How to Discover the Best Diet for Your Skin
Healthy skin is a universal goal for all demographics and ages and walks of life. Unfortunately, poor skin and issues like acne flareups continuously impact people of all ages and skin types. The health of your skin is a barometer for health in general, and glowing, radiant skin is indicative of a thriving healthy body and mind.
As a Double Board Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist, one of the questions I am asked frequently around optimizing skin health and reducing acne is, “What is the best diet for acne and my skin in general”? I would love to provide a simple and easy to follow diet with food recommendations for my clients, but unfortunately, I am unable to as I believe this should be tested and customized to each individual’s epigenetic needs. An optimized diet for acne-prone skin is best addressed by taking a highly customized “testing instead of guessing” approach toward eating foods that are supportive of personal needs and are not inflammatory to the body. Retesting is also a great option to measure if the changes you’ve made to your diet are resulting in better gut scores that are very easy to follow with Viome’s insights.
When I first see a client and begin to work with them, the first thing I notice is their skin type, the presence and level of diffuse redness, hyper or hypopigmentation, acne, and evaluate the quality of their texture, collagen, and elastin levels. I also take a good look at their eyes. Because the eyelids are composed of delicate structures and mucous membranes, it is easy to see early or chronic signs of internal inflammation that presents as red, puffy, and inflamed eyes. When I observe visible inflammation of the eyelids and the skin, it is safe to assume that their internal environment is imbalanced. When I consume foods that are my “avoid foods” (as discovered through my Viome test results) or I have an increased consumption of sugar and alcohol, I typically break out a few days to a few weeks later. The skin can tell you many things about your internal environment. The skin is our largest organ and if our internal gut lining is unhealthy, and we have inflammatory signals circulating throughout the body, it will eventually show up as visible signs of inflammation on the skin.
I work with my clients to not only optimize their at-home skin care and rejuvenation routine, but to slow their aging in general through various biohacking practices and help them detoxify from their environmental stressors. I recommend each client take an at-home Viome Health Test for key insights into foods that will address the root cause of acne by simply reducing their overactive immune response, which are essentially the root causes of many skin problems like acne and aging in general.
Personally, I noticed massive improvements in the frequency of [my] hormonal breakouts and in the length of time redness persisted after breakouts, which is called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). After a few months of eating the right foods for my body, I became amazed at how quickly the PIH I experienced after a blemish resolved. I also started to notice that if I cut or burned my skin, I was healing faster. This was one of the things that bothered me about my skin for years. I would often have to laser red spots or blemishes once a month to get rid of them. Now, I haven’t had to have a laser treatment in over a year and the redness post-breakout is going away in just a few days. My personal skin recovery timeline after an injury or blemish has become just one example of what I have learned from Viome. I’ve also learned from many other insights into my body, and if I needed to bump up my detoxification protocols. I found that if I stayed closer to my “superfoods” and less of my “avoid foods” the faster my skin healed.
Traditionally when you see a regulated health care provider, like a Dermatologist, for an acne related issue, it is common practice to be directed towards topical at-home products like a compounded retinol or a compounded benzoyl peroxide. The main problem I notice with these products, when clients seek me for educational information, are many of the toxic ingredients in them. Many of these products are often compounded and contain parabens and other toxic preservatives which are known hormone disruptors and are proven to contribute to oxidative stress which may add to an individual’s toxic chemical and inflammatory burden. In an effort to improve the skin, we do not want to contribute to this burden that over time will manifest as future skin disturbances and accelerated aging.
I like to recommend an approach of first stabilizing the skin and gut together for optimal results before more invasive options like prescription antibiotics, oral vitamin A, and compounded topicals which may not be formulated in as clean of a manner as we would hope. When we stabilize the skin through a basic skin care regime which includes cleansing, moisturizing, sun protection, and gentle exfoliation using clean and effective products, we are able to see initial improvements in the skin in a few days to weeks. The key is using clinically proven skincare free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, artificial dyes, and fragrances. The difficulty is finding products that actually work. I help to support and guide my clients towards options that are suitable for their skin needs, goals, values, and lifestyle.
To clear up acne fast, begin by first following a basic yet customized skincare routine free of comedogenic ingredients. Additionally, eat the right foods for your specific needs. I find that these two strategies are the fastest ways to reduce acne using a topical and internal approach. Reducing inflammation in the gut is often overlooked by practitioners, but recent research published in reputable medical journals is now turning the concept of “leaky gut” from fringe to mainstream. The concept of leaky gut is becoming more accepted and better understood. In the past, the most challenging part of identifying and managing leaky gut was testing for it and finding a provider that knew how to manage inflammation which traditionally has cost thousands of dollars and multiple visits with a practitioner. Now through Viome’s Health Tests, the entire process of at-home testing is fast and easy to interpret.
If you are a fellow biohacker, you also understand the importance of clean and toxin-reduced air, water, food and electromagnetic fields in our environments. Biohacking tools like Viome Health Tests give insights into many of these important layers and are a perfect biohack to stack with your water, air, food and energy biohacks in your life. I predict that biohackers will inevitably age the slowest, have the best skin and have the most energy. While I’m writing this article I’m even stacking some of my favorite biohacks like grounding, red light therapy and more!
For more insights about my key strategies to get clearer and healthier skin, as well as slowing aging, tune in to listen to this episode on acne from The Rachel Varga Podcast and don’t miss out on my discussion with Naveen Jain, CEO and Founder of Viome–we discuss many other important aspects that Viome’s test kits and precision supplements can provide!
Rachel Varga BScN, RN, CANS is a Double Board Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist since 2011 with over 20,000 procedures performed, an international clinical trainer for other Physicians and Nurses, host of The Rachel Varga Podcast and Co-Host of The Beauty & The Biohacker Podcast, celebrity skin expert featured by Dave Asprey, JJ Virgin, Wade Lightheart, Naveen Jain, America’s Holistic Plastic Surgeon Dr. Tony Youn and more!