What do you think of when you hear the term “skin care”?
We’d imagine that most people think solely of topical routines that address the skin from the outside only. You know, the use of products such as serums, moisturizers, exfoliants, cleansers etc.
While these things (when of quality) are an integral part of any good skin care routine, we at Alitura have an extended viewpoint of the subject. When we think of “skin care”, we think of a systematic, holistic approach that encompasses not just external care, but also diet, nutrition and lifestyle factors including intelligent exercise, stress management—and even smart supplementation.
Beauty From The Inside, Out
You see, skin health is an internal topic. Although the skin makes up the great majority of our exterior; the truth is, the functioning and the health of the skin starts inside. Proper skin function and health is largely determined by proper cellular, metabolic and even digestive function.
Therefore, getting an adequate supply of the right vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients can supply our skin cells with the fuel they need to function, to heal and protect itself.
In this post, we’ll discuss some key nutrients and protective, healing herbs that can help your skin from the inside out!
Herbs + Supplements for Proven Healthier Skin
There are many, many nutrients, herbs and supplements that can have a beneficial effect on your skin. Today we want to share with you some of our personal favorite “beauty herbs” that have been proven to benefit the skin for centuries. All of these herbs have time-tested benefits that modern science has backed up, too!
Here are a few of our top choices:
- Schizandra: Schisandra chinensis, also known as Schizandra Berry, has a long history as a beautifying tonic herb. Traditionally, Schizandra is considered to have strong astringent qualities that help the skin hold moisture, attributing to skin fullness and suppleness. According to legend, it was only popular amongst the nobel and wealthy of China, due to its ability to preserve youth. Today, there is science that proves schizandra is capable of protecting the skin from UVB induced skin damage and inflammation in vivo. In fact, the study found that it can significantly ameliorate inflammation, proving to be a novel agent for inflammatory related conditions like acne and of course photoageing prevention. (1)
- Gynostemma: Gynostemma is another fan-favorite beauty herb, particularly to the skin. Recent studies have confirmed that this master adaptogen herb possess a wide variety of antioxidant properties, which can be very beneficial in inhibiting oxidative stress or damage to the skin. For example, in one study, the effects of oxidative stress via ultraviolet C (UVC) light on dermal fibroblasts were measured. According to the analysis, subjects who were treated with gynostemma extract had prolonged viability of dermal fibroblasts despite being exposed to UVC light-induced oxidative stress. In other words, gynostemma made skin cells more resilient to stress, thereby having a sort of anti-aging effect on the skin cells. (2) Although we are huge fans of the Sun, living in Los Angeles can put you at risk for overexposure, so something like gynostemma and its protective effects is incredibly helpful!
- Turmeric: Next to Schizandra, turmeric is one of the most well-known, traditional beauty herbs in existence. Numerous studies have found that turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antineoplastic properties, all which are beneficial for skin health.
For example, common skin ailments including acne, alopecia, atopic dermatitis, facial photoaging, oral lichen planus, pruritus, psoriasis, radiodermatitis, and even vitiligo have been found to be remedied by turmeric. There are at least ten notable studies that have found to significantly improve these skin diseases. Overall, there is sufficient evidence that turmeric/curcumin supplements can provide therapeutic benefits for nearly every aspect of skin health and treating skin disorders. (3)
- He Shou Wu: Although He Shou Wu is considered a premier hair tonic, known to induce hair growth, restoration and even pigmentation, is also has beneficial effects on the skin – afterall, healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp!
Although seemingly unrelated, He Shou Wu has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the liver and kidney systems and therefore, quality of the blood. In fact, He Shou Wu is considered to be one of the best ‘blood tonics’ in the Chinese Herbal System. Simply put, as a tonic to the the liver, kidneys, and blood, He Shou Wu essentially supplies nutrition for the skin via the blood. Healthy blood = healthy skin.
Additionally, one of the key bioactive constituents in He Shou Wu, known as emodin, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. He Shou Wu has been found to safely suppress many pro-inflammatory pathways and control inflammation-associated diseases like acne, IBD and others. In fact, an in-vivo study on the anti-inflammatory effects of He Shou Wu and/or its bioactive constituent emodin, was found to occur by the inhibition of the pro-inflammatory signaling substances nuclear factor-κB, tumor necrosis factor-α, nitric oxide synthase, cyclooxygenase-2, chemokines and cytokines. (4)
- Ashwagandha: Like He Shou Wu, Ashwagandha’s effects on the skin are indirect albeit incredibly powerful. Ashwagandha’s claim to fame is its pro-thyroid effects, increasing the production of thyroid hormone and its conversion. And the skin characteristics associated with thyroid hormone are classic. When thyroid hormone is low (hypothyroid) the skin classically becomes dry, thin and lifeless.
You see, thyroid hormone is responsible for the consumption and regulation of oxygen, a key “nutrient” for the skin. This is why when thyroid is low, the skin becomes lifeless and pale; it isn’t getting enough oxygen and blood. However, boosting thyroid function via Ashwagandha is a great way to improve the health and appearance of the skin. (5)
The Bottom Line
Skin health involves much more than washing and moisturizing. Ultimately, if you want healthy skin, you want your body as a whole to be healthy. In addition to eating a wholesome, organic diet, getting good sleep, adequate exercise and reducing stress, there are effective herbs that can support the health of the skin from the inside out.
To make getting in your daily does of “skin food” easy, we at Alitura formulated a product called “Revitalize” that contains all of these super herbs and more. Originally formulated for ourselves, now you can reap the benefits of these skin herbs, too!