Skin is the body’s largest organ. It not only protects our body from germs, but a diversified group of bacteria called the skin microbiome also lives on it. The health of our skin microbiome is just as important as our gut microbiome in keeping us healthy.
25% of our body’s immune system is contained within the skin. It regulates temperature and has a vital function in acting as an immune gatekeeper, protecting our organs. When it is unbalanced and not taken care of, its abilities are weakened, and our bodies have a harder time fighting off infection.
There are a variety of ways to take care of the skin and boost the immune system both internally and externally. I think it is important to approach all skincare holistically, focusing on nutrition, topical treatments, and lifestyle.
Diet is fundamental, as it accounts for about 70% of the health of our skin, while 30% is how we treat it topically. Below are some tips from our in-house nutritionist Mary Grace Gottsacker on what to include in your diet to support your skin and build a stronger immune system:
- A diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables contains many vitamins + antioxidants as well as phytonutrients. Thus, building your immune system and helping to fight off disease and keep you healthy.
- Antioxidants (i.e. berries, dark leafy greens, vegetables) help fight off free radicals, significantly improving certain immune responses.
- Healthy Fats (i.e. avocados, salmon, nuts + seeds) contain omega-3’s which help regulate the immune system as well as help the control of inflammatory response.
- High Quality Protein (i.e. Fish, Organic Chicken, Lean Meat, bone broth) are vital to build and repair body tissue and fight viral and bacterial infections.
- Soluble Fiber (i.e. oats, fruits, seeds) strengthens the immune system by increasing the production of an anti-inflammatory protein called interleukin-4.
- Probiotics (i.e. fermented foods, yogurt) are essential for gut health. The gastrointestinal tract (gut) is one of the most important factors when it comes to your immune system. Keeping your gut healthy by feeding it healthy bacteria (probiotics) will help strengthen the immune system.
- Supplements (i.e. Vitamins A, C, D, Zinc, probiotics) are a good addition if you are not getting enough of the important vitamins and minerals through your diet. I like these Anti-Pollution supplements.
- Avoid Refined Sugar. It does so much harm to our skin including breaking down collagen (glycation), triggering insulin production and dehydrating it.
While products and treatments can’t actually affect your skin’s immunity, they can work to help increase the skin’s defenses against external factors like pollution and calm inflammation. Even the act of applying products can help oxygenate our blood. Therefore, it is imperative that along with a healthy diet, we take good care of our skin topically with the right treatments and products. Below are some suggestions:
- Negative Ionization generates a large number of negative ions that then bind to positive ions and neutralize the free radicals in the skin cells, which prevents cellular damage. This boosts collagen production and blood circulation.
Anti-Pollution products: Air pollutants, UV rays and blue light from our computers and phones negatively affect skin health and skin complexion. These pollutants not only accelerate skin aging and trigger inflammatory skin conditions, but when our skin’s barrier function is impaired, the toxins use our skin as an inlet into our bodies. I am a fan of the following anti-pollution skincare products:
- Facial Massage helps increase muscle tone and stimulates the production of collagen. Think of it as an exercise for the face. I created this massager to make it easy to DIY.
Don’t forget your body! So many people only think about the face when it comes to skin. I like to mix the following body lotion and oil for a terrific treatment:
Sleep is an essential part of relaxation and healing. During sleep, our body releases proteins called cytokines that act as chemical messengers to regulate our immune system. Sleep restores our immune and nervous systems to help reset the body. These satin pillowcases promote sleep beautifully.
Minimize Stress. Stress causes an increase in cortisol and with that comes increased blood pressure, sugar levels, fat storage, and inflammation, weakening the immune system. A hot bath can relieve these symptoms. This bath oil has a luxurious aromatic blend of essential oils to ease stress.