There's a deeper meaning to the phrase "trust your gut" when it comes to skin care. In Dr. Nigma Talib's celebrity-favorite book, Younger Skin Starts in the Gut, she explains the effects that gluten, dairy, wine, and sugar have on your face. In fact, she can look at you and immediately be able to know which of these groups may be causing acne, fine lines, puffiness, or sallowness on your face.
So eating a big piece of carrot cake or two slices of pizza may be doing more than just expanding your stomach; it may also be harming your gut. And when your gut isn't healthy, it can inflame or prematurely age your skin.
"The foods you eat every day will eventually show up on your face," Dr. Talib told us. "There are four main faces of aging that I've seen in my years of practice. They are gluten face, dairy face, sugar face, and wine face. Not only can these foods cause premature aging, but they can also cause puffiness, unwanted acne, skin redness, and pigmentation, to name a few."
According to Dr. Talib, you can simply make your acne or sagging skin improve by not eating the foods that are inflaming them. Sound too good to be true? Possibly. But it makes more sense than just applying a cream or lotion to clear up the problem. Instead of treating the skin care concern, you're getting to the cause of the issue to stop it before it starts.
"I consider myself a biochemical detective, always trying to find the true root cause of my patients' problems rather than just treating their symptoms with a plaster-like approach," Dr. Talib added. "I realized at this point that all of the evidence was pointing to one thing behind the premature aging — and many of the other health and skin issues my clients were complaining of — and that was poor digestive function."
There are two ways to figure out if your gut health is keeping you from flawless skin. First, you can make an appointment with a naturopathic doctor, like Dr. Talib. Or, you can try an elimination diet for two to three weeks. In that time period, you will entirely cut out gluten, dairy, sugar, and wine from your meals. Replace it with healthy options, like fruits, vegetables, and natural grains (such as quinoa and brown rice). After the test, slowly add these groups back into your diet, one at a time. For example, eat a piece of cheese in the morning and wait 72 hours to see if you have a reaction (such as a pimple emerging or bloating). Your body should be able to tell you if you are sensitive to it. (Also note that sensitivity and intolerance are different than a food allergy.)
If you're interested in learning more, pick up Dr. Talib's book to try her version of this challenge, and keep reading to see her analysis of how gluten, wine, dairy, and sugar may be showing up on your skin!