The skin that wraps our body and lines our digestive + respiratory tracts is made up of epithelial cells that we all call skin. Wherever you have skin (epithelial cells), you will have a microbiome. Keeping these microbiomes in balance is a significant focus in Ayurveda. Each of these microbiomes – on your skin, gut, or lungs – is under constant threat of an invasion of undesirable microbes. What determines a healthy microbiome is the ability to maintain an environment on each epithelial surface that is conducive to the growth of beneficial bacteria and antagonistic to the bad ones.
In Ayurveda, these invisible microbes were discussed 5,000 years ago in the Rig Veda. These microbes, they said, were called krimi, and they were either visible or invisible. They understood that there was a need to keep these microbes in balance, primarily through proper hygiene. When someone would fall ill, they would not use agents to kill off the bad bugs… They would treat the inner and outer epithelial lining of the skin by bringing the environment back into balance.
According to Ayurveda, the best way to have a glowing complexion on the outside is to have a glowing complexion on the inside. Good skin starts on the inside with a healthy environment for the proliferation of beneficial bugs in the digestive and respiratory tracts.
In This Article
Collagen: The Skin Protein
There are many claims on social media that supplementing with collagen peptides can address numerous dermatological conditions, but there is little evidence to support these claims. However, there are studies that suggest collagen supplementation can support skin hydration and skin elasticity. This does suggest that some of the large collagen peptides are being absorbed into the bloodstream. Generally, it seems the benefits of taking collagen peptides can be misleading. The best way to support your collagen would be to stop collagen breakdown and supplement the precursors of collagen, so your body will be able to produce more.
Amalaki for Collagen Production Support
Amalaki, also known as amla or Indian gooseberry, is a berry-like fruit that comes from the Phyllanthus emblica tree. It has been used for thousands of years for skin support.
In Ayurveda, herbs like amalaki are used to support the function and integrity of the skin’s inner and outer layers. Amalaki supports healthy and functional skin by providing an anti-collagenase effect: it blocks the breakdown of collagen, which is the primary protein responsible for skin elasticity. Other studies have shown that amalaki can protect the skin’s fibroblasts from oxidative stress and increase procollagen levels (a collagen precursor).
Within studies on the topical use of amalaki applied to wounds, the berry was found to support a healthy wound-healing response. Studies show that amalaki increased collagen production on the wound site, as well as increased type III collagen! These results suggest that amalaki provides antioxidative and collagen precursor support when applied on the surface of the skin.
Learn more about topical Amalaki in LifeSpa’s Skin Care:
- LifeSpa Crystal Clear Cleanser Toner
- Royal Glow Moisturizer
- Fountain of Youth Serum
- LifeSpa Blooming Lotus Mud Mask
Amalaki Supports Healthy Hair, Too
Poor hair health (and hair falling out) is generally due to the buildup of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in the hair follicles. Testosterone buildup converts into DHT (dihydrotestosterone) from an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. One interesting study found that amalaki acted as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor; this means it blocks the production of DHT and supports the growth of healthy hair This is one reason that supports Ayurveda’s use of amalaki for thousands of years – both topically and internally – to achieve healthy hair.
Brahmi as a Collagen Precursor
The botanical name for Brahmi is Centella asiatica. It is also known as gotu kola (not to be confused with another herb often called Brahmi: Bacopa monnieri).
Brahmi (Centella asiatica) has been shown in numerous studies to support the synthesis of collagen when taken internally or applied topically. Researchers have found brahmi also supported type II collagen synthesis in patients with joint concerns.
In a study with 100 pregnant women, the participants who applied a Brahmi cream to the stomach had fewer stretch marks than the group that applied a placebo. In another study, brahmi was shown to synthesize collagen and have a positive impact on photo-aging and cellulite.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oils) Boost Collagen
Lipids are fatty or oily compounds that play important roles in our bodies. The cell membrane of the inner and outer skin is made up of a phospholipid layer that is predominately omega-3 fatty acids. The brain is made up of 50-60% lipids, of which about 35% are omega-3 fatty acids. This means a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can harm inner + outer skin health and brain function.
In one relevant study, omega-6 fatty acids were compared with omega-3 fatty acids. The group that took the fish oils (omega-3) saw an increase in collagen synthesis, while the omega-6 group saw a decrease in collagen. This is particularly disturbing because 30 years ago, the average ratio of omega6 to omega-3 in the body was 20:1. Today, that ratio has basically reversed: folks now have 20:1 omega-6 (processed vegetable oils) to omega-3 (EPA from fish) levels. With our changing diets, it’s increasingly important to take care of your skin starting with those foundational lipids and proteins like Omega-3 and collagen.
Dr. John’s Inside-Out Skin Care Recommendations
LifeSpa Amalaki – 2 capsules, 2x/day after food
LifeSpa Brahmi Brain – 2 capsules 2x/day after food
LifeSpa Mini Omega 3X – 1 capsule 2x/day after food
LifeSpa’s Royal Glow Facial Moisturizer – for topical Brahmi and Amalaki
Fountain of Youth Serum – for topical Amalaki
LifeSpa Crystal Clear Cleanser Toner – for topical Amalaki
LifeSpa Lotus Mud Mask – for topical Amalaki