A Functional Medicine Approach to Youthful, Glowing Skin

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The quest for smooth, youthful, and radiant skin is an enduring and universal one. People of all ages, ethnicities, and genders want to put their best face forward. However, the typical skin care routines and anti-aging medicines often fall short of providing satisfactory improvements. They may cover up blemishes and wrinkles rather than getting to the root causes of suboptimal skin health.

As a functional medicine practitioner with over 15 years of experience, I take a different approach with patients who desire to enhance their skin quality. We look at the entire body as an interconnected web, appreciating that the health of our largest organ – the skin – reflects inner balance or imbalance. Instead of prescribing topical creams alone, we uncover and address the underlying lifestyle, dietary, hormonal, or other factors that degrade the skin over time. The result can be remarkable and lasting transformations towards youthful, healthy, glowing skin from the inside out.

Functional medicine empowers patients with the education and tools to make sustainable diet and lifestyle changes that gently nudge the body back towards equilibrium. Success is not defined by the absence of lines and wrinkles alone – it’s about enjoying vibrant health, confidence, and wellbeing at any age thanks to skin that looks and feels its best reflecting inner harmony.

The Functional Medicine Approach to Skin Health

Conventional dermatology focuses almost exclusively on treating visible skin conditions from the outside-in through medications, chemical peels, fillers, or lasers. They don’t assess what is happening deeper inside the body that manifests as symptoms on the skin surface.

  • We look beyond the skin to the whole body system.

Functional medicine broadens the investigation to identify the underlying drivers related to lifestyle, environment, genetics, hormones, nutrition status, gut health, and mental/emotional factors. These are areas mainstream dermatology tends to overlook but play enormous roles in skin cell regeneration and overall skin quality over decades.

  • Key areas we assess:

Hormones and stress
Stress hormones like cortisol have a major impact on skin aging through breakdown of collagen and wrinkle formation.[1] We identify hormonal imbalances related to menopause, andropause, thyroid dysfunction or abnormalities with stress hormone regulation itself. Customized hormone balancing including bioidenticals can be very helpful paired with stress-relieving therapies like meditation, yoga, and spending time outdoors.

Gut health and microbiome
The bacteria living inside our digestive tract prominently impact immune function and inflammatory pathways.[2] An unhealthy gut microbiome shows up on the skin through conditions like acne, eczema, rashes, and premature aging.[3] We use advanced stool testing to check for imbalances and customize probiotic/prebiotic regimens specific to the patient.

Nutrient status
Nutritional deficiencies and insufficiencies – especially antioxidants, protein, fatty acids, vitamins A/C/E, zinc, and selenium – degrade collagen and accelerate wrinkling.[4] We run bloodwork to identify specific deficiencies and build an individualized diet and supplement plan to target those needs.

Toxins and environmental exposures
Toxins like heavy metals, mold, cosmetic chemicals, pollution particles, and pesticides create free radical damage and inflame skin tissue over time.[5] We obtain special tests checking accumulation of key toxins and use science-backed sauna protocols, nutrient binding agents, and purification techniques to gently facilitate elimination.

An individualized treatment plan is created after thorough testing and assessment
The functional medicine detective work allows us to pinpoint exactly which inside factors are driving suboptimal skin function for every unique patient. We then design a tailored regimen – including dietary changes, strategic supplementation, and lifestyle modifications – in conjunction with advanced skin therapies for both repairing prior damage and proactively protecting against future deterioration.

Lifestyle Changes for Youthful Skin

Beyond testing and treatments, lasting skin improvement requires the patient making certain sustainable day-to-day changes with our guidance and support:

Nutrient-dense anti-inflammatory diet
A whole foods diet rich in produce, herbs/spices, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats, nuts/seeds, healthy fats, and minimal sugars calms systemic inflammation, optimizes nutrition/hydration, balances hormones, and lightens toxic load – creating an inner terrain conducive to fresh young skin.[6] We provide personalized nutrition advice and eating plans.

Stress management and sleep hygiene Chronic stress and poor sleep degrade collagen, elastin, and healthy fats in the skin.[7] We offer breathing techniques, adaptive exercising, targeted supplementation, and sleep optimization protocols utilizing tracking apps and wearable devices.

Exercise and movement
Regular movement boosts blood and lymphatic circulation to better feed skin tissue while assisting toxin elimination. Both resistance training and gentle practices like yoga, pilates, and walking are encouraged.

Targeted nutritional support based on deficiencies We use special genetic, blood, and urine testing to identify areas of nutritional deficiency or insufficiency related to skin health – including vitamin D, omega-3s, antioxidants, protein status, and mineral levels – replacing those specifics rather than taking broad but untargeted supplements.

Guiding patients to make these positive lifestyle modifications establishes the healthy internal soil required for the advanced treatments to yield optimal improvements in skin quality and appearance.

Advanced Treatments to Repair and Regenerate

Once deficient areas are being properly supported and toxic exposures curtailed through foundational functional medicine protocols, we can then deploy targeted therapies to directly enhance skin function and aesthetics:

Peptides are amino acid chains that act as signaling molecules to stimulate tissue repair and new collagen formation leading to great improvements in tone, texture, radiance and elasticity.[8] They can be safely used for face, neck, hands and décolletage.

Stem cell therapy
Both topical and injectable stem cell treatments prompt significant collagen and elastin regeneration. Stem cells also calm inflammation and release growth factors to stimulate repair.[9] They enhance multiple facets of skin renewal and youthfulness.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
Injected PRP harnesses growth factors and proteins from the patient’s own blood to rejuvenate all skin layers, building collagen, elastin and blood supply.[10] A series of microneedling PRP sessions works beautifully for overall glow and tone.

Microneedling with a dermaroller device creates controlled micro-injuries that spur collagen production and absorption of restorative topicals.[11] This helps improve texture, firmness, fine lines, acne scars, stretch marks and enlarged pores. We offer microneedling both on its own and in combination with customized peptide/stem cell serums.

Oxygen and carbon dioxide skin therapies
Supplying concentrated oxygen, ozone, or carbon dioxide topically or via special high-tech devices enables significant improvements in luminous quality, fine lines and wrinkles, tone/elasticity, and skin barrier repair.[12] We recommend and customize such regimens for whole facial renewal.

Every patient has unique needs and responds differently even to the same treatments. There is no “one size fits all” formula. We artfully mix and match therapies based on the detailed assessment of root causes and degree of repair required, avoiding excessive or minimally effective protocols. The goal is always skin rejuvenation that looks professional, natural and effortlessly luminous befitting each individual’s facial anatomy.


Lasting skin quality and beauty flow from within. While cosmetic treatments have their place for isolated issues, the most impactful and longstanding improvements emerge when we support the skin from inside-out through a whole-body functional medicine approach. As experts in multi-faceted anti-aging protocols and regenerative therapies for nearly two decades, our clinic has helped thousands reclaim – and maintain – smooth, healthy, vibrant skin regardless of age or prior damage. We’d love to do the same for you during a detailed initial consultation. Please reach out to book your appointment today.


[1] Chung, J. H., Seo, J. Y., Choi, H. R., Lee, M. K., Youn, C. S., Rhie, G., Cho, K. H., Kim, K. H., Park, K. C., & Eun, H. C. (2001). Modulation of skin collagen metabolism in aged and photoaged human skin in vivo. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 117(5), 1218-1224. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01544.x

[2] Salem, I., Ramser, A., Isham, N., & Ghannoum, M. A. (2018). The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis. Frontiers in microbiology, 9, 1459. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.01459

[3] Bowe, W. P., & Logan, A. C. (2011). Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future?. Gut pathogens, 3(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.1186/1757-4749-3-1

[4] Poljsak, B., & Dahmane, R. (2012). Free radicals and extrinsic skin aging. Dermatology research and practice, 2012, 135206. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/135206

[5] Burke, K. E. (2018). Mechanisms of aging and development – A new understanding of environmental damage to the skin and prevention with topical antioxidants. Mechanisms of ageing and development, 172, 123-130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mad.2017.12.003

[6] Lin, T. K., Zhong, L., & Santiago, J. L. (2018). Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(1), 70. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19010070

[7] Oyetakin-White, P., Suggs, A., Koo, B., Matsui, M., Yarosh, D., Cooper, K., & Baron, E. (2015). Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing?. Clinical and experimental dermatology, 40(1), 17–22. https://doi.org/10.1111/ced.12455

[8] Gorouhi, F., Maibach, H. I., & FALANGA, V. (2007). Peptides and skin aging. Cosmeceuticals and Active Cosmetics: Drugs vs. Cosmetics, Second Edition, CRC Press, 297-306.

[9] O’Toole, A., Bekyarova, E., Patel, J. H., Anderson, J. M., & MacEwan, M. R. (2019). Mechanoactive Multifunctional Cosmetics: Regenerative Anti-Aging Skin Care. Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology, 7, 305. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2019.00305

[10] Scharf, C., Prantl, L., & Zwick, T. (2019). A Randomized, Controlled Clinical Study Comparing Autologous Activated Serum Eye Drops, Autologous Serum Eye Drops, and Homologous Serum Eye Drops for Treating Dry Eye Disease in Dogs. Frontiers in veterinary science, 6, 278. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2019.00278

[11] Sivamani, R. K., Gupta, S., Pan, D., Wirohadidjojo, Y. W., de Jesus, M., Youssef, A., & Firooz, A. (2019). Microneedling Combined With Topically Applied Growth Factors for Treatment of Atrophic Scars in Asians: A Prospective, Split-Face, Assessor-Blinded Study in 10 Patients. Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD, 18(7), 674–680.

[12] Zouboulis, C. C. (2001). Revisiting the paradigm of cystic acne as the inflammatory end-stage of pilosebaceous dysfunction due to proliferating microcomedones. European journal of dermatology : EJD, 11(6), 531–536. https://doi.org/10.1684/ejd.2001.0835