If you’ve been thinking of switching to a gluten-free diet, you’re likely considering doing so for health reasons. But one benefit you might not expect from switching to gluten-free eating is an improvement in your skin. Researchers have discovered a link between the consumption of gluten and various skin conditions — from the signature rash found on people with Celiac disease (dermatitis herpetiformis) to rosacea and psoriasis.
Many of the foods you put in your body impact your gut microbiome. This microbiome consists of the bacteria and other microscopic organisms that line your gut and can prove either beneficial or detrimental. While scientists disagree as to exactly why gluten itself can cause skin conditions, if cutting out the protein works for you, why not enjoy a healthier glow?
What changes will you notice when you switch to a gluten-free diet?
The following are seven of the most common skin-based benefits.
1. You’ll break out less
Although research has not yet pinpointed a single explanation as to why gluten-containing foods can trigger acne, the answer likely has to do with inflammation. Gluten triggers an inflammatory response in some people. It is also not easily digestible for many people, which may contribute to structural gut health issues and toxic build up in the GI tract as well. These conditions may cause your gut bacteria to attack your own tissue, which might also result in acne and other skin issues.
2. Your pimples will clear up more quickly
If gluten is a trigger for you, after you eliminate it you will not only break out less often, but you’ll also likely discover the acne you do experience is less severe and clears up more quickly. For example, those who previously struggled with the occasional cystic acne on their cheeks or back may find they develop smaller whiteheads instead. Unlike cysts — which may need a dermatologist’s intervention — whiteheads clear up easily with the help of the right topical skincare products, and/or a clarifying skin treatment from a licensed aesthetician.
3. You’ll look ashy less often
When your skin isn’t nourished properly, it grows dull and lifeless. When someone with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease accidentally consumes the wheat protein, the inflammation and structural damage to the GI tract prevents them from absorbing other key beauty nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and B12. Vibrant, glowing skin requires the right macro- and micronutrients at the cellular level–and that is critically dependent on proper digestion and absorption.
4. You’ll use less moisturizer
Once you begin absorbing vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and other nutrients more efficiently from your food, you’ll likely find that your skin is naturally more hydrated and moisturized.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant also used topically in many skin ointments and serums. It, along with vitamin A, can help fight off aging free-radicals on the skin. Vitamin E is necessary to keep skin soft, and vitamin K helps bruises and cuts heal more quickly. However, remember to exercise caution when supplementing with vitamins A, D, E and K, as these fat-soluble nutrients can build up in the body. While supplementation can benefit some people, they are not a substitute for a balanced, fresh, whole foods-based diet.
5. Your skin will be more supple
Not only will you likely need less lotion after quitting gluten, but you may also notice an improvement in the appearance of stretch marks and overall skin firmness and elasticity.
Many people who undergo extreme weight loss experience elastosis, or permanent damage to the skin’s ability to produce elastin, which results in permanently stretched out skin on the back of their arms and other hard-to-tone areas. However, by quitting gluten and absorbing nutrients more effectively as a result, those who have lost smaller amounts of weight will find their skin springing back into shape more quickly.
6. Fine lines will fade
If you’ve started developing tiny lines around your eyes in your 20’s, these may begin to ease after you quit gluten. Again, it all has to do with allowing the skin to absorb vital nutrients. Combining a better diet with sufficient water intake and a customized skin care routine designed for your unique needs can have you looking younger at 30 than at 25.
7. Your lips become kissably soft
Your skin is your biggest organ, and it doesn’t stop where you apply lip liner. Lips lack oil and sweat glands, meaning moisture can only come from external balms or internal health. Your lips may become even more kissably soft once you give up gluten due to the added nutrition they’re receiving from the inside out.
Get healthier skin with a gluten-free diet
Many people experience multiple health benefits from quitting gluten, and improved skin appearance provides one more reason to make the switch.
It’s important to note though that gluten-free does not automatically mean healthy. The popularity of the gluten-free diet has unfortunately led to a sharp rise in processed and packaged gluten-free foods. These foods may be gluten-free, but they still contain all the toxic chemicals, preservatives, fillers, unhealthy fats, high amounts of sodium, and sugar that gluten-containing processed foods contain. If you’re going to go gluten-free, stick to whole and sprouted grains whenever possible.
If you’re wondering what to substitute for things like bread, pancakes and muffins, you now have multiple alternate flour choices. Nut and seed flours, such as almond and flax seed flour, can add interesting flavor to breakfast pastries, and cauliflower flour makes an excellent crust for pizza and more.
With so much to gain, why not give gluten-free eating a try? You may find you glow from the inside out once you do!
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