Radiant Skin Begins with Your Diet!
You may be surprised to learn that what you eat can drastically
affect the condition of your skin. Perhaps you remember a
friend or family member warning you back in high school about
chocolate and French fries causing acne, and dismissed it
as a myth at the time. But in fact, they weren't that
far off-base with their warnings! What you eat does impact your skin health, and dietary improvements can often
make living with psoriasis, dermatitis, dandruff, eczema,
rosacea or severe acne much less trying. At DermaHarmony we
firmly believe that good nutrition is a critical component
of improving skin health, and if you are struggling to know
where to start—check out our sample psoriasis diet plan—we can help!
The USDA reports that at least 40% of Americans routinely
consume less than 60% of the recommended daily intake. For
selected nutrients, over 80% of us consume less than the recommended
daily intake—sometimes called the RDA. Science gathers
knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. Current research
shows that optimization of the preventative powers of many
nutrients requires supplementation at levels significantly
greater than the RDA and even the new DRI (Dietary Reference
Here at DermaHarmony we feel that the RDA and DRI come up
short. For this reason, we use a "Blended Nutritional
Standard," put together by seven leading nutritional
authorities. The Blended Standard is comprised of 39 nutrient
categories (17 vitamins or vitamin-like components, 14 minerals,
3 phytonutrient complexes, and 5 additional nutritional factors).
Do you know where your diet falls against this Blended Standard?
Odds are that your intakes fall way—and we mean WAY—short.
(The Blended Standard—by Phyllis Balch, CNC;
Michael Colgan, PhD; Earl Mindell, PhD; Michael Murray, ND;
Richard Passwater, PhD; Ray Strand, MD; and Julian Whitaker,
The bolded nutrients in the above chart have been shown to
be deficient in people with psoriasis. In addition, arachidonic
acid and leukotrienes often appear to be elevated in the urine
of people with active psoriasis. This indicates that omega-3
fatty acids might be beneficial. There is much evidence
showing that eating fish or taking fish oil supplements (EPA/DHA)
can have an anti-inflammatory effect in psoriasis and other
skin condition sufferers.
Healthy Skin Begins with Food Choices
Increased awareness of what you are putting into your system
each day is a good starting point in identifying possible
pitfalls. The current American diet is typically full of processed
and fast foods, hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup,
white flour, refined sugars, and numerous artificial flavorings
and colors. The methods of ultra-processing the foods we eat
often strip out valuable vitamins and nutrients and replace
them with artificial ingredients that may exacerbate already
existing inflammatory conditions.
Dr. John A. Pagano, a leading holistic psoriasis researcher,
believes that toxic build-up in the body is the cause of psoriasis
and other skin conditions. He states that "due to the
toxic nature of many of foods commonly consumed and a weak
intestinal lining, the individual's blood contains
a build-up of poisons." The kidneys and liver cannot keep up with the level of filtration needed to rid
the body of these toxins. Other organs such as the skin become
the fail-over filter. And this leads to skin outbreaks.
Polyamines (metabolic breakdown products of proteins) are
found to be higher in people with psoriasis than in the general
population. Michael Murray, ND and Joe Pizzorno, ND believe
that incomplete digestion of proteins, bowel toxemia and poor
liver function are factors that influence the progression
of psoriasis. Digestive enzyme supplementation can help cleave
proteins more completely, allowing better uptake and utilization.
Interestingly, those with psoriasis seem also to have a higher
incidence of food allergies and sensitivities. The most common
food allergens are gluten and dairy. That may not mean you
have overt celiac disease or lactose intolerance, but a milder
sensitivity harder to identify. If you have psoriasis, you
may want to eliminate gluten and dairy from your diet to see
how your skin responds. Although fruits and vegetables are
recommended, a few such as strawberries, tomatoes, and eggplant
can often make symptoms worse and should be avoided. Heavily
processed foods, fried foods, soda, caffeine, and alcohol
may cause increased inflammation, and they are psoriasis no-no's
for sure. If you notice any reaction from other foods, you
would do well to avoid them as well.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and their juices, plus
whole grains may help to alleviate some of the discomfort
associated with not only psoriasis, but other skin conditions
as well, such as acne and rosacea. In addition to liberal
amounts of water, at least eight glasses each day, individuals
should aim to fill most of their diet with fresh fruits such
as grapes, mangoes and peaches, and vegetables such as cucumbers,
squash and lettuce. Very limited amounts of meats and low-fat
dairy products, eggs, and olive oil are also suggested. Eating
these types of foods is not only beneficial to those suffering
from skin ailments, but is also a healthy way for people not
currently afflicted to prevent future skin conditions from
In order to receive the most benefit from fresh fruits and
vegetables, choose local organic produce as much as possible.
Since many fruits and vegetables start losing valuable nutrients
as soon as they are harvested, the faster the food gets from
the field to your table, the better! It is particularly important
to choose organic meats as much as possible, to avoid possible
reactions from hormones, antibiotics or other chemicals with
which the meat may have been treated. Organic fruits and vegetables
are also a good choice when available, since they are grown
without the use of harsh chemicals or pesticides that may
cause a reaction and add to your body's toxic burden.
Supplementation is Necessary
There is growing awareness that we just can't get enough
micronutrients from food alone, given our often imperfect
diets, and we need to maintain a healthy digestive tract in
order to effectively absorb what we ingest. Current research
indicates that vitamins A, B, D and E may prove beneficial
to psoriasis patients in easing symptoms. Additional studies
have found that many patients suffering from skin ailments
such as acne, psoriasis and rosacea are often deficient in
these vitamins as well as zinc.
Supplementing your diet with a multivitamin is wise when
dealing with skin conditions to help bring added relief. When
choosing a quality supplement, pharmaceutical-grade nutrients
are the best choice.
How DermaHarmony can Help
You might already eat a fairly healthy diet. Perhaps you
choose organic foods, or try to eat the recommended five or
more servings of vegetables each day. This makes for a good
start, but there may be additional changes that could be made
to help ease some of the discomfort brought on by psoriasis.
While Dr. Pagano's groundbreaking dietary work to help
psoriasis—as mentioned on The National Psoriasis Foundation's
website—has helped many psoriasis sufferers, his long-term
restrictions may be just too difficult for some to follow.
DermaHarmony can help. In our Shop we offer a dietary
guide written by a Deirdre Earls, RD, LD, a nutritionist who
used healthy foods to heal her own psoriasis! This user-friendly dietary guide offers realistic food choices for busy,
active people. The author of this guide has done the work
for you, and can assist you in selecting the best foods to
promote healing from within!
Here are some resources for you. Read on for the answers
you seek, then give us a call if you would like additional
How We Help
At DermaHarmony, our goals are to educate chronic skin care suffers about dermatology, share what contributes to health and wellness, and support our readers in any way we can. We manufacture and sell two soaps in our store that help with a variety of skin conditions. They're worth consideration if you have a condition that can be helped with pyrithione zinc, sulfur, or salicylic acid.
Most Visited Articles on Skin Nutrition
More Articles >>
||Radiant skin begins with your diet!
You may be surprised to learn that what you eat can dramatically affect the condition of your skin. Perhaps you remember a friend or family member warning you about chocolate or french fries causing acne back in high school, and dismissed it as myth. In fact, they weren't that far off-base with their warnings!
||Vitamin D-3 and the Skin
Although there is currently no proven cure for psoriasis, recent research indicates there are numerous health benefits to vitamin D supplementation, supporting relief from many inflammatory ailments and medical conditions. We believe this includes psoriasis!
If you were able to gather up all the bacteria in your digestive system, researchers estimate the total would weigh about four pounds! Under ideal circumstances these bacteria live in our intestines, quietly performing many functions that aid in digestion and benefit the overall health of the body.
Elimination Diet for Skin Conditions
There is something that you do every day that can create problems for your skin. To you, your skin problem may be called psoriasis, eczema, rosacea or acne, but to your skin it is an inflammatory reaction, and the source of that inflammation may very likely be the foods that you are putting in your mouth, into your digestive system.
Diet, Insulin, and Your Skin
Acne is commonly thought of as a teenage affliction, compounding for young sufferers the often self-conscious awkwardness of adolescence with the embarrassment of unattractive skin eruptions. When acne persists into later stages of life, or shows up unexpectedly in older adults, the often unsightly rash can be no less socially distracting and awkward.
A probiotic is a living microorganism which, when administered in sufficient amounts, confers a health benefit to its host. Two of the most common probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus and the group known as bifidobacteria, are commonly found in the gut and assist the body with a number of functions. The digestive system is inhabited by billions of these bacteria, collectively referred to as intestinal microflora.
Radiant Skin Begins with Your Diet!—Reference Documents and Further Reading
Principal Author: M. Smith, DermaHarmony
Date of Publication: 06/27/2006