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Sakara 101

The New Beauty Routine is Edible

[The New Beauty Routine is  Edible] Hero Image

There’s no question about it: skin is in.

By Alexa Bokman

Mar 09, 2021

In 2017, the skincare market in the U.S. generated $17 billion in revenue. In 2018, Americans spent more than $16.5 billion on cosmetic plastic surgery, including minimally-invasive, youth-bestowing facial procedures like Botox and other injectables. And in 2019, a $265 moisturizer boldly dubbed “The Cream” became an essential for fresh-faced celebrities and in-the-know editors alike.

But while Americans are shelling out for products and treatments and soldiering through 10-step skincare routines, a new trend is emerging. On the shelves at your local Sephora, you’ll find drink mixes and gummy supplements promising shinier hair and brighter skin alongside the lipsticks and mascaras. In terms of our collective beauty focus, a shift is occurring from what goes on to what goes in. Whether your goal is to eliminate acne or turn back the hands of time, #nofilter skin starts with what you eat.

First and foremost, know this: good skin starts in the gut. And all the serums and services in the world won’t be worth it if you don’t have your inner beauty regimen locked in. For Sakara founder Whitney Tingle, this was as close to an ah-ha moment as it gets. “I realized I didn’t have a skin problem,” she reflects on the end of her years-long battle with cystic acne. “I had a gut problem.” Once she swapped out sugary breakfast pastries and deep-fried happy hour fare and welcomed in hydrating, fresh plant foods (what eventually would become the Sakara nutrition philosophy), her skin underwent a transformation. Problem solved—as if by magic.

I realized I didn’t have a skin problem: I had a gut problem.

But it wasn’t magic; it was science. Research suggests that a balanced, plant-rich diet that includes plenty of leafy greens and fiber controls inflammation—the enemy of a blemish-free and radiant complexion—by nurturing the gut biome and promoting a healthy immune system. Dr. Robynne Chutkan, gastroenterologist and best-selling author, explains that the skin is especially sensitive to what’s happening in your gut. “Everything you eat eventually shows up on [your skin], and skin reactions can be an important sign of an imbalanced gut,” she says. For patients struggling with digestive issues and attendant skin concerns, Dr. Chutkan advises eating foods (most of them plant-sourced) that are rich in omega-3s and flavonoids because they lower inflammation, control overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, and help maintain healthy blood vessels and cell function. 

Esthetician, Beauty Shamans founder (and Sakara client) Shelly Marshall followed a similar path. Realizing that her immune system (compromised), her complexion (inflamed and broken out), and her diet (overly processed) were all connected was what ultimately unlocked her glow. Tired of feeling and looking run down, Marshall dug into nutrition science and holistic healing to get to the root of her symptoms, which included fatigue and frequent sickness along with spotty skin—all signs of weakened immunity. By tweaking her diet, removing processed foods and prioritizing whole foods that offered bioavailable nutrients, she learned the same lesson Whitney did: that food was medicine. “The more I did to improve my health, the more my skin would glow,” she recalls. “That’s really the secret in one sentence: internal health leads to external beauty, and you attain it by attending to what you put into and onto yourself.”

If your daily diet of whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods is like your basic wash-and-moisturize skincare routine, think of the new guard of beauty nutraceuticals—those edible beauty supplements that are all the rage—as the extra-concentrated serum, exfoliator or mask. While some of these products work by going to the root of the issue, such as probiotics that heal the gut in order to clear the skin, others are even more targeted, and function by delivering specific compounds (like antioxidants or ceramides) straight to the complexion via the bloodstream.

If your daily diet of whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods is like your basic wash-and-moisturize skincare routine, think of the new guard of beauty nutraceuticals—as the extra-concentrated serum, exfoliator or mask.

Common skincare ingredients like retinoids, niacinamide, and ferulic acid are actually antioxidants, i.e. benevolent compounds that donate an electron to those unstable atoms called free radicals that result from both normal metabolic processes in the body and environmental stressors like UV rays and air pollution. In their unstable form, free radicals seek to steal an electron from structures like proteins and cell membranes, a process called oxidation that has the undesired effect of damaging cell DNA and speeding up aging. Oxidation can also affect the skin’s natural oils, causing or exacerbating acne. To offset oxidation, topical antioxidants are a worthy addition to your regimen, but a study from The Journal of Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that they are more effective when ingested than topically applied (and especially potent when you do both).

Two Easy Ways to Enhance Your Inner (and Outer) Beauty

The high-protein snack with skin benefits: Beauty Protein Super Bar.

The newest in our lineup of beauty foods, this is a protein bar and several skincare steps in one. Phyto Youth Blend, a nutricosmetic powerhouse ingredient sourced from rare French melon and grape seed extracts, does the heavy lifting, with highly bioavailable phytonutrients like superoxide dismutase, zinc, and vitamin C that bust free radicals and support collagen. Combined, these ingredients work to control melanin overproduction, enhance skin microcirculation, and protect collagen fibers from degradation. Translation: skin looks clearer, firmer, brighter, more even, and better hydrated, like you spent a week at a spa drinking perfectly alkaline lemon-cucumber water. Based on a clinical trial, you can expect full results in about eight weeks—compared to the 12 weeks it takes to see payoff from popular anti-aging products like retinol and vitamin C serums, which usually come with irritation, flakiness and extra sun sensitivity. And the 12 grams of plant protein, essential fatty acids and prebiotic fiber (thank you pea protein, almond butter, and chicory root) will start working immediately, contributing to your daily intake of these vital beauty-supporting nutrients. It’s basically your entire vanity rolled into one highly functional on-the-go snack.

The water-enhancing duo: Beauty + Detox Water Drops 

Healthy organs require an optimal balance of micronutrients, particularly minerals. “Remineralization is the key to a healthier life,” Marshall attests, pointing to complexion-specific benefits like improved cell turnover and skin immunity. With a perfectly balanced blend of 72 naturally-occurring trace minerals, Beauty Water Drops re-mineralize your existing drinking water, turning it into a veritable fountain of youth. Meanwhile, Detox Water Drops are made of pure chlorophyll, a green plant pigment that allows our leafy friends to photosynthesize. This emerald-hued water enhancer is an ally to anyone seeking to eliminate breakouts, since it helps filter toxins from the body while oxygenating and purifying the blood. As Marshall puts it, “skin is highly vascular, so with clean blood we have cleaner skin.”


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