If you’ve had skin problems and wanted a chemical-free solution, you’ve probably tried increasing your water intake and consuming less sugar or dairy. You may have even been unlucky and invested in expensive products.
While developing a skincare routine and eating healthy in general is a step in the right direction, it’s not always enough. Sometimes the problem goes beyond the skin deep – down to our gut. You’ve probably heard it before: we are what we eat. But can changing your diet have a significant impact on the health of your skin? According to some studies, absolutely.
Your skin type: a self-assessment
The first step to knowing which foods benefit you is to get to know your skin type. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat your skin dry. Do not put on or touch your skin – let your dermis return to its natural state. After an hour, pat your face with a tissue.
Is your meat supple and smooth without flakes or oily residue? Congratulations, you have “normal” skin. Fat on the tissue? You probably have oily skin. Flaky, tight or itchy? Your skin type is probably dry. Combination skin shows characteristics of all skin types, while sensitive skin can become red, dry, itchy or inflamed. Skin types can also change with age or if your lifestyle or environment changes.
Keeping normal skin healthy
Keep your skin healthy by supporting it barrier functionthat fights infections and retains vital nutrients.
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, polyunsaturated fatty acids – PUFAs – and lean proteins provide essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E, and minerals. For example, silicon promotes collagen synthesis, improved skin power, and elasticity.
You can find these beneficial nutrients in grains such as oats and rice and root vegetables. Liver, seafood, legumes and chocolate provide copper, which regulates collagen and melanin.
Erasing oily skin blues
For oily skin, choose healthy fats for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Nuts and seeds contain a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Grains and grains are packed with vitamin B2, which balances and nourishes oily skin. The fiber in bran cereal also helps us maintain a healthy metabolism, and studies show that our metabolism enormous influence the health of our immune system – including our skin.
Stay away from high glycemic and processed foods like sugar, white bread, and French fries, which lead to: increased oil- production. However, remember that oil production by itself does not cause staining.
Foods to quench dry skin
When your skin is dehydrated, it cannot perform necessary functions such as receiving nutrients or protecting it from UV rays. Fish oil improves the skin’s ability to: preserve humidity by strengthening cell walls. If you don’t like fish, eat walnuts and sunflower seeds for beneficial PUFAs.
Foods with vitamin C — such as citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, and red peppers — also fight drought, according to a 2007 study. Improve your results by consuming fewer fats and carbohydrates.
The right mix for combination skin
By choosing the right foods, you can maintain a healthy balance between dry and oily skin. Load up on anti-inflammatory fats, such as those found in fatty fish, and boost your levels of vitamins A, D, and selenium to help your body curb excessive oil production.
In other words, eat more dairy products, lean meats and vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and onions. Vitamin E, found in nuts and seed oils, supports skin barrier function and hydration. Limit high glycemic carbohydrates and excessive caffeine to replenish that balance.
Ingredients to soothe sensitive skin
Sensitive skin irritates easily, resulting in itchiness, redness and blotchiness. Combat these symptoms by increasing your consumption of fermented foods such as pickles, kimchee and yogurt. Studies show that a healthy gut supports your skin’s natural defenses and decreases immune reactions such as redness and inflammation.
Are you sensitive to the sun? Eat more brightly colored foods — such as carrots, sweet potatoes and mangoes — and leafy greens, which are high in beta-carotene. Your body uses it to make vitamin A, which: decreases photosensitivity.
Attenuate acne-prone skin
Acne-prone skin needs detoxification and nourishment. The vitamins and minerals in oatmeal work to reduce inflammation, while zinc detoxify and rejuvenates the skin. Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are some of the best sources of vitamin E, which helps repair the skin and PUFAs, which soften and regenerate skin cells.
Hazelnuts, legumes and pumpkin seeds are good sources of zinc, increasing your body’s ability to repair cell membranes. Limit inflammatory foods such as dairy, sugary and fatty snacks.
Treating mature skin with respect
As we age, our skin wrinkles and sags through a process called glycation, which disrupts collagen fibers as it forms advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. AGEs are bad news; they reduce elasticity and increase skin stiffness. The good news? Some herbs and spices, such as oregano, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and garlic, brake the production of AGEs.
Supplement collagen with protein-rich foods like eggs and lean meats and vitamin C-heavy foods like citrus fruits, berries, and cruciferous vegetables, which fight age stains.
How to brighten dull skin?
When your skin barrier doesn’t work properly, you lose hydration and your complexion becomes dull and dry. Antioxidants help by protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in red or pink fruits such as tomatoes, watermelons, pink grapefruit, apricots and papayas.
Vitamin C is a game-changer in skin care because it helps light up hyperpigmentation and even skin tone — enhance your natural radiance. Vegetables packed with vitamin C include leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens and bok choy.
All skin types share common tastes
Regardless of skin type, your body needs a balanced diet for ideal barrier function. The best thing you can do is make sure you’re getting all the water and nutrients you need. Instead of starting an elimination diet to limit potential food allergies, focus on your intake of nutrient-rich, whole foods such as fresh products, whole cereals, and healthy fats.
These foods are smart choices for people of all skin types. Talk to your doctor or a board-certified dermatologist for advice on dietary changes and food-related skin therapies.