We talk to Anna Mitsios, naturopath, nutritionist and founder of Edible Beauty, about how internal health is so inextricably linked with our complexions – and how hormone overload can come from the most unlikely of places.
To what extent does good health impact the skin?
Dramatically, I have been doing seminars to teach people about the foods that they should eat to get glowing skin. We have a 30 day challenge where clients eat specific foods that are cologne boosting, detoxifying, probiotic gut-based foods and oils. There are 5 groups of food that they focus on eating every day for 30 days and the results are dramatic. That’s actually without making any changes to their skincare routine. You can get some results just by internal stuff.
What are your top tips for internal health?
I always recommend flax seed oil – a tablespoon a day is a wonderful hydrator and nourishing for the skin; it also provides you with the essential fatty acids that your skin needs. The second is flax seed, linseed meal and chia seeds; just a tablespoon of each in a shot of water every day or in your smoothie. They work to remove oestrogen excess so they’re excellent fibre sources for doing that.
You talk a lot about oestrogen excess, what can this do to skin and what is the cause?
The sulfates and parabens found in many skincare products can have a hormone altering impact on our bodies. They can work as neo-oestrogens, which means that they latch on to our oestrogen receptor sites and prevent the natural oestrogen from working; in effect, this can mean we get an oestrogen overload.
And what does an overload of oestrogen mean?
Oestrogen overload can lead to polycystic ovarian syndrome and oestrogen excess, metabolic excess or metabolic syndrome. All of this can be linked to oestrogens in everyday things such as our high-ingredient at-home skincare products, the air we breath, or the plastic we are drinking from.
Is it just pregnant and conceiving women who should beware?
We really want to be able to help women do everything that they can to regulate their hormones. I guess my perspective is; if we are telling women who are pregnant and women who want to be pregnant to do this, why aren’t we telling everyone? Many people are just not aware of it.
You brand Edible Beauty is so pure you can eat it. What is the philosophy behind the brand?
What we put on our skin and inside out bodies will reflect our skin and the health of our body in general – but it can also affect our fertility. The idea behind Edible Beauty is to create completely pure, sulphate and paraben free products that are also luxurious. I want people to feel that they’re using beautiful products that work for them without creating hormone imbalances.
Is Edible Beauty actually edible?
Yes you can eat it. I have tried every ingredient. But it is expensive food! You wouldn’t taste it with a spoon. Some of the ingredients taste better than others and some people will actually eat it but really, you don’t need to do that.
Does skincare as pure as yours work as well as other less naturally-focused brands?
People are surprised by the results that they get from the skincare because they don’t think that natural products can give them the results they want. They have that misconception that it if doesn’t contain chemicals it’s not going to work or be strong enough. But mature, over-65 year old women use my skincare and they find it works really well. We still have the actives in there, like beta glycan and hyaluronic acid. And there are AHAs, just in the natural form of apple and strawberry extracts.
What are the big changes in internal health when it comes to skin?
People are addressing their internal health more now and understanding that, if we try to get an abundance of antioxidants on the outside and the inside, we can help prevent free radical damage and ensure we’re addressing all the angles of ageing and skin damage. Awareness is also growing around probiotics and how they influence the skin.
How do you help address internal health?
I also do beauty teas. The teas work on the inside and the skincare works on the outside. The teas have the ability to detoxify our body, hydrate, and impact our hormones through various botanicals and herbs. The skincare and the teas work really well together.
What are some of the external signs that reflect internal issues?
Acne is one of the key issues. In many cases I would say that it is just a hormonal imbalance. It’s an excess of oestrogen or a lack of progesterone and so by balancing those hormones out, you can get a profound impact in acne treatment. Detoxifying the liver can get acne repaired and healed quite quickly. I get my patients to drink our detoxifying finishing tea; it helps to get the liver detoxified and detoxify excess hormones.
What is a great nutritional tip for clear skin?
Probiotics help clear up the skin really quickly, or you can do your fermented foods like sauerkraut – one or the other. I also encourage two cups of salad greens and two cups of hard green vegetables like cruciferous vegetables (things like broccoli and cabbage cauliflower and kale) which are really detoxifying. That in itself is enough to get your skin to another level in 30 days, and it’s not that hard.
How much tea do you recommend clients drink?
To rebalance the issues of acne, I would say three cups of detoxifying tea a day and then there’s our Golden Glow tea, which is a hormone balancing tea – I try to get them to do about two cups of that a day. You should notice changes to the skin in around a month.
What else do you suggest clients do from a lifestyle perspective?
Making changes such as eliminating dairy and sugar and other inflammatory foods will help get an even quicker result.
Are your tea’s sold in salons?
They are starting to make an impact in the salon world; we are starting to be stocked in boutique salons and also by Face Plus MediSpa.
What has the feedback been like about your teas?
It has been wonderful. People are surprised that they can have a tea that is therapeutic but also pleasant to drink. What I tried to do was combine the really therapeutic herbs with more gentle herbs which balance the flavour out. People say, “I never used to drink herbal tea but now I do”.