Sunday, August 25, 2013

How I Finally Got Good Skin: Mostly Diet

Someone asked me today what I used on my skin, saying that it looked good and that she'd like to improve her complexion. It's a question I never thought I'd hear back when I was trying everything available for acne, a time that covered most of my life.

Partly, it's good genes. Except for acne, we have good skin in my family and tend to look younger than we are as long as we don't smoke.

In my case, I had to change my diet and take supplements to (mostly) clear up my skin and make it softer and more resilient to abrasions and sunburn. I don't get razor burn now. Even with my fair skin, I don't use sunscreen anymore. It took a few years on the diet, but now, except for my shoulders, my skin doesn't burn under the Colorado sun. My diet is mostly low-carb paleo and I take vitamins D3, K2, and GNC Hair, Skin & Nails vitamins. I also eat half a pound of liver and two cans of sardines per week.

Why this regimen? I started this a few years ago to stop getting cavities. (My teeth had already improved on a regular low-carb diet. Coincidentally, my acquaintance also mentioned she had dental problems.) Most readers are familiar with Dr. Weston A Price, the dentist who studied people with healthy teeth but no dental care on traditional diets. There were a variety of diets, as you'd expect comparing food from such diverse places as Switzerland, Australia and South America, but they were all very low in (or free of) flour and sugar. Grains were soaked and sprouted to reduce antinutrients; everyone ate meat, and nobody avoided fat. Dr. Price identified a nutrient across the cultures and identified it as "activator X," which is now known to be vitamin K2.

What does this have to do with good skin? People following traditional diets and lifestyles were free of most modern health problems, including acne. This, without dentists or dermatologists. Why not imitate them and add supplements to make up for any deficiencies? Since I don't many eat foods rich in vitamin K2 (natto, cheese and insects), I take K2 pills.

Modern research says yes, menaquinone [a K vitamin] fights skin aging and the emergence of wrinkles by protecting the elasticity of the skin in the exact same way it safeguards the elasticity of arteries and veins...This uncovers yet another antiaging function for vitamin K2: preventing the mineralization of skin tissue to keep your complexion firm and resilient.(1)

Why liver? It's full of vitamin A, a nutrient that's so beneficial for acne that the medication Retin-A is made from it. (Check out the nutrients in a quarter pound of beef liver.)

I had to give up most dairy after finding that cheese makes my skin break out. Cream and sour cream are supposedly all dairy fat (it's likely that the proteins are what causes skin problems), but the list of ingredients on the cartons say otherwise.

The sardines are full of phosphorus, another mineral Dr. Price found was important to dental health.

I also think a low-carb, and therefore, high-fat diet helped my skin. I noticed right away after I started LC that my skin was softer and stronger and I didn't as many skin care products.

As to skin products, I use mild exfoliants every night to clear away dead skin cells. Every morning, I use a serum/moisturizer combo for my face, and another specially for the skin around the eyes. I bought some ridiculously expensive skin care products on vacation in San Diego, but I'm replacing those with Mineral Fusion products.

For further reading:

  1. Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Dr. Kate Rheum-Bleue, John Wiley & Sons Canada, 2012. Page 115.


Galina L. said...

I am also asked from time to time about my good skin. It is partially genetic, of course, but high-saturated fats diet without much carbs makes a big difference. It is also a way to help with a Rosacea, which is often un-diagnosed. Most adults have pimples due to it, and it looks like Rosacea is at least partially an autoimmune condition.

Lori Miller said...

The fat also helps you absorb vitamins A and K2.

Lowcarb team member said...

Diet plays such an important part in our well being.

I for one have always avoided expensive lotions especially those with additives. The cheaper ranges I found worked ok for me BUT more importantly a good diet, plenty of sleep and moderate exercise.

All the best Jan

Lori Miller said...

If I had to pick one thing for my skin, it would be good diet, not skin care products. Working up a sweat seems to clean out the pores and make your skin glow more than anything in a bottle.

Angel said...

What K2 vitamin supplement do you use?

Lori Miller said...

Source Naturals.