If you're like me, you get really sick of having rosacea and trying to look through all of the symptoms, trying to understand what's happening. It’s tough knowing that someone else can have a really positive result with something that could feel bad on your skin, and not work in the slightest.
But there's something that applies to everyone with rosacea, dry skin, or ageing skin, and it involves two foods you need to increase your intake of in your diet (even if you think you're having enough).
To set the scene let's look a little more closely at what our skin does, and what it needs.
Rosacea - A Myriad Of Changing Symptoms
With rosacea, skin can be sometimes dry, sometimes flaky, sometimes it's oily, sometimes burning, and sometimes pustules pop up from seemingly nowhere. And it changes from person to person, and from one day to the next.
There's a myriad of symptoms, and a myriad of ways to combat that, and treat it. Can you ever really be sure what will work, and what won’t? The answer is yes... if we really understand our skin, and what it's telling us.
Understanding Your Skin
One of the key things I know that makes a big difference is really understanding how skin works. It’s both simple and complex. In actual fact, our skin is amazing.
For one thing, it holds all our organs together. That might sound really stupid but, from an evolutionary perspective, we've got skin so we can move around on the planet. We’ve got skin so we're protected from the environment.
And it's important to understand that skin issues can be a gift (not always welcome). They can be nature's way of warning us that something is out of whack with our health, and that we must do something about it.
If our skin wasn't how it is, it wouldn’t do what it’s designed to do. Think about when you stay in the bath too long. Your skin starts to lose its integrity and goes really, really strange. If it were like that all the time it wouldn’t be very comfortable for us walking around. And we’d be susceptible to bacteria and funguses and GE. They can all cause infection and affect our whole body's health.
So, the skin's primary function is to keep us healthy, and to protect us from the environment.
The Sebaceous Glands - And Their Endless Balancing Act
And we've got our sebaceous glands. These include our oil glands and our sweat glands. They both excrete things that keep our skin elastic and supple. You know how leathery it can feel if it's left to dry in the sun. You know that if you put oil on it, it smooths out again.
But here’s something you may not have considered. Our skin is not only on the outside of our body. It's on the inside too such as the intestines. So whatever is happening inside your body, you get to see on the outside of your body, and vice versa.
It is a complex system that, as a basic requirement needs to balance out oil and sweat glands in order to protect our skin.
Achieving Balance With Nutrition & Diet
So how do we do that?
For starters, we need to pay attention to what our body needs. And nutrition and diet is a great place to start if you suffer from rosacea, so let’s talk a little about that.
I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard it, but you really REALLY need lots of fresh green leafy vegetables.
Why Do You Need More Green Leafy Vegetables In Your Diet?
There's lots of chlorophyll in green leafy vegetables that helps sterilize our skin, and helps get oxygen around our body. Green powders are ok as a supplement and boost, but they won’t do the job entirely because we need the enzymes that are in fresh vegetables. Enzymes are really key to a whole lot of things happening.
Why Do You Need More Cis Fatty Acids In Your Diet?
And then we want really healthy fats. The oil in our skin, our sebum, is made from the oils that we eat. A lot of people worry about weight, and diet but you know there's so much stuff around now about how important healthy fats are for brain function, and for skin function.
If you want to focus on weight loss try ditching the sugar and unhealthy fats, but please don't give up or go without the healthy fats you need.
So what sort of fats are needed? We need cis fatty acids. Now, these are the unprocessed fats such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, oily fish like salmon.
As a rule of thumb, avoid processed foods. Processed foods have trans fatty acids. They stop your body being able to use the cis fatty acids to make sebum in your skin.
So, if you've got any dry skin symptoms, whether it's rosacea, eczema or ageing, there’s a high chance that you’re not getting the cis fatty intake that you need, or are inhibiting the production of sebum through consumption of trans fatty acids.
Increasing your consumption of cis fatty acids, and avoiding trans fatty acids which are in processed foods such as potato chips and deep fried foods, allows those really good oils to weave their magic. You don’t necessarily need to ditch them altogether, but stick to this rule of thumb 80% of the time.
The Great Green Vege Hack
Want to know how to fit in those green leafy vegetables and good fats in your diet?
Well, the ultimate skin smoothie is brilliant, and the recipe is really simple. Lots of spinach or kale. I particularly love using beetroot greens (as they're really high in potassium), some parsley, some celery. I just go into the garden and pick some of those, or get them at the supermarket or the farmers markets.
I just get enough for the week. Throw that in a blender with half an avocado to be getting some of your really good fats too. A teaspoon of evening primrose oil is fantastic for getting your body to produce good sebum and managing some of the hormones that also impact our skin. Coconut oil or MCT oil are also really good. Add those oils when you have them.
Don't let not having the oils stop you having the smoothie because the smoothie, even without the oils is great. It becomes a really powerful, amazing start to the day. Most of us are really busy so one of the good things about having a green smoothie at the beginning of the day is that you've already had all those greens. You don't have to worry about trying to find salad for lunch. You've already had a really good bunch of greens to get your system working that soothes and calms the intestines. It gives more nutrition to the skin, and then it soothes and calms our skin externally.
Now, if you're not someone who's had green smoothies and you're not used to having healthy food, it can taste a bit weird. But, you can add half an apple in there.
If you really want to impact your skin, try something for about a week. After a week of having the green smoothie, so many things in your body start working really well. You’ll excrete better, and you’ll digest better. You’ll also think better, so that's a great way to start the day.
In A Nutshell
So, in summary - two things you can do with your diet if you suffer from rosacea, dry skin, flaky skin, or the effects of ageing to really impact your skin is eat lots of green leafy vegetables, and eat good healthy fats.
Your skin and body in general will reward you for your efforts. Load up on your next shop, and give it a try.
Written by Suzanne Hall - Internationally Acclaimed Natural SkinCare Scientist
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