Autoimmune diseases: Nutrition and everyday tips to put some pep back in your skin!
Published 16 Oct 2021 • By Claudia Lima
Autoimmune diseases, their symptoms and treatments cause great fatigue, and can make your skin look less radiant. This can be noticeable and sometimes leads to a loss of self-confidence, which is essential for recovery.
Fortunately, a variety of small gestures and tips to share can help you cope with the effects of the disease on your skin.
Read on to learn more!
Autoimmune diseases and their impact on the skin
Autoimmune diseases are chronic inflammatory medical conditions, the consequence of the immune system's malfunction, when it starts attacking the body instead of protecting it.
About 4 million people are known to live with at least one autoimmune disease in the UK.
There are more than 80 identified autoimmune diseases: multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, vitiligo, Crohn's disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Hashimoto thyroiditis and many others…
Today there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, many of which progress by flare-ups that cause inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Methotrexate® and biotherapies, that continue to be developed, are often prescribed to reduce the symptoms.
With these autoimmune diseases, the patient's body is in a constant battle, creating antibodies while also having to protect itself from their effects. The symptoms are therefore very diverse, one of which is fatigue, which one must learn to live with.
This fatigue, which comes together with weakness, difficulties concentrating, memory loss and headaches, can be seen physically. The skin , already subjected to external aggressions (cold, pollution, etc.), thus suffers the consequences of the disease and the undesirable dermatological effects.
These effects are drawn features, dull complexion, dark circles under the eyes, dry, sensitive skin, red rash, and pigmentation.
How can nutrition help us to look and feel better?
Without doubt, the food we eat and the way we cook have an impact on our weight and our well-being. These habits can change the way our body reacts to aggression, especially in the case of autoimmune diseases, through their anti-inflammatory effects.
But did you know that the appearance and health of our skin is also closely linked to what we eat?
Here are some food recommendations that can help our skin:
Water: Staying hydrated can help to avoid dehydration wrinkles.
Green tea: Drink plenty of it, it has antioxidants to fight skin ageing and acne and give your skin a young and rejuvenated look.
Salmon, other oily fish, and seafood: Seafood contains omega-3 fatty acids that to hydrate your skin from the inside, fight wrinkles and acne. Salmon is therefore perfect for people with dry or sensitive skin.
Artichoke: It contains powerful antioxidants which help detoxify your skin and make it more radiant and healthier.
Broccoli: Rich in vitamins and minerals, this vegetable contains vitamins A, B and C that help make your skin brighter. Plus, it repairs UV-damaged tissue and helps to regenerate the skin. It also protects your skin and increases its resistance to both cold and hot temperatures. It can be eaten steamed or raw.
Garlic: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, garlic is a real ally for acne-prone skin and fights all kinds of skin infections.
Avocado: Rich in vitamins C and E, avocado hydrates the skin, makes it luminous and restores its vitality. It has an anti-aging effect and stimulates the development of collagen for a smoother and rejuvenated appearance. Avocado can be eaten or applied directly to the skin as a face mask.
Walnuts: Packed with vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron, walnuts are great for helping to rebalance our skin and fight skin problems and infections. Moreover, walnuts decrease overproduction of sebum, thus helping to fight acne,
Dark chocolate: Rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, dark chocolate protects your skin from UV rays and makes it smoother. It is the action of the cacao it contains that makes the skin glow. It is therefore important to choose dark chocolate with a high cacao content, at least 70%, in order to benefit from its advantages. Finally, cocoa promotes blood circulation, making our skin plumper and healthier.
Papaya: helps protect your skin from harmful effects of the sun thanks to vitamin C it contains. Plus, it reduces acne and deals with other skin infections, but also enables cell renewal,
Red grape: An antihistamine, red grape helps combat the side effects of allergic reactions and treats skin inflammations such as eczema.
Orange: Rich in vitamin C, it stimulates the creation of collagen. This will make the skin supple, improving its elasticity.
Also, in order to reduce or prevent acne, it is important to avoid food rich in saturated fats and refined sugars.
Everyday tips to put some pep back in your skin!
Our skin, notably our facial skin, serves as a pretty good reflection of our overall state of wellbeing, both physically and emotionally. Fatigue impacts the skin differently from person to person: while some may experience rash or swelling, others may experience dark circles or wrinkles. Exhaustion caused by the stress of living with a chronic illness can cause the complexion to go grey or can make dark circles more visible, but there are a number of small tips to help you to look and feel better.
Get some sleep!
This is the first piece of advice. Getting enough sleep actually stimulates skin repair and healing, oxygenation, and cell renewal.
Massage and pinch your face!
It is important to massage your face, from the centre outwards, and also to pinch it, grasping the skin between your thumb and forefinger quickly. It is best to do this in the morning, if possible, as it helps to restore blood circulation, smooth any lines, and tone up the muscles.
Apply a cream to your face daily. In the morning it will hydrate and soothe the skin, while in the evening it will help it to regenerate.
Apply face masks!
Treat yourself to a face mask every week, switching between scrubs, moisturising, detox, regenerating, and exfoliating masks.
Practising yoga, sophrology and meditation helps to relieve stress. By concentrating on movement and breathing, you can think about other things than your health. This has an effect on the mind and ultimately on the skin.
Try out some make-up!
Only if you want to, of course!
If you do, think about starting out your routine with a moisturising day cream and/or a protective anti-UV sun cream. You can follow up with a hydrating liquid foundation, and then, depending on what you want, a concealer to hide dark circles and redness. Try to go with a light hand, because many make-up products do not adhere as well on tired skin. You can make up your eyes as you would normally, but a mascara can help the eyes look more awake. For your mouth: make sure to moisturise your lips regularly and don't be afraid to try a vivid lipstick colour to brighten your face! It is very important to remember to remove your make-up every night, using the most natural removal products that aren't aggressive on the skin.
When live with a chronic illness, you may need a lot of time to heal and recover, so taking care of your skin and appearance may seem insignificant. Yet, this can actually be considered a form of self-care; taking the time to help yourself look better can help you to feel better overall.
Everyone has their own pace in life and makes their own choices but taking care of yourself is also about taking back the control over your illness and self-confidence, despite the physical and emotional consequences of the disease. Don't hesitate any longer, pamper yourself, who said that taking care of your appearance is superficial?
Taking care of yourself is essential in the recovery process:
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Quelques astuces pour rester belle malgré la maladie, Voixdespatients.fr
Lupus, comment prendre soin de sa peau, Lupus.be
Report reveals the rising rates of autoimmune conditions, Immunology.org