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Underlying Causes of Skin Problems

Your skin is an indicator of what is going on with your body internally. Issues such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, premature ageing are all signs that there is an imbalance in one or more systems of your body.

There are 6 major underlying causes of skin problems:

  1. Gut Micro-biome Imbalance

  2. Inflammation

  3. Hormone Imbalance

  4. Nutritional Deficiencies

  5. Oxidative Stress

  6. Blood Sugar Imbalances

Gut Microbiome Imbalance

The health of your gut is directly related to the health of your skin. The digestive tract contains a balance of healthy beneficial bacteria along with harmful bacteria, parasites and candida. We all have our own unique colony of flora and the key to a healthy gut it to ensure your own micro-biome is balanced.

At birth we are exposed to ours mothers flora, and as we progress through life we are exposed to things that can negatively alter the healthy balance, such as toxins, stress, poor dietary choices, infections, medication etc. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as fermented vegetables or coconut yogurt is a great place to start. For extra support though, consider taking a high quality probiotic and prebiotic.


Inflammation can be both internal and external. To address both types of inflammation, it is vital to address your immune response. Things such as food intolerances, viruses, histamine overload, food allergies, auto-immune disease and pain can all trigger the immune system to react - leading to an inflammatory response. External inflammation can be seen when you experience redness, heat and swelling.

Eating an anti-inflammatory diets is key to address this issues. Focus on plant-based diets including colourful fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seed and protein such as wild salmon. An omega 3 supplement such as a high quality fish oil can help reduce inflammation from occurring.

Hormone Imbalance

There are four main sex and stress hormones indicated in adverse skin conditions. Oestrogen, Testosterone, Cortisol and Thyroid Hormones. The goal is to balance all of these and know what is triggering each one to go out of whack.

All our our hormones are linked so when one becomes imbalanced then a cascade effect happens, throwing all the others out of balance as well. Conditions such as PCOS, Endometriosis and Adenomyosis can occur from an excess in oestrogen or a decreased amount of progesterone. Androgen excess is know to trigger acne in both women and men.All of these conditions lead to inflammation, which in turn triggers the stress response. This increases the production of the adrenal hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline. The thyroid is involved in every process in the body and when cortisol is in excess, our thyroid is signalled to reduce the amount of the hormone T4. There are numerous skin conditions that can be attributed to low output of thyroid hormones. (Hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto's)

Your hormone levels change as you age, stress hormones usually increase while your sex hormones are decreasing. Your skins texture and appearance shows this by thinning, fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and possible breakouts. Managing your stress levels is important to lower the adrenal hormones. Breathwork, yoga, daily walking in nature are all ways to reduce cortisol.

Foods that support hormone metabolism are needed, such as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, colourful fruit and veges, and the alium family (onions and garlic.

Omitting Dairy products from your diet for a short term (at least), can be beneficial in beginning to help restore hormone balance. The milk of a pregnant or recently pregnant mammal contains hormones which may throw your own hormones out of balance. This is not to say you will need to avoid dairy products indefinitely if it is one of the things you love. (cheese......), but if you do begin to reintroduce it to your diet, not any signs or symptoms when you ingest it.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Key nutrient are needed for skin health. Both micronutrients and macronutrients deficiency can show up on our skin as problems. Restrictive diets, or inadequate sources of healthy foods, unhealthy gut microbiome leading to malabsorption and lifestyles can all play a role in nutritional deficiency.

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body, providing the skin with strength and elasticity. As you age your collagen production decreases, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles.

By making sure you are eating a varied anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean diet will help ensure your gut remains healthy and you are able to absorb the nutrients you eat. A good quality multi-vitamin may be needed in the interim, until you heal your gut and build your nutrient levels back up.

Oxidative Stress

Our skin is exposed to environmental pollutants and toxins, as well as the sun's damaging UV radiation, leading to an increase of free radicals in the skin. When these levels are above our natural antioxidant defence system, oxidative damage can occur. Hyper-pigmentation is a sign of oxidative stress as an increase of melanin production is occurring. Premature ageing, skin damage and skin cancers have all been linked to oxidative damage.

Eating a rainbow of fresh fruit and vegetables supplies your body with antioxidants to help fight free radicals and minimise the damage they cause. Chia seeds is another great source.

Blood Sugar Imbalance

A healthy level of blood sugar is important in maintaining healthy skin. When there is an increase of sugar in the blood, insulin production increases, leading to sebum production and androgen activity. This can lead to acne breakouts and is indicated commonly in women with PCOS.

Excess sugar intake elevates your blood sugar, which causes glycation issues. Glycation is a process which is caused by the presence of excess glucose in skin fibers. This excess triggers an internal reaction in which sugar molecules adhere to the collagen and elastin proteins, which normally help keep skin firm and supple. Glycation presents in the skin as cross-hatched lines and wrinkles. If you think of 'normal' wrinkles they are linear and generally parallel to each other in areas of facial movement. Lines created by Glycation cross over each other and are often seen over the cheeks and around the chin.

By keeping a check on your processed sugar intake and eating a well balance diet can help minimise these issues.

In my 12 week Skin & Hormone Essential Program I help you how to find the underlying cause of your particular skin type problem, teach you, step by step, how to gain back clear, glowing skin, a regular cycle and an increased quality of life.

You can read more about it here

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