Skin Health with Face Yoga Teacher; Lydia Sasse
Skin health is a BIG topic, largely because it isn’t just what you see in the mirror that affects your skin. When people come to clinic with ‘skin issues’ it could have a multitude of root causes; structural skin issues (potentially low collagen levels or poor muscle control) gut imbalances (often linked to psoriasis or inflamed skin), immune dysregulation (hives, eczema, rashes), hormonal imbalances (acne, pcos related skin issues) metabolic issues (accelerated ageing) poor detoxification pathways (congested skin) or even our nervous system health (stress induced skin problems).
Many of these different systems of the body overlap too - for example, our nervous system is closely linked to our gut which houses much of our immune system, which responds to the outside environment. Blood sugar imbalances are closely tied to our hormonal health, which also relies on optimal detoxification pathways through our liver, gut and ultimately, the skin.
This appears to make tackling skin issues quite complicated - but in fact it is about seeing the body as an amazing interconnected system, treating it holistically and supporting one part with also impact another. In our Instagram Live on Saturday 9th July, we grabbed a morning cuppa with Lydia Sasse to chat all things skin health. Lydia is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to facial skin and not only loves our products but is also a firm believer that the power to feel great in your skin comes from within.
Embedding habits such as stress management techniques, positive affirmations, getting optimal sleep and keeping hydrated are just some of the practices she advocates for getting that inner and outer glow. Lydia is a huge advocate for face yoga and not only performs daily rituals herself, but guides others in her workshops and sessions online and in person.
Many of us know the benefits of toning and moving our body to keep it working at it’s best, so why not our face? Face Yoga refers to the exercise routines and massages we can give our facial muscles for stimulation, better circulation, lymphatic draining and even boosting collagen levels.
Jo also spent some time discussing top nutrients for skin and also how to go about tackling skin issues using diet and in this article has delved a little deeper for you.
Eat your way to better skin
Radiant, healthy looking skin depends on you giving it the right fuel and building blocks to begin with.
Healthy Fats - whatever your skin complaint, healthy fats are one of the first things you should be making sure you are getting enough of. If you have a specific skin issue then you may want to hone in on upping your intake of one particular fat, but actually all of the healthy fats will play a key role in great skin health.
Omega 3 fats are excellent for dry skin conditions and also have an anti-inflammatory effect, so can be really beneficial to reduce inflammation seen in the skin or help modulate an immune reaction. You can boost Omega-3 intake with oily fish - think of the acronym SMASH - sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, herring - to remember which fish are high in omega 3 fats. And if you don’t eat fish? Flaxseed or walnuts are a useful substitute as they contain a similar essential fatty acid profile but in lesser amounts.
Medium Chain Fatty Acids such as True MCT oil has antimicrobial properties which can be particularly helpful for those with acne or in need of rebalancing their skin microbiome with some studies pointing to using it topically as well as adding it to your diet.
Other fats such as Omega 9 monounsaturated fats are also great for skin health. Extra virgin olive oil in particular has been linked to improved skin moisturisation, anti-aging effects and relief from sun damage.
Collagen - we can’t talk about skin health without mentioning collagen! Collagen plays a central role in skin health and is the main structural protein of the extracellular space in the dermis, the middle layer of skin. As we get older, our collagen stores start to decline, resulting in symptoms like wrinkles and sagging skin. Studies have found that supplementing with collagen peptides can help increase skin elasticity and hydration. Further studies also report that collagen is able to reduce the depth of facial wrinkles in post-menopausal women.
Want to learn more about collagen? Head over to our Ultimate Guide to Taking Collagen
Choline - This little-known micronutrient is a crucial player in our skin health, however, some research suggests that most people do not get enough of it. This essential micronutrient is vital to the structure of all our cells and how they communicate. As well as affecting our liver function, brain and nervous system, it also plays a part in protecting us from daily wear and tear and renewing our DNA.
Choline is found in animal products - so eggs, organ meats and fish are great sources. It is found in much smaller amounts in some plant foods such as broccoli or soy but it is much harder to get enough. Our vegan Collagyn range includes choline for exactly this reason - a much needed nutrient in any plant-based, skin healthy diet!
The antioxidants - these keep our body and skin cells healthy by preventing or reducing oxidative stress damage caused by highly reactive molecules called free radicals. Three vitamins in particular hold key antioxidant properties - to help remember which ones, use the acronym ACE.
Vitamin A - This antioxidant is crucial to our immune health and is also required for cell growth, both of which help maintain a normal healthy skin. Vitamin A comes from two sources, retinoids, such as retinol (which comes from animal sources, such as liver or eggs) and carotenoids (such as beta carotene found in orange coloured plants like carrots and squash)
Vitamin C - A really important vitamin when it comes to skin health. You’re likely aware of the ‘scurvy’ story and yet this important tale shines a light on why vitamin C is such a key player. Vitamin C supports your skin's natural regeneration process, which helps your body repair damaged skin cells. It is also a co-factor in the generation of collagen, so much needed to keep those collagen levels optimal. Found in high amounts in fruits such as kiwi, berries or citrus as well as broccoli or bell peppers. We also love the high antioxidant superfoods such as Haskap or Rosehip which are excellent sources of Vitamin C.
Vitamin E - this vitamin is often found in the sebum of our skin and acts as a protectant yet is depleted with age and exposure to sun's UV rays. Also working as an antioxidant, Vitamin E has photoprotective properties to keep the skin safe from sun damage. Found in healthy anti-inflammatory fats such as almonds, avocado, sunflower seeds and olive oil.
Gut Healing Nutrition - a whole topic for another blog entirely! Gut health is so closely connected to skin health - what happens on our skin it’s often the body’s way of communicating what is going on inside. Strain specific probiotics and including plenty of prebiotic fibre has been shown to support skin conditions ranging from eczema, psoriasis, acne and so much more. Fibre also helps our gut bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids which helps to combat inflammation and leaky gut, often at the root cause of many skin complaints.
Ancient + Brave Products - many of our products help with skin health so it’s hard to choose just one - Radiant is an obvious choice as it contains good levels of antioxidant rich berries such as Rosehip as Haskap, as well as collagen specific amino acids which help your body regenerate collagen. It also contains Vitamin C, choline and chicory root inulin, a fantastic prebiotic for the gut.
Inspired is also a fantastic choice if you are needing some anti-inflammatory gut loving compounds like turmeric or ginger, where Cacao + Collagen is nourishing for those stressed out skin types. Of course we also have our True and Wild Collagen which can help restore the body’s collagen levels. The choice really depends on your personal goals