5 steps to create super healthy skin – Podcast #74
Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand talk about conventional approaches to skin as well as some of the unconventional approaches. Learn why food does matter in this podcast episode. Find out how you can build healthy skin as they discuss what you need to do when it comes to getting protein, fats, and other nutrients into your diet.
Start with the recommended 5 steps for optimal skin health and see the difference it does to your skin. Discover the action steps you can do to calm your nervous system and avoid chronic stress which leads to bad skin. But remember to get that diet and lifestyle dialed in first. Listen to this interview and learn why the conventional approach does not address the root case of unhealthy skin and get to know some organic skincare products which are great for the skin.
In this episode, topics include:
1:13 Food and skin health
3:10 Diet and lifestyle
6:33 Chronic stress
10:57 Conventional approach
13:18 Functional medicine strategy
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Evan, it’s Dr. J. What’s going on today?
Evan Brand: Hey, I’m feeling great and I’m pumped up to talk about skin. This is something I’ve struggled with for a long time, so let’s dig in.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, great. So everyone wants that nice, smooth finish to your skin, not just clean skin free from acnes and blackheads and cysts and all these things. But just a–a smooth consistency and we’re gonna talk about some of the, you know, conventional approaches to skin, some of the unconventional approaches and also food does matter. When you go into your dermatologist’s office, it’s like the handout they have. It’s like the patented handout that I think the–maybe the American Dermatologists Association, the ADA, kinda gives to all the dermatologists, and it says skin, your diet has nothing to do with skin health. The food you eat has nothing to do with skin and I can’t tell you how much of a lie, or at least misinformation that is. I mean, I–I don’t think they think they’re lying but there’s a few studies early on in the 60s and 70s showing that food may not have caused it, but there’s a lot more others showing that food and insulin levels and food allergens definitely increase skin issues and we know clinically with our patients, you cut out certain inflammatory foods–wow, magically the skin gets better.
Evan Brand: Yeah, my–my skin started to improve as soon as I got wheat and dairy out and then the next step for me was the digestive stuff, getting that in order. So I didn’t know what direction you had intended to start with but for me, digestion was a–a huge turning point.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s jump onboard with that. So we know the skin–protein and fat are really important building blocks for the skin. So we always wanna look at protein and fat digestion. So if your skin is dry and you’re eating good quality fats and proteins, well, I automatically go to the fact that you’re not breaking down protein and fats appropriately. So any type of tummy symptoms whether it’s constipation, you’re not having a stool more than–you’re not having a stool less than 24 hours, right? So every day–every other day you’re having a stool that’s definitely constipation. You have ridging or white spots on your nails. That’s definitely a sign we’re not breaking down, absorbing protein. Your stools are floating or there’s a sheen to your stool. That’s a sign you’re not breaking down fat. You don’t have a gallbladder and you’re not taking digestive support. That’s another big one. Your hair fails thin. That’s another one. Hair basically is protein, certain nutrients as well. So you really want to look at the digestive function. Now you could even have great digestion or you know, eating the right foods, taking digestive support, but there could be infections that are creating the malabsorption. So we wanna make sure the first thing we wanna check off our list–we wanna do all possible things to improve our body’s ability to break down protein and fat. We just wanna make sure we’re getting the building blocks, the raw material, so we can build healthy skin.
Evan Brand: Yeah, for me, even after taking just some betaine, kind of the blanket digestive support, that wasn’t enough for me. So adding in like some enzymes, some other protein-digesting enzyme helped. I added in a little bit more of some apple cider vinegar, things like that. So those are kind of the generic things that I say we could give a blanket recommendation for.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I had really bad skin growing up in college and I was very low fat. Like I started out kinda going into the low carb area where I’d be kind of Atkins-esque but I messed it up because I was going also pretty low fat, too. And then I noticed my skin in the winter, over in Amherst, it’s really cold and my skin was getting super, super dry. And you’d see all kinds of, you know, women are notorious for this. They just get all these extra moisturizers and they topically moisturize their–their arms or their legs and their skin. And I’m just standing like, “Whoa!” You know, I’m doing more research and learning and reading and I’m like, “Let’s work on internal moisturization.” And I mean, internal moisturization through eating high qualities of fats because fat actually provides hydration to the skin. I upped my olive oil and coconut oil consumption at that time and magically, my skin dryness was gone. So I noticed that with myself that fat is a really big important step to having hydrated skin but I still had skin issues because I was still eating some gluten-free bread. I still had infections. I still had low stomach acid but that could be one piece to the puzzle here. If we kinda break it down into steps so people don’t get overwhelmed. Step one is make sure protein and fat consumption is dialed in according to your needs. So if you have dry skin off the bad, just work on upping high quality protein and fats and that could be any of your pastured meats that are high quality and also any of your coconut oil and potentially grass-fed butter or ghee if you can tolerate the dairy part.
Evan Brand: Yup. Yeah, so in terms of the conventional method, I’ve had many friends that have taken Accutane which is probably one of the worst prescription drugs ever in terms of the side effects that it causes and what it actually does to the pores and the skin and the oil glands and things like that so the topical route may never be necessary. Now I’ve heard of people adding like some aloe and some other, like hemp oil and things like that topically, but overall the less stuff that I put on my face, the better my face has gotten. So I’m not saying this is gonna be across the board for you but certainly for me, the more acne wipes and all these little trendy things that you’re advertised to as a high schooler, that stuff only made it worse and made the skin as dry as like a piece of sandpaper.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely, so you wanna make sure the gut and the digestion’s doing good. Get rid of the food allergens. The food allergens like the gluten and the dairy, that’s a big one. I noticed in my pores, especially around my face, in that T–T area, the T-zone, so your basically–your chin to nose to the forehead along the side to your eyes there, right in between the–the temporal area. Those are gonna be notorious for clogged pores and we know that the sebaceous glands, those are like the glands in the skin, they actually oversecrete oil, secrete extra sebum or oil in response to insulin. So if we’re eating foods that are glycemically inappropriate, what that means is too much carbs in relation to what you can handle meaning you’re not able to burn the carbs off, you’re just making a whole bunch of insulin that’s increasing the sebaceous gland’s production of sebum and the bacteria that’s on the skin will actually eat that sebum and it can create inflammation and a lot of the–the whitehead potential effects and then to the extreme, even cyst in the skin as well.
Evan Brand: Okay, so this may be jumping the gun here, but chronic stress is a huge piece of this puzzle, for me at least, in my eyes because if you’re chronically stressed, you’re gonna be stuck in that sympathetic mode and you’re gonna be downregulating all the processes that happen to optimize your digestion. So if you’re running from this supposed tiger, it’s gonna be impossible for you to produce adequate levels of hydrochloric acid and other enzymes because your blood is in your–in your arms and your fingers and your legs to run, not digesting. So if you’re never engaging that parasympathetic mode so maybe I’ll just jumpstart to the action steps. So say you wanna do–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: So say you wanna do like a sensory deprivation tank, maybe you wanna do some lavender essential oils in the bath tub with some Epsom salt, maybe you wanna do even some transdermal magnesium to calm that nervous system down, maybe some phosphatidylserine. I know you talk about phosphorylated serine sometimes, so–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: There’s ways that we have to calm that nervous system down to get to the root of this whole thing.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely and a lot of people forget that your body will internally make extra carbohydrate and sugar under stress because those muscles really preferentially are glycolytic, meaning they wanna burn sugar when their under stress. They want instantaneous fuel, so you’ll internally make lots of sugar from breaking down your lean protein.
Evan Brand: That’s crazy, isn’t it?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah it is. So if you don’t have protein in your diet, if you’re not digesting and breaking down a lot of your protein, it’s gonna take it from lean tissue.
Evan Brand: Yeah, and I–I’ve noticed that myself. I mean, I lost some–some muscle tissue and it was definitely chronic stress-related so–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I remember that. I remember that and people forget that you can oversecrete glucose just from stress. That’s why we have the thing known as the Dawn Phenomenon where glucose is really high in the morning typically due to a whole cortisol output thing and that’s why sometimes eating a little bit more carbs and a lot of people in the low carb field don’t like this, and we’re not talking high carb, right? We’re talking some people if they’re, you know, ketogenic and they’re under a lot of stress, they may do a little bit better upping their carbs maybe to 50, 60, 70 grams a day and it will actually decrease their internal production of glucose and actual timing the carbs typically when you’re having less cortisol tends to be better, so having those carbs where cortisol’s lower which will be at nighttime because cortisol’s on a diurnal pattern, so higher in the morning, lower at night. So upping your carbs a little bit then tends to be the better time to do it and people that are under stress can actually decrease their internal glucose production.
Evan Brand: Wow, so–so explain that a little bit differently why when the cortisol levels are low in the evening that carbs make people feel so much better and I notice they sleep better, too.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, yeah. So cortisol is a glucocorticosteroid. Again, medicine uses big words. We like to break it down and kinda give you the ability to–to be your master at being able to–to decipher what’s going on, so just focus on the glucose part of cortisol. So if we’re mobilizing glucose and we have higher amounts of cortisol in the morning, that means hormonally we already have an advantage of mobilizing glucose in the morning. So it doesn’t make sense to take in extra glucose in the morning if our hormones are already more prime to do it. The only exception would be morning workouts where you want that post carb meal after a CrossFit workout or after some type of training to increase insulin because insulin has an effect of lowering cortisol. That’s–that’s more of a–a exercise-nutrition type of podcast. We’ll save that for the future. But regarding to the concept here, cortisol is lower at night so we have less hormone capacity to stabilize blood sugar at night so it makes sense if we do a little more carbs. Do it at night, because a lot of people who are fatigued have a harder time stabilizing blood sugar at night and if we’re disrupting sleep because blood sugar is dropping or adrenalin and cortisol are going low which are causing blood sugar to go low, which is causing us to wake up, we don’t–we wanna do as many things as possible to avoid waking up. So sometimes the carbohydrates timed at nighttime, between 5 or to 9 o’clock or so can be great to buffer any low blood sugar swings that may happen while we’re sleeping that could disrupt sleep.
Evan Brand: Yeah, that’s great. Thanks for giving some more clarity there.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and the next piece to the puzzle here–actually, I–I’ll let you add to that–
Evan Brand: No, no, keep going, man. I wanna hear what you got.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So the conventional approach is this, right? We’re gonna be rubbing antibiotic creams on the skin, whether it’s Retin-A, whether it’s Differin or clindamycin, we’re gonna be rubbing all these antibiotic creams on the skin, right? The whole idea is forget the food allergens, forget the fact that we’re insulin–insulinogenic and we’re feeding the bacteria on the skin. The goal is let’s just work on the end-product of killing a lot of that bacteria. So you can see, it doesn’t really fix the root cause of why that bacteria is having a feeding frenzy. It’s kinda like imagine you’re going out there and chumming for sharks, right? So the chum is kinda like the food and the high insulin and the food allergens, it’s like us going out there and trying to like shoo away the sharks as they’re coming to eat the chum. It’s like, “Wait a minute, if we just stop putting the chum out there, well, the sharks stop coming, right?” That’s kinda like how I look at the natural approach. So conventionally, we’re just rubbing on antibiotics, the next step is, if that doesn’t work, guess what? We go tetracycline which is an oral antibiotic, okay? And the next step if that doesn’t work, if you’re having cystic acne is the–is the vitamin A analog which is the–the name is just–it–it’s defeating me right now. What’s it called again? You just mentioned it.
Evan Brand: Accutane.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Accutane and there’s another name for it as well. But Accutane is the vitamin A analog. So basically, it’s teratogenic, meaning it can cause pregnancy issues and malformation while–while pregnant but it’s basically a vitamin A analog. It does things. It tightens the pores. It decreases the skin cell’s ability to produce any oil, so once you fix the issue, now you have chronically dry skin because your skin cells can’t produce the oil it needs for natural hydration so it creates a lot of long-term issues in the end. So the Accutane is the ultimate end stage. That’s the vitamin A analog. Again a lot of people get benefit by just taking natural vitamin A at higher levels and they can do some of the Accutane effects without the–the nasty side effects. The–the sub, below that, is the tetracycline antibiotic and then below that are all the antibiotic creams. And that’s pretty much it. That’s all your conventional dermatologist has for the most part outside of the skin cancer and cutting out a lesion. That’s it. So once you’ve exhausted those bullets, we know that all those things are really working our gut bacteria which is gonna play a major role in our immune system and our overall health. So we really wanna go to the functional medicine strategy that looks at the foods, looks at the gut, looks at infections, look at how we’re digesting and breaking down these foods and get to the root issue so we’re not setting ourselves up for more autoimmune issues because our gut bacteria is being destroyed down the road.
Evan Brand: So let’s paint the functional medicine picture here. So this could be in or out of order. Number one, definitely removing the allergenic foods or the problematic foods.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: Okay, we’ll stack that on top of that and call that number two, optimizing digestive functions whether this is enzymes, pancreatic function, HCl, whatever. That’s number two.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: Number three for me, I like to focus on the chronic stress or trying to help people out–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: Their adrenals, reframing stress, whether it’s the adaptogens that we love talking about to help deal with this stress that could be causing these other widespread issues. That’s number three. Four for me, also another very helpful one is hydration, getting half the body weight in ounces of water per day. Good–good, clean water source.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.
Evan Brand: What else is for you? Is there–is there topical things that–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: You talked–that you wanna talk about?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes, so number four, I’d also put in is–and this kinda goes in alignment with the stress because if we’re stressed, our blood sugar would go wonky, but it’s managing the glycemic load.
Evan Brand: Uh-hmm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right? If you’re eating Paleo but there’s pineapple and a whole bunch of tropical fruits and maybe excessive carbs to your metabolic type to what you can handle, that may be too much as well. So getting the glycemic load down and a good general rule of thumb for people is 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrate. You earn your carbs. You’re more sedentary, you go closer to the 50. You’re more active, you go upwards of 100. If you’re doing a lot of CrossFit and such, maybe even up to 150. So that’s a pretty good gauge for the carbohydrate piece. And then I would say the next piece after the digestion, step 5, I would say would be making sure you have–you’re infection-free, making sure there’s not something in there that’s creating a low stomach acid environment like a SIBO or an H. pylori or parasitic infection. Make sure that piece is lined up as well.
Evan Brand: That’s great.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So that’s five. Okay, good. Now let’s talk about some of the things. Once you have the big five in, we could talk about some of the extra things that you can go–do above and beyond for optimal skin health. First thing is collagen. Big fan to high quality collagen, a lot of hyaluronic acid in there which is really good for the skin. Love that. That gives you a lot of building block raw material to make healthy skin, decrease wrinkles. I’m a huge fan of using collagen every day not just for the glycine content which is great for the–or for a gut–for gut function, but also just for the building blocks, because I wanna keep my skin looking healthy and good. Next piece is getting a high quality cleanser. I mean, I do find my skin looks better when I do a quick little cleanse in the morning. Because what it does is it just gets off any oils and such that may have an effect of causing a pore to clog. So I just notice my skin looks and feels better when I use a gentle organic cleanser. Now I use something that’s GMO, obviously organic, gluten-free. You really wanna make sure you’re not putting a–a whole bunch of abrasive alcohols on your skin. So something that’s gentle. What I use has hyaluronic acid in it as well. It also has some coconut oil, a lot of soothing herbs and nutrients, and it’s all genetically modified organic and gluten-free, so there’s a couple of–
Evan Brand: No, I don’t think you–I don’t think it is genetically modified, you’re saying it is GMO–you’re saying non-GMO.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s–it’s a GMO-free. I’m sorry, yeah.
Evan Brand: I forgot the free part in there.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Evan Brand: What–what is the name of that? That sounds awesome.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ll have to look it up here. There’s a couple that I use. One of my favorite companies that I use is Marie Veronique. She runs a skincare line out at Berkeley, California. Basically, it’s all edible food grade, I mean it’s just phenomenal, really lots of nutrients put in her products. So I use her anti-aging oil which has emu in it, grass-fed emu and a whole bunch of other nutrients. I use their cleanser, their exfoliation, and I love–I like a nice toner. Like when I shower in the morning, after I cleanse my face, I like a nice toner to balance the pH in my skin. It tightens my pores. My skin just feels really, really good afterwards. Now I think a lot of people like if you look at, you know, the online multi-level Proactiv sales. A lot of people go to the skin stuff first. And a lot of the conventional skin stuff tend to be very abrasive and irritating. So I tend to take a step back. That should be the last thing you do and it should be as organic, non-GMO-free for you Evan, as well as gluten-free and all the good stuff, and ideally even close to food grade as possible so you’re really nourishing your skin and not adding extra inflammation to it.
Evan Brand: So I see this Annmarie Gianni lady. She has an aloe herb facial cleaner.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: Cleanser, is that it? Or is it something different? This one has a green label–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: With a black bottle.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, if you go to marieveronique–V E R O N I Q U E– marieveronique.com, she has a great, great skincare line. I love it. My wife loves it. It’s one that I carry–
Evan Brand: Oh, okay, I was at a different lady. I was looking at some other organic lady that kinda had the same name.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: I see what you’re talking about here.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and then there’s another line that I use called Derma E. Derma E is really good. They have a hydrating cleanser and a–and a natural sensitive skin cleanser. I’m a big fan of–of their stuff, too. Good, clean ingredients. You gotta be careful with a lot of the gluten in these things, so I really wanna make sure there’s no–no crap in it so I like a good cleanser. I like a good clean toner and I like something that can provide a little bit of hydration so I like the grass-fed emu oil as kind of something that hydrate my skin afterwards. But those are all like at the end. Now if you really wanna get extra kinda bio-hackery if you will–I think I just made up a word–to help skin health, I use some stem cell cream as well, just to keep my skin extra–give it extra, you know, an advantage to stay young and youthful-looking so I use a stem cell cream from a lab in Arizona that is phenomenal as well and–and that’s something we’ll be carrying on the site. It’s called J Bio serum and we’ll have it on our site in the–in the nutrient section. So take a look at that. If there’s areas and you can’t find it, you can go to my store, justinhealth.com/shop and you’ll see a lot of the things there that I’m talking about but that’s a–a really great product that just provides extra stem cell benefits that kinda helps reset the–how should I say it–helps reset the skin’s ability to be healthy again. I mean, you can see it help tighten up the skin a little bit. It’s amazing for scarring. It’s a product that they use in a lot of hospitals in burn units to help get the skin integrity back, kinda turn back the clock so to speak on the skin. That’s really what it’s doing.
Evan Brand: That’s amazing to see that treatment cleanser you were talking about the Marie Veronique.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: That the key ingredients are the–the lactic acid that you talked about and then apple cider vinegar which I’ve been reading a lot about for topical use. Obviously, it’s probably diluted and once it’s mixed in with this lavender oil and these other–looks like it’s got some honey in it, a little bit of oat flower, marshmallow–it seems like once you have all that stuff together, that’s making the difference. So you probably wouldn’t get the same benefit by just doing a cotton ball with some apple cider vinegar on it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I mean and I don’t like the oat fiber that’s in there per se, but the fiber more is there for like an astringent, so when you’re like scrubbing and exfoliating if you will, that kinda helps.
Evan Brand: Right.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: To help get scrub out the pores and stuff. They have one with some sea salt in there, too. I mean, it’s good. I just wanna make sure I’m rubbing stuff on my face that’s gonna be, you know, ideally grain-free and anti-inflammatory.
Evan Brand: Right, right. But you don’t have trouble with that.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No, no. I think it–it works really good, and then the next thing is if you’re using sunscreen, right? Don’t–don’t burn and try to get a sunscreen that has primarily the active chemical deflectants or physical deflectants with the compounds of titanium dioxide and zinc–zinc oxide. Those are the best ones.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I use Badger’s brand of sunscreen and it’s just straight zinc oxide with some sunflower oil. I never get burned. It works like a charm.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It will make you look like Casper though. That’s the only–
Evan Brand: It does.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They’re out at Santa Cruz. The reason why I like the Marie Veronique one, they use a natural tint in the zinc oxide to take away the whiteness.
Evan Brand: Ahh.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Because it can just like take you and make you look like a ghost.
Evan Brand: It does. Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’m already fair-skinned to begin with so that’s the only reason why I don’t like just the pure zinc oxide. I mean you got the pictures of the 70s lifeguards where they have the white noses, right?
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s kinda like the zinc oxide, right? So you can get that where they add some natural tint to it and then you can get medium, dark, or light so that actually gives you a little bit of tan when you put it on and it doesn’t just take away your–your skintone.
Evan Brand: Oh, that’s cool.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: Let me–let me check it out.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, yeah. So what do you think, Evan? Do you wanna recap some of the things? So anyone that’s listening that may feel a little overwhelmed can kinda get the–the Reader’s Digest version here?
Evan Brand: Yeah, man. I think we’ve definitely, probably recap with the recap but to do it again–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, I would just say let’s just recap the–the last piece here.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I would say once you got all the diet and lifestyle and gut pieces there, I would say skin cleanser, high quality skin cleanser that’s hypoallergenic and highest quality and non-abrasive. Number two, a good quality toner. And then number three, I would say you can add in high quality building blocks for the skin like the collagen and also some of the stem cell creams that really help reset the skin’s ability from–from a stem cell perspective to be healthy.
Evan Brand: Yeah, that’s awesome. I appreciate you bringing that stuff to light because that’s a whole category that I didn’t have much to add to, so that’s another thing to add to my bookmarks here, the–this Marie’s website.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, yeah, and I think if people had access to healthy products and then can support those companies that’s great because God knows the skincare line community, you know, is just full of crap. There’s just so much crap in these products and people forget anything you put on your face goes into your bloodstream, so if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t be putting it on your face. That’s the bottomline.
Evan Brand: Yup, absolutely.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great, Evan. Well, anything else you wanna add?
Evan Brand: No, that’s it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: To anyone listening, it’s easy to be like, “Oh, I’m just gonna go to all like, you know, the lotions and potions and–and do that stuff first.” I really urge you to kinda get to the diet and lifestyle piece first. If you feel like your gut’s struggling, it’s not gonna be advantageous to ignore that. You really wanna get to the underlying gut issue. Get any infections ruled out. Also remember your skin is part of your integumentary system which is your largest organ of detoxification. So your skin also is used to push out toxins. So if you’re under a lot of toxicity, whether it’s, you know, environmental or from chemicals in the food, you wanna look at supporting your detox system because your skin again will push stuff out if you’re being overwhelmed in that toxicity area.
Evan Brand: Yeah, I’m sure we could save that for another podcast so we can talk about like heavy metals and skin. I’ve seen a lot of people with that–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. Cool. Yeah, a lot of people that are pushing stuff out when they’re doing heavy metals or chemical detox, I see it all the time in clinic as well.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, Evan, good talk today. Hope everyone enjoyed it. If you guys get a benefit out of it, go over to the iTunes link, click below, and give us a 5-star review. We’d really appreciate it.
Evan Brand: Yeah, it really helps.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, thanks a lot.
Evan Brand: Take care. Bye.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bye.
Natural Skin Solutions You May Not Know About
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
One of the most important signs of good health is clear skin and a nice complexion. To have healthy skin, in general, you need to have good digestion, avoid inflammatory foods, and have good detox capacity. One of the first things someone notices about you is your skin. It’s really important for first impressions. Having skin blemishes can be a strong source of self-confidence or insecurity issues, while at the same time, it can totally be prevented.
With the rise of plastic surgery and dermatological procedures, more people are trying to tap into the fountain of youth, sparing no expense for these short-lived interventions.
Before you drop a couple thousand dollars on the new cool lotion, potion, drug, or surgery, see if the info in this article helps.
Today’s article focuses on skin health and some of the natural solutions that are available. Remember lifestyle changes aren’t instantaneous, so the following suggestions need to be adhered to for at least 30–60 days to increase the chances of getting the results you are looking for. This a 2-for-1 deal; by improving your skin through diet and lifestyle, you are, at the same time, improving your overall health!
Eating Healthy Fat May Help Reduce Wrinkles!
Fat (especially saturated fat) provides hydration. It’s a great deal of the raw material that keeps skin hydrated as well as maintains the strength of the collagen and elastic fibers.
“Fats provide building blocks for many components of epidermal and dermal tissues, and they are sources of energy in cell proliferation, maturation and homeostasis. Fats are sensitive to the oxidation process. However, maintenance of collagen and elastic fibers may require adequate amount of fat. Higher saturated fat intake was also significantly associated with a decreased facial wrinkling, suggesting a favorable effect of fat.”
Green and yellow vegetables also help decrease wrinkle development. These vegetables contain phytochemicals, antioxidants, and nutrients that help make your skin less susceptible to free radicals (which help to accelerate aging).
Wait a Minute—Doesn’t Eating Fat Cause Heart Disease?
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010) by Krause, et al., a meta-analysis (looking at a conglomerate of studies) shows eating saturated fat is not correlated with heart disease or stroke.
Again, I do caution against eating higher amounts of carbohydrates, especially refined sugar, with saturated fat as this tends to be a deadly combination.
Many people may be under the false impression that they are doing themselves a favor by avoiding fat, especially saturated fat, and that consuming fat would also hurt their chances of optimal skin health.
Does the Food I Eat Cause Me to Break Out?
The myth that has been perpetuated in dermatologists’ offices for years is the food you eat doesn’t cause breakouts. Dealing with patients, I have seen a strong link with diet and skin health and now the current research is starting to catch up with clinical results.
The Journal of Clinical Dermatology (2010) found the more refined carbs (i.e., breads, pastas, bagels, sodas, and even foods that contain hormones, like processed meats and dairy products) will increase your chances of breakouts. The insulin produced from the excess refined carbs in your diet will also increase the activity of your sebaceous glands, making your skin appear oilier and increasing the chance of clogged pores.
“Foods with significant sugar content and other carbohydrates yielding high glycemic loads affect serum insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, both of which promote increased production of available androgen’s and the subsequent development of acne.”
I understand that many of the suggestions I am making may be a little controversial. I am bringing everyone cutting-edge information backed by research to help improve their health and that includes their skin, too. It is important to note that cutting-edge information wouldn’t be cutting edge if it was already widely accepted.
Skin inflammation is greatly controlled by microbial residents in the gastrointestinal tract according to the research of Stokes and Pillsbury. They were able to make the connection between the gut, skin, and mental-emotional health symptoms like depression (Gut-skin-brain axis) (4).
They were able to cite research showing that as many as 40% of people with skin issues had low stomach-acid levels. The low stomach acid sets the stage for an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the small intestine due to the indigestion of food (protein, carbs, and fats) (4).
Pillsbury and Stokes’s research from over 70 years ago would still be on the cutting edge or fringe (depending on your perspective) of the dermatology world today. They treated acne patients with cod liver oil and probiotics with success. This is a far cry from today’s dermatologists still using various antibiotic creams, like tetracycline, to treat these same skin issues. The underlying systemic causes of these skin issues are still being ignored today!
It’s been confirmed that low stomach acid puts patients at risk for a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. It’s been shown that nearly half of all patients on proton pump inhibitors (acid blocking medication) have SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).
The symptoms of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth are diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, acid reflex, gas, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. SIBO can compromise your body’s ability to absorb proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and other important micronutrients. These bad bacteria compete for nutrients and poison the body with their toxic metabolic byproducts. The toxic bacterial remnants are then pushed through the skin as a means of detoxification. The skin is the largest detoxification organ in the body in case you didn’t know (4).
Research has shown that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is 10 times more likely in a patient suffering from acne. It seems that the deficient omega-3 diets are also more common in people that have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (4).
Adding high-quality cod liver oil may provide a therapeutic benefit in helping improve someone’s skin as well as emotional well-being (4).
Administering high-quality probiotics can help crowd out the negative bad bacteria in the gut. In my experience some people need an herbal gut-killing program first. This consists of high doses of herbs that have antimicrobial, antiparasitic, and antifungal qualities to help neutralize the bad critters in the gastrointestinal tract. Its common for these people to have symptoms when consuming probiotics. Some even have chronic parasite or gut infections outside of typical bacterial overgrowth.
Getting a good comprehensive stool analysis can help assess what the underlying infections are present. It’s easier to treat patients’ gut infections when you know what type of infection you’re dealing with.
I use a simple analogy with patients regarding the use of probiotics: If you were to get your car washed and waxed, you would typically complete the task in the following order.
1. Get your car washed.
2. Get your car waxed.
If you put wax on a dirty car, you end up trapping all that dirt against the car’s surface. A clean car is more receptive to wax when the car’s surface is clean. This is the same thing with the gut and probiotics. A clean gut is going to be more receptive to good bacteria than a dirty gut would.
I see many patients with bacterial overgrowth develop all kinds of symptoms when taking in probiotics. Soil-based bacteria organisms can help with this, but I find cleaning out the gut first tends to be more efficient.
What to Do?
1. Remove all grains and processed dairy from your diet for at least 30–60 days. The gluten in grains tends to be a common food allergen that aggravates many people’s skin. Many people are autoimmune and actually create antibodies call transglutaminase 2 that can actually attack the skin.
2. Eat copious amounts of high-quality organic vegetables and meat.
3. Consume about half your body weight in ounces of water (e.g., 200-pound person=100 ounces).
4. Spend more money on the high-quality foods mentioned above and less on surgical and pharmaceutical interventions that mask the symptoms.
Supplements That Can Help
1. 2 grams of high-quality fish or cod liver oil.
2. Collagen supplements can help improve your skin’s elasticity and decrease cellulite.
3. Coconut oil or MCT oil
4. GLA fats, like black current seed oil or evening primrose oil, can be very helpful, especially in menstruating females.
5. High-quality beneficial probiotics. I highly recommend getting a gut test first to assess what type of bacteria and/or parasitic infections might be residing. Click here to get your gut health assessed!
6. Find your dosage for hydrochloric acid. It’s best to work with a functional medicine doctor on this one.
1. British Journal of Nutrition (2010), 103, 1493–1498
2. Clinical Dermatology (2010) Nov-Dec; 28(6):598-604
3. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010) Jan, Krause et al
4. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? Bowe et al