This Wheat Belly Blog post was inspired by witnessing a flood of commercials directed at women claiming to improve skin health: restore moisture, increase skin thickness, reduce the “crepe” effect, increase collagen. I see women spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars for such products while obtaining little to no benefit, or obtaining transient benefits that dissipate simply by washing your face.
What happens if you instead boost the release of oxytocin from your hypothalamus and pituitary glands? In addition to wonderful effects such as increased feelings of empathy, a desire for social connection, and reduction in social anxiety, ladies often experience:
- An increase in sebum production—Sebum, the oily substance produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands, determines the moisture of your skin. You may recall how oily your skin was when you were a teenager, moisture that decreases as we age. Oxytocin restores youthful sebum production.
- An increase in dermal collagen—While the effect varies, for a substantial proportion of people the effect is dramatic. In experimental studies, while direct oral collagen supplementation increases dermal collagen slightly over an extended period of time (e.g., one year), oxytocin causes an explosive increase in dermal collagen, far greater than the modest increased caused by direct collagen ingestion.
- Increased skin thickness—The increase in dermal collagen increases overall skin thickness. This is why many people observe a reduction in wrinkle depth by boosting oxytocin.
- Acceleration of skin healing—Any skin wound heals in about a third less time when oxytocin is boosted. And the increase in dermal collagen provoked by oxytocin also makes wound repair stronger.
- Thicker, moister hair—That also grows faster. Recall that hair is a modified form of skin. The oxytocin boost increases hair sebum, but also induces change in hair growth. Oxytocin stimulates “follicular anagenesis,” the growth phase of hair.
Combine these skin effects with the reduction in skin inflammation that most people experience when they banish all wheat and grains from their diet—an effect you can see on the face with reduction/elimination of facial redness and seborrheic skin rashes—and you’ve got a powerful combination of strategies to regain moister, thicker skin that costs almost nothing and involves no “secrets,” sales pitches, or injections.
Some people have confused my discussions with advertisements to sell something—I am not selling you anything. I am not selling you skin care products, I am not selling you moisturizers, I am not selling you the next latest and greater aesthetic procedure, I am not selling you yogurt. After all, the plastic surgery and aesthetician communities and cosmetic manufacturers are not interested in effective inexpensive solutions; they are interested in obtaining as much financial advantage as possible. It means that injections and other costly procedures, for instance, are favored over simple natural solutions. I am simply telling you that you have the power to obtain huge gains in skin health inexpensively, with minimal effort, all topped with blueberries or chia seeds. Anyone new to this conversation should review my method of making yogurt from L. reuteri using prolonged fermentation and addition of prebiotic fibers, all designed to increase the numbers of bacteria obtain through something that looks, smells, and tastes like yogurt, but it’s not.