually address skin conditions through things, like diet supplementation, as I was saying, because I think that’s practically what’s going to help people. So, Kate, I guess starting off with diet, because being the foodies we are, that’s definitely something we like to talk about a lot. If in terms of general, let’s start with general skin health, what kind of things would you be looking at, I guess, encouraging people to include or exclude from a dietary perspective to promote general skin health?
Kate Callaghan 7:28
Yeah, and great input on the gut there. It’s so important. So in terms of supporting overall skin health, from a general point of view, we really want to look at reducing inflammation as much as possible, and getting a lot of anti-inflammatory foods in removing those inflammatory foods. So the inflammatory foods I’m talking about that everyone’s heard as mentioned before, those hydrogenated vegetable oils, things like your sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn, canola oil, soybean oil, rancid fish oils, so not good quality fish oils, and the ones that you.
Natalie K. Douglas 8:07
Yeah, no Chemist Warehouse specials.
Kate Callaghan 8:08
No Chemist Warehouse supermarket specials.
Natalie K. Douglas
Better to have no fish oil than have that. Sugar is quite inflammatory on the body. And it also can, this research around they have shown you can create or contribute to increased wrinkles in the skin through producing what’s called Advanced Glycation End Products which can kind of break the proteins or cause wrinkles in them cross-linking of the proteins, which results in wrinkles. Soy foods, I would call that an inflammatory food. Inappropriately raised animal products, so caged eggs, grain-fed cattle. You know, caged pigs, all those inappropriate ways of raising animals it’s not going to produce a healthy, healthy animal for you to consume. In terms of anti-inflammatory foods, we want to look at an abundance of veggies. So, that’s no news. You know, veggies are good for you.
Natalie K. Douglas
Veggies are good for you.
Stop it. Stop it. But you know the recommendations are like five servings a day which is really nothing. I would be encouraging people to get up to nine serves of veggies or nine cups of veggies per day. It is a lot and to get to that level, you often have to have veggies in your breakfast. And or have a good quality smoothie that you choose throughout the day. And I mean chew to help support digestion, and eating the rainbow. So eating all different colors of vegetables, not just your greens that often get the the halo of health but eating your reds, your oranges, your yellows, greens, blues, purples of veggies and fruit to get that wide array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and that variety of the plant chemicals that come in all of those different colors so you can benefit from the full spectrum.
Natalie K. Douglas
Coming back to what you said about gut health. I think it’s important to have some good quality fermented foods in there to support gut health. So getting in some sauerkraut, some kombucha, some coconut yogurt, some beet kvass, you know, whatever floats your boat in terms of fermented foods, some bone broth, to my friend Soulla who a lot of people would probably know she runs Broth Bar & Larder in Sydney and her Instagram is staraniseorganic. She, I, remember her saying one, one time it was bone broth is her Botox.
Natalie K. Douglas
And I would agree it’s really, really wonderful for skin health if you can get some bone broth into your daily. So it’s going to provide a lot of those proteins that we don’t often get in muscle meat. It’s really healing for the gut. And as you said before, Nat, the gut is important for skin health. So getting bone broth in any which way you can. What else would I say, some other anti-inflammatory foods would be your oily fish. So things like your salmon, sardines, which I’m still to get into, mackerel, grass-fed red meat, so grass-fed beef, venison. They’re also excellent sources of your anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, it’s actually second to the oily fish. So we don’t often think, I’m sorry, it’s just sucking on my finger. I’m not.
Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. You’re not being weird.
I’m not being weird. It’s sucking all my finger. Sorry, people. I was keeping it real. To get you going, what is that noise? Oh, I lost my train of thought thanks, Ed. Getting good quality protein is really important as well to provide those building blocks for your skin. And I love adding collagen powder and eating more of those gelatinous cuts of meat to provide those amino acids and the basis for skin production for collagen production. So collagen is a great place to go to get keep getting lots of collagen.
Natalie K. Douglas 12:28
It’s that simple.
Natalie K. Douglas
Kate Callaghan 12:30
I would also reduce inflammatory drinks. So soft drinks, juices, coffees, alcohol, and you know, choose good quality filtered water. Some kombucha.
Natalie K. Douglas
Drink plenty of it.
Drink plenty of it. You will, I really noticed. I actually really noticed a change in my skin within an hour if I have a coffee and if I haven’t had enough water.
Natalie K. Douglas
Natalie K. Douglas 12:57
Yeah, yeah, I definitely think water is something that’s often overlooked, especially I think through the cold amongst people kind of forget because we don’t have as much of, I guess, natural instinct to drink a lot of water but it’s definitely something that I’ve seen be a problem for a lot of people and sometimes not intentionally as well. So I think just being mindful that drinking enough water sounds really simple but it is something that sometimes we forget.
Kate Callaghan 13:23
Yeah. And that could be herbal teas as well.
Natalie K. Douglas 13:25
Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Kate Callaghan 13:27
The counts of peppermint tea, dandelion tea, whatever, whatever works for you.
Natalie K. Douglas 13:31
Yeah, I totally agree. Yeah, I think they’re all really good tips. And I think that within all of those foods, there is, as you mentioned, a broad array of vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals. And that’s essentially what we’re trying to promote. And we’re also, as Kate mentioned, trying to decrease any inflammation going on in the body. So I think that, that’s definitely a really good place to start. The only thing I’d add is that in terms of individualization, that’s important as well. So if you’ve got any food sensitivities or food allergies, then obviously it’s really important to actually address those and avoid those foods. Because anytime that your system is being aggravated in that way that can contribute to inflammation and can actually inhibit you from actually healing, both from a gut perspective and therefore from a skin perspective as well. So that’s really important to point out to, and I guess moving on to further recommendation. So you say you’ve got, you know, so you’re following all of the diet recommendations that Kate just gone through, and you’re still suffering from eczema or psoriasis, or some kind of skin condition, then supplementation can definitely come into play in that way. So one that I would definitely or that I do recommend is fish oil. If for example, you’re eating fatty fish a few times a week, but you’re still not seeing benefit, or you’re not eating fatty fish then even more reason to supplement but as Kate said, really important that it is high quality. So just to explain the kind of mechanisms in relation to fish oil and how it’s working. So fish oil or I guess more accurately, the long-chain omega-3 is can be really beneficial in the treatment or management of eczema or in dermatitis. So, one of the keys, key ways that they work is through their role in synthesizing lipids in the outer layer of the epidermis, which is called the stratum corneum. So, I just call it SC for short. So basically, it helps you in maintaining the cell function and integrity. So long-chain omega fatty acids also have been shown to actually improve eczema in adults with atopic eczema. So, with improved like that, I guess to put it simply improve their skin, so reducing the amount of eczema that they have. So that’s really important as well. And of course, many of you are aware that long-chain omega-3s are also potent anti-inflammatories. And supplementation has actually demonstrated further improvements in that way in terms of reducing inflammation. So on that note of fatty acids, there’s actually another, I guess, omega called omega-7, which is rich in something called sea buckthorn oil. And that’s another promising supplement. So the way this works is actually by hydrating the skin and improving its elasticity, and then moving I guess, slightly away from the fatty acids. Another kind of thing to consider is that some people can actually have issues in their metabolism of fatty acids, which basically affects their ability to convert between the different fatty acids required for skin health. So addressing that is also something to be considered. So in particular, supporting an enzyme in the body that’s called Delta-6 desaturates by taking things like zinc, magnesium, B6, vitamin C, which also happened to be rich in the dietary recommendations that Kate gave just before, that can be another way to address it. And then there was actually another study that they basically showed that there, there is an issue in people that have, that have skin conditions such as eczema in terms of that fatty acid metabolism. So that’s super important, as I said, and also looking at the diet and stress levels, as well is important which will get to lifestyle recommendations in a second. But there was two other nutrients that I actually wanted to point out for skin health. So vitamin D would be another one. So that’s both applicable in terms of eczema and psoriasis, and of course, general skin health. So it has an influence on both your skin barrier function, as well as a regulatory role in immune function. So research has actually shown that when a mom is deficient in vitamin D during pregnancy, it can actually increase the risk of the child developing eczema in the first year of life. And there’s also a link between vitamin D status and eczema outcomes. So optimizing vitamin D levels is really important. On another thing to mention sorry, is that vitamin D actually contains a particular active constituent that has anti-microbial activity and that can actually reduce the risk of infection in kind of that eczema on affected skin area as well. So definitely something to be getting tested for or something to supplement with and optimize because it can be really beneficial. And then the last supplement that I’d probably suggest would be probiotics. So our probiotics have actually been shown to decrease lack of polysaccharides, which is kind of like a toxin that can increase leaky gut. And probiotics also improve intestinal barrier function, they reduce the inflammation. And there’s been heaps of research where probiotics have been given an improvement in skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, have actually resulted from that supplementation. And actually, just a really interesting thing that I read not too long ago was that often unpasteurized fermented dairy can help acne, whereas pasteurized dairy, so kind of the dairy where the bacteria are dead on a lot of the enzymes and, and whatnot, a dead can actually worsen it. So just something to, to consider. Other supplements that I would also flag but I won’t go through all of the kind of mechanisms of action would be things like zinc, vitamin A, and also curcumin, so I’m sorry, I will go through curcumin because I can’t help it because I’m really loving it at the moment. So this one actually has a lot of growing scientific evidence suggesting it’s rolling inflammatory skin conditions, as well as skin infections and improving wound healing. So of course, we know that curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which is also appropriate in the treatment of things like psoriasis because there’s often both local and systemic inflammation going on. And we need to kind of get that under control in order to help improve outcomes for people. So definitely curcumin is something that I’d be looking into, as well as a supplement. And as we said, it starts with diet. But there’s definitely room for using supplements to your advantage when you’re trying to get on top of the condition, such as eczema, or psoriasis, and all these kinds of skin conditions that can happen. And making sure always that you’re choosing high-quality supplements is super important because it’s otherwise it’s not going to be giving you the benefit that you want. And in and in the case of fish oil, for example, as Kate pointed out, having a fish oil that’s oxidized, because it’s you know, made cheaply or just not processed properly, can actually create inflammation in the body. And it’s going to worsen those kind of clinical symptoms that we’re actually trying to address. So I think quality really matters in that area. Kate, did you have any supplements to add to that or did you have any tips around what essential oils might be beneficial in promoting skin health?
Kate Callaghan 21:46
Sorry, I was muted. Yeah, absolutely. So on the supplement front, so vitamin D and vitamin A are really, really important. But I would say it’s important to get them together because they alone, they can have the potential to be toxic. Whereas if you have vitamin A and vitamin D together, they have a synergistic effect where they prevent the toxicity of each other and they help the other work, essentially. So one of my best ways to to encourage people to get both vitamin A and vitamin D in appropriate amounts, appropriate forms, it’s not going to contribute to toxicity unless you go overboard is eating some liver on a regular basis. Would you agree?
Natalie K. Douglas 22:28
I would agree. Yes, that is a very good way to put it in. And there’s lots of different ways you can take liver like if you don’t like the, it cooked, you can actually like make a little liver pills as well or like little frozen bits of liver or chocolate in a smoothie and hide it relatively well.
Kate Callaghan 22:46
Yeah, or you can even get desiccated liver as a supplement if you were that way inclined.
Natalie K. Douglas
Definitely, the more expensive form but whatever works, whatever works just get some liver into you.
Natalie K. Douglas
So in terms of essential oils. There are a lot but you can be, you can use for skin. One of my favorites is called Helichrysum so that’s known as the immortal or everlasting flower. So, it’s really wonderful in terms of anti-aging, helps with age spots, helps with healing. I used it on a cat scratch lately, Charlie scratched me and it healed up amazingly. I can’t even see it now and I have a cat scratch on my, my other finger from when 2006, it’s still there.
Natalie K. Douglas 23:30
It’s funny that you remember when you got cat scratched.
Kate Callaghan 23:33
It was it was it was some year that I was, I remember it’s a New Year’s Eve, that’s big one. Anyway. But that’s still there, whereas this one was only a month ago, I put the Helichrysum straight away and it’s gone. I can’t even see it. It’s amazing. So Helichrysum is awesome. Another fantastic one is Frankincense, so the king of oils really wonderful for skin healing, reducing blemishes, if you’re, if anyone’s interested in frankincense, it’s actually available for free this month with doTERRA. So if anyone’s interested in getting that and how to get it, feel free to email me. A couple of others, lavender, really calming on the skin. Tea tree, great for calming, any fungal infections, acne. Manuka or manuka, I’m still, I still don’t really know how to pronounce it. Sorry, Kiwis, I’m Australian. So, I, some people may have seen on my Instagram and Facebook recently because I am an eczema sufferer I concoct just little eczema remedy that had some tea tree, lavender, manuka, and helichrysum essential oil in a little tub of cream that I had, and it worked so well instantly reduce the itching. And within five days, you couldn’t see anything. And before that, my hands were a mess. So that was really, really helpful there. They’re truly amazing. So if anyone wants to know how to get the essential oils, feel free to email me, [email protected]
Natalie K. Douglas 25:06
Awesome. They’re really good tips. And I guess, to kind of, I guess, wrap up the conversation around that. The other thing to also mention is actually kind of other like lifestyle strategies as well. So I think one of the most important ones is definitely reducing stress, which is always a fantastic idea. So for lots of reasons. But, one, is that stress can actually increase gut barrier leakiness, which can lead to increased inflammation and food sensitivities. And we know that these can prevent it, can present itself sorry, in the skin. So high cortisol as well, from too much stress, can also inhibit the activity of that enzyme I mentioned before that helps with converting or optimizing fatty acid levels in your body and in your skin. So I definitely think that stress management shouldn’t be overlooked. And of course, reducing toxic load wherever you can, is going to be important. So in the in the, I guess in your personal care products, so switching to more natural skincare, personal care, all that kind of stuff. And also, and makeup is another big one as well. And I think something else that I just wanted to fly to people because I’ve been reading about it recently, and I’m really excited to start using it soon is Red Light Therapy can also be really, really beneficial. So I think we’ll save the kind of ins and outs of Red Light Therapy and its benefits for another podcast. But just something to flag as well. For people, if they wanted to look into other areas that can actually help or other I guess things that can actually help with managing skin conditions or optimizing skin health. So I think that, hopefully, we’ve we’ve covered a lot of areas where people would be, where you guys have power to basically control what or influence this the health of your skin. So to kind of put it, bring it all back together, I think what we’re trying to point out is that you definitely definitely need to optimize gut health. So that means addressing any infections or dysbiosis or food sensitivities, it means actually healing that gut lining. It means not putting any inflammatory foods in your body on a regular basis, and including lots of anti-inflammatory in foods on a regular basis. The ones or the ones that Kate has gone through, it means looking into supplementation for you as an individual in terms of where are the gaps, and, you know, assessing vitamin D status, assessing whether you’ve got enough fatty acids in your diet, looking into therapy, looking into curcumin as a potential anti-inflammatory as well. Definitely, contacting Kate and and seeing how essential oils could also be part of your, your skincare routine or regime as well and addressing things like stress management as well. So there’s, as always, with any condition or any area of the body that we’re trying to improve. There’s never just one straight answer, there’s never just one thing that’s going to actually make, make or break you in terms of overcoming that condition or or issue that you’re having. It’s always going to be a kind of multi-pronged approach. Would you agree, Kate?
Kate Callaghan 28:25
Yeah, absolutely. And I would definitely like to reiterate the importance of stress management and sleep, especially on conditions like eczema and psoriasis. I know if I’m stressed and got sleep deprivation going on, then my eczema is going to play.
Natalie K. Douglas 28:40
Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I, so I think that’s a good place to kind of wrap up. But let us know, guys if you do have any specific questions around skin conditions because we’re more than happy to go into more detail in in anything that we’ve mentioned. We were discussing before that we will also do a post, sorry, a podcast on acne in particular, because I think that kind of deserves its own podcast. So we can actually address that for people as well. And I think that’ll be coming up in the next kind of month or so we’ll go into that. So keep an eye out for that. But as, as I said, if you guys do have any specific questions around skin health or anything, really, please feel free to write into us because we do want to continue to make the podcast relevant to what issues you guys are going through or are interested in. So with that in mind, Kate, was there anything else that you wanted to add before we wrap up today?
Kate Callaghan 29:37
Sorry, but it’s my kid. She’s having milk. One more thing, I have, I’ve just created a new e-book called Real Food for Tiny Tums and I will, it says basically, 55 whole-food recipes for kids over one, that’s suitable for the whole family. And I’ll be releasing that to the masses at the end of this week.
Natalie K. Douglas 30:00
Oh, exciting. All right, awesome. We’ll keep an eye out for it. Otherwise, we will catch you all in a couple of weeks’ time. Kate, have a lovely day.
You too, Nat. Thank you.
Natalie K. Douglas
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