Skincare from the Inside Out

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this blog post is part of a series, #oneblogpostaday.

the first part of this series is focused on wellness + longevity.


I’ve never been much of a makeup lady.

But, I have been obsessed with my skin for as long as I could remember. And hey - it wasn’t always a good obsession. I definitely had my fair share of tanning salons and long days out in the sun sans sunscreen.

I’ve just always cared more about having glowing skin than experimenting with the latest makeup trends. And I realized very early on that not matter how many Glossier products you buy - that dewy look needs to come from the inside out.

I know, I know it’s the harder answer. It would be much easier to just take a pill or throw on some lotion. And, there are definitely products that can help; don’t get me wrong.

I’ve just found that my skin is a direct representation of what I put inside my body. Late night pizza and 4 hours of sleep? Days later, it’ll show on up on my forehead.

And, this isn’t just my “gut” feeling. Science backs me up.

Our skincare truly begins in our gut. Given that our skin is our largest vital organ (our skin is between 6 - 10% of our body weight - talk about crazy!), it’s actually our largest clue as to what’s going on inside.

And on the inside, it’s all about getting the right combination of bacteria. Yes - that’s right. Creating an environment where our healthy bacteria could thrive is exactly what we want to be doing to get that glow.

My true inside-out skincare journey started when I found Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef. Her cookbook was the first true deep dive I had into cooking with my skin in mind. If you’re really interested in diving into this topic - I highly recommend checking it out (you can buy it on Amazon here!).

But for now, here are the top foods to incorporate into your life in order to get that dewy, glowy skin from the inside out.


Collagen

Since I started using collagen, it’s been my number one favorite supplement. I know it’s not a real food, so I’m adding it on here first. But, I have to say that it has had the most intense impact on my skin since I began adding it to my diet.

I’ve covered a lot about collagen in this blog post here, but as a quick background - collagen is a naturally occurring protein that’s been called the glue of the body (yep, seriously). But, as we get older we produce less and less of it. Cue wrinkles and creaky knees.

I’ve been adding collagen to my morning coffee and smoothies for about a year, and I’ve personally seen drastic results in the elasticity of my skin (aka bye bye squinty-lines) and shininess of my hair. Talk about inside-out power!

Kimchee (and other fermented veggies)

If you care about helping your skin glow from the inside, fermented foods will become your best friend.

I was never a fan of their taste, but recently I’ve been going through jars of kimchee like it’s my job (my favorite is mother in law’s kimchee).

The awesome thing about fermented foods like kimchee, kombucha and sauerkraut are that they are a great natural source of probiotics. It’s an easy way to get these special gut-boosters into the belly naturally.

Essentially, probiotics directly neutralize toxins and chemicals so they don’t need to be further processed through the liver…and skin. Peeerfect.

Coconut Oil

We’ve all heard a lot about coconut oil (is it good for you? bad? lots of chatter going on as of late). But, as it relates to your skin, coconut oil is the way to go - both inside and out.

Healthy fats are really important in healing the gut-skin connection. Think: salmon, olive oil, nuts. But, the good thing about coconut oil specifically is that it also has anti-microbial properties.

So, you can use it as a moisturizer, too!

Garlic

Garlic is part of the prebiotic clan, which simply means that it has certain elements that help us grow our good gut bacteria. Other foods in this group are: artichokes, leeks, asparagus, onions and bananas.

If you want to know the nitty-gritty of it: this group of foods has a non-digestable fiber that only gets fermented once it reaches our large colon. There, it helps to grow all the good bacteria we need.

Of course, our skin thrives when we have the right combination of all the good bacterias. So, sometimes it’s helpful to consult a doctor and take a blood test to see where you’re at right now - so you know where to go.


Before you start on this journey, remember that it’s not all about what you put into your body - it’s also about what you avoid.

Sugar and gluten are known good bacteria killers - and even if you’re not “allergic” to them, their effects often hit our skin first. So, if you’re dealing with skin issues like eczema or other flare ups, take a look other things that aren’t on this of “good” foods. Also, it’s extremely important to make sure that even when you’re filling up on the good stuff, like yogurt, it doesn’t have tons of sugar and other bacteria killers.

One last point: remember that this is a journey. Keep experimenting and shifting your diet as you learn more about what does and doesn’t work for you. If you’re not used to eating any fermented foods - don’t start adding kimchee to every meal. It’ll be a pain for both your stomach (and maybe your tastebuds).

So, take a chill pill and begin experimenting with your new skincare routine.

Katina Mountanos