Tips to support healthy skin


Following winter, our skin can feel very dry, and eczema is a common issue for many.

The skin is the largest organ of the human body and it provides a protective layer against both microbial infections and physiochemical changes. It is a complex and dynamic organ characterised by bacterial populations and their interplay with the host (us).

As with most microbiomes, a healthy skin ecosystem is characterised by diversity.

The hygiene hypothesis

Improved hygiene leading to a reduced exposure to micro-organisms have been implicated as one possible cause for the increase in immune-mediated diseases such as allergies and autoimmunity, in industrialised countries during the past three to four decades.

Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, seasons and even method of birth also impact the diversity of bacteria residing on our skin.

A lack of diversity can be caused by a number of factors, including frequent washing, application of make-up, cosmetics and moisturisers, ultraviolet radiation, immune deficiencies and oral antibiotic use.

Skin dysbiosis has been implicated in a number of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.

What to eat to support healthy skin?

A diet which features important nutrients such as omega-3 fats from oily fish and hemp seeds, zinc, antioxidants, and polyphenols to boost skin health is recommended. Ideally, high fibre, low glycaemic foods with no added sugars will help to manage insulin levels and provide probiotics and prebiotics to support gut health. Egg whites, nuts, soy, gluten, and dairy are often eliminated and then rechallenged under the care of a nutritionist/ naturopath or dietitian as these foods are commonly linked to flare-ups.

Zinc for the skin

The human body contains two to three grams of the mineral zinc, mainly in the bones and skeletal muscle. It is also found in the pancreas, kidneys, retina of the eye, teeth, hair, skin, liver and blood cells.

Zinc is needed to make insulin, to maintain a healthy immune system, support skin barrier and integrity, hormone balance and make reproductive health. It contributes to hundreds of processes inside the body and many of these are reflected on the outside.


A few drops of lavender essential oil can be added to bath water for dry skin conditions.

Creams often containing calendula, manuka, kawakawa, rosehip oil and/or vitamin E are found to hydrate and soothe the skin.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Skin-loving salmon salad


150g salmon fillet

pinch sea salt

large handful arugula (rocket) leaves/salad greens

¼ cucumber, sliced

½ avocado, sliced

15ml olive oil

15ml lemon juice

To serve

lemon wedge


Heat a pan over medium heat. Season the salmon with salt, then place in the pan skin-side down, cook for 4-5 minutes.

Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until the flesh is opaque.

In a small bowl or jar, mix the oil and lemon juice.

Add the arugula to a plate and top with the cucumber and avocado.

Drizzle over the dressing and place the salmon on top. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Enjoy, salmon skin and all.