If you want your skin to be glowing, vibrant, and healthy, you likely invest a lot of time into perfecting your skincare routine. All those creams, ointments, and serums can help to keep your skin clean and moisturized, but there’s more to a good skin care regimen than what you put on it. What about what’s going on beneath the surface?
The truth is, your sleep, stress, and diet all play a huge role in preventing inflammation that can seriously affect the health of your skin. Inflammatory responses can range from acute responses like allergic reactions and acne to more serious conditions like chronic dermatitis and psoriasis.
These factors are sometimes overlooked in the quest for great skin, but their importance shouldn’t be ignored. No amount of expensive topical solutions can fix a nutrient deficiency, and serums can’t erase the visible effects of fatigue.
Luckily, you can keep track of these nutrients and hormones with a blood test, and the rise of at-home hormone tests like Base makes it easier than ever to keep an eye on all of the “invisible” factors that can have a very visible effect on your skin. Having access to this data can also help you measure and track improvements to help get you closer to your goals.
Beauty is more than skin deep. The following lifestyle factors are critical in promoting your skin health and prove exactly why monitoring your nutrient and vitamin levels are so important.
Getting Enough Sleep
“Getting your beauty sleep” is more than just a saying. Once the sun goes down and you hit the hay, your body begins to work on repairing damage and regenerating your cells. A lack of quality sleep can disrupt your body’s normal hormonal cycles, which can then disrupt that regeneration process.
The effects of a lack of sleep can be pretty drastic. One study on the effects of sleep on skin health found that sleep-deprived individuals were more likely to show the effects of aging on their skin, including issues like fine lines and wrinkles.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re also releasing more cortisol, a stress hormone that can lead to inflammatory responses like eczema and acne.
If you suspect that your cortisol and other hormones are out of balance, you can track these stress hormones, as well as sleep hormones like melatonin, with a blood or saliva test.
Minimizing Chronic Stress
In related news, chronic stress can also lead to increasing signs of visible aging in your skin. Besides the elevated stress hormone levels, chronic stress can also disrupt your immune system and lead to further inflammation.
Vitamin deficiencies may play a role in stress and other mental health problems that lead to inflammatory responses. For example, B vitamins are a commonly depleted nutrient that can have a big impact on your mental health and resultant skin conditions. Vitamin B12 deficiencies have been linked to depression, and in addition, supplementing the B vitamin folic acid has been shown to be a good option for people suffering from inflammatory skin conditions.
Eating a Nutrient-Dense Diet
Finally, diet is a key factor in your skin health that play a role in the health of your skin. You may have witnessed this yourself: after a day or two of eating a lot of simple carbohydrates like sugary sweets and refined grains, many people find that they have a pimple or two to show for it.
Elevated blood sugar leads to elevated insulin, a hormone responsible for controlling how your body uses the glucose from sugar. This can then lead to increased insulin-like growth factor 1 (ILGF1), a hormone that can spur on more oil production and cause acne.
Getting the optimum amount of nutrients is important also. Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is important for balancing your hormones and fighting inflammation, but don’t go running for the supplements yet – having too much vitamin D has its risks as well. And while soaking up the sun is a great source of Vitamin D, too much sunshine can lead to skin damage.
So it’s important to know that you have the right balance of nutrients, rather than just supplementing a ton of it to solve your skin issues.
In conclusion, having the healthiest skin starts from the inside out.
Your skin is your largest and most protective organ, and it has a way of showing the imbalances that go on with your mental and physical health.
If you’ve tried ointments and creams and they aren’t giving you the clear and healthy skin you want, it’s well worth it to take a look at your lifestyle and nutrition to find answers. Using an at-home test like Base can clue you in to any nutrient and hormone imbalances that can’t be solved with topical treatments alone.
Author Bio: Erica Digap is a freelance writer specializing in nutrition science, fitness, and health. After receiving her BSc in Clinical Nutrition and working in the corporate diet industry, she decided to set forth and use her experience to inspire readers to make lasting, healthy lifestyle changes, one healthy meal and workout at a time.
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