SKIN FOOD: Your 4-step solution to healthy, happy skin by Dr Thivi Maruthappu
A new book on skin health for 2023, written by a qualified dermatologist who is also an associate member of the Association for Nutrition and a researcher at Kings College, London.
Whilst it is aimed at the general public, it is also a useful overview about the role of nutrition in skin health for primary healthcare providers.
Through running a busy dermatology clinic in London, the author became aware that questions around diet – for example, “does what I eat affect my skin”, “should I exclude dairy or gluten” – were frequently raised by patients, yet rarely covered in training or textbooks on dermatology. She set about learning more about the link between diet and skin to support both patients and colleagues.
Skin Food is founded on observations from clinical practice plus evidence from research on skin health. It includes a basic explanation of the skin before moving on to discuss the role of different nutrients or diets in skin health – the main focus of the book. Three shorter sections on the mind-skin connection, topical support for our skin and treatment options beyond diet and lifestyle complete the four step solution referenced in the book title.
There are sections on different skin conditions, from acne to aging, rosacea to eczema, and interventions that may be supportive for them. From a dietary perspective, the book advocates a healthy diet with plenty of fruits & veg, lean proteins, oils and healthy fats and wholegrains. This should be complemented with daily intakes of probiotics and prebiotics to support gut health along with selected spices. Finally, intakes of alcohol and refined sugar intake should be limited.
Interestingly, Dr Maruthappu does include discussions on topics such as the use of intermittent fasting, collagen supplements, caffeine and alcohol, with clear presentation of the level of evidence.
In relation to the gut:skin axis, Dr Maruthappu recognises that there are two key characteristics for a healthy gut microbiome: balance and diversity. She includes sections that explore the relationship between the gut microbiome and different skin conditions, with commentary on potential probiotic support and recommendations for dietary choices to support the gut microbiome.
References and sources of further information/support are included to support further self-guided exploration of this fascinating subject.
Maruthappu T (2023). Skin Food: Your 4-step solution to Healthy, Happy Skin. Piatkus, UK.