Authored by : Eric Venn-Watson, MD
Much of what we see on our skin is a direct reflection of our internal health, so tackling the root cause of the issue is the best course of action.
A good example of internal problems causing external skin issues is the skin condition known as acanthosis nigricans. This condition causes thickening and discoloration of the skin and is brought on by an elevated insulin level in the patient. This is usually referred to as insulin resistance, or metabolic syndrome.
In order to remedy the skin, the insulin resistance needs to be treated. While most remedies for skin inflammation and irritation focus on an external treatment, like creams or lotions, we’ll look at ways you can prevent skin inflammation from the inside out.
What is Skin Inflammation?
Skin inflammation is an immune response. Inflammation is essentially a collection of white blood cells that are attempting to heal something that is reacting negatively with your body. Skin inflammation can be mild to severe and can be caused by numerous external and/or internal triggers.
A classic example of skin inflammation is acne. Acne has many causes, but the end result is pustules of inflammation on the skin. Many times, the root cause of acne isn’t products or bacteria on the skin, but a response deep within the skin cells to something imbalance inside the body.
Examples of Skin Inflammation
Skin inflammation doesn’t necessarily mean acne or blisters, although those can be symptoms of skin inflammation. Sometimes, skin inflammation will present with less severe symptoms.
Examples of skin inflammation include:
Causes of Skin Inflammation
There are many causes of skin inflammation. Some external factors that could cause inflammation are:
Because we know that many skin conditions are caused by internal factors, it’s important to look at what some of those causes are.
How To Prevent Skin Inflammation
You can’t always avoid skin inflammation, but there are many types of skin inflammation that can, indeed, be prevented. Here are some tips on how to avoid it, and how to help soothe inflamed skin if you’ve got it.
Avoid the Sun
The sun can aggravate inflamed skin, and it can cause inflammation on its own, especially if you don’t use sunblock. When your skin is exposed to the sun, the UV light damages it, and elicits an immune response from your skin cells in the form of a suntan. If you continue to stay in the sun, the skin will eventually burn.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Your skin is affected by your diet, so it’s important that you eat well and avoid foods that trigger inflammation. Known inflammation offenders include added sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans-fats, red meat, and margarine. If you want to follow an anti-inflammatory diet, you should eat foods like tomatoes, green vegetables, nuts, omega-3 rich fish, olive oil, and nuts and seeds.
You can also consider adding pentadecanoic acid (aka C15:0) to your diet.
What is Pentadecanoic Acid (aka C15:0) and How it Helps Your Skin
If you’ve never heard of pentadecanoic acid (also called C15:0), it isn’t surprising. It’s a saturated fatty acid, and since we’ve spent the last few decades avoiding fat because of dietary guidelines that told us to avoid it, it wasn’t very well known. Turns out, not all fat is bad, and that includes some saturated fats.
What is C15:0?
C15:0 is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that a growing body of research shows may be the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in 90 years. “Essential” means our body must have it to function properly but can’t make it on its own.
C15:0 is crucial in helping keep us healthy on a cellular level. The inflammation responses we see on our skin happens in our skin’s cells. Supporting our overall cellular health and immunity is the first step (and in some cases the only step) in reducing and/or eliminating skin irritation.
How Does C15:0 Work?
As we age, our cells age right along with us. As for our cell’s immunity, it becomes unbalanced as cell function declines. Our cells become fragile, and lose some of their function. They become less able to communicate with other cells. Our cells become less able to properly manage nutrients which can affect conditions like weight, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol.
C15:0 can help. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that digs into our cells, strengthens cell membranes and fortifies cellular health. When the cell wall is strengthened, the cell doesn’t damage and age as rapidly. With less damage and aging, your cells function better, and for longer:
In short, C15:0 gives your cells a fighting chance.
How To Get More C15:0 in Your Diet
Getting more C15:0 in your diet isn’t as easy as you may think. It’s mostly found in whole fat dairy products, as well as some fish. However, it’s found in relatively small amounts. You can also get your full daily amount of essential C15:0 from vegan-friendly dietary supplements, which can be safe, well-tolerated, and a good way to support your overall health on a cellular level so you can avoid skin inflammation and help soothe it when it occurs.
STEPHANIE VENN-WATSON, dvm, mph
Dr. Stephanie Venn-Watson is a veterinary epidemiologist dedicated to improving both human and animal health. Before co-founding Seraphina Therapeutics and Epitracker, Inc,. she worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and the Department of Defense. Dr. Venn-Watson has over 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications and is an inventor on 40+ patents. Her dedication to discovering natural compounds to improve global health has been featured in/on Forbes, NPR Science Friday, PBS, National Geographic, BBC, and more.
ERIC VENN-WATSON, MD
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson is a physician, US Navy veteran and serial entrepreneur. Prior to Seraphina Therapeutics, Eric founded multiple companies in therapeutics discovery, healthcare analytics, and medical device industries as well as working in leadership roles in several life science companies.