Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Sep

How to Get that Natural Glow

We’re showing a little skin today at MDA. No, it’s not another photo of Mark’s abs, although the last picture did elicit a rousing response. We’re talking glow, color, clarity, tone. Sound like a beauty ad? Well, it certainly could be except for the fact that there’s nothing to “buy” except a healthy primal lifestyle.

Mark advocates the Primal Blueprint for many dimensions of wellness: healthy aging, disease prevention and therapy, physical fitness, sexual health, and mental well-being. But what if it helped you look good too? No need to suddenly feel guilty or vain. (We don’t.) We know you’re in it for the health, and so are we. Consider it the icing on the cake. It’s doubtful any of us are out to be the next cover model on Vogue or GQ (although you never know – anyone?). Nonetheless, who doesn’t want to enjoy a little extra, natural boost?

So, what is it exactly about the Primal Blueprint that can help impart that natural, healthy glow?

Anti-Inflammatory Advantage

Acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea. Common skin conditions such as these are often rooted in or exacerbated by inflammation. Yes, we know about the Perricone prescription diet, and the main concept behind it is pretty simple: reducing systemic inflammation curbs inflammatory conditions that afflict the skin layers. Anti-inflammatory diet? Sound familiar? We’re all for people learning about avoiding inflammation anywhere they can, but we just don’t see it as a “secret” prescription. A low-carb, high omega-3 fatty acid diet can minimize inflammation and maximize skin health. As for general aging, inflammation plays a major role in that as well. Over time, inflammation breaks down collagen which causes the skin to lose its elasticity and sag prematurely.

Fewer Toxins

As always, the less “bad” stuff your body has to fight, the healthier it is. Back to the inflammation point here: inflammation is a natural immune response to what it perceives to be attack, including that of unwelcome invaders like common pollutants, pesticides, and even food additives. Oftentimes (especially in children), skin ailments like eczema are rooted in unknown allergies to synthetic food additives (e.g. artificial colorings) as well as natural but problematic food components like casein and gluten. Better skin can be as simple as a “cleaner” diet.

Nutrients, Nutrients, and More Nutrients

A powerful punch of antioxidants further fight free radicals. As for the myriad of topical creams out there, we’ll leave the scrutiny to other. For our purposes, research suggests that a nutrient-rich diet (and wise supplementation) literally feeds skin from the inside. Some of the key nutrients for that “healthy, glowing, younger-looking complexion?” Try vitamins like A, C, E, and the B-complex as well as other nutrients like zinc, alpha-lipoic acid, DMAE, CoQ10, and (once again) omega-3s. Vitamins C and E are known for offering sun protection and reducing the damage of sunburn. Vitamin C, DMAE and alpha-lipoic acid help protect skin from the aging ravages of free radicals from sun exposure, pollutants, and other stress. Others like vitamin A and zinc help regulate healthy and well-balanced oil production for skin that’s soft and supple without being too slick.

Hormonal Balance

As anyone who’s suffered from a hormonal imbalance (or been a teenager) knows, the ups and downs of hormonal production can wreak havoc on your skin. And it’s not just a matter of the good old sex hormones. Endocrine system disruption from a variety of medical conditions can impact skin health. Hormonal imbalance can result in skin that’s dry, flaky and prematurely aging (as can happen with hypothyroidism) to overly lubricated by natural oils (as in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). (Too much of a good thing isn’t always so good.) The Primal Blueprint, as we’ve said somewhere before, works with the body’s natural evolutionary functioning to promote consistent hormonal balance – from insulin to T3. For those with more serious diagnoses of hormonal imbalance, knowledgeable and creative medical treatment (with an individualized program of lifestyle and alternative therapies in tandem with appropriate conventional remedies) can make a world of difference – for your skin and overall health.

Add to all of this, a good night’s rest. How can we talk about great, glowing skin without mentioning your grandmother’s classic advice? We’ll throw in some daily stress reduction ala Primal Blueprint to boot.

Feeling particularly appealing on the PB plan? Got glow and want to share? Interested in feedback on a current skin condition and its tie to lifestyle? Shoot us a line and share your thoughts.

Admina Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Flame Thrower: Top 10 Natural Ways to Reduce Inflammation

A Visual Guide to Foods that Fight Inflammation

Best Skin Tips for Cool Dry Climates

What’s All This Talk About Inflammation?

10 Rules of Aging Well

Afternoon Naps – Boost Productivity with an Afternoon Nap

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. One year ago, my 13 year old daughter started experiencing acne. It was heartbreaking to see this outgoing, happy girl become quiet, introverted and self conscious. I thought it might be diet related, so I researched online and discovered the book, “The Clear Skin Diet.” And by omitting milk and anything with high fructose corn syrup, adding omega 3 fish oil, cod liver oil, and making her more aware of a nutrient rich diet, plus exercise and rest (very PB) the results have been amazing. And best of all, it put her in control.

    SuperMike wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  2. My grandmother had a special treatment for skin and acne involving eggs, though it didn’t involve eating them. Her method was to rub raw egg all over the skin, let it dry for an hour, then wash it off. My sister and I were subject to this treatment several times in our youth. Don’t know that it ever helped with the acne, all we noticed was that our bodies smelled like rotten eggs for the next few days. Eating them is probably a better approach.

    Dave wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  3. I’d also add eating lots of good quality saturated fats with fat soluble vitamins. Butter and butter oil do great things for my skin. Not to mention my mouth.

    Food Is Love

    Huckleberry wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  4. “Reducing systemic inflammation curbs inflammatory conditions that afflict the skin layers”.
    This is good to know. Thankyou!!
    I try to make sure I am taking anti inflammatory supplements, and your master formula certainly helps curb these common conditions.

    jen c. wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  5. I’d add daily UVB-rich midday sunlight dosed according to one’s skin tone. In my early forties with a pale Irish complexion, I still don’t have any crow’s feet or necklaces because I was never a sunbather. My exposure to the sun came from ordinary outdoor activties. A fair, red-headed colleague ten years younger has multiple forehead lines and deep neck creases. At a previous place of employment I worked with two 30-ish fit, bronzed California natives who already had crow’s feet. Yikes!

    Sonagi wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  6. I used to have very dry skin. Moisturizers, bodylotions etc. (all “for very dry skin” ) didn’t help much.
    Until i found Mark’s blog about a year ago and changed my diet ( i used to eat “very healthy”= lowfat & vegetarian).

    Now my skin looks and feels much better, i can even go without bodylotion if i want to.
    My complexion has improved as well, I don’t look like I just crawled out of a coffin anymore. I’m still quite fair-skinned, but I don’t look sick anymore.

    kate wrote on September 3rd, 2008
  7. i’d add coconut oil, both inside and outside too


    markus wrote on September 4th, 2008
  8. This is my second week of “stumbling” through the Primal lifestyle… So it may be a bit premature to make this claim, but my skin is clearing up, and the areas of inflammation are looking 100% better. Thanks Mark for sharing these great articles!

    Jennifer wrote on September 2nd, 2009
  9. Neither hormonal roller coaster or acne are a normal part of being a teenager (the teenager concept itself was invented by a psychologist in the late 80’s in america and doesn’t exist in several cultures and hunter-gatherer populations)

    It’s hunter-gatherer population themselves that show puberty is not supposed a time when your body goes awry as their “teens” are healthy, don’t have acne and don’t appear to have unbalanced hormonal synthesis or an hormonal synthesis different than older members.

    Niklas wrote on October 21st, 2009
  10. Man, I just bought the Clear Skin Prescription book from Dr. Perricone. It took me a little over a week to read it and this short 5 minute read pretty much summed up the book. Actually the blog put it in more simpler terms. I’m new to the daily apple and I wish I had thought to search acne on here before getting that book. It would have saved me 20 bucks! I did implement the diet but left out the dairy and started taking alpha-lipoic acid, and DMAE. I have only been on this 3 weeks and if a pimple does come up there is little redness, I use an extractor to prevent breaking the skin. Almost 60% of my scarred red blotches have disappeared. My younger sister has noticed and she is now following my path.

    Nicole wrote on May 6th, 2010
  11. I know other people have said this, but food allergies can cause acne when you’re doing everything else right.

    After I got back on the primal horse last spring, I battled 6+ months of cysts on my face, which I had NEVER had in my life (I’m 36).

    Long story short, I appear to be allergic to almonds. Great primal food, right? Not for me! Took about 3-4 weeks for the cysts to clear up, once I eliminated them, but the scars may never go away!

    I also appear to have trouble with ginger, and possibly turmeric & cardamom. So the southeast Asian cuisine in my diet will be severely curtailed in future!

    Taihuibabe wrote on February 4th, 2011
  12. I’ve gone mostly paleo for five days now and as I was reading this article I realized my lips are not chapped!! I have constantly had chapped lips for months and now they are healthy!

    Stacy wrote on May 8th, 2013
  13. I’ve everything, I eat primal, I’ve tried strict paleo, less carbs, more carbs, nuts, no nuts, dairy, no dairy and nothing works. I’m 19, shouldn’t the acne already have gotten better?

    I’m so jealous of all the people who seem to have fixed the problem so easily, just by eating right.

    Melina wrote on May 19th, 2013
  14. Melina, as some of the above posters wrote, if could be caused by a food allergy. There may be some undiscovered food or spice you are eating that can be causing the acne.

    Chris wrote on May 19th, 2013
  15. Going through worse acne now than ever. Everything else seems to be going okay on primal, but my skin! Ew! How does one figure out one’s food allergies — is elimination dieting the only way?

    Nicole wrote on June 7th, 2013
  16. Any recommended dose for the CoQ10?


    Amber wrote on May 20th, 2015
  17. Every time I have made a large system input change (read:diet/lotion/new product) my skin has shown me the effects. I quit normal petroleum soaps and lotions especially, my skin rebelled. I gave up grains, my skin did it again. Our skin is a microscope showing us what is going on in our bodies. When we detox the nasty, it will show for a bit, but not only will it pass, it will help us know what we are doing is right! We are designed to be efficient at reducing toxins, nature didn’t make it pretty! Give it two weeks, suck, but TOTALLY worth it. More than once for me.

    Jess wrote on May 22nd, 2015

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