by Emma Peters September 03, 2017

Your skin is your body's largest organ and one of the first things to react to toxins, stress or poor health. Taking care of it is a full-time job, and achieving a natural, gorgeous glow is about a whole lot more than just a good cleanser.

Ben Warren, nutritionist and founder of BePure says when it comes to skin, you are what you eat. Here's what he has to say about skin health, nutrition, and a clear complexion.

Ben Warren BePure skin health

What is the correlation between our skin and our health?

Your skin is your largest organ and its condition tells us a lot about your overall health. This is because the health of your inner organs reflects the outward appearance of your skin. So, to enjoy healthy skin it’s important you’re looking after what’s happening on the inside.

When we overwhelm the detoxification pathways in the body, excess toxins are excreted through the skin as a last resort to rid them from the body. Our most important detoxification organ systems in the body are the liver and the lymphatic system. Liver loaders such as alcohol, caffeine, environmental toxins, processed foods or inflammatory foods are all common culprits.

Keeping good care of these systems by avoiding toxins as much as possible, eating a clean diet and providing additional nutritional support for our body’s detoxification to function optimally is important for your vibrant skin health.

Why is it important to look after our skin?

I see skin as a window into the health of your body. If your skin is inflamed or you have acne, this is a sure sign that your organs and inner body systems are not working optimally.

It’s important to understand that your body is all interconnected. Just because the symptom is showing itself on your skin, doesn’t necessarily mean that this is where the cause is.

Typical examples of this are food intolerances that create inflammation in the body and manifest as eczema, or psoriasis. These are actually cases of auto-immunity or in other words an overactive immune system. Many cases of acne can also be traced back to hormonal imbalance in the body. Or even simpler, dry skin is a good sign you’re dehydrated or need to include some more healthy fats in your diet!

For this reason, I see it as incredibly important to look after your skin health. Think of your skin as your body talking to you, telling you there’s something to pay attention to. Clear, glowing skin is a good sign that you’re in optimal health.

How important is it to read labels? Both on personal care products and food?

In a short, it’s very important! We are constantly exposing ourselves to toxins in our food and skincare products. These toxins interfere with our hormone balance and load our liver.

The best way to choose food is go for the item with the least amount of ingredients. This goes the same for skin care. It’s best to go for organic and natural based products. If we can choose the right products by looking at the label, we can reduce the toxic load in the body.

Many skin care products contain toxins called xenoestrogens. These are oestrogen mimicking chemicals that throw our hormones out of balance, causing what is commonly known as ‘oestrogen dominance’. They’re hiding in your moisturisers, toothpaste, sanitary products, household cleaning products, you name it.

The symptoms of oestrogen dominance include weight gain around hips and buttocks, heavy periods, and severe PMS. We can minimise our exposure to xenoestrogens, and therefore keep our hormones in balance by choosing natural and organic products.

Key ingredients to avoid when choosing your skincare are parabens, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).

hormonal balance, skin health chart

Would you say it’s more important to look after what we put onto our skin or what we put into our bodies?

What we eat is the most important factor when it comes to our health. The food that we eat literally becomes our cells! We rely on food for energy and nutrients - if we’re not giving ourselves a nourishing diet, we’re in trouble.

Having said that, we can absorb up to 80% of what we put on our skin! So, avoiding adding toxins to your body by choosing natural skin care products is also incredibly important.

What are the top nutrients we should be taking to look after our skin?

Omega-3s are a strong anti-inflammatory molecule that is very important for our skin health. The best source of omega 3 is fish oil, salmon is a great food source. When seeking out a fish oil product to increase your omega 3s ensure that it is sustainably sourced with high levels of DHA and EPA. This is what I have based our BePure Three fish oil nutritional support on.

Zinc is a mineral that is required for the repair and regeneration of skin cells. It is also responsible for over 300 enzymes within the body! Great food sources are oysters, red meat and chickpeas. Because it is so crucial to our health, we test zinc levels with our BePure Zinc Taste test and also recommend BePure Zinc Restore for when you need to nurture your body back to optimal levels.

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that fights damage in the body and is involved with the synthesis of collagen, an important protein for keeping our skin supple. Eating plenty of in season citrus fruits, kale, broccoli and capsicums are great sources of vitamin C. To boost your daily intake further, I recommend BePure Super Boost C.

Selenium is responsible for maintaining skin firmness and elasticity. Brazil nuts are a fantastic source of selenium. Again, if you’re looking to increase and maintain healthy levels I would recommend our BePure One multivitamin which contains selenium and multiple other powerful nutrients to support your skin and overall optimal health.

Do you see any mistakes that people are making in their nutrition that have an adverse effect on their skin?

skin health smoothie


Not identifying food intolerances.

We know that large proportion of the people we work with in the BePure Clinic react to gluten and dairy. This immune reaction can result in skin blemishes and inflammation, whether it’s eczema, spots or acne.

Food intolerances and allergies are also an incredibly easy thing to test for and potentially life changing if you do show an intolerance to certain foods.

What is the number one thing you can suggest for people to enhance the health of their beauty routine?

Am I allowed to say two things?!

Firstly, ensure you’re giving your body enough quality nutrients to keep your cells healthy. Based on extensive research I’ve found that our soils are incredibly depleted of essential nutrients. No nutrients in our soil means no nutrients in our food. This, along with poor food choices and lifestyles, is leaving many of us severely nutrient deficient. It’s for this reason, I recommend everyone give their body additional nutritional support. Nutrients are vital for both our inner and outer health! The BePure Everyday Health Pack (BePure One multivitamin and BePure Three fish oil) is designed especially for this. It includes the base level of nutrients I recommend everyone takes every day to live with optimal health and energy.

Secondly, look after your body’s natural detoxification processes by drinking plenty of quality filtered water. The best detox agent is actually water. If your body is dehydrated, your body's detox systems will not be able to perform optimally. Water is responsible for keeping the digestive system flowing and for the efficient filtration processes in the liver and kidneys. 

Water is also extremely important for the function of the lymphatic system. Aim to drink 0.033 litres of pure water for each kilogram of your body weight. You don’t want to be bringing in toxins (like fluoride and chlorine) with your water and so I recommend you drink filtered or pure spring water.

Ben Warren is a clinical nutritionist, founder of BePure and Clinical Director of the BePure Clinics in Havelock North and Auckland Central. He will be touring New Zealand with his latest seminar ‘The Hormone Secret’ from September to November 2017. For tickets visit the BePure website.

Emma Peters
Emma Peters

Emma Peters, organic makeup artist, creative director and founder of Belle & Sage, is committed to leading the conversation around beauty and wellness. With over twenty years of experience as a make-up artist, she knows you don’t have to sacrifice quality for clean.

She’ll help you find the what, learn the why, nail the how, and everything in between.

Letting you know more, wear better, and start making beautiful choices: from the inside, out.

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