Book Summary: Clean Skin From Within Summary Dr. Trevor Cates

Clean Skin Within Summary

Beauty is more than skin deep

What we apply to our skin has a potentially tremendous impact on our health

The health of our skin is a reflection of much deeper processes happening in our bodies.

The personal care products we apply on the surface find their way into our cells.

Even tiny amounts of certain ingredients can act as cancer-causing carcinogens

obesogens that bind with hormonal and fat cells to activate obesity genes, and endocrine disruptors.

hormonal imbalances that can lead to a host of problems,

including early puberty in young girls, acne, infertility, thyroid disorders,

menstrual problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), weight issues, and diabetes.

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States—affecting up to 50 million Americans and costing over $3 billion annually


1. The skin offers a direct reflection of what’s happening inside the body.

Our skin is our largest organ, and it provides an outward manifestation of our inner health.

When our digestion, hormones, blood sugar, immune system, or

other body systems are out of whack, this imbalance often shows up on our skin.

2. Common prescriptions usually don’t fix the true underlying problem.

Most commonly prescribed medications, such as antibiotics and steroids,

do not address underlying factors that go beyond what’s happening on the skin.

Instead they suppress the symptom and can actually worsen a person’s health and skin

3. The skin has a delicate pH balance and community of bacteria that are crucial for its health.

The human digestive tract contains a delicate balance of microorganisms, including bacteria.

A well functioning digestive tract has the right amount of good bugs (such as lactobacillus) but not bad bugs (such as harmful bacteria, parasites, or an overgrowth of candida).

4. What you eat can have a big effect on your skin.

eating foods with a high glycemic index (GI), such as refined carbohydrates, plays a role in the development of acne.

Research published in 2008 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology also suggests skim milk can trigger acne.

consuming omega-3 fatty acids and gamma linolenic acids (GLAs) may help reduce acne breakouts

5. Products you put on your skin affect internal health.

the chemicals in our skin care products can actually be absorbed into our bloodstream.

These chemicals can then wreak havoc on our endocrine system, leading to problems with thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormone function.

Chapter 1 Your Magic Mirror and Its Clues


1. Inflammation

2. Microbiome disturbance

3. Oxidative damage

4. Blood sugar issues

5. Nutritional deficiencies

6. Hormonal imbalances


Externally, when skin is triggered by exposure to UV radiation, allergens, or irritating soaps or cosmetics, skin cells produce cytokines and chemokines

Skinflammation problems often stem from digestive issues. Related to the delicate balance of our gut microflora is the dreaded “leaky gut.”


As we age, toxins, stress, infections, poor dietary choices, and certain medications can negatively affect the gut microbiome

The gut’s health is directly related to our skin’s health. A healthy gut microbiome protects the gut lining,

increases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and protects against harmful microorganisms that affect healthy skin.

Research suggests that probiotics, or good bacteria, have helped remedy various skin conditions.


Because skin acts as an external barrier, it is directly exposed to environmental stress, such as sunlight and pollutants.

Excessive exposure to the sun’s UV radiation generates free radicals in the skin,

and when their levels exceed the organ’s natural anti-oxidant defenses, oxidative damage occurs.

That effect can present as premature aging, sunburn, skin inflammation, and skin cancers.

It also causes depletion of antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, which further reduces their protective effects.

Aging itself is a form of oxidative stress because antioxidant levels in the skin and blood reduce as we age and we lose that built-in protection.


The body uses glucose (blood sugar) as a primary fuel source, but if glucose is consumed in excess,

or not used and metabolized properly, it can bind to skin’s collagen and elastin, which can damage skin.

Highheat cooking methods, such as barbecuing, grilling, frying, and roasting, lead to higher levels of AGEs.

It has been shown that adding acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice or vinegar, can help reduce AGEs.


Nutritional deficiencies are most common in people with restrictive or inadequate nutrient diets, excessive consumption of alcohol, or digestion and absorption issues

Iron and B vitamin deficiencies (especially vitamins B2 and B12) can cause painful cracks, blisters, or crusting in the corners of your mouth

Consume at least 30 to 60 mg of vitamin C daily—or about a half cup (120 ml) of freshly squeezed orange juice.


When our hormones are off balance, we are more likely to develop skin problems such as dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles, acne, or rosacea

Hormones are derived from aminoacids, phospholipids, and cholesterol,

Just how much they rule our physiology may surprise you. From our mental focus,

memory, and cognition to sex drive, cardiovascular health, bone growth, sugar regulation, and metabolism,

CHAPTER 2 Conquering Skinflammation and Other Root Causes

When it comes to foods that inflame, some of the biggest triggers are food intolerances and allergies.

Although “germs” often get a bad rap, some microorganisms are actually good for us.

You can find these probiotic nutrients in fermented foods, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled produce, yogurt, and kefir.

Prebiotic foods—those that promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut—include dandelion greens, garlic, onions, leeks, and chicory

“Whatever your skin type, toxin exposure is a primary trigger, and avoiding toxins is essential for clear, glowing skin.”

When it comes to achieving glowing skin, reducing sugar consumption goes hand in hand with eating balanced meals throughout the day.

I’ve identified eight that are the most important nutrients for skin. These are:

1. Essential fatty acids (EFAs)

2. Vitamin D

3. Vitamin C

4. Zinc

5. Vitamin E

6. Vitamin A

7. B vitamins

Chapter 3 Clean Plate

We know what we eat can nourish our bodies, including the skin.

The most important foods to eat for clear, glowing skin are those rich in:

▸ Skin-loving fatty acids

▸ Antioxidants

▸ Probiotics and prebiotics

▸ Collagen-boosting nutrients

▸ Cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties

I’ve found sugar and dairy to be the most significant skinflammation triggers.

Chapter 4 Clean Slate

The next step is creating a clean slate. This means using products free from toxic inflammatory agents

and, instead, packed with key nourishing ingredients. This is important for all skin types


Fragrances can contain a number of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and are among the top five allergens in the world.

Look for formaldehyde releasers on skin care labels: quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, bronopol, or imidazolidinyl urea.

Formaldehyde is known to cause DNA damage and cancer

While most mineral oils in personal care products are refined and considered “safe,” they’re still derived from crude oil

Parabens are known xenoestrogens, which means they have estrogenic activity in the body.

Chapter 5 Clean Body Clean Mind

Food additives, plasticizers, chemical solvents, heavy metal–based pesticides, herbicides,

and pharmaceutical drugs possess endocrine-disrupting effects that can lead to chronic skin and health problems


1. Remove your shoes when entering your home.

2. Change your central-air filters once a month, and have the air ducts cleaned.

3. Change your central-air filters once a month, and have the air ducts cleaned.

4. Use nontoxic cleaning products.

5. Do not let your car idle in an attached garage.

6. Be wary of what you bring into your home. Furniture, carpeting, rugs, and building materials can be full of chemicals

7. Wash new clothes before wearing them. The majority of clothing manufactured today is treated with numerous chemicals

8. Refrain from using pesticides and other chemicals in your home and yard.


1. Filter your water

2. Use glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers for storage.

3. Use stainless steel, glass, ceramic, or cast iron for cooking.

4. Choose organic as much as possible.

5. Choose animal products from sustainably and naturally raised animals.

Chapter 6 Personalizing Your 2 Week Plan

Avoid skinflammation-triggering foods; instead, eat foods rich in:

▸ Antioxidants

▸ Cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties

▸ Collagen-boosting nutrients

▸ Prebiotics and probiotics

▸ Skin-loving fatty acids

Avoid these foods and drinks—listed in order of importance—as much as possible:

1. Sugar

2. Dairy

3. Gluten-containing grains

4. Alcohol

5. Caffeine

6. Eggs

7. Corn

8. Nightshades

9. Peanuts

10. Soy

Chapter 7 Skin Perfecting Smoothies, Juices, Drinks

1. Fresh or frozen fruit: apple, avocado (fresh not frozen), berries, cherries, figs (fresh), guava, kiwi, mango, papaya, passion fruit, peaches, pear, watermelon

2. Greens and other veggies: beets, carrots, celery, chard, collard greens, cucumber, kale, lettuce, spinach

3. Liquids: almond milk and coconut milk (unsweetened), hemp milk, fermented coconut water, filtered water, freshly squeezed or pressed juice, herbal teas

4. Lemon juice or lime juice (fresh): include some rind for extra zing

5. Fresh herbs and spices: basil, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mint, nutmeg, parsley, turmeric

6. Protein powder: hemp or pea

7. Seeds, nuts, and nut butters (always use raw, not roasted): chia seeds, coconut, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, soaked almonds, walnuts or cashews, sunflower seeds

8. Sweeteners and flavor enhancers

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