- Fine lines
- Thinning skin
- Lack of buoyancy or suppleness
So how exactly do peptides help with these common skin concerns? Let’s take a look!
What are Peptides?
In its most basic explanation, peptides are amino acid chains that serve as building blocks for protein in the body. As organic compounds, amino acids help to create protein – and they serve other important functions for the skin including making sure that nutrients are properly transported, as well as providing proteins the necessary structures needed to remain healthy and viable.
After amino acids combine, they create chains known as peptides. These chains can range in length from short to long, but longer amino acid chains serve as the foundation for proteins.
Protein is an important component in skin – while most of us focus on consuming enough of it as part of a healthy lifestyle, protein is a major part of what makes up the skin, tissues and organs throughout the body! Collagen is one such vital protein – in fact, between 75 and 80 percent of the skin is made up of collagen. In addition to elastin and keratin, collagen is a crucial component in keeping skin healthy and supple; however through the natural aging process and the environment, the body’s ability to maintain ample collagen levels gradually decreases over time, leading to the development of fine lines, loss of skin firmness and thinning skin.
Collagen is typically what’s responsible for that youthful glow – when skin is younger, collagen production is at a much higher level! This protein is what gives skin smoothness, suppleness and a radiant glow.
So to recap, amino acids create peptides, and peptides are responsible for forming proteins, such as collagen. Since the aging process naturally reduces collagen production, finding the right skincare products to help restore collagen into the skin is ideal – which is why peptides are becoming even more popular in the world of skincare!
Peptides and Skincare
One way to fight back against the natural decline of collagen is to choose skincare products that are packed full of peptides and other skin-friendly ingredients. In creams and serums, the use of short-chain amino acids helps reduce signs of aging, such as fine lines.
Why short-chain amino acids?
These chains, as opposed to the longer amino acid chains, allow peptides to effectively penetrate into the skin’s layers, encouraging the skin cells to ramp up the level of collagen production. Essentially, when you apply peptides to the skin topically, you’re giving cells the hint that it needs to do better in the collagen production department – thus prompting skin cells to develop collagen for areas that need it the most.
In addition to reducing common signs of aging, peptides are also very helpful in repairing skin, especially when experiencing some skin conditions such as dermatitis.
How to Use Peptides in a Skincare Routine
No matter what your age, peptides are a great addition to any skincare routine. Environmental factors, such as oxidative stress and pollution, also begin to break down collagen production early on – so the use of peptides helps firm and protect skin from exposure to free radicals and other stressful factors.
Incorporating peptides into a skincare routine is as simple as adding a serum with your daily moisturizer, or adding an eye cream to help reduce fine lines that typically develop around the eye’s thin and delicate skin.
PeptiDerm Firming Serum contains a multiplex of peptides, all of which work together to increase the skin’s elasticity and firmness. In addition to reducing the appearance of fine lines, the Firming Serum also protects the skin against environmental factors that speed up the aging process! Simply smooth a dropper full of serum to the entire face, neck and decollate, then follow up with your favorite hydrating moisturizer.
For those with mature skin or if you find that your skin is losing firmness, PeptiDerm Moisturizing Cream is packed full of beneficial peptides and other hydrating ingredients to provide skin a healthy and supple texture – in addition to infusing plenty of moisture and oxygen to fight back against dryness, giving your skin that radiant glow you want.
Want to fight back against common signs of aging? Check out our limited edition, Wrinkle Rebellion Kit that contains beneficial peptide products! Contact a Sanitas Skincare supplier to learn more about this kit!
Think you’re already pretty sun savvy?
Read on and let us know if we’ve covered all the bases.
What exactly are UVA and UVB rays?
UV radiation is invisible to the naked eye and has two main wave lengths — UVA and UVB. The easiest way to remember which of these does what is pretty simple. UVA rays age the skin and UVB rays burn the skin. Both UVA and UVB can cause a whole lot of trouble for your skin health including permanent sun damage and skin cancer.
What does SPF mean, really?
SPF stands for “sun protection factor.” The advice we’ve probably all heard is to use an SPF 15 and reapply every one to two hours. But this is not the whole story.
SPF is not a one size fits all proposition.
Think of it this way — a very fair person, say a redhead, may burn without sun protection in as little as three minutes whereas sunburn on a darker skin might take as long as an hour or more to appear.
The SPF number on a sun protection product is actually part of a formula that tells you exactly how much time you, as an individual, can spend in the sun before re-application is required. In order to calculate that you must know how long it actually takes your skin (and your skin alone) to burn in an unprotected state.
Contrary to popular belief, a higher SPF does not necessarily provide more protection, but rather is an indicator as to the amount of time you can spend in the sun unprotected before reapplication is necessary. This varies based on individual sensitivity and skin tone.
Let’s do the math
If you are a redhead, who burns in three minutes, and are planning on being outside for a while, you may actually need an SPF 50. Using our previous formula of the number of minutes it takes for your skin to burn multiplied by the SPF rating (in this case, 3 x 50) your SPF 50 gives you the same duration of protection (150 minutes) as someone who burns in 10 minutes using an SPF 15.
On the other hand, if your skin starts to get pink (the first sign of an impending burn) at about the 10 minute mark an SPF 15 allows you to spend (10 x 15 =) 150 minutes in the sun before you need to dip back in your beach bag for your product and slather on another layer. Make sense?
How much product do I need to apply and when should I be applying it?
The rule of thumb is one ounce of sunscreen for your whole body applied 20 minutes prior to your initial exposure. If you are going to be outside for longer than two hours, make sure you have your sunscreen with you so there is no lapse in protection.
What’s the difference between mineral and chemical sunblock?
Mineral sun protection (look for zinc as a main ingredient) prevents UVA and UVB rays from ever reaching the skin. It is literally a physical block between your skin and the sun.
Chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, is a combination of three or more UVB and UVA chemicals which cause a chemical change that transforms UVB and UVA rays into heat. You can actually feel the heat of a chemical sunscreen working in your skin before it is released!
So, which is better for your skin health?
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there around this question and a boatload of opinions to boot, but here is what we know to be true — mineral sunblock provides naturally occurring, broad spectrum protection for the skin with zero toxicity to the body or the environment.
My makeup has sunscreen, does that protect my skin?
Yes and no. Even if your makeup has an actual SPF rating, keep in mind it’s designed to sit on the skin’s surface, just like your sunscreen. Either one can wear off over time leaving your skin vulnerable. Layering makeup over a product specifically designed for sun protection is the safest route but keep in mind that all day sun protection is never a one and done situation, re-application is absolutely necessary to keep your skin full protected no matter what type of product you use.
I have darker skin and never burn; do I still need to be concerned about sun protection?
You sure do. The additional melanin in darker skin tones may help decrease instances of sunburn but will not protect skin from the damage caused by UVA rays.
What exactly does “water-resistant” mean?
First of all, let’s go there right now and affirm there is no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen, so don’t fool yourself. Water-resistant, however, is a label you can trust. Any product marked water-resistant needs to meet some pretty strict standards per the FDA including an SPF rating of 40 or 80. This is roughly double the SPF of a sunscreen that you would use for dry exposure situations due to the fact that the product wears off much faster in the water than it would otherwise.
We suggest over doing it. If you’re going to be beaching it or chilling poolside, reapply every time you get out of the water to be safe. There’s no such thing as an over-application of sun protection as far as we’re concerned.
I am not outdoorsy, can I skip it?
Nope not ever. If you work near a window, drive in a car or spend even as little as 15 to 20 minutes a day outside you need sunscreen.
It's cloudy out, do I still need to protect my skin?
Yes, without question. Don’t be fooled by overcast skies. Cloud cover filters some UVB rays but does not filter any UVA so even if you’re not getting a burn, you’re still exposing your skin to premature aging and skin cancer.
Did we cover all your questions? If not, please feel free to leave a comment or drop us a line. We are more than happy to geek out on this topic anytime.
Okay, you said yes, you’ve got the dress, now time to guarantee skin that will impress! Along with all the other details that go into planning your big day, making sure your skin is glowing as you walk down the aisle is probably one of your top three.
Odds are your bridal style falls into one of two camps – the uber planner with every detail nailed down to the minute or the laid-back optimist running on inspiration and synchronicity. No matter what your approach may be, we’ve got a strategy for you.
Let’s do this thing
Are you twelve months out from the big day with nearly everything picked, planned and paired? You’re in a great place! With time on your side, you’ll be able to level up your daily routine with a regular program of actives, layer in professional skincare appointments and get specific results.
We’re going to number this for you, because we have a feeling you like a list with actionable items.
1. Schedule a facial every four weeks.
Yes, you can skip this step, but the results you get following the guidance of an esthetician with expertise and insight can make a huge difference in your wedding day glow.
The pros have tools and products available to them which get results you simply cannot recreate at home. Make the investment – it’s well worth it.
2. Add in actives
Retinol is about to become your secret weapon. If you’re new to using this game changing ingredient, keep in mind your skin is going to need a little time to adjust. This beneficial active requires a transition period. Two or three times a week is good depending on your individual skin sensitivity. You may experience a little redness and flaking for the first few weeks but stick it out. Healthy, glowing skin lies just beyond this phase.
If you’re already a retinol user and want to ramp up your results, ascending formulas, like those in our Vitamin A Rejuvenate Collection, can enhance the ground you’ve already gained and help get your skin in the best shape of its life.
Vitamin C: Yes, we recommend this to everyone, but six months out you can really reap the benefits of regular use – decreased dark spots and increased glow are both direct by-products of a high percentage of lipophilic vitamin C, like Vita C Serum. We suggest using it every morning.
AHAs: Get on the alpha hydroxy band wagon and stay there. Make AHAs a habit and use them every other day. Aside from exfoliating the skin, AHAs deliver a multitude of additional benefits including increased skin hydration levels, smoother, firmer skin and less discoloration. Need more info? You can read more about AHAs here.
3. Protect your investment
Are you a coming down to the wire, using inspiration and instinct as your guide type girl? No worries – we can help!
Although committing to a skincare regime early on and sticking to it is the best plan, we all know what can happen to the best-laid plans! Maybe you didn’t quite get it together to plan your pre-wedding skincare with the same amount of detail you used to book your Himalayan honeymoon or to design the custom labels on the microbrew you’re going to serve. It’s all good.
A few simple steps will work beautifully for you
Hydrate like it's your job
Your skin needs daily hydration, no matter what. Hyaluronic Concentrate is a great go-to as it works for every skin type, is 100% biocompatible and instantly plumps and hydrates the skin. One or two drops gets the job done.
Stronger every day
Your stress level is likely at its highest leading up to your big day. Avoid those wedding bell blues by incorporating a few, simple lifestyle tips:
2. Milk doesn’t do every body good! If you’re prone to breakouts, try to limit or eliminate dairy which can trigger inflammation and blemishes.
3. Although it may be tempting to calm those pre-wedding jitters with a cocktail, avoid the alcohol to avoid the puff. In addition to causing general puffiness (especially under the eyes), alcohol dehydrates your skin and can cause it to look sallow.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink plenty of water (at least 64 ounces per day). We can’t say it enough, especially if you have had a few drinks. Supplementing with essential fatty acids can help cells retain water and keep skin smooth and supple.
5. Avoid adding any new skincare products into your routine thirty days prior to your wedding, as you don’t know how they’ll affect your skin.
Walking down the aisle means every eye in the room is trained on you. Healthy, vibrant skin will produce that famous wedding day glow and match the sparkle you feel inside!
This month we tapped wellness guru, Amanda Myers, to weigh in on some travel tips for staying healthy during spring break!
It’s April and that means spring vacation and, fingers crossed, warmer weather! Are you ready for some time off but not willing to give up your health and fitness? You’ve worked hard to meet your own personal wellness goals and even though you’re ready for a break, probably do not want to lose all the ground you’ve gained. It’s been shown that fitness gains are not lost before two+ weeks of not working out, (endurance performance goes down by about 4% to 25% after three to four weeks in trained athletes Bosquet and Mujika, 2012).
So, how do you make your vacation as carefree as possible without sabotaging your healthy lifestyle? Planning and preparation!
Unless you have extended travel time ahead[i], maintaining fitness levels and a mindful eating style simply require a little forethought. By setting a goal to keep your vacation both fun and balanced, you’ll be able to enjoy your time away with very little impact on your overall well being.
Here are my tried and true ways to keep healthy while vacationing:
Fitness on the Road
There’s no need to give up working out when you’re on the road. Aim for thirty minutes of exercise a day to move your body and help keep you engaged in your workout routine. If your hotel has a gym — lucky you! But if your accommodations do not include a fitness center there are still ways to work up a sweat without missing a beat. Depending on your fitness preference, here are some ideas of packable things to bring along:
- Bring two playlists, one for yoga and one for cardio/weight training – both come in handy for on the go workouts
- Travel yoga mat – great for both yoga and stretching
Jade Yoga Voyager Mat
- iPad to stream yoga or fitness videos – YogaUOnline, Grokker for Yoga and Kettlebell workouts are fun and easy to follow
- Rubber resistance band – for shoulder presses, bicep curls, rows and glutes
- Jump rope – a full body circuit with jump rope intervals and jumping jacks makes for a well-rounded workout
- Swim cap and goggles – if you are a swimmer
- Sneakers – explore your surroundings and get your steps in!
Food and Meals
Of course, you should enjoy your vacation and let loose a little, but there’s no need to go completely off the rails. With new menu choices in front of you and meal times thrown off by flights and changing time zones, taking steps to keep your digestion healthy can go a long way towards having a better trip overall.
- Keep a full water bottle on hand
- Pack healthy snacks – (aim for less than 200 calories) to prevent eating the wrong things at the wrong times
- Choose foods with lots of fiber like whole grains and veggies
- Go for healthy fats to help give you energy and keep you feeling full
- Easy travel snack ideas
- Individual servings of nut butters to put on fresh fruits and veggies
Artisana Organics Butters Squeeze
- Ground flax and chia seeds to throw in oatmeal or smoothies
Carrington Farms Gluten Organic Packaging
- Dark chocolate (70% or higher pure cacao) as a healthy dessert alternative
- Nutrient dense kale chips instead of potato or corn chips
- Nuts, dried chickpeas and shredded coconut provide healthy fats and fiber and are great to add to salads or enjoy as stand-alone snacks
- Chamomile or peppermint tea – a nice wind down at night and good for digestion
- Hummus cups with celery or carrots for the plane or car
Skin and Bodycare
My travel skincare bag is often as bulky as what I pack to wear and since I always seem to have more time to enjoy a shower and get ready while on a vacation, I make the most of it by bringing along products that make me feel and look my best.
Essentials For Sun Protection
- A wide-brimmed hat and a white long sleeve waterproof shirt to keep covered
Essentials For a Healthy Glow
- Exfoliating and hydrating masks – if you are away for a week or more bring one of each
- Skincare sample packets – save up during the year to use for vacations
- A travel size skincare set – perfect for extended trips
- Aloe vera – hydrates skin soothes skin, especially in cases of overexposure
- Essential oils – lavender for sleep and burns; peppermint for GI upset or headaches; tea-tree for blemishes and rashes
- A hair treatment or hair oil – great for fly-aways and dehydrated beach hair
- Topical C – a super moisturizer that also helps speed recovery of scabs, scars and burns; soothes wind and sunburns
- A beautiful smelling soap or shower gel and body lotion that is SLS and paraben free.
No one wants to get sick on vacation! Prepping for a trip on top of everything else going on in our lives can sometimes leave us run down right before departure. This can lead to a higher risk of getting sick once we start traveling. Bacteria and virus germs abound in airports and on airplanes, so it’s easy to fall prey to them in a depleted state.
To prevent getting sick before you even leave, be extra mindful of your home routine in the days leading up to departure. Eat well, rest and take your supplements.
Good Supplements for Both Pre-Trip and Travel
- Probiotics – take a multi-strain, shelf-stable brand daily
Bio Kult Advanced Probiotic Multi Strain Capsules
- Activated charcoal – keep it on hand for GI upsets or food poisoning
- Vitamin C – critical for immune support, take 1000mg of an ester’d C daily
- Digestive enzymes – helpful for supporting the digestion of “vacation” foods
- Magnesium – helps with sleep, digestion and muscle aches and pains (take it nightly with a cup of tea)
Natural Vitality Stress Raspberry flavor
- Multivitamins – help keep you on track with all of your micronutrient needs
- Fiber – its hard to get the recommended fiber intake of 25 grams per day when traveling – fiber packets help boost your intakeYerba Prima Psyllium Husks
- Powdered greens alkalinize and detoxify the body – add to any beverage
- Arnica – for bruising, swelling and inflammation
Boiron Arnicare Tablets Homeopathic Remedy
- Collagen peptides deliver extra amino acids and help keep hair, nails and skin glowing (add to a hot drink at night for better sleep and a happy tummy)
Vital Proteins Grass Fed Collagen Peptide
- Elderberry extract in lozenge form or tincture, helps boost immunity and prevent illness
With a little preparation and a few extra items in your suitcase, you can keep your entire family healthy and happy while enjoying some much-needed time off together. Enjoy, have fun and here’s to a great vacation!
Holistic Health Coach
LMT, RYT, Ayurvedic Practitioner
Move over UVA, there’s a new threat in town and it’s coming at you from your electronic devices! New research now indicates that HEV (high energy light, also known as “blue light”) may actually be as damaging to your skin as the sun – and it’s all around us. It’s hard to escape cause it’s coming from our laptops, tablets, cell phones, TVs and even our LED lighting.
Not quite ready to unplug? You can still fight back.
Although most of us are well aware of the damage to skin caused by UVA and UVB and, although certainly controversial, more and more evidence suggests that light emitted from our tablets, cell phones, computer screens, etc. may also be prematurely aging our skin.
High energy visible light, also known as blue light, is a high frequency wavelength emitted by TV screens, smartphones, tablets and computers. Although highly controversial, studies suggest that a veritable smorgasbord of unpleasantness such as sleep disruption, damage to your eyesight, premature aging and increased risk of hyperpigmentation are some of the suspected effects caused by chronic exposure.
Emerging studies documenting this phenomenon presented evidence that chronic exposure (which most of us encounter daily) caused a significantly higher frequency of hyperpigmentation in even darker skin types, with visibly affected areas lasting up to three months after initial exposure. In addition, one study also noted a significant increase of keratinocyte necrosis, or thickened layer of dead cells on the surface of the epidermis, giving a dull, dry lackluster appearance to the skin. Finally, it is believed that HEV exposure may weaken the skin’s barrier function, making it more susceptible to free radical damage and thus, premature aging.
The bad news is in – your phone, tablet and laptop can damage your skin. The good news? You can fight back.
What to do?
Protect, protect, protect.
Remember that old Ben Franklin axiom “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” It’s so much easier to prevent damage from exposure than it is to correct it once the damage has occurred. Exactly as you would protect your skin against other forms of radiation exposure (we’re talking UVA and UVB here) a mineral based, full spectrum sun protectant is your best friend. Sanitas Solar Block is the perfect finishing step to your morning skincare routine and provides a full spectrum dose of non-toxic protection in a base of antioxidants. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: wear your sun block every day.
Fight back with topical antioxidants.
Need a quick refresh on free radicals? These disruptive, free-wheeling agents of decay are caused by mutation in cellular atoms which in turn, cause subsequent mutation that leads to the brand new free radical attacking healthy cells. Think of them as the cellular zombie apocalypse. One free radical can cause a cascade of damage that can lead to everything from prematurely aged skin to even cancer.
But you can fight those cellular zombies. A high dose of lipophilic vitamin C (Sanitas Vita C Serum contains 25% vitamin C) does a standout job of combatting free radical damage by helping filter out harmful light rays and strengthening the skin from the inside out. The benefits of vitamin C can be significantly bolstered by adding vitamins A, E, K and D (Sanitas VitaRich Serum has a 100% active, antioxidant blend) to the mix.
Diet can help!
Believe it or not, the health of your skin is heavily influenced by what you eat. The best prevention strategy against the harmful effects of free radicals is a well-regulated lifestyle. Eating a diet rich in vitamin C, carotenoids (plant pigments) and omega fatty acids all play an important role in nutritional skincare. So load up on foods like salmon and avocados (healthy fats), strawberries and broccoli (high in vitamin C) and carrots and yellow peppers (loaded with carotenoids)to help fight those free radicals from the inside out. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to get all of those fruits and veggies in every day, so supplementing with antioxidants and Sanitas EFA complete can help.
This thing? It’s called a book.
We get it – you can’t unplug from the day-to-day necessity of being online, but you can take an active, mindful approach to managing your blue light exposure. Use earbuds instead of holding the phone up to your face. Your bedroom isn’t a charging station – it’s for rest and reprieve. Try disconnecting from all devices 30 to 60 minutes prior to turning in and swap your PM Netflix lineup with a good, old-fashioned book. Reading helps slow the mind at the end of the day leading to a better night’s sleep and by default, healthier skin.
You could go big and ditch your devices altogether but for most of us, that’s just not realistic or feasible. Instead, try to limit your exposure as much as possible. Do you really need to check your Insta feed or email all day long? Of course not.
Glycolic acid has been a skincare rockstar for decades due to its unparalleled ability to kick skin cell turnover into high gear and increase the efficacy of other active ingredients. But despite its nearly towering status in the world of skincare, certain misconceptions still abound.
Sanitas experts weigh in on some common questions about glycolics and happily explain how to get the most benefit from this highly transformative, yet often times misunderstood, skincare staple.
Why does glycolic acid dry my skin out and make it all flaky?
OK, we hear this one a lot. The first thing to consider is that not all glycolic formulas are created equal. There is a world of difference between a buffered AHA and an unbuffered AHA which is critical when it comes to minimizing irritation and sensitivity.
For example, combining glycolic acid with amino acids such as glycine and arginine form complexes that prolong the release of free acid, which in turn, helps reduce irritation and extend exfoliating benefits.
In addition, adding a powerful humectant, such as sodium PCA, further binds moisture to skin cells and protects the acid mantle, reducing inflammation, preventing irritation and actually increasing hydration levels.
End result? Don’t give up yet. What your flaky, dry skin might need most is as simple as a correctly designed formula that delivers glycolic acid’s coveted benefits with minimal unwanted side effects.
Frequency is also a common culprit. If you’re experiencing redness and irritation it might be time to step back and reevaluate your program. The skin needs time to respond and rebuild post-stimulation. Think of this as an evolving process and check in with your skin regularly. Light shedding and pinkness means you’re on track. Excessively flaking, red skin plus sensitivities means it’s time to slow your roll and give your skin a break.
Isn’t glycolic acid just for aging skin?
Heck no, glycolic acid can be a powerful part of a skincare program that actually helps prevent signs of aging. Collagen and elastin are an integral part of the support structure of the skin and determine how firm and smooth it appears. Since robust production of these important connective tissues begins to slow in your early 30’s, starting the use of AHA’s sooner rather than later can help to proactively strengthen and support the structure of your skin. Bonus points go to glycolic acid’s ability to help even skin tone and fight signs of UV inflicted photodamage.
How often should I be using glycolics?
Every other day, and we’ll tell you why.
Glycolic acid is not a more the merrier ingredient and needs to be used mindfully in conjunction with nourishing ingredients such as vitamin c and hyaluronic acid. The goal with AHA’s is to push the skin to become stronger but also allow to it fully recover and rebuild. What you use in between treatments is just as important as the treatment itself.
And while we are talking about when and how often let’s also touch on a few non-negotiables. When using any type of AHA, you must use a full spectrum sun block to protect your brand new, freshly exfoliated and emerging skin cells from environmental damage such as pollution and UV rays. This means every day, year round, no matter how much time you think you actually spend in the sun. Those UVA rays are going to hunt you down and find you so make sure you are safeguarding and protecting your skin at all times.
How do I use glycolic acid with other active ingredients?
This can get a little deep depending on how many other actives are part of your program, but let’s take a look at a few possible scenarios. We’ll walk you through it.
I’ve been using AHAs for a while. How do I know it’s time to step up my game and go for a stronger formulation?
Pretty much the same way you know when it’s time to add more weight to your bicep curls, extend your runs or hold your plank longer. If you are no longer seeing results from the same routine it’s time to take it to the next level. Ramping up your AHA use though progressive formulations is one of the cornerstones of our ingredient philosophy which is why we offer our GlycoSolutions in three ascending strengths ranging from 5% to 15%.
With all the buzz, information and misinformation surrounding gut health and its effects on the skin, we thought it would be good idea to clear the air and get the facts from an expert.
We contacted Dr. Heidi Roles to get the insider info on gut health, its holistic effect on the body and how it can impact the skin.
There is a lot of buzz out there about “gut health” but what exactly does that mean?
Gut health is the ability of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to effectively digest and absorb food, and the ability to maintain normal and stable microbiota and an effective immune status. If your gut is not healthy, you may frequently or chronically experience things like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, food allergies or sensitivity, anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, skin problems, frequent infections, autoimmune disease, poor memory, ADD and ADHD.
Information and opinions on how to achieve a healthier gut through cleanses, avoidance of the Top 8 food allergens, drinking green smoothies, etc. are everywhere. What’s the best way to tell fact from fiction or fad?
Stay away from fad diets. First, remove inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs and sugar for a couple of weeks. Then add one food at a time back into your diet, checking for symptoms of inflammatory response each time.
Next, eat a diet that is rich in whole, unprocessed healthy foods (think green vegetables) with good fiber and water content. Include fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, or kimchi. Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of spring water per day. Taking a probiotic with bifidobacterium and lactobacilla species, 25-100 billion units, can also do wonders for boosting the overall health of your gut.
How is gut health related to healthy skin?
When imbalances occur in the microbiome of the gut, it can lead to skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and acne. Poor gut health not only saps your energy but also causes a disruption in your body’s ability to produce mood calming, brain boosting serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters, which are primarily produced in the digestive system, affect brain function, hormonal function and overall health.
Skin microbiome refers to all the organisms that live inside or on our bodies: bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and helminths (parasites). A healthy skin microbiome protects against infection in much the same way a good gut microbiome does: by crowding out overgrowth of pathogenic organisms. The skin microbiome prefers a relatively acidic environment (pH is around 5.0), which also inhibits growth of pathogens.
The gut microbiome and skin immune system “talk” to each other regularly and work together to dampen inflammation. When the gut microbiome is out of balance, the immune system can release various antimicrobial peptides to help balance things out. Likewise, good bacterial residents can inhibit the release of inflammatory compounds from the immune system.
Stress and anxiety are major disruptors of digestion. When you experience stress, your body goes into a “fight or flight” state and drops everything else it’s doing, including digesting food. When you have chronic stress in your life (think family obligations, work stress, financial stress, or constant travel) your digestion suffers. Even if your diet is healthy; if you’re not absorbing the nutrients due to poor gut function, you’ll begin to see skin, hair and nail problems.
Can you talk a little bit about the gut health-hormone connection?
Turns out a certain set of gut bacteria and more specifically, certain bacterial genes called the estrobolome, produce an essential enzyme that helps metabolize estrogen. This process, when working efficiently, plays an essential role in perfect hormonal balance. This population of friendly bacteria (known as gut flora) makes up your gut microbiome. Your gut microbiome is a main player in regulating your hormones, especially your estrogen levels. Estrogen dominance due to a poorly functioning microbiome leads to every hormonal imbalance symptom or sickness you can think of—infertility, PMS, low libido, polycystic ovary syndrome, cramps and heavy bleeding.
What are the long-term effects of chronic inflammation in the body? How does this relate to the skin?
Chronic stress leads to chronic inflammation which can cascade through the body in a variety of ways. Hormones are released that encourage inflammation and decrease blood flow to the skin. Stress induced irritation to the nerves may increase inflammation or stimulate allergic reactions. Production of moisturizing and plumping lipids declines and skin healing, repair and restoration get delayed.
When the body is chronically stressed, the skin recruits the immune system to help fight back which can cause inflammation that presents as rosacea, acne and psoriasis flare-ups.
What are some easy first steps to take toward better gut health?
Take care of your gut! Eat healthy and stay hydrated. Research shows that what you put in your mouth influences your skin and skin microbiome in many ways. Choose organic whenever possible, aim for a balance of good fats, proteins, carbohydrates, colorful vegetables and clean water and keep processed foods and extra sugar out of the diet.
Identify and remove trigger foods such as dairy and gluten. Both are associated with exacerbating a range of skin issues, including eczema and acne.
Let your microbiome thrive! Arguably, all skin issues are influenced by the gut microbiome and gut health in general.
- Taking a daily, high-quality probiotic has been shown to prevent or treat many skin conditions.
- Minimize the use of hand sanitizers and soaps. Remember skin microbiome prefers a pH of 5 and most soaps have a pH of 10.
- Work up a sweat a few times a week. If you’re eating well, the sweat you produce is likely a fortifying prebiotic for the skin microbiome.
- Keep your stress levels in check. Just like elsewhere in the body, stress can negatively influence what’s happening with your skin. Find a stress management method that works best for you, such as yoga or meditation.
- Get dirty! It may sound crazy, but in today’s world, we just don’t have enough contact with dirt, or soil based organisms to be precise. Think about this—for most of human history, we worked outside or interacted with the outdoor world in some way each day. Food came from the ground and while it may have been rinsed, it wasn’t “washed” and it certainly wasn’t irradiated like many foods are today. Through these interactions with the soil, we had regular contact with soil based organisms (SBOs) which are also natural strains of probiotics found in the gut and on the skin. I make sure to spend time outdoors doing activities like gardening and camping to get natural exposure to a variety of soil based organisms.
About Dr. Heidi Roles
As a chiropractor, nutritionist and weight loss coach, Dr. Heidi Roles’ approach to wellness addresses the whole person through the lens of her wide range of experience and training. Her practice emphasizes the ‘Brimhall’ method – a protocol focused on locating and eliminating interference to a client’s health—as well as treatment of nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, emotional stress and toxicity. She is a skilled practitioner in applied kinesiology (bio-energetic feedback analysis) and has seen great success by combining this technique with emotional clearing practices.
As a passionate wellness advocate, Dr. Heidi loves to share her wealth of experience though teaching opportunities that include health care classes, onsite services with local businesses, wellness seminars and conferences. She received her Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) from Los Angeles City College in 1988 and is certified in a wide variety of holistic techniques.
Ready to pull out those cute fall sweaters, grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte and take a drive to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage? Fall is the favorite time of year for many, but as the cooler weather of autumn emerges, you may notice that the colors of the leaves aren’t the only things changing: your skin may be too!
Often as cooler weather arrives and humidity departs, skin starts to become dryer. This can mean the appearance of dry patchy spots that weren’t there before, increased sensitivity and flare-ups of eczema or psoriasis. The evidence of “too much fun in the summer sun” may start to emerge also, and you may see the arrival of dark spots that weren’t there at the start of summer. As if these things weren’t bad enough, cooler weather can also decrease circulation and reduce the skin’s ability to detoxify, resulting in dull, sagging lackluster skin.
But all is not lost! With the right pro-treatment, proper homecare regimens and a healthy diet your skin can maintain it’s lovely summer glow!
How to deal?
- Kicking off the change of seasons with a peel is a great way to remove dead summer skin and lay the foundation for prepping your skin for fall. Peels help exfoliate the dry, dull outer layer of skin and can help reverse damages (like those pesky dark spots) from days spent luxuriating by the pool.
- Consider dosing your skin with more hydrating and nourishing products for a month or so and using a gentler form of exfoliation. The new Santias Gentle Refining Mask is perfect for mildly exfoliating that dead outer layer of skin and for helping lighten discoloration. It’s also a great way to help extend the benefits of that fall peel.
- Add antioxidants into your skincare routine to help reduce the oxidative damage from summer. Sanitas Vita Rich Serum is a nourishing, topical antioxidant, loaded with Vitamins A, C, D, E and K.
- As important as topical nutrition is for the skin, even more important is treating your skin with good nutrition. Don’t’ forget to load up on antioxidants (lots of dark green veggies and sweet potatoes are perfect in the fall) and don’t forget your EFAs to help hydrate from the inside out. One of our favorite sources of EFAs is Udo’s Choice if you like to drink oils and aren’t traveling; otherwise, try Sanitas EFA Complete for your daily dose of healthy fats.